By Tracie Vaughn Zimmer

Copyright Date: 2007

Published by: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children’s Books

Lexile Reading Level: 580

Grade Level Recommendation: 4th – 6th Grades

Common Core State Standard:

Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.

Suggested Delivery: Read aloud

Key Vocabulary:

  • cerebral palsy: a form of paralysis believed to be caused by a prenatal brain defect or brain injury during birth.
  • foliage: Leaves of a plant, collectively; leafage
  • occupational therapy: a form of therapy in which patients are encouraged to engage in vocational tasks or expressive activities, usually in a social setting.
  • speech therapy: treatment to improve speech of children who have difficulty in learning to speak.
  • abbreviations: a shortened or contracted from of a word or phrase, used to represent the whole.
  • scraggly: irregular, uneven, jagged
  • akimbo: with hand on hip and elbow bent outward
  • determination: the act of coming to a decision or of fixing or settling a purpose.
  • cautious: showing, using, or characterized by caution.


Reading Strategies:

  • Before:  Since this book is comprised of poems, it is a good idea to talk to students about poems.  Key ideas that can be discussed could be the different styles or patterns in poems.
  • During:  Give students a chance to reflect on some of the poems.  Have them do a quick write about how the poems make them feel.
  • After: Ask the students to discuss the poems in small groups.  Give them a chance to reflect on the words and the meanings behind some of the poems.

Writing Activity Suggestion: Have the students reflect on something that makes them different or unique.  Tell them to write a few poems about that attribute.  Make sure they include emotions in the poems.  Talk about how struggles make people who they are.  The assignment should be one where students feel safe and excepted when writing the poems.

Electronic Resources:




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