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School Programs Connected to Books

School Programs Connected to Hope Somewhere in America

Click here or on the book cover for more information about the book.

Hope Somewhere in America: The Story of a Child, a Painting, and a President—An Author Visit

(adapted for grades K-5)

After Sydelle’s book, Hope Somewhere in America, has been shared with students by a teacher or librarian, Sydelle shows the painting that inspired her, describes her writing/research/publication journey, provides a historical context for her book, shows thematically connected books, and engages students in a question/answer period.

Click here for samples of children’s art responses.

Author/Storyteller Residencies

Hope Somewhere in America: Connecting a Book to the World

(adapted for grades K-5)

In this author/storyteller residency, Sydelle uses her book, Hope Somewhere in America, as a springboard to share multicultural stories and engage the students in related art, writing, creative dramatics, or science activities, using a globe or map to chart the places where the stories come from.

Hope Somewhere in America: The Black Arts of the New Deal

(adapted for grades K-5)

This residency expands upon the historical backdrop of Sydelle’s book, Hope Somewhere in America, by exploring the art with an emphasis on black culture that was created during the New Deal. Stories pertaining to the lives of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes, Marian Anderson, and Rosa Parks are shared. The storytelling is followed by writing, creative dramatics, singing, moving, and art activities. Relevant library books are left behind. Click here to see writing of students pertaining to Harriet Tubman.

 

Hope Somewhere in America: From Slavery to Civil Rights

(adapted for grades K-5)

This residency expands upon the historical backdrop of Sydelle’s book, Hope Somewhere in America, by exploring the journey from slavery to civil rights. We will begin by looking at the painting “Employment of Negroes in Agriculture” of African-Americans picking cotton, painted by Earle Richardson in 1934. This painting appears in Hope Somewhere in America. Sydelle uses this painting to discuss slavery and tell stories of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas, showing the paintings of New Deal painter, Jacob Lawrence. Mitchell Jamieson’s 1942 New Deal painting, “An Incident in Contemporary American Life”, of people listening to the famous African-American contralto, Marian Anderson, as she sang outdoors in front of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, and Norman Rockwell’s 1964 painting of six-year-old African-American Ruby Bridges juxtaposed with federal marshals as she enters an elementary school in New Orleans, help to provide further historical context. The painting of Ruby Bridges hung in the White House for a time during Obama’s presidency. We will view a short video of Obama and Bridges conferring together about the painting. We will discuss the lives of Martin Luther King, and Barack and Michelle Obama. The storytelling is followed by writing, creative dramatics, singing, moving, and art activities. Relevant library books augment the overall experience.

Hope Somewhere in America: The Teddy Bear Project

(adapted for grades 1 & 2)

After the students have listened to Sydelle’s book, Hope Somewhere in America, read aloud, she brings to life the word “author” and the process that led to publication by using some examples of her manuscript drafts as well as some drawings pertaining to the illustration process. Sydelle discusses the fact that her story is told in the first person, in Hope Sequoyah’s voice, and encourages the children to ask questions and wonder about Clarence, Hope’s teddy bear. Their questions can help inspire them to write their own first person stories about their teddy bears after they create and name them. Sydelle also uses her book as a springboard for a “hopes for the future” writing and self-portrait art activity.

 

Hope Somewhere in America: Exploring Connections Between Abolition, Women’s Suffrage, Labor Rights, and Civil Rights

(adapted for grades 3-5)

In this residency, Sydelle uses her book, Hope Somewhere in America, as a springboard to: discuss the journey from slavery to woman’s rights and human rights, particularly the right to vote; make connections between the abolitionists and the suffragists; make connections between labor rights and human rights; tell stories of the lives of such trailblazers as Frances Perkins, Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Rosa Parks; expose the students to works of art that connect to the stories about the people listed above; bridge past to present by showing photos of recent memorials that have been unveiled in honor of some of these remarkable women; engage the students in writing prompts that relate to the stories and artwork; provide an opportunity for reflection and for the students to read some of their writing aloud; augment discussions with relevant library books Sydelle leaves behind for further exploration. Click here to see writing of students pertaining to Rosa Parks.

 

School Programs Connected to Hope Somewhere in Pittsburgh

Click here or on the book cover for more information about the book.

Hope Somewhere in Pittsburgh: An Author Visit

(adapted for grades K-5)

After Sydelle’s book, Hope Somewhere in America, and the sequel, Hope Somewhere in Pittsburgh, have been shared with students by a teacher or librarian, Sydelle shows archival documents that inspired her story, highlights thematically connected books, describes her writing/research/publication journey, and engages students in a question and answer period.

Archival Documents include the Dilworth School Homecoming 2015, Dilworth School opening program 1915, John C. Dilworth archival documents, Principal’s report from Miss Murry.
 

Author/Storyteller Residencies

Hope Somewhere in Pittsburgh: A Story Journey

(adapted for grades 1-3)

In this residency, Sydelle uses Hope Somewhere in Pittsburgh, sequel to her book, Hope Somewhere in America, to discuss her writing and research process; introduce students to notables such as: Pittsburgh artist,Albert Francis King, Pittsburgh millwright and self-taught astronomer, John Brashear; the poet, Langston Hughes, who was an especially powerful figure during the Harlem Renaissance (he visited Pittsburgh to do a poetry reading and visit his mother who lived in the area); folklorist and writer who wrote articles for the widely disseminated Pittsburgh Courier, Zora Neale Hurston, who was friends with Langston; children’s librarian, storyteller, author and puppeteer, Pura Belpre, who worked at the 135th Street Branch Library (where Hope’s mama works) and then at the 115th Branch Library; Pittsburgh artist and teacher, Selma Burke, whose art center in East Liberty incorporated the talents of Pittsburgh puppeteer, Margo Lovelace; inspire the children to consider what careers they are interested in by exposing them to the above people who lived their lives with great passion and determination; present excerpts of primary sources whenever possible, such as documents and photographs, to bring a sense of vibrancy and immediacy to history; augment discussions with relevant library books for further exploration; tell an African-American story that Zora collected as well as a Hispanic story that Pura heard in her childhood in Puerto Rico; encourage the children to create puppets out of paper bags and retell these stories in a puppet show.

