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Literature Unit Study Ideas for The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh

Leah Courtney
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.

The featured book in this post 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, as well as thirty other literature unit studies for great kids books.

The Courage of Sarah Noble Literature Unit Study

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.

Language arts:

  • Have students write an acrostic poem using the letters of the word COURAGE. Find out how to write an acrostic poem here. And you can use this tool to write an acrostic poem online.
  • Students can write a story about a time they were afraid and had to be brave. Let young children dictate the story.

Art activities:

Other resources:

The Courage of Sarah Noble Literature Unit Study

Other books to read:

If you'd like to use these activities as part of a unit study for The Courage of Sarah Noble, you can download the 31 Days of Literature Unit Studies ebook for free here.

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. This is an awesome series--and a really thorough unit study, too. I remember reading this book as part of homeschool when I was little. I love the unit study approach to homeschooling--the two little girls I teach in my home are only 4 years old so we're using family simple books and building studies around those, but it's a lot of fun!

    1. When my two oldest were little I started "teaching" then by just reading good books and doing fun things with them.


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