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Bibliovores: Hitty, Her First Hundred Years

Hitty, Her First Hundred Years Discussion Guide

Our fourth book for our Bibliovores Class was Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field. 

Pass out small papers and let students write one of the following on the paper: love it, like it, hate it. Collect and tally the vote on the board. Voting with the papers allows shy students to stay anonymous yet give their true opinions.

I asked each student to bring in an antique item to discuss. This was kind of like a big kid Show and Tell time. 

Read Web Information
We looked at the Hitty Preble website and read together about the original Hitty. It was fun for students to see a photo of her and to learn that she was only 6 inches tall.

Discussion Questions
1. Hitty seems so human, but she isn't. Make a chart with two columns and list how she seems human on one side and how she is truly just a doll on the other. 

2. Discuss the island. How do things change when people are simply trying to survive? What things in our culture do we think are extremely important but really aren't?

3. Discuss the author's use of dialect* and how dialect makes the various characters believable/authentic. Who is represented in these examples below?

  • "No matter what 'tis. D'you understand?"
  • "Bud you can go," he told her . . . "I vill take you mit me."
  • "I is gwine to tell you one thing sure an' dat is if yo breaks de eight' commandment dat says: 'Thou shalt not steal,' you is gwine to be berry sorry. Some ob you, my breather, has done broke it already." 

Sometimes dialect is hard to read in your head, and you need to read it aloud. 

Dialect is the language used by the people of a specific area or class. It involves the spelling, sounds, grammar, and pronunciated used by a particular group of people and distinguishes them from other people. 

4. Discuss the Newbery Medal. Tell students to put this information in the back of their brains as we will be reading a few more Newbery books and evaluating them as to whether or not they deserved this distinguished award.

The Newbery Medal was named for 18th century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. 

5. What changed over the course of Hitty's hundred years of life? (fashion, manners, transportation, photography, etc.). Give specific examples from the book as well as any you know from history (time period is 1820-1920). What do you think will change in the next hundred years? I showed my students this video of cutting edge technology and we discussed. 

Writers BE Inspired!

  • Write a story and use dialect in your character's dialogue. 
  • Go to an antique shop, choose something super unique to purchase. Write a story about that item's life.

Readers BE Inspired!

Learners BE Inspired

This book lends itself to learning about SO many other people, places, and events: John Greenleaf Whittier, Charles Dickens, Adelina Patti, Quakers, The Civil War, and more!

Bibliovores Book Discussion Class (Homeschool Cooperative)

One Response to Bibliovores: Hitty, Her First Hundred Years

  • Mary says:

    Thanks for this, Ami!   My daughter read Calico Bush (same author) and enjoyed it very much — this might be a great book to tackle this summer.  

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