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.
“I understood. In all my life I’d never hurt Jamie. I’d never hit him, not once. Now I’d become like Mam.”
“Up. Grab the chair. Steady myself. Step forward. Fall down. Up. Try again.”
“When things got really bad I could go away inside my head. I’d always been able to do it. I could be anywhere, on my chair or in the cabinet, and I wouldn’t be able to see anything or hear anything or even feel anything. I would just be gone.”
“You can’t leave. You never will. You’re stuck here, right here in this room, bombs or no.”
“I don't know what to say," she said, after a pause. "I don't want to tell you a lie, and I don't know the truth." It was maybe the most honest thing anyone had ever said to me."
“I wanted to say a lot of things, but, as usual, I didn't have the words for the thoughts inside my head.”
“Then I did what I should have done to start with. I taught myself to walk.”
“It was us, I thought. Jamie and me. We had fallen down a rabbit hole, fallen into Susan’s house, and nothing made sense, not at all, not anymore.”
“After that it was easy. It was the most impossible thing I’d ever done, but it was also easy. I held on to Jamie, and I kept moving forward.”
“I stared at the paper. I said, “This isn’t reading. This is drawing.” “Writing,” she corrected. “It’s like buttons and hems. You’ve got to learn those before you can sew on the machine. You’ve got to know your letters before you can read.” I suppose so, but it was boring. When I said so she got up again and wrote something along the bottom of the paper. “What’s that?” I asked. “‘Ada is a curmudgeon,’' she replied. “Ada is a curmudgeon,” I copied at the end of my alphabet. It pleased me."
“And even if it felt like Mam hated me, she had to love me, didn’t she? She had to love me, because she was my mam, and Susan was just somebody who got stuck taking care of Jamie and me because of the war.”
“Victory,' she said, 'means peace.”
“Somehow Christmas was making me feel jumpy inside. All this talk about being together and being happy and celebrating - it felt threatening. Like I shouldn't be part of it. Like I wasn't allowed. And Susan wanted me to be happy, which was scarier still.”
“But now, thinking back, it seemed a little silly to be unhappy about a dress when the pilots were dead. If I had it to do over, I would at least have learned their names.”
“I wanted Mam to be like Susan. I didn’t really trust Susan not to be like Mam.”
“You feel safer in your bedroom, but you’re actually much safer in the shelter.” It didn’t matter how I felt. She made me go into the shelter every time the sirens wailed. Men came and removed all the signposts from the roads around the village, so that when Hitler invaded he wouldn’t know where he was. When he invaded, we were to bury our radio. Jamie had already dug a hole for it in the garden. When Hitler invaded we were to say nothing, do nothing to help the enemy. If he invaded while I was out riding, I was to return home at once, as fast as possible by the shortest route. I’d know it was an invasion, not an air raid, because all the church bells would ring.
“I didn’t know what to do. Susan was temporary. My foot was permanent.”
“I don't want to just survive”
“I wasn’t relaxed. I was wearing the green dress. I’d put it on when I came in from seeing Butter, because I knew it would please Susan, and it did. She brushed my hair and let it hang loose, tying my new green ribbon around my head. “That’s an Alice ribbon,” she said. “The girl in your book, Alice, she wears her hair like that.” I felt like an imposter. It was worse than when I tried to talk like Maggie. Here I was, looking like Maggie. Looking like a shiny bright girl with hair ribbons. Looking like a girl with a family that loved her.”
“Saying something stupid doesn't make you stupid,” Susan said. “Luckily for all of us.”
“One step, I thought. One step at a time.”
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Objective: Create a storyboard that identifies your favorite quote or scene in The War That Saved My Life. Illustrate your quote and write what it means to you.
Requirements: Quote or Scene, Illustration, 1-2 sentences about what it means to you.
Grade Level 6-8
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment IndividualCommon Core Standards