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UMaine Center on Aging

The mission of the Center On Aging is to promote and facilitate activities on aging
in the areas of education, research and evaluation, and community service.

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MUSE -- Youth Curriculum -- Book Selections  

MUSE Youth Curriculum
Book Selections

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Miss Rumphius
Story and Pictures By: Barbara Cooney

Annie and the Old One
Written By Miska Miles; Illustrated By: Peter Parnall

Mandy's Grandmother
By Liesel Moak Skorpen

Knots an a Counting Rope
By Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

Sea Swan
By Kathryn Lasky

 

 


Book Questions



Miss Rumphius

Story and Pictures By: Barbara Cooney

Description: Miss Rumphius is a story of aging and individuality and the mark one can leave on people and in the world. Recommended for children in 1st -3rd grade.

Questions:

  1. Why was Miss Rumphius sometimes called "that crazy old lady"?
  2. Was she really "a crazy old lady"?
  3. What can our elders teach us?
  4. What are some of the things that you have been taught by your elders?
  5. When Miss Rumphius was a little girl in the story, her grandfather seemed very wise, what does it mean to be wise?
  6. What can we learn from "wise" people?
  7. In the story Miss Rumphius hurt her back. How did she hurt it?
  8. Did hurting her back make her less wise?
  9. What lesson about aging can we learn from this book?

 

Annie and the Old One

Written By Miska Miles; Illustrated By: Peter Parnall


Description: Annie and the old one is the story of a young Native American girl and her aging grandmother. This story touches on topics of wisdom, relationships, death, dying, sadness, and growing older. Recommended for children in grades 5-6.


Questions:

  1. What are the similarities between Annie and her grandmother that Annie speaks of in the beginning of the story?
  2. Anne mentions in the story that there are two sides to her grandmother, what are they?
  3. What are the similarities between weaving and Annie's grandmother's life?
  4. Why do Annie and Annie's parents treat the Old One with such respect?
  5. What is the significance of the gifts that Annie's grandmother gave to Annie and her mother and father?
  6. What is the significance of Annie's weaving?
  7. What lessons about aging did you learn from this story?



Mandy's Grandmother

By Liesel Moak Skorpen


Description: Mandy's grandmother is coming for a visit. Mandy has never met her before, but she had a picture book with a grandmother in the story. The grandmother in the story took her granddaughter for walks and to the zoo, and she held her in her lap which was wonderful. But when Mandy's grandmother arrives, she brings the best present to Mandy's baby brother, she wants Mandy to eat oatmeal for breakfast, and is afraid of Mandy's pet frog. It doesn't take Mandy long to decide that the book about grandmothers was all wrong. Then Mandy and her grandmother begin to love and accept each other for who they are. Recommended for children in 2-3 rd grade.


Questions:

  1. Mandy was questioning herself about what does she know about grandmothers? What are some of the things you know about grandmothers or grandfathers, or other older adults?
  2. What kind of things do you do with your grandparents or other older adults?
  3. When Mandy's grandmother was Mandy's age, do you think she liked the same things as Mandy does?
  4. What kinds of thing do elders do today to have fun?

 

Knots an a Counting Rope

By Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault


Description:
This story is about a boy and his grandfather. The grandfather tells the boy the story of his birth and while he does, he ties another knot in the boys counting rope. The counting rope is a metaphor for the passage of time. Recommended for children in 5-6 th grade.


Questions:

  1. Why do you think Billy liked his grandfather to tell him the story of his birth?
  2. Billy is fortunate to have his grandfather spend time with him and to teach him about growing up. Have you ever had talks with your grandparents about growing up, or how they grew up?
  3. In the story Billy says "I always feel strong when you are with me, grandfather." What do you think he means?
  4. Do you think when Billy's grandfather was Billy's age he had a counting rope too? Who do you think told the grandfather his birth story?
  5. What stories do you think the grandfather can tell Billy about getting old?

 

Sea Swan

By Kathryn Lasky


Description: Elzibah Swan lives on Boston 's Beacon Hill in a tall brick house that her great-grandfather built. Her life is ordered and comfortable, and when her grandchildren come to visit, it is even sometimes exciting. But after the children leave, Elzibah is restless and discontent, feeling that life is passing her by. So on the morning of her seventy-fifth birthday, she tells her cat, Zanzibar , that she has decided to learn something new. Recommended for children in 3 rd -5 th grade.


Questions:

  1. Do you think Elzibah is too old to learn new things?
  2. Do you think older people can't learn something new, if so why?
  3. When you turn seventy-five what kind of new thing would you like to learn?
  4. Elzibah loves to swim; how can swimming help Elzibah stay healthy?



Helpful Definitions

Aging: to become old

Elder: 1) of earlier birth or greater age 2) one who is older: SENIOR > one having authority by virtue of age and experience

Wise: 1) characterized by wisdom: marked by deep understanding, keen discernment, and a capacity for sound judgment

Definitions are from the Webster New Collegiate Dictionary

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