Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Sit

Ellis, Deborah (Author)
Groundwood Books 2017. 144 pages
First published: 2017
ISBN: 9781773060866 (hardcover)
9781773061108 (paperback)
9781773060873 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Anthology

Text Elements:

character, characterization, conflict, dialogue, evocative language, point of view, 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:

Eleven short stories span cultures and geography, featuring children in trying situations, linked by the theme of sitting. The children face various challenges, but find inner strength and agency that help them to cope.

The writing is sharp and at times poetic while the struggles are realistic and universal: “How many times do we have to apologize for what our ancestors did?” asks one German student after a class visit to Auschwitz. She wonders who her parents would have been during the war and then realizes that the real question is, “who would she have been?”

In one tale, Miyuki, whose mother is missing after a tsunami, is berated by her father for wanting to rescue their pet donkey. Like her veterinarian mother, Miyuki cares about animals and takes risks to save her donkey and several dogs along the way.

In the opening story, Jafar etches a poem into the bottom of a chair at the factory: “With this chair/I am there.” In the closing story, he attends school, which is “in the middle of the gambling dens and the places girls are taken when they are young.” Despite extreme poverty, he finds solace in writing: “Jafar sings stories out to the world, and the world, in turn, sings back to him.”

Note that some of the content is appropriate for Elementary Cycle Three and secondary students, while other stories suit only secondary students.

  •  

    Discuss how an object or place can inspire stories, paintings, etc. Based on the objects on the cover, predict the storylines within.

  •  

    Stop reading after a few pages of each story and predict the endings. Discuss how your predictions compare to the actual text. How do writers surprise us with their conclusions?

  •  

    After any story, write a response, making connections to your personal experiences, to other texts and videos, and to the world around you. How does the story make you reflect on your beliefs?

  •  

    Consider how Ellis uses objects to drive part of a story. Choose an object that intrigues you. Have it play a key role in your own story or stories.

  •  

    What might a sitting child represent (relaxation, punishment, fatigue, etc.)? Each story represents a child’s attempt to achieve a degree of self-determination over their lives.

  •  

    In small discussion groups, consider how the act of sitting is incorporated into each story. Keep track of your ideas in a reader-writer’s notebook.

  •  

    Write a response to one or more of the stories. Alternatively, use one story as a model text for narrative writing on a social justice topic.

  •  

    Discuss and create a word map of places where people sit (bench, high chair, etc.). How could you sort these words?

  •  

    From the pictures on the cover, make predictions about the contents.

  •  

    Listen to one story read aloud and create a class story map. What connections can you make to your personal experience, to other texts and videos, and to the world around you? How does this story make you reflect on your beliefs?

  •  

    In a literary circle, discuss the big ideas and the challenges of one of the stories. Retell the story for the other circles.

  •  

    Choose a seat that has some meaning for you and write about a related experience.

  •  

    Examine the book cover and title and consider how the short stories might connect. (Bear in mind that the protagonists are all kids.) Share your ideas in small groups. Check out the story titles and discuss what they may be about.

  •  

    At the end of each short story, write a single adjective or emotion that expresses how the story made you feel. Once you’ve done this for all 11 stories, compare your answers with a partner and discuss your reasoning for each.

  •  

    Draw an illustration or two for each short story, representing its main idea or essence.

  • To communicate appropriately
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To use creativity
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Ethics and Religious Culture
  • Social Sciences