What To Do About Alice?

Written by: Barbara Kerley

Illustrated by: Edwin Fotheringham

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations

Encourage your child to make observations and predictions before reading this story to activate his/her imagination. Try asking questions like:

What hints on the front cover reveal where the story takes place?

Who do you think Alice is? Why do you think the story is called “What To Do About Alice?”



Tell your child that this story is a biography (an account of a person’s life) about Alice Lee Roosevelt, daughter of former President Theodore Roosevelt. Ask your child, “Can you name any other biographies that you've read in the past?"

As You Read

Take Turns Reading.

Take turns reading with your child, even if s/he is an independent reader and can do it on his/her own. This isn’t just so that you can spend more time with your child (which is an added perk, of course), but studies show that children who read with their parents tend to find reading more enjoyable and are less likely to be “reluctant readers”. This also makes reading more fun as you can discuss the text as you go along, as well as any questions your child may have about the story or its characters.

Vocabulary Building:

It may be helpful to start a vocabulary journal where your child can write down new words s/he may find while reading. This will help reinforce his/her learning and can be used as a reference later on. Encourage your child to discover the meanings of these words using the text and illustrations surrounding them. Examples of new words in What To Do About Alice? include:


Making Connections:

Making Connections: Alice is an incredibly spirited young girl, constantly moving and learning as much as she can. Encourage your child to think about how s/he is similar to or different from Alice by asking, “What do you and Alice have in common? How are you different?”


After Reading

Summarize and Interpret

Ask your child these questions to gauge his/her understanding of the story:

Make Comparisons.

The clothing girls wore in the early 1900s is very different from clothing worn today. What does this say about how society viewed women at that time? Why do you think young Alice wanted to wear pants?

When Alice was young, her father called her a “running riot.” When she was older she “became one of Father’s most trusted advisers and ardent champions.” How do you think this change happened?

From what you have read about Theodore Roosevelt and his daughter Alice, would you describe them as similar to one another or different? Why?

Talk About Real World Applications.

Alice described her zest for life as “eating up the world.” What do you think this phrase means?

How will you “eat up the world” like Alice did throughout YOUR life?

How can Alice be an inspiration to other girls and woman today?

Activity: Learn About History and Find Your Color

Learn About History!

Throughout the story, the author refers to many people and events from the past. Together with your child, search the internet to discover more about a few of the following people or events mentioned in What To Do About Alice?:


● Rough Riders charging up Kettle Hill
● Davy Crockett
● George Armstrong Custer
● Daniel Boone
● Twain
● Dickens
● Darwin
● Buffalo Exposition

What’s Your Color?

Supplies: paper, a paintbrush and paint

Alice had a color named after her - Alice Blue - that matched the color of her blue-gray eyes. Ask your child, “If you could choose one color to be named after, what would it be?” Gather paints in the primary colors (blue, yellow, red) plus black and white paints (for making tints lighter and darker), a paint brush, water, and a piece of paper. Invite your child to mix his/her own color! Ask, “Why did you choose this color to be your own?"

Check This Out

As you are completing your activities, be sure to listen to this song entitled "Alice, Where Art Thou". The lyrics to the song are provided in the description box. This is just one of the ways that people showed their appreciation and adoration for Alice.