A new heroine to win readers' hearts, joining the ranks of Lydia Grace Finch and Elizabeth Brown
The luckiest girl on this good earth is writing to you tonight my birthday made perfect a few minutes ago by the present of a lace handkerchief. Mother had even hidden a tiny cake in her suitcase! I've never been higher than Aunt Clara's porch, or farther than Yooder's General Store, but this week my dream is coming true. I'm finally in a big city! And more, I've escaped the farm and chores! After spending the morning quietly in our room, Mother, her friend Maggie, and I went to the top of one of the tallest buildings in the world. How can I ever thank Aunt Clara for giving me her place on this trip? Well, I'm sure to find a gift for her by the end of the week. But for now, perhaps I'll dream of Aunt Clara and home.
my silent friend,
Beginning in the dark hours of morning, an Amish girl, along with two adult companions, sets off for the big city for the first time. The reader receives nightly reports through young Hannah's diary, in which, with tireless awe, she relates the significant events of the day. Each experience is decidedly new to Hannah a trip to the top of a skyscraper, a visit to the aquarium yet in each she finds some universal element that reminds her of home. Though she loves the city, a trip to the art museum on the final day of her visit clinches Hannah's longing for family and familiarity; fortunately, the bus is ready to take her back to the place she loves most.
Sarah Stewart's text has the authentic ring of a smart girl's private thoughts, and David Small's pictures are magnificent.
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About the Author
Husband and wife duo Sarah Stewart and David Small have worked together on several picture books, including The Gardener, a Caldecott Honor book available from Square Fish. Small has also illustrated other books, including the 2001 Caldecott Medal winner So You Want to Be President?, by Judith St. George. Stewart and Small live in a historic home on a bend of the St. Joseph River in Michigan.
Reading Group Guide
Discussion/Activities for The Journey
How does the artwork on the end pages at the beginning of the book, the title page, and the first double-page spread indicate that the characters are embarking on a journey?
Discuss how the end pages in the back of the book reveal the end of the journey.
What is the difference between a journey and a trip? Discuss how Hannah's trip to Chicago becomes a personal journey. What does she learn from her journey?
Discuss why Hannah calls her diary her "silent friend." Write a diary entry that Hannah might write on the night she returns home.
The Amish people lead very simple lives, and most don't have modern conveniences.
Discuss how David Small uses color and wordless double-page spreads to illustrate the contrast between the rural, simple life of the
Amish and the busy, bustling life of city dwellers.
Explain what Hannah means when she states in her Wednesday diary entry, "Going down the street is like making a journey across the whole world."
Note the painting that Hannah is viewing in the art museum. Why is she drawn to this particular work? Encourage students to take a virtual trip to the Art Institute of Chicago
(www.artic.edu) and see other paintings that
Hannah might see while visiting the museum.
Hannah writes poems in her diary and plans to give Aunt Clara her two favorite poems. Think about what Hannah has seen and what she feels and misses about home. Write and illustrate the two poems that Hannah gives to Aunt Clara.