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Finish Your Strega Nona Series with Fun Follow-up Activities

written by: Tracey Bleakley • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 2/8/2012

Tomie de Paola's Strega Nona books are great choices for a literature unit with students in the primary grades. Use these Strega Nona follow-up activities to integrate writing, reading and even social studies into your unit.

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    The Wise Strega Nona

    Young children will enjoy these books and follow-up activities about wise Strega Nona and her helper Big Anthony. As with the original book, Strega Nona, Big Anthony often finds himself in trouble and needing to be bailed out by Strega Nona.

    Strega Nona's Magic Lessons:

    Strega Nona gives magic lessons to Bambolona, the baker's daughter. When she tells Big Anthony that he isn't ready for magic lessons, he finds a way to participate anyway. Unfortunately, Big Anthony ends up turning Strega Nona into a frog. How will he ever get out of this mess? This is a great book to use for story mapping, reviewing beginning, middle and end or for teaching about problems and solutions.

    Merry Christmas, Strega Nona:

    As Christmas approaches Strega Nona is busily preparing for the Christmas feast she has each year for the people of the town. Anthony, tired of all the work, begs her to use her magic, but she insists "No magic at Christmastime!" After preparing a special surprise for Strega Nona, Big Anthony learns that Christmas has a magic of its own. Use this book at Christmas as part of a social studies lesson about holiday customs in Italy.

    Strega Nona Meets Her Match

    When Strega Nona's friend Strega Amelia visits from the other side of the mountain, she is amazed by the amount of business Strega Nona receives using her "old-fashioned ways" to cure headaches, find husbands and cure warts. Amelia decides to give Strega Nona a little competition, sure that her new modern equipment will win over Strega Nona's clients. It seems to be working until she leaves her new helper, Big Anthony in charge for a few days. This a great book to model questioning and inferring with your students. As you read ask questions and then model how to use inferences to find the answers.

    • Why does Amelia decide to start her business in Strega Nona's town?
    • Why did the townspeople return to Strega Nona's?
    • Why does Strega Nona say Big Anthony was a big help at the end?

    Strega Nona Her Story and Big Anthony His Story

    Each of these books is written as a biography as told by Tomie de Paola. They focus on the lives of Strega Nona and Big Anthony until they ended up working together in the little village in Calabria. Use the books to teach your students about writing biographies or autobiographies. They could also make simple time lines of their own lives after reading the books.

    Strega Nona Takes a Vacation

    Strega Nona decides to head to the beach for a much-needed vacation, leaving Bambolona and Big Anthony in charge. As expected, problems follow, but this time it's Bambolona who doesn't follow Strega Nona's directions and starts the trouble. For a fun creative writing activity read the story up until Strega Nona tells Bambolona and Anthony that she is going on vacation and then have your students write a story about what they think will happen when she is gone. Use the book to practice letter writing. Students could write a letter from Strega Nona to Anthony and Bambolona describing her time at the beach.

    Strega Nona's Harvest

    In this one, Strega Nona and Big Anthony decide to plant gardens, but when Anthony's harvest is too much for him to deal with he tricks Strega Nona into taking care of it for him. Use this book with a science lesson about planting and maintaining a garden and let your students plant their own seeds to take care of.

    These activities for the Strega Nona books will complete your unit and make it a success!


  • Teaching experience.

Strega Nona: Lessons and Activities for First Graders

Use these first grade lesson plans and activities with Tomie de Paola's book Strega Nona.
  1. Strega Nona: Activities for First Grade Students
  2. Strega Nona: Lesson Plans for First Graders
  3. A Lesson with Big Anthony and the Magic Ring on Prediction
  4. Finish Your Strega Nona Series with Fun Follow-up Activities