I’m so glad you’re back for Day 2 of the new series here at Mama’s Learning Corner: 365 Days of Children’s Books!
Since we are such avid readers here at the Hill House, it just seems like a perfect idea to list one of our favorite books each day of the year!
You can always browse through the whole list of 365 days on the 365 of Children’s Books page. Make sure you bookmark it!
It’s the perfect resource to take with you to the library when you need a few new, fresh ideas.
The Blessing Cup
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Book: The Blessing Cup
Author and Illustrator: Patricia Polacco
Oh The Blessing Cup by Patricia Polacco holds such a special place in the hearts of myself and my children! This was a very memorable book for us.
The Blessing Cup centers around a Russian Jewish family in the early 1900s. Due to tremendously hard life circumstances, the young family needs to leave Russia for the freedom that America promised.
The family had very few possessions, however, their most prized treasure was a gorgeous tea set that her parents received as a wedding gift.
When Anna and her family leave for America, they are able to bring the tea set and all of the many blessings it represented.
My children picked up on these lines from the book, and they’ve yet to forget them. In fact, we say them often, just as a reminder that we are rich as kings.
Anna’s papa would say to her, “Oh, there is rich and there is rich. We are richer than kings, and do you know why?”
Then he and Anna changed together, “Because we have each other!”
I can’t count the many times myself or my children have reminded our family how truly rich we are.
Talking About The Blessing Cup with Your Children
The Blessing Cup certainly is a book that lends itself to lots of conversation!
Here are a few questions to ask your children as you read through this amazing story:
♥ The czar’s soldiers occasionally came to Anna’s house when they lived in Russia. How do you think she and her family felt? How would you have felt if the soldiers visited your home? This is a great time to talk about the wonderful freedoms we experience in America.
♥ The illustrations in the book are in black and white except for the tea set and Anna’s head covering. Why did the illustrator choose to do that?
♥ Do you think The Blessing Cup could really give blessings? Could it really keep them from going hungry?
♥ Read through the list of items the family carried to America. Why do you think they chose those particular items?
♥ Why do you think the Doctor was so kind to the family? What made the Doctor special? How would you have treated the family if you were the Doctor?
♥ How do you think the author felt when she discovered the cup after the earthquake?
Using The Blessing Cup as a Literature Unit Study
Every book I share here for the 365 Days of Children’s Books won’t be a good choice for a literature unit study – but this one definitely is!
Oh the many topics you could study by using The Blessing Cup as the spine of your unit study!
A few possibilities:
→ Geography: Study Russia and where Russian Jews settled. What would be a possible route to America?
→ Create your own replica of a blessing cup. Use a mug with permanent markers to create your designs.
→ Learn about the Jewish culture. This book is rich with references to the Jewish culture, including the introduction of a shofar, Shabbat, the temple, a menorah. Learn what each of those items are and how they would be used in Anna’s home.
→ We see an example of Jewish weddings at the end of the book. Research what Jewish weddings entail and how they are similar and different than the weddings that are customary in your family.
→ Research the earthquake that occurred in San Francisco on October 17, 1989. It certainly had an impact on the outcome of this book!