Eleven-year-old Grace Ann Brewer’s comfortable life is torn apart when her father joins the Army in 1944 during WWII. Her family moves from Hazard to Ashland, Kentucky, to live with her grandmother. Grace enrolls in a new school and is immediately forced to deal with a bully, but the greatest challenge is to keep a positive outlook as she fears that her father has been injured—or worse—when his letters stop arriving in the mail. Gumption,that’s what Grace’s grandmother tells her she must have, but gumption isn’t easy to grasp when she listens to the wireless, a radio, that keeps the home front updated with the frightening events of the war. Grace finds solace in writing letters to her father and even more comfort in talking with her dog, Spot. With amazing strength Grace fights her own battles on the home front.
1. Look at the book cover and title. When do you think this story happened? What does the title tell you about this book?
2. What is a war front?
3. What is a homefront?
4. What did people on the homefront do to help the war effort?
5. Why were families of soldiers so interested in the radio?
6. Why did the government encourage people to grow victory gardens?
7. Grace talked to Spot often. Why do you think she confided in Spot rather than her mother or brother or grandmother?
8. How did the author show Grace’s emotions