Vermont Folklife Center

Classroom Applications

The Vermont Folklife Center’s Children’s Book Series is based on true stories about real American families recorded by folklorists in northern New England.  These books offer both a unique resource for teaching about regional cultures and history as well as a context for exploring larger issues in the history and social life of the United States.

Alec’s Primer is about how Daisy Turner’s father—who was born a slave on Virginia plantation—learned to read.  Because learning to read fundamentally changed his life, Alec’s Primer is a useful reference point for building students’ awareness of the role that literacy plays in their lives. Ideas for Student Exploration

Daisy and the Doll is the story of an African-American girl raised in a predominantly white community who is forced to confront her difference for the first time. Daisy and the Doll can serve as a starting point for students to explore African American history in their community. Ideas for Student Exploration

John and Tom - One day as logger, John, cuts through the trunk of a big pine tree, the tree falls pinning John’s foot to the ground. He’s stuck, night is falling, and his horse, Tom, is tied nearby. This dramatic account of the working partnership of man and horse can act as a starting point for exploring the many ways in which people rely on domestic animals. Ideas for Student Exploration

Malian's Song - In the words of a young Abenaki girl, Malian's Song tells the true story of the deliberate English attack by British Major Robert Rogers on the St. Francis Abenaki community near Montréal in 1759. Classroom resources include information about Abenaki culture and language, as well as additional material about Rogers’ Raid from both Abenaki and European points of view. Ideas for Student Exploration

The Ghost on the Hearth is a French Canadian traditional tale that can act as an entry point to Franco American culture in New England.

The Scrimshaw Ring hearkens back to the era when New England’s cities were major seaports and the sea lanes were vulnerable to pirate attack, opening an opportunity to explore the history of maritime culture in the region.

The Two Brothers is classic family story about immigration that can serve as a starting point for activities that explore cultural diversity and the history of immigration in students’ communities.