More Historical Fiction from Ann Rinaldi

$17.00 hc • $6.95 pb • Ages 10 to 14 except as noted

Come Juneteenth
Discussion Guide

Colonial America and the Revolutionary War
A Break with Charity A Story about the Salem Witch Trials
978-0-15-200353-1 978-0-15-204682-8 pb

Civil War Era
An Acquaintance with Darkness
978-0-15-205387-1 pb

Come Juneteenth

978-0-15-205947-7 • Ages 10 and up

Cast Two Shadows The American Revolution in the South
978-0-15-205077-1 pb

The Ever-After Bird

978-0-15-202620-2 • Ages 10 and up

The Fifth of March A Story of the Boston Massacre
978-0-15-205078-8 pb

An Unlikely Friendship A Novel of Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley
978-0-15-205597-4 • Ages 10 and up

Finishing Becca A Story about Peggy Shippen and Benedict Arnold
978-0-15-205079-5 pb

Nineteenth-Century America
The Coffin Quilt The Feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys
978-0-15-216450-8 pb • $6.00

Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons The Story of Phillis Wheatley
978-0-15-205393-2 pb

The Staircase

978-0-15-202430-7 • $16.00 978-0-15-216788-2 pb • $6.00

Or Give Me Death A Novel of Patrick Henry’s Family
978-0-15-216687-8 978-0-15-205076-4 pb

Twentieth-Century America
Brooklyn Rose
978-0-15-205117-4 • Ages 10 and up 978-0-15-205538-7 pb

A Ride into Morning The Story of Tempe Wick
978-0-15-204683-5 pb

World War II
Keep Smiling Through
978-0-15-205399-4 pb • Ages 8 to 12

The Secret of Sarah Revere
978-0-15-204684-2 pb


More discussion guides can be found at

Before Reading While Reading After Reading
This guide is appropriate for use with students in grades four to seven.
Copyright © 2007 by Harcourt, Inc. All rights reserved.

The activities in this guide were written by Mary Lou Meerson, an educational consultant from San Diego, California.

On a large piece of paper, write The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863. Test students’ prior knowledge of the Emancipation Proclamation with a brainstorming activity. Ask the students what they know, or think they know, about this document and its effect upon slavery in the United States. Do not agree, disagree, or correct their contributions. Write down the students’ ideas on the paper. Put the list away until students have fi nished reading the book.

5. Ann Rinaldi is the author of many historical novels. Have each student choose and read another book by Ann Rinaldi. After reading, have each student compare and contrast the time, setting, place, characters, and plot between the books. Does Ann Rinaldi use different devices for each book?

discuss what mollusks are and then talk about other bivalves. How are all bivalves the same?

1. On page 29 Luli says she keeps good things “packed away in my memory in a box with a big red bow on top.” Have each student write about one of his or her best memories that would be worthy of saving in a metaphorical “box.” 2. Have each student write a letter from Sis Goose to Luli in which she tries to sort out her confused feelings about Gabe and Colonel Heffernan. Instruct the students to use the text of Come Juneteenth to guide their characterization of Sis Goose and her feelings.

if they think Luli is naive, or if she really believes there was no harm in not telling the slaves they were freed. Also ask them if they think Heffernan was sincere in his concern for the slaves, or if he just wanted revenge on all Southerners. 2. Mercy Love gave Luli a bracelet of silver coins to guard her from harm (pg. 152). Ask the students about other good luck charms they’ve heard of. Also discuss what makes a good luck charm. Why are they important to people?

1. Have the students turn in their lists of unfamiliar vocabulary words they noted while reading. Compile their lists. Discuss words on the lists that are rarely used in contemporary vernacular. Words and phrases such as homespun (pg. 18), circuit preacher (pg. 21), yeomen (pg. 24), or gussied up (pg. 55) are examples of some of the references students may have noted. 2. Your students may be unfamiliar with the idioms and colloquialisms the author uses. They include called on the carpet (pg. 30) and other fish to fry (pg. 64). Discuss the meaning of these phrases. Have the students look for other colorful language in the book and defi ne the phrases. Ask them to share similar expressions they have heard or read. 3. Discuss how the English language is constantly changing. Make a class list of modern words or expressions that were not in use thirty years ago, such as vocabulary relating to e-mail, text-messaging, other technology, and pop culture.

