A Rose for Abby
By Donna Guthrie
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Summary: A Rose for Abby is the story of a girl who, while looking out her window to the city streets below, pays witness to an older woman searching through trash cans and building a home on the sidewalk. When Abby asks her father about what she saw she finds that the old woman was homeless and had to find places to stay and things to keep her warm on the streets. Abby takes this new knowledge to heart and decides to take an old pair of gloves and hat from her house and leave them in a paper bag for the woman to find in the garbage across the street from Abby’s window. When she looks out the window to find the woman uncovering Abby’s planted treasures she sees how happy it made the woman. After this she thinks of how easy it would be for everyone from her neighborhood to give one thing to help the homeless people on the streets. With this realization Abby goes out on a quest to gather goods to put on a nice, hot soup dinner at her church.
Reflection: A Rose for Abby is really a very sweet story. It shows a positive image of a young girl that takes notice of what is happening around her and empathizes with characters outside of herself and her lifestyle. Abby then takes it upon herself to first make small changes in the life of the homeless woman on the street by giving her gloves to wear and then turn that into bigger actions where she involves her community in order to help more homeless people in her neighborhood. The story is simple yet holds a great idea about how one person can care for and help another in simple ways. Book Use/Activities/Curricular Units: This book lends itself easily into discussion about homelessness and its effects on those that are homeless and those that are also not homeless. It also allows for preliminary ideas about empathy for others to be generated. The book gives ideas as to how an individual can take small steps to make a difference in someone’s life and how they maybe able to involve the community around them to take similar action. The book could also stress the importance of working together in order to make something big happen.
Domain of Social Justice Education:
2.) Respect for Others- Strengthens intercultural competence. Abby notices a woman outside of her window that appears to be making a bed on the street
3.) Exploring Issues of Social Justice- Racism, Classism, Sexism, homophobia and other forms of oppression are confronted. Abby seeks out information in order to learn about the homeless woman on the street and why she is there and is there are others like her.
4.) Social Movements and Social Change- Students learn how people have struggled for social change. Abby decides to help the woman on the street by leaving gloves and a hat in a decorated paper bag in order to help the homeless woman to keep warm.
5.) Taking Social Action- Students explore their own context and develop tools to work for change. Abby goes to her community and asks for their help so that she can put on a dinner for all of the homeless people in her neighborhood.