Un-Forgettable Friday: Strega Nona’s Harvest by Tomie dePaola
January 1, 2010 in Books with Health Content, Books with Science Content, Books with Science Content, dePaola, Tomie, Elementary Educators, Personal Connections, Picture Book, Preschool to 1st grade teachers, Reading Skills, Un-Forgettable Friday Tags: Big Anthony, Plant Lesson Plans, Strega Nona, Strega Nona's Harvest, Tomie dePaola
*Picture book for preschoolers through second graders
*Strega Nona as the main character
*Rating: Another clever Strega Nona book by Tomie dePaola, perfect for plant lesson plans
Short, short summary: Strega Nona, Big Anthony, and Bambolona are planting seeds with Strega Nona’s direction in the latest installment by Tomie dePaola. This book is perfect for plant lesson plans because Strega Nona starts at the beginning of the planting process–working with the soil and watches her plants grow until harvest time.
While Big Anthony and Bambolona are preparing to plant the seeds, Bambolona scolds Big Anthony and says that he can’t do anything right or perfect like she and Strega Nona. Big Anthony decides to show them by planting his own secret garden. Wait until you see all the crops in that garden and how Big Anthony solves his problem! Tomie dePaola has another hit, and you have a fun resource for plant lesson plans during science class.
So, what do I do with this book?
1. Tomie dePaola puts some Italian vocabulary in this book when Strega Nona, Big Anthony, and Bambolona are talking to each other and the names of the crops in the garden. So besides plant lesson plans, you can also teach your students or your children a little Italian. Words like la luna, mio caro, and libro di giardino are included in the text. For older students, you can discuss how some of the English words are very similar to the Italian words. Students love to learn about and show off another language.
2. Tomie dePaola uses full-page illustrations to tell some of this story instead of including text on every page. During a plant lesson plan, ask students to draw a picture of a plant cycle in Tomie dePaola’s style and without using any words.
3. After Strega Nona has harvested the vegetables, Tomie dePaola writes about how she incorporated the fresh foods into her meals. Another book about using fresh foods from gardens is Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You a Pie by Robin Gourley. This book focuses on the childhood of the famous chef, Edna Lewis, and the way her childhood on her grandma’s farm affected her entire life and her cooking style. You can compare and contrast these two books with a Venn diagram or discuss with students eating fresh fruits and vegetables during a nutrition unit.