Have students keep two lists as they read Come Juneteenth. One list is for historical facts they learn from the book, and the other is for unfamiliar vocabulary words. Tell them to also note the page on which the new fact or word appears within the book.

1. Put up the list about the Emancipation Proclamation the students drafted before reading the book. Discuss each entry’s accuracy based on the book or from independent research. One of the major facts that students should understand is that emancipation was a drawn out, disorganized process, not an instant solution. Other information students should learn about emancipation includes: • Emancipation was not a law passed by Congress; it was an executive order from President Lincoln. • Lincoln was able to issue the order because of his position as Commander in Chief of all U.S. military forces (Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution). • Between 1862 and 1865, slaves were gradually freed in various states through a series of state and federal actions. • Slavery ended in Texas on June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger read the contents of U.S. General Order Number 3 to the people of Galveston. • Slavery was fi nally prohibited altogether in December 1865 by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. • More information about the Constitution and the Emancipation Proclamation can be found at the official website of the National Archives at 2. Juneteenth is celebrated in many states, although in Texas it is an official state holiday and is formally called Emancipation Day. Find out if there is a local celebration in your area. If there is one, encourage students to attend—or hold a celebration in your classroom. For a list of celebrations, visit

1. As a class reread the conversation between Luli and Rooney in chapter 8 (pgs. 62–63), in which they discuss the fact they both know the slaves were freed. Ask the students how they think such a huge secret was able to be kept from so many people. Did the conversation between Luli and Rooney change their opinion of Luli as a heroine? 2. In chapter 8 (pg. 61) a slave trader asks Aunt Sophie to sell Sis Goose to him, even though they both know that all slaves are freed. Ask the students what they think Aunt Sophie and the slave trader were thinking during this conversation. Were they willfully going to break the law by buying and selling Sis Goose, or were they denying that anything had changed? 3. Have each student research what happened to freed slaves during Reconstruction, after the Civil War. Were the promises of a better life fulfilled? Have them reference the Freedmen’s Bureau ( in their search for information. 4. Gabe spent the war fighting Kickapoo Indians, not Union troops as one might expect. As a class research the many displacements of the Native Americans who started out in Michigan and ended up in Mexico. (The skirmishes in which Gabe may have been involved during the Civil War took place back and forth across the Rio Grande River.)

Activities and Discussion Questions
1. Discuss the purpose of a prologue and an epilogue. Ask the students if they think the prologue and epilogue are effective and necessary to the book. Would their reaction to the book have been different if the story had been told in a strictly chronological order? 2. When developing characters within a story, most authors attempt to portray them realistically. In real life there are few villains who are all “bad” and few heroes who are all “good.” Most people are a mixture of bad and good. With the class, discuss the characters of Colonel Heffernan and Pa. What were their good traits? What were their bad traits? 3. Discuss the symbolism of the blue cloaks. Why were they so important to Pa? Discuss the scenes in which they appear and why the author used them in these scenes (pgs. 82, 91, 96). 4. An author’s note is included at the end of Come Juneteenth. An author’s note is an essay explaining the inspiration and thought process an author experiences while writing a story. Have each student write an author’s note for a story each of them has written. Also, based on Ann Rinaldi’s author’s note, have each student compare and contrast his or her writing process to hers.

1. Mercy Love predicted the weather using folklore and by observing the sky. Borrow the Farmers’ Almanac from the library. Chart the almanac’s predictions for the current month alongside the predictions from the daily newspaper. Also chart the actual weather for each day that month. Was the almanac or the newspaper forecast more accurate? 2. Your students have probably never seen or heard of unio shells (pg. 64). The proper name for these freshwater mussels, which produce pearls, is unionoida. To learn more about this endangered species, visit Ask the students what other animals produce pearls. Mussels are in phylum Mollusca, class Bivalvia. As a class,

Social Studies
1. As a class reread the argument between Luli and Colonel Heffernan in chapter 15 (pgs. 110–113). Ask the students