by Patricia Polacco This is a story from Polacco's childhood. As a girl she and her neighbors Winston and Stewart want to raise enough money to buy the boy's grandmother a new Easter bonnet that she has been admiring. Patricia is over their house for chicken dinner every Sunday and she considers Miss Eula her grandmother too. When they go to try to get a job at the hat shop they are mistaken for some bigger boys who threw eggs at the back door. Old Mr. Kodinski, a concentration camp survivor with a number tattooed on his arm, is a frightening, grouchy old man. After asking Miss Eula what to do the children make "Pysanky" eggs decorated with dye and wax. In order to prove their innocence and restore their good character they bravely go back and offer him the eggs. He is so impressed with their work he suggests that they sell the eggs in his shop to earn the money they need. The eggs sell immediately and out of kindness he gives them the very hat that Miss Eula desires. The story ends with everyone in church on Sunday morning listening to Miss Eula sing with a voice "that sounds like slow thunder and sweet rain."
You can use this heart-warming story to teach memoir writing and the Quaker SPICEs of peace, community, and integrity. Some of the more intense aspects good for discussion with older students are only indicated in the illustrations (like the concentration camp tatoo.) I bought it for my five year old son Buddy's Easter basket.
Polacco's website where you can read a summary, get art work, postcards, posters and activity downloads. Links here for all of her other books.
Lesson plans, author study, artwork from the book, and information on how to make Pysanky eggs, etc.