Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Ruby’s Wish

Blackall, Sophie (Illustrator)
Chronicle Books 2002. 32 pages
First published: 2002
ISBN: 9780811834902 (hardcover)
9781452145693 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, point of view, setting

Award

Ezra Jack Keats Book Award – 2003

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:

A spirited young girl from China has a different dream from the other girls, who plan on getting married when they grow up. Unlike them, Ruby plans to follow the boys in her family and attend university.

While she comes from a privileged family, which includes an understanding, forward-thinking grandfather, she still finds herself struggling against cultural beliefs that underline the importance of traditional gender roles.

This engaging portrait of courage and determination pairs rich, descriptive text (“orange-and-white carp gulping for breath under a thin layer of ice”) with full-page, watercolour paintings in a folk style that evokes old China and deftly characterizes the protagonist as a joyful girl who wears red ribbons every day, “even when her mother made her wear somber colours.”

Based on the true story of the author’s grandmother, this semi-biography will inspire both boys and girls to follow their dreams, whatever they are.

  •  

    Discuss whether it is fair that the boys had the opportunity to go to university and the girls didn’t. What else is different for boys and girls? Why do you think this is so?

  •  

    Explain why it is important to go to school. Create a list of some things you would like to learn at school.

  •  Make a list of jobs that are often done by women and those that are often done by men. Discuss why you think this is so, and whether it has to be that way.
  •  

    Look at the book cover and illustrations. Infer what Ruby’s wish will be.

  •  Compare life for girls and boys in China at the time of this story. Use a Venn diagram to help you.
  •  

    Discuss and research the story. How was Ruby able to make her wish come true? Are there countries in the world today where girls cannot go to school/university? Where? Why can’t they go to school?

  •  

    Write a postcard from Ruby to her grandfather, describing her life at university.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Geography, History and Citizenship