Written by: Joanne Rocklin
For parents of independent readers, we provide a set of questions that should give you insight into what your child is reading and help you engage him/her in meaningful conversations about literature. We recommend using the questions provided here as a springboard for deeper conversation about One Day and One Amazing Morning On Orange Street and what your child takes away from the book. Enjoy!
The kids on Orange Street have always spent their days playing around the big Valencia orange tree. Whether it is climbing its large branches or sitting beneath it to enjoy the shade, the tree is an important landmark in the neighborhood that has been present for many years. When a stranger shows up on their block and plans to cut down their beloved orange tree, the neighborhood rallies together to save it. The story primarily follows four children on Orange Street, Ali, Robert, Bunny and Leandra, as they reveal their secret fears and anxieties about their individual families. As they band together to save the tree, they realize the significance of this incredible tree and its ability to connect them in a way they never could have imagined.
In what way does each character in the story interact with the orange tree? Why is it important to the children in the neighborhood?
How would you describe Ms. Snoops’ character? Why have the neighborhood children given her that name? Do you know anyone in real life or in another story that reminds you of her?
The children in this story are very imaginative and come up with many interesting ideas. For example, Ali imagines the lot to be “a hangout for a group of bored, invisible angels, who liked to inspire ideas and stir up trouble” (pg. 17). Can you think of times when the other children express similar theories or ideas?
Loss is an important theme in this story. How is each character confronted with the possibility of losing a loved one?
Robert feels lonely because his best friend has moved away and some of the children on the block have stopped playing with him. What does he do to try and fix it? How have you been able to overcome differences and conflicts with friends in your own life? How have you been able to build strong friendships?
- Who was the mysterious stranger? Even though the children didn’t know who he was, how did he bring everyone in the neighborhood together?
- Ali contemplates the idea of ownership and what it means to own something on pg. 188. Who do you think owned the orange tree? Why?
- Take a page out of Ethel Finneymaker’s recipe book and create her orange and coconut ambrosia using the recipe on page 203. You can enjoy this treat while you read the Author’s Note about what inspired the story you just read. Think about a really important day in your life and write a short story about it’s significance. Describe the characters that were present, why the event was so important, and what you learned from that day. You can also decide to write the story from different points of view like in One Day and One Amazing Morning On Orange Street. Be descriptive and bring your story to life with lots of detail and sensory words, describing what you felt, heard, tasted and smelled on that day.
Above all, be sure to engage your child in a discussion about the plot line and his/her thoughts and feelings about the book. Ask what s/he likes, encourage exploration related to the book, and every now and again, offer to read parts of the book aloud, just for fun!