Title: Spoken Memories

Reference: Brandenberg, A. (1998). Spoken Memories. New York, NY: Greenwillow Books.

Brief annotation: Mari shares the story of her life thus far with her new classmates. She shares the story of her homeland and about how close her village was and how much everyone loved each other. She tells her classmates that her father decided to go to the U.S. because he heard that there were schools for every child and that there were libraries everywhere. Once he saved enough money he sent for her and her brothers and mother to come and live with him in the U.S.

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Grade level: 3.5

Interest level: Students in grades K-2 would be interested in this book.

Personal response: This story reminded me that some students, even though so young, have gone through a lot. Their classmates might not have even imagined that people could live lives so differently and may be shocked to hear the kind of experiences their classmates have lived through. This is a reminder to students and teachers alike that all students come from diverse backgrounds and that the classroom needs to be a safe and accepting place for all.

Text-dependent question: Why were Mari’s parents so happy when she was born?