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In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

by Bette Bao Lord

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson

Shirley Temple Wong sails from China to America with a heart full of dreams. Her new home is Brooklyn, New York. America is indeed a land full of wonders, but Shirley doesn't know any English, so it's hard to make friends. Then a miracle happens: baseball. It is 1947, and Jackie Robinson, star of the Brooklyn Dodgers, is everyone's hero. Jackie Robinson is proving that a black man, the grandson of a slave, can make a difference in America. And for Shirley as well, on the ball field and off, America becomes the land of opportunity.

Enrichment Activities
Books for Black History Month


Enrichment Activities

  • Comprehension Checks
    Check your students' comprehension of the story with Test A, Test B, and Test C. Use the Answer Key for correcting.

  • Conflict Dissection
    This graphic organizer will help students to study the story's setting, problem, and solution. Use the Conflict Dissection organizer.

    Culminating Projects
  • Have your students design and complete a project to conclude the unit. Use the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson Projects sheet.

    Jackie Robinson and Civil Rights
  • This lesson gets students thinking critically about the Civil Rights movement and its key players, as they explore a biographical site about Jackie Robinson.

    Jackie Robinson Coloring Page
  • A printable coloring book page with a picture of the baseball legend.

    Reference and Reading Comprehension Practice
  • Shirley and her friends loved baseball. They could have easily answered the questions in this activity. Have students practice using references to find the answers to this quiz about baseball history. Use the Answer Key to check their answers.

Books for Black History Month

Dark Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural, by Patricia C. McKissack
Recommended Ages: 10-13
These 10 stories of the supernatural are based on historical facts but be warned: they're scary! These haunting tales are perfect for reading aloud and they also address deep issues of racism.

Kidnapped Prince: The Life of Olaudah Equiano, by Olaudah Equiano
Recommended Ages: 10-13
This is a gripping tale of a young African boy's odyssey of betrayal, cruelty, and courage.

Nappy Hair, by Carolivia Herron
Recommended Ages: 4-8
The gospel rhythm of this lovely children's book is matched only by the bold, color-saturated illustrations of little nappy-haired Brenda.

Nightjohn, by Gary Paulsen
Recommended Ages: 12 and up
After he escaped to freedom in the north, Nightjohn returns to slavery to teach other enslaved people how to read. And 12-year-old Sarny is willing to risk mutilation and death for precious knowledge.

Something Beautiful, by Sharon Dennis Wyeth
Recommended Ages: 5-8
This is the inspiring story of a young girl's search for beauty in her violence-torn neighborhood. The illustrations and story are both beautiful and realistic.

Watsons Go to Birmingham, by Paul Curtis
Recommended Ages: 10 and up
The Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan are taking a trip like no other. They're heading south to Birmingham, Alabama, toward one of the worst moments in American history.


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Highlights

Teaching Racism & Discrimination in America
The issues of racism, prejudice, and discrimination have plagued the United States since it was founded, and racially motivated killings still occur with frequency today. Help your students understand the historical contexts of racism—with references on slavery, immigration, and the civil rights movement—to frame your conversation on modern instances of prejudice.

Poptropica Teaching Guides
Poptropica is one of the Internet's most popular sites for kids—and now it's available as an app for the iPad! It's not just a place to play games; each of the islands featured on the site provides a learning opportunity. Check out our teaching guides to four of Poptropica's islands: 24 Carrot Island, Time Tangled Island, Mystery Train Island, and Mythology Island.

Teaching with Comics: Galactic Hot Dogs
Reach reluctant readers and English-language learners with comics! Our original teaching guides to the Galactic Hot Dogs comic series (chapters 1-4 and 5-8), as found on Funbrain.com (and now in print!), will take students on a cosmic adventure while engaging their creative minds. Plus, find even more activities for teaching with comics, featuring many other classic stories.

July Calendar of Events
July is full events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: Canada Day (7/1), Independence Day (7/4/1776), World Population Day (7/11), Bastille Day in France (7/14), National Ice Cream Day (7/19), First Moon Landing (7/20/1969), World War I Began (7/28/1914), Author J.K. Rowling's Birthday (7/31/1965). Plus, celebrate Read an Almanac Month and Recreation and Parks Month all July long!

Videos
Interested in using different types of media in your classroom? We have a growing collection of videos, with related activities, for holidays and events, including: Independence Day, slavery & the Civil War, American History, U.S. Presidents, handwashing awareness, the Common Core, women's history, Memorial Day, and the environment. Enjoy!