The House of Sixty Fathers Activities

Kokeshi Dolls

The Real Teens Read discussion group got together to discuss The House of Sixty Fathers and several poems that were assigned to accompany it.

The House of Sixty Fathers

We always discuss background history and biographical information about the authors we read, and this book fit in nicely with our studies of both Chinese culture and World War II, which we had previously spend some time with.

Since last weekend kicked off Chinese New Year, we talked about the holiday and its traditions. I gave each of the kids a red envelope filled with chocolate Chinese coins, and we watched a short video about the ways the lunar new year is celebrated.

#craft #literature @learningtablehomeschool.comMy uncle lived in China for many years, so I showed the kids some of the photographs he took and some different Chinese coins and paper money he sent us.

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We talked about the real-life story that inspired Meindert Dejong to write The House of Sixty Fathers, and we talked about the journey of the main character, Tien Pao, and related his journey to the journeys of main characters in other books we’ve read as a group (The Giver, Huckleberry Finn, The Red Badge of Courage, Bud, Not Buddy).

We discussed literary aspects of the book, such as symbolism and imagery, and we talked about the other themes of the book.

Literature craft

Besides accompanying our discussion of The House of Sixty Fathers with pizza and cupcakes, the next best part was a hands-on activity for the teens to complete.

They had a choice of paper dragon puppets or kokeshi dolls, and all of them chose to paint kokeshi dolls. They gathered around the kitchen counter and carefully designed and decorated their dolls, which ranged from beautiful kimono-girls to sumo wrestlers and ninjas. One even ended up with a tuxedo.

I bought the wooden pegs at Hobby Lobby, and we set out multiple colors of acrylic paints and different sized brushes. Some of the teens drew finer details with permanent Sharpies after the paint had dried enough.

A quick shot of air from the hair dryer made them take-home ready.

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