Hope Somewhere in Pittsburgh: A Historical Journey

(adapted for grades 3-5)

In this residency, Sydelle uses Hope Somewhere in Pittsburgh, sequel to her book, Hope Somewhere in America, as a springboard to discuss and explore the lives and contributions of notable Pittsburghers such as: artist, Albert Francis King; millwright and self-taught astronomer, John Brashear; industrialist and library builder, Andrew Carnegie; artist, Romare Bearden; actor/director/ singer/dancer, Gene Kelly; jazz composer, Billy Strayhorn; sculptor and teacher, Selma Burke; photographer, Teenie Harris; singer, Lena Horne. In addition, the poet Langston Hughes, who was an especially powerful figure during the Harlem Renaissance, will be discussed. Sydelle engages students in writing prompts that connect to the above stories, augments discussions with relevant library books for further exploration, and inspires students to consider what careers they are interested in by exposing them to people who lived their lives with great passion and determination.

Click on a thumbnail to open a slideshow of the student illustrations.

 

School Programs Connected to Books for Children of the World

Click here or on the book cover for more information about the book.

Books for Children of the World: The Story of Jella Lepman—An Author Visit

(adapted for grades 3-8)

After Books for Children of the World has been shared with students by a teacher or librarian, Sydelle describes her inspiration and writing/research/publication journey, uses archival materials to provide a historical backdrop, refers to a map or globe in order to provide a geographical context, incorporates thematically connected books such as The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, and engages students in a question and answer period.

Click here to view artwork of students.

Author/Storyteller Residencies

Books for Children of the World: Stories for Children of the World

(adapted for grades 3-5)

In an author/storyteller residency, Sydelle uses Books for Children of the World as a springboard to share multicultural folktales from around the world, using a map or globe to provide a geographical context, and engaging students in relevant writing, art, or creative dramatics activities.

 

 

Books for Children of the World: Stories of People Who Saved Others During the Holocaust

(adapted for grades 5-8)

Sydelle uses Books for Children of the World as a springboard to tell stories of Righteous Gentiles who saved Jews during the Holocaust.

 

 

School Programs Connected to Dear Mr. Longfellow

Click here or on the book cover for more information about the book.

Dear Mr. Longfellow: Letters to and from the Children’s Poet—An Author Visit

(adapted for grades 3-12)

Sydelle highlights the object that served as the inspiration for her book, Dear Mr. Longfellow–an armchair that the children of Cambridge gave to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1879 as a gift for his seventy-second birthday. Sydelle saw the chair when she visited the Longfellow House—Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site and knew she had to write the story behind it. When she came across birthday letters that children wrote to Henry, Sydelle decided to include some of their own voices into her larger narrative. Sydelle tells the story of how the special chair connects to Henry’s poetry, shares some letters Henry received from children, describes her writing/research/publication journey, and engages students in a question and answer session.

 

Author/Storyteller Residencies

“A Spreading Chestnut Tree”: Reading, Writing, and Listening to Stories and Poems about Nature

(adapted for grades 3-8)

In this residency, Sydelle tells the story behind Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, “From My Arm-Chair”, dedicated to the children of Cambridge, Massachusetts, who gave him an armchair on his seventy-second birthday that was made from the wood of the “spreading chestnut tree” referred to in his poem, “The Village Blacksmith.” In subsequent sessions, Sydelle shares stories and poems about nature by other writers, as she continues to relate details about Henry’s life and travels from her book, Dear Mr. Longfellow: Letters to and from the Children’s Poet, making him relevant to today’s children. Sydelle uses a map or globe to chart the places where the stories come from. Sydelle stimulates the students to write their own poems from various points of view of the animate and inanimate characters that are featured in the multicultural stories she tells.

Click here for photographs from Cambridge Public Schools, Cambridge, MA

 

School Programs Connected to Elijah's Tears

Click here or on the book cover for more information about the book.

Elijah’s Tears: Stories for the Jewish Holidays—An Author Visit

(adapted for grades K-5)

Sydelle describes her inspiration/writing process/publication journey for her book Elijah’s Tears. She tells the story “Leaves”, her Sukkot story with a Shabbat connection, or “Joseph the Potter”, her Passover story. The storytelling is followed by a relevant art activity, if time allows, as well as a question/answer period.

Click here for samples of children’s artwork.

Author/Storyteller Residencies

Prophet Elijah Stories from Around the World

In an author/storyteller residency, Sydelle shares Elijah stories from around the world and engages participants in writing, art, and/or creative dramatics activities inspired by themes of the stories.

 

School Programs Connected to Why Bear Has a Short Tail

Click here or on the book cover for more information about the book.

Why Bear Has a Short Tail: An Author Visit

(adapted for preschool-grade 2)

Sydelle briefly describes her inspiration/writing/publication journey for her book Why Bear Has a Short Tail, engages children in participatory singing and storytelling, locates Norway on a map or globe, and incorporates thematically connected books.

Author/Storyteller Residencies

Animal Tales from Around the World

In an author/storyteller residency, Sydelle uses Why Bear Has a Short Tail as a springboard to tell other animal stories from around the world and engages the children in singing, movement, creative dramatics, art, and map activities.