Characters Change on Book Talk Thursday

Characters change throughout the story in many books. In Mango, Abuela, and Me both characters change to fit the needs of their circumstances.

One of the skills my fifth graders always need a little help with is character traits. So many times we just look at how a character acts through much of the story, but we have to think about how they change and what causes that change. In the book Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina, both characters face problems that change them both forever. (Affiliate links provided to fund future book purchases.)

Book Summary

When Mia's Abuela comes to live with her family, her entire world changes. Abuela has left her sunny home far away and doesn't speak the language. She also misses the comforts and beauty of her home, especially the beautiful birds. Now she must learn to live in this new world and become a part of Mia's life. But Mia realizes how hard it is to even communicate with her abuela, someone she doesn't even know. She begins to break down the language barriers, so she and Abuela can talk about their lives. Mia and her mother buy a parrot, who helps with the language skills, who they name Mango. Now Abuela can actually interact with others in the community. It's a win-win for everyone!

Classroom Application

I used this with my fifth graders as an SOL review. I read the book to them and talked about how the characters changed in the story, not telling them details. Then I gave each group a character to show how they changed. As I read the story a second time, they outlined how each character changed during the story. I gave them these fun arrows to write the changes on. They really caught on quickly.
Characters change throughout the story in many books. In Mango, Abuela, and Me both characters change to fit the needs of their circumstances.

Throughout the week, we worked on how characters changed in the story with various passages.

Overall, this book worked perfectly for our students who struggle with this skill. They were able to easily see how characters rarely remain the same throughout a story to become someone they didn't know they were.
Characters change throughout the story in many books. In Mango, Abuela, and Me both characters change to fit the needs of their circumstances.


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