Before the holiday break, I have students imagine they will give a gift to a book character. They brainstorm likes, dislikes, and general character traits for a main character in a favorite novel. The students make notes about the character and then choose a gift they could give to this figure. They must defend their gift choice in a paragraph and use examples from the text to support their idea. Students can either use the printable handout to draw and color a picture of the gift and write the explanation, or they can bring in a wrapped present with a gift tag to share with the class.
Option 1: The Printable Handout
After brainstorming ideas about the book character’s likes, dislikes, and traits, Students choose a gift. For example, after reading In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Betty Bao Lord, I might want to give Shirley Temple Wong a Jackie Robinson baseball card because she became a fan of his during the story, and they have many connections. On the printable handout, the student would draw a picture of the baseball trading card or print a picture of an old Jackie Robinson trading card and glue it to the area on the activity page for the gift picture. In the box at the bottom of the page, students would write an explanation of the gift.
Option 2: Bring your Gift to a Book Character to School with a Gift Tag
Brainstorm ideas in the same way as the option above. Students then print a picture, color a picture, or find the actual item at home (no shopping necessary). They wrap the drawing or item like a real present in a gift bag or box. The student attaches a gift tag with an explanation about the gift on the back of the gift tag. Have a present opening party at school and let students show the presents they selected for a specific book character.
Enrichment Ideas for the Book Character Gift Activity
- Choose a gift that one book character might give to another book character and defend your choice. For example, The Giver might give Jonas colorful markers because Jonas gains the ability to see in color, and he could write about the memories using color.
- Trade gifts with a classmate and write a thank you note from the point of view of the book character.
- Rather than December holidays, use this activity any time and ask students to choose a birthday gift for a character.
I hope December is not too crazy in your classroom!