By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Copyright Date: 2015

Publisher: Penguin Random House

Lexile Level: 580

Grade Level Recommendation: 5th-7th Grade

Common Core State Standard: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.5.2
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.

Suggested Delivery: Independent

Key Vocabulary:

  • clubfoot: a condition where a person has a deformed or distorted foot.
  • humiliated: to cause (a person) a painful loss of pride, self-respect, or dignity; mortify.
  • ashamed: feeling shame; distress or embarrassed by feelings of guilt, foolishness, or disgrace.
  • curmudgeon: a bad-tempered, difficult person
  • keen: extremely sensitive or responsive
  • resilient: springing back, rebounding

Reading Strategies:

  • Anticipation Guide: After the following statements write agree or disagree.
    • Ada and her brother have a special bond because of the way they are raised.  (Agree)
    • World War II caused families to separate in order to keep them safe.  (Agree)
    • Clubfoot is something that cannot be fixed. (Disagree)
    • All of the children who were being sent away were excited to leave their home.  (Disagree)
    • Ada and Jamie learned some valuable lesson when they were living with Susan.  (Agree)


  • Before: Ask students to tell you everything they know about World War II.  This could be a great brainstorming activity for the whole class or for small groups.  If needed, lead the students by asking questions.
    • Who was involved?
    • What caused the War?
    • When did the war take place? Start? End?
    • Where did the war take place?
    • Why were people fighting?
  • During:  Have the students reflect on some questions and then have them share with either the whole class or a small group.
    • What is Ada and Jamie’s relationship like? How does their relationship compare to the one(s) you have with your siblings?
    • If you were in Ada and Jamie’s place, would you run away from home? Why or why not?
    • How would you feel if you were a child on the train? What emotions would you be experiencing?
    • Would you be brave enough to try something like riding a horse? If you fell off the horse would you get back on? What would be something you would want to try that your afraid of?
  • After: What are some of the main themes of the story?  Provide specific examples from the text to back up your ideas.

Writing Activity Suggestion:  Throughout the story, Ada struggles with her self-worth.  Have the students write about something they struggle with.  Other questions that you could ask them:

  • Has anyone told you that you couldn’t do something? How did that make you feel?
  • What do you do to relax or make yourself feel better after a long day?
  • Who is someone who makes you feel better when you are scared or frustrated? What do they do to help you?
  • What is one positive quality or skill that you possess?

Lesson Plan Ideas and Helpful Websites:



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s