A Simon & Schuster Parent/Teacher Discussion Guide to accompany
Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops by Jill Biden, illustrated by Raúl Colón
Reading Group Guide created by Simon & Schuster Choose the questions and activities that work best with the age and interests of the child or class you are sharing this book with.
Discussion Questions This is a story about how a young girl deals with missing her father, a soldier away on active military duty. It celebrates the bravery and patience of military families and the kindness of neighbors and friends.
1. Why do you think the author titled the book Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops? Do you think it has any special meaning or tells you something about the message of the book?
2. Do you know any kids who have family members in the military? Are their family members home or serving in another country?
3. Imagine you have a family member in the military—a mother, father, aunt, uncle, or cousin. What do you think that would be like?
4. How does reading Natalie’s story make you feel?
5. Natalie was called upon to be brave. Were you ever brave? Talk about it.
6. Natalie was also called upon to be patient. Did you ever have to be patient? Talk about it.
7. What was the voice that whispered to Natalie, “Be brave?” Do you have any voice inside you? If so, what does it say? Whose voice do you think it is?
8. When Natalie goes to church, she sees her father’s name on a list of soldiers whom people will pray for. Why do you think that made Natalie feel better?
9. Many people were kind to Natalie and her family. What were some of the things they did? What would you do?
10. Do you live in a community where neighbors help each other?
11. When members of our military serve our country, they are often called upon to make sacrifices—to leave their home, families, and friends as well as face danger. Children and families also make sacrifices. How does a family deal with the absence of a loved one serving in a foreign land?
12. This book is based on a true story. Does that make a difference? How?
Activities and Projects 1. The pictures in this book are very beautiful and expressive. Try reading the book again just looking at the pictures. Do you notice anything new in the pictures or the story that you didn’t see before? How do the pictures help to tell the story? The story takes place over the course of a year. How do the pictures help to show that?
2. This book is based on a true story. Look at the author’s note and jacket copy to learn more about the people behind the story.
3. There is a drawing of a flag by the real-life Natalie on the endpapers of the book. Create a picture of your own for the book. Create a picture or a poster expressing your feelings about our service members to hang on a classroom or school bulletin board or send to a soldier.
4. Members of the U.S. military are deployed in more than 150 countries, including combat zones like Afghanistan. Look on the Internet and find out some of the countries. Find a map or a globe and locate the counties. Choose a country and learn about it and find out why our service members are there.
5. At the end of the book is a list of things schools and communities can do to support military children. Choose one of them as a project.
6. You can also serve your country and community by simple acts of kindness. Do something kind today.
7. Look at some of the websites at the back of the book. Read some of the stories about military kids and families.
Additional Websites Look at some of these websites. Learn about Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.
Military Youth on the Move – Elementary School http://apps.mhf.dod.mil/pls/psgprod/f?p=MYOM:ES0:0::::: Tips and strategies on coping with new schools and making new friends.
Operation Military Kids http://www.operationmilitarykids.org/public/home.aspx The U.S. Army’s collaborative effort with communities to support military children.
Our Military Kids http://www.ourmilitarykids.org/about-us/ Provides support to families, features military kid of the month.
VA Kids. K-5th http://www.va.gov/kids/k-5/multicontent.asp?intPageId=2 Links to resources, information, and activities related to the U.S. Government and information about veterans.
Kids.Gov http://www.kids.gov Links to resources, information, and activities.
Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government for Kids http://bensguide.gpo.gov/3-5/index.html Learn about the government, with guide Benjamin Franklin.
Symbols of the U.S. Government—Ben’s Activity Book http://bensguide.gpo.gov/files/Ben_Activity_webversion.pdf Crafts, games, coloring.
Memorial Day http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/memorial-day/ Links, information, activities, coloring, games, crafts about Memorial Day and veterans.
Veteran’s Day http://usmilitary.about.com/cs/generalinfo/a/veteransday.htm A history of the holiday.
Veterans Day http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/veterans-day/ Links, information, activities, and crafts.
Congressional Medal of Honor Society http://www.cmohs.org/ List of recipients, stories, links.
Home of the Heroes—Just4kidz http://www.homeofheroes.com/coloringbook/index.html Medal of Honor Coloring Book.
Recommended Books Read more about members of our military, heroes, and being brave:
Courage by Bernard Waber H Is for Honor: A Military Family Alphabet by Devin Scillian Hero Dad by Melinda Hardin I Pledge Allegiance by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson Love, Lizzie: Letters to a Military Mom by Lisa Tucker McElroy Memorial Day Surprise by Theresa Martin Golding The Wall by Eve Bunting What is Veteran’s Day? by Elaine Landau
Guide Prepared by Judith Rovenger, Adjunct Professor, Long Island University
This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.