About the Book
Life is not easy for 16-year-old Hope. Her flaky mother left her with her Aunt Addie, who travels the states working as a cook. Uprooted and alone, Hope finds self-confidence and a way to connect with people as a waitress. When Hope and Aunt Addie leave busy New York City for a job in a rural diner in Wisconsin, Hope expects that she will be bored with the small-town types who visit the Welcome Stairways Diner. But the diner is anything but boring. The good-hearted but sick owner of the diner turns out to be the center of political intrigue. Before you can say hamburger with a side order of fries, Hope gets caught up in a political race that is filled with corruption. Along her journey, Hope must face her own troubled past.
Awards: Newbery Honor Award
Reading Level: 5.7
Students will describe and analyze literary characters.
Pick a popular character from TV or books that most students will know (for example, Bart Simpson, Superman, Harry Potter, etc.) and write the name on the whiteboard. Ask students to describe the character's personality. For this activity, in order to keep your students on track, make the distinction between personality traits (shy, brave, clever) and physical appearance (brown hair, tall, handsome) if students are confused.
Step 1: Ask students why they think the author named the character Hope. How is she hopeful? What does she hope for?
Step 2: Read the paragraph where Hope explains that she created a sandwich named "Hope Was Here" (page 3). Go back to the example you used from the Warm-Up Activity and ask students to think of the single most important trait representing that character. Tell them that they should create a "sandwich" name based on that character. For example, for Bart Simpson you might want to have the Mischievous Mustard sandwich. Go through some examples with students and have them explain their choices.
Step 3: Tell the class that they are going to create sandwich names for each of the main characters in the book Hope Was Here. Each sandwich name should be descriptive enough to show that character's personality.
Step 4: Give students time to work independently or in small groups to come up with their sandwich names and descriptions. For each sandwich on the "menu" students should:
- Describe the sandwich. What will you put in it? How much will it cost?
- Name it appropriately and explain how the sandwich name tells about the main personality traits of the character.
Step 5: Compile a class menu of character sandwiches.
Step 6: Have students make one of their character sandwiches and bring it to school. Label each sandwich name with a toothpick and piece of paper.
Step 7: Have each student or group explain and discuss their sandwich in a brief presentation.
Other Books With Strong Female Characters
Chocolate for a Teen's Soul: Life-Changing Stories for Young Women About Growing Wise and Growing Strong by Kay Allenbaugh
Inspiring true short stories about growing up.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
A teenage girl faces the challenges of high school. This novel involves sensitive issues.
Other Books by Joan Bauer
- Rules of the Road
Students will make inferences or draws conclusions about characters' qualities and actions (e.g., based on knowledge of plot, setting, characters' motives, characters' appearances, other characters' responses to a character).
Teaching Plan written by Gabrielle Nidus.