Activity Overview

Having students choose a favorite quote or scene from the book allows them to express which parts of the story resonated with them on a personal level. In this way, students are making a text-to-self connection that demonstrates their understanding of the characters and their development or the themes of the novel. Students can share their storyboards afterwards and have a short discussion about what the quotes mean to them.

Some students may end up choosing the same quote, but have different perspectives. This is always interesting for students to see and can open up a discussion as to how not everyone can read the same lines in the same way based on their own perspectives and personal experiences.

Examples of Quotes from Milkweed

"And so Hanukkah is eight days when we remember that time, and we remember to be happy and proud to be Jews and that we will always survive. This is our time. We celebrate ourselves. We must be happy now. We must never forget how to be happy. Never forget." - Mr. Milgrom to Misha and Janina

"“Who are you?" I didn't understand the question. "I'm Uri," he said. “What's your name?”

I gave him my name. "Stopthief.""

"I, Misha Pilsudski, was born a Gypsy somewhere in the land of Russia. My family, including two great-grandfathers and a great-great-grandmother who was one hundred and nine years old, traveled from place to place in seven wagons pulled by fourteen horses. There were nineteen more horses trailing the wagons, as my father was a horse trader. My mother told fortunes with cards."

"I loved my story. No sooner did I hear the words than I became my story. I loved myself. For days afterward, I did little else but stare into the barbershop mirror, fascinated by the face that stared back.

“Misha Pilsudski…,” I kept saying. “Misha Pilsudski… Misha Pilsudski…” And then it was no longer enough to stare at myself and repeat my name to myself. I needed to tell someone else. "

"One time I entered a house through an unlocked back door. […] I moved through the kitchen and suddenly found myself standing in a doorway, staring at a family of people having dinner around a long table. Food and silver and glass sparkled everywhere. In the middle was a great, golden roasted bird, perhaps a goose or turkey. I must have surprised them, for all movement stopped as they stared at me while I stared at the table—but not for long. As always, I was the first to move. I believe this was the first rule of life that I learned, though it was a twitch in my muscles rather than a thought in my head: Always be the first to move. As long as that happened, they would have to catch up, and I could not be caught."

" I told her how I found a low place in the wall and simply stepped over. I added: "I can go anywhere." I was not boasting, I was simply stating a fact. I had come to love my small size, my speed, my slipperiness. Sometimes I thought of myself as a bug or a tiny rodent, slipping into places that the eye could not even see."

"When I awoke, I thought I was back in the courtyard under the blinding lights, but it was only the sun in the window. And Uncle Shepsel, propped on his elbow, was pointing at me and saying, “Why is he sleeping here? He smells.” “I regret to inform you,” said Mr. Milgrom, “that you are not a rose garden yourself these days.” Uncle Shepsel pounded the floor. “He's not family.”

Mr. Milgrom looked straight at him. “He is now.”"

“When you own nothing, it's easy to let things go.”

“He tapped my chest. "Happy is here." He tapped his own chest. "Here."

I looked down past my chin. "Inside?" 'Inside.' It was getting crowded in there. First angel. Now happy. It seemed there was more to me than cabbage and turnips.”

“When you’re nothing, you’re free to believe anything.”

“You're amazing,' he would say, and I would feel like a buttercream with a hazelnut heart”

“I thought of the stone angel. I pictured the snow falling over it, two classes of snow rising on the top of its wings. So silent, the both of them, the angel and the snow. I pretended I was the stone angel. I close my eyes and pretended as hard as I could, and after a while I was convinced I could feel wings sprouting from my shoulders. I wanted to look, to see my wings, but I was an angel stone, so I could not move.”

"'They don't live here. They live in Heaven.' Where's that?' I don't know,' I said. 'Enos says it's right here, on this side of the wall, but I never saw an angel over here. Kuba says it's in Russia. Olek says Washington America.' What's Washington America?' Enos says it's a place with no wall and no lice and lots of potatoes.”

“Happy". I had not heard that word since Mr. Milgrom spoke it at the last Hanukkah. I asked him the question that had been on my mind since then. "Tata, what is happy?" He looked at me and at the ceiling and back to me. "Did you ever taste an orange?" he said. ”

“You are what you are."

"Which is what? I wondered.”

“So," he said, "we ourselves will be the candle flames." He put his hands on his chest. "Feel your hearts, how warm they are.”

“Some nights, we were a city of two.”

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Due Date:

Objective: Create a storyboard that identifies your favorite quote or scene in Milkweed. Illustrate your quote and write what it means to you.

Student Instructions:

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Choose a favorite quote or scene from Milkweed.
  3. Create an image that represents this quote using appropriate scenes, characters and items.
  4. In the description box, write the quote and at least one sentence about what this quote means to you.

Requirements: Quote, Illustration, 1-2 sentences about what it means to you.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RH/9-10/3] Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later ones or simply preceded them.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/1] Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/7] Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words.
  • [ELA-LITERACY/CCRA/R/9] Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

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