Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs

dePaola, Tomie (Author/Illustrator)
Penguin Random House 2000. 32 pages
First published: 1973
ISBN: 9780698118362 (paperback)
9780399231087 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Based on the author’s own childhood memories, this is the tale of four-year-old Tommy whose regular Sunday visits to the home of his grandmother, Nana Downstairs, and his great-grandmother, Nana Upstairs, fill him with warmth and security. But when Tommy’s mother announces one day that Nana Upstairs has died, Tommy must learn to come to terms with the circle of life.

Full-colour illustrations with an old-time feel are accompanied by an age-appropriate narrative that addresses death sensitively, without talking down to children: The bed where Tommy’s great-grandmother once slept is now empty, and the falling star he sees one night is “a kiss from Nana Upstairs.”

An exploration of intergenerational relationships, this read-aloud is an excellent resource for young children trying to cope with the loss of a grandparent or other family member, or for those beginning to ask questions about death.

  •  

    Discuss the story and the deaths of the Nanas. Share your own experiences of death. How do we remember people who have died?

  •  

    Create a family tree and write a short description for each person. What things do you do with different family members?

  •  

    Write about someone special in your family. Explain why you enjoy his/her company and what you like to do together.

  •  

    Discuss the story: How do we know that Tommy loves his Nana Upstairs? What does he like about his Nana Downstairs? What reminds Tommy of his Nana Upstairs? What activities do you do with your grandparents? Has anyone close to you died? 

  •  

    Create a family tree for Tommy’s family. Complete a family tree graphic organizer to show the members of your family. 

  •  

    Write about a happy family memory.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Physical Education and Health