When Marian Sang

Bibliography Information: Ryan, P. M., & Selznick, B. J. (2002). When Marian sang. New York: Scholastic.

Short annotation: This is a story about a girl named Marian. Marian happens to be an African American girl born before the Civil Rights Movement and her journey and struggles to becoming a singer.

The Genre: Biography, Picture book

Grade level: Second grade and up

Readers who will like this book: Readers who will like this book are children who want to one day become a singer themselves; parents and educators wanting to expose their children/students to the issue of prejudice in the American culture of the 1900’s.

Personal response and rating: I would give this book a 5; I loved this novel because it shows a strong girl fighting for what she believes in and being determined enough to follow her dream of becoming a singer.

Question: What does it mean to be treated differently because of how we look?

Reading strategies connection: In Literature-Based Reading Activities by Ruth Yopp and Hallie Yopp there is an activity called a book box (2010).  The book box activity involves the teacher getting a box and finding different items that would have meaning to the class reading assignment (Yopp, R. & Yopp, H., 2010). Before doing the reading, the teacher should pull out each item from the box and have the student identify these items either as a class or in small groups (Yopp, R. & Yopp, H., 2010).  Once the items are identified the students should start thinking about how these items are related to the book that they are about to start reading (Yopp, R. & Yopp, H., 2010). This activity gets the student to use context clues and how using these clues can help them to make predictions about what will happen in the book (Yopp, R. & Yopp, H., 2010).  This would be a wonderful activity to do with the novel When Marian Sang, because of the time period that this novel is written about, the strong musical theme throughout and the struggles that the characters go through. Due to the fact that this novel covers a variety of different topics and ideas, there are many different items that a teacher could pick to put into the box that would fit this novel.

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