Gather your students together and show them the book Busybody Nora. Explain to them that you are all going to be involved in a Busybody Nora literature unit. Each day you will share a chapter from the book.
Share some preliminary facts about the book.The author is Johanna Hurwitz and students will enjoy hearing that this was her very first book. She grew up in New York City and surrounded herself with a huge collection of books. She used to be a librarian. Ask students, "Why do you think she chose that job?" (The answer is so that she could be surrounded by books).
The illustrator of the book is Lillian Hoban . Ask students if they find that name familiar ? (she illustrated The Frances books, and also many books written by Russell Hoban). She grew up in Philadelphia and studied dance. She only started to write stories and illustrate them after her children were born.
Before sharing each chapter, you could list vocabulary that may be unfamiliar to your students or you could make a list from the book and discuss with them before sharing. Here are some vocabulary activity suggestions:
Pouting: Ask students to show their pouting faces. Why was Teddy pouting? What else did he do to show his displeasure? (Pg 74)
Embarrassing: Ask students to tell of some embarrassing incident that has happened to them. What action was embarrassing to Mommy? Do you think Nora meant to be embarrassing? (Pg 23)
Tenants: Who do you think were Nora's favorite tenants? Why? How could you try to remember names of people ? (Pg 19) Invite students to make up rhymes to show how to remember a name in a fun way. e.g. Hey Ho my name is Pam, I would like a slice of ham.
Dumbfounded: Ask students to show how they think Mrs. Wurmbrand looked as she saw the party (Pg 93). Tell other words that have similar meanings (surprised,speechless,amazed,astonished,thunderstruck)
After the book has been shared and discussed ask the students to think about Nora's home life and theirs.
Look at the homes in your neighborhood. Make a map of the area around the school and sketch on it the various styles of housing – single home dwellings, apartment buildings, condominiums. Ask students what influences the type of homes in the area? (e.g.a lack of land in a city would mean there were more high rises.)
Invite students to take a large sheets of paper and fold in half. On one side, make the heading All About Me, and on the other side make the heading All About Nora. Under each heading, tell about and illustrate: Family, House, Neighbors, Neighborhood, Transportation, Babysitters, Family Activities.
In the chapter "String Beans" Grandpa plays a big role. Ask students what kind of things an older person might know more about than a younger person.Then ask students to make a list of activities that young and old people could do together (e.g. looking at old family photographs, telling about the way people used to live, reading a story together.)
Ask students to describe their favorite older person, and to write a story telling what they know of that person's life, what they like most about being with that person and something that they have learned from that relationship.
Provide cereal boxes and ask students to cover them with white paper, as they are going to use the cereal box to make a book report. On the front of the box, print the title of the book and the author and illustrator. Make a picture to show a bowl of cereal related to the story e.g. toasted cereal bits in the shape of Nora and her family. On the side panel, list the ingredients in the cereal (e.g. the characters and the setting.) On the other panel, give a short summary of the book. On the back of the box, create a picture of your favorite part of the story. Make it an outline so that it could be a coloring picture for the person who is eating the cereal. On the top of the box give the book a rating. For example, you may wish to show how many stars out of 5 this book deserves.
Gather students together and share their work. Remind students that this was Johanna Hurwitz's first book and that they may wish to find others by the same author.