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Learning Activities for Sarah, Plain and Tall: Ideas for a Newberry Award Winning Book

Leah Courtney
{This post may contain affiliate links.Read my disclosure here. }

The younger girls and I are studying American history this year and are preparing to read Sarah, Plain and Tall as our literature book. I love using fiction to read about historical time periods. This month's Poppins Book Nook feature is all about Newberry Award winning books, and there are quite a few historical fiction among the award winners.
Ideas for using Newberry Award winning book Sarah, Plain and Tall
About Sarah, Plain and Tall

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan is set in the pioneer days of American history. The reading and comprehension level is probably 5th-6th grade and up. The story is told from Anna's point of view. Young Anna lives on the prairie with her Papa and brother Caleb. Her mama died, and Papa needs a wife and mother for his children. He sends an advertisement for a bride in the newspaper, and Sarah comes to live with the family. The book explores Anna's feelings as she adapts to this new woman who will never replace her mother. Throughout the book is woven information about life on the American prairie and the indomitable spirit of the American pioneers.

Talking points

Ideas for using Newberry Award winning book Sarah, Plain and Tall

If you've been around the blog for a while, you'll know I love, love, love to read aloud and have great discussions. Sarah, Plain and Tall has some good talking points.

  • How do think Anna felt when her father advertised in the newspaper for a new wife?
  • Do you think it is right for a man to get a wife by advertising for one? Why or why not?
  • Why do you think Sarah answered the ad and agreed to come out West?
  • Why was it easier for Caleb, the younger brother to come to like Sarah?
  • Discuss the hardships that the early pioneers had on the prairie.
  • How would you feel if you were Sarah, setting out on a journey to live in a strange place with strange people?
  • How can you see God at work in the lives of the characters of the story?

Activities to accompany Sarah, Plain and Tall

I'm looking forward to using Sarah, Plain and Tall with the girls. I've read the book before and know that I really enjoyed  it. I look forward to sharing it and discussing it with the girls.

You can visit the Poppins Book Nook cohosts this month to find ideas related to Newberry Award winning books.

Leah Courtney / Author & Editor

Leah Courtney is a homeschooling mom of four. She’s graduated two teens- one who’s a legal adult now! And she’s still homeschooling two middle schoolers. She loves all things book related, and in her- very rare- free time you can find her listening to audiobooks and coloring.


  1. We read Sarah Plain and Tall last year and loved it! What a wonderful set of resources you have here. Great ideas!

  2. I have this book and plan to use it with my lad. :)


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