The Way Back Home

Written and Illustrated by: Oliver Jeffers

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations

Discuss what your child sees on the cover and encourage him/her to make observations and predictions. Ask questions like:

Make Observations.

What do you see on the cover?

Make Predictions.

Where do you think they will go?

(Flip to an Illustration} What do you think is happening in this picture?

What do you think will happen in this story?


Activate Prior Knowledge

Ask your child about what is up in space. Talk about things like stars, planets and the moon and how people get into space. Tell your child that this is a story about a boy that lands on the moon!

As You Read

Vocabulary Development:

Encourage your child to stop when s/he gets to a new word in the story. See if s/he can discover its meaning by using the illustrations and the words surrounding it. Examples of new words from The Way Back Home:


Make Connections:

Ask your child if certain parts of the story remind him/her of something that has happened in his/her own life or from another story. For example, ask, "Do you ever forget what you are supposed to be doing like the boy does when he gets home?"



After Reading

Summarize and Interpret

To ensure comprehension, ask your child about what happened in the book. Who/what were the characters and places in book? What happened in the story? Ask your child the following questions after finishing to further explore his/her understanding of the book.

How are the boy and the martian different? How are they similar? What do they both fear?

If you were stuck on the moon with a martian, how would you have acted and felt? Is that the same  or different from what the boy in this story did?

What do you think happens after the book? Do the martian and the boy see each other again? If they do, what will happen? If they don’t, why not?

Activity: Radio Communication

Alien & Boy Extracted.jpg

At the end of the book the boy receives a radio. Pretend that your child is the martian or the boy and have conversations with him/her about what it’s like on Earth versus the martian’s planet. Encourage your child to ask and answer questions about his/her own life while imagining a different world as well.


STEM Extension: Phases of the Moon Cookies

Make learning about the moon delicious, and wipe off some Oreo frosting to imitate the phases of the moon! Teach your child about how the moon changes and relate it to the book by asking him/her which phase the moon is in during The Way Back Home. Then enjoy the delicious planets!