This post is part of the 31 Days of Literature Unit Study Ideas. You can find the list of unit study ideas published during the 31 days here.
Today's featured book is The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh. Set in early America, this would be a great read aloud during an American history study. Don't forget to download your printable suggested schedule for using The Courage of Sarah Noble with your children.
About the book:
The Courage of Sarah Noble was written in 1954. It's based on a true story of a little girl, Sarah Noble, who came with her father to New Milford Connecticut in 1707 to cook and clean for him as he built a house and prepared for the rest of the family. Sarah is eight years old and leaves behind her large family of brothers and sisters in Massachusetts as she and her father travel to Connecticut to build their new home.
Sarah experiences the beauties, dangers, joys and sadnesses of being an early pioneer. Throughout her adventures, she remembers her mother's words before she left with her father: "Keep up your courage, Sarah Noble." This becomes her mantra on the trip. Sarah and her father befriend an Indian family and community, and Sarah is left with them when her father goes to collect her mother and siblings to bring them to the new home.
The Courage of Sarah Noble is considered a first chapter book. It is fairly easy reading for early elementary aged kids and makes a good read aloud for that age group as well. The tender story that emphasizes family values, as well as the early American pioneer spirit, is a Newberry Award winner.
Things to talk about:
- Why do you think a father would take only his eight-year-old daughter to be his housekeeper while he worked? Do you think an eight year now could handle that responsibility?
- Throughout the book, Sarah learns what courage really is. If you have courage, does that mean you aren't ever afraid? Why do you think so?
- What are some ways in which Sarah's father shows love for Sarah and the family?
- Why was Sarah so afraid of the Indians when she first met them? How do think the Indians felt when meeting Sarah?
- How would you feel to be left with the Indians as Sarah was?
- Print a free map of the United States east coast. Mark Massachusetts (the state that Sarah and her father came from) and Connecticut (the state that Sarah and her father went to).
- Read about early explorers in America. Learn where the explorer came from and where he explored.
- Read about early American Indian tribes in Connecticut. (This site has a map with tribes labeled where they lived, links to information about each tribe, and some printable puzzles with Native American tribe names and information.)
- This slideshow relates information about Native American groups and the contributions they made. The Eastern Woodlands Indians are included- probably the American Indian groups that Sarah met.
- Sarah and her father often came across many animals in the woods. Look up some of the animals that live in the east coast woodlands.
- Have students choose one of the animals and write about it. Younger students can write or dictate a few sentences. Older students can write a paragraph with facts about the animal.
- This short video has information about forests and woodlands as a habitat and included information about some of the animals who live there.
- Make an edible log cabin.
- Make a spoon doll dressed like an early American girl.
- Color these early American life coloring pages.
- This free study guide from Hillside Education has suggested activities as well as discussion questions for every chapter.
- Homeschool Share has a great free unit study and lapbook for The Courage of Sarah Noble.
- Watch this movie based on the book.
- Use some early American corn recipes to cook foods Sarah and her dad may have eaten.
- Use this free unit study/notebooking guide to learn more about the early colonies.
Other books to read:
- The Very First Americans by Cara Ashrose
- North American Indians by Douglas Gorsline
- Colonial Kids: An Activity Guide to Life in the New World by Laurie Carlson
- The New Americans: Colonial Times by Betsy Maestro
- The Discovery of the Americas by Betsy and Giulio Maestro
- More Than Moccasins: A Kid's Activity Guide to Traditional North American Indian Life by Laurie Carlson
If you'd like to use these activities as part of a unit study for The Courage of Sarah Noble, you can download and print a suggested one week schedule here. This page also contains printable schedules for the other books in the seies.