Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
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Crafts, ideas, projects, and video-style extension activities for Strawberry Girl from Sonlight’s HBL C program.
- What is a strawberry family? Every time we read this book, I get asked what that means, and I have yet to find a satisfactory answer. This site defines the term: “Growing strawberries was labor intensive and required many human resources.” However, this seemed rather questionable to me in the story’s context. The book reads: “Regular strawberry family, “jedgin’ from the size of it— six or seven young uns, I reckon.” This is spoken by one of the Slater children, Essie, who comes from a family of six themselves, yet they don’t seem to put in a ton of labor into making their living. So, based on a bit of research and a lot of deduction, I think (but I’m not certain, I’ve asked around but have not gotten a satisfactory answer) that it simply means that they have a lot of children. Certain types of strawberries keep coming back year after year. I think the term simply means a family that has a baby every year or two.
- This book has a lot of words written in accents. This can be very hard for some people to read. The biggest key is not trying to figure out what is being said, but reading precisely what’s on the page, even if it looks like a “nonsense” word, and listening to hear what it sounds like. The characters sometimes use poor grammar choices and make unusual word choices, but once you get used to it, it shows a certain beauty to the language itself. But, if it’s too hard, the audiobook does come in handy to listen to the book as it is written without having to struggle with the writing.
- Lapbook about strawberries
- Birdie wants to paint the lard buckets blue to make them look pretty. Perhaps look around your house to find something you can pretty up.
- Go out and sweep your yard. A simple stiff broom will do the trick, and it’s relatively easy to clean it with little practice.
- A look at a Florida cracker house and where the word originates.
- Making Faux Oilcloth
- Assorted types and facts about geraniums (we were there for the pictures only) and Seven Sisters roses. Fun fact: “‘Seven Sisters’ is named for the variety of colors that can appear in each cluster of flowers, ranging from carmine through purple, mauve, pink, and cream as the flowers fade.”
- Plowing by mule
- Palmetto Trees
- How to Tie a Lasso
- How to Throw a Lasso
- How Strawberries Grow
- Read the Book, From Seed to Strawberry
- Or, Book Life Cycles: Strawberries
- Life Cycle of a Strawberry activity
- Soft Shell Water Turtle (refers to Evolution)
- Have fried catfish meal-just says to bread with flour and cook in oil
- Florida Flatwoods
- Hand-operated water pump
- Go swimming
- Today’s meal in the story was fried rabbit, but also hominy grits and cane syrup
- Sacred Harp Hymnal
- Singing from the Sacred Harp in an old church
- Have a picnic as a family, or join others for a potluck -invite friends or church
- Foods served at the picnic in the story: fried chicken, rabbit, squirrel, ham, sweet potatoes, cowpeas, grits and gravy, cakes and pies, cornbread and biscuits, and cane syrup
- Leghorn hats. Info: Leghorn hats, like the chicken, get their name from the region of Livorno in Tuscany, Italy, which is often called “Leghorn” in English. Leghorn hats are usually made out of braided straw, with a wide brim and flat top, and are often decorated with flowers, ribbons, and other items. Here is a website with several different photos and portraits of people wearing leghorn hats. My girls and I had a lot of fun decorating dollar-store leghorn-style hats for a different book we read. Here is a website with several different photos and portraits of people wearing leghorn hats.
- A very simple tissue paper flower to make with your children; all you need is tissue paper and a green pipe cleaner. These can be made even more fancy by making each petal individually, and into many other types of flowers. Using crepe paper instead of tissue paper will produce even more delicate flowers. These can then be dipped in wax to preserve their shape, or the petals can be ironed between sheets of waxed paper before assembly.
- Go weeding
- The girl in the story experienced a heat-related illness. Here is a video that educates on the symptoms and treatments of heat and cold-related illnesses. Use with caution with children who will worry about developing these illnesses.
- A look at amaryllis flowers (I would have included the grasshoppers, but I’m not entirely sure what kind they are)
- The gopher tortoise
- A little history of pot likker. You might wish to read and summarize.
- A pot likker soup recipe, serve with sweet potatoes, biscuits, syrup, and watermelon.
- What is Spanish Moss?
- I am pretty sure that the “Chufers” referred to on the first page of this chapter are another name for Tiger Nuts.
- Making cane syrup (modernish)
- A mule-powered cane mill
- Enjoy baked sweet potatoes
- I think this might be the song the book calls “Get on Girls and Go to Boston.”
- And this looks to be “Green Grows the River Tree.” I was not able to find the other songs.
- How to make pulled sugar candy
- A look at whip cracking
- The Little Mouse, Red Ripe Strawberry, The Big Hungry Bear book
- Make egg custard
- Schedule future berry-picking expedition
- Treating snake bites (warning: discusses dangers)
- Read book: Jamberry
- A photo of a “pony refrigerator for shipping strawberries.” The ice tray would be packed with ice and placed on top and the box sealed.
- Probably more than you wanted to know about shipping strawberries using pony refrigerators. It looks like a pony refrigerator was a single-use, inexpensive box used almost exclusively for shipping berries and a few other fruits over long distances.
- Interesting video about bream (not Florida bream, but close enough)
- American alligator vs. American crocodile
- Cypress swamp
- Use pint, quart, and cup-sized contains to try to measure how to pack berries, making each look like they have a lot of large berries, but without overpacking and so they are flat on top, so they don’t get damaged in transport. If you don’t have strawberries on hand, you can try using other items such as wooden blocks, acorns, walnuts in the shell, bulbs of garlic, etc.
- I had never heard of turpentine mining before, so I wasn’t really sure what the book kept referring to, so of course, I had to look it up.
- Home Fire Safety video (warning: they show footage of an actual fire/rescue of a small child, and then start a house on fire)
- Read Book: First Woman and the Strawberries: A Cherokee Legend
- Mullein tea
- Make blackberry “jell.”
- Meal in the story included: Fried chicken with “all the trimmings,” and by trimmings, I figure they mean all the other foods they mentioned: turnips, mustard greens, sweet potatoes, peach preserves, blackberry jelly, and pickles, grits and gravy, biscuits and crackling cornbread
- In the story, strawberry wine is fetched, but you might like to try strawberry juice with your children
- Beulah land song
- Celebrate finishing the book with a fun strawberry recipe
- Help your children pray for someone they feel needs more joy in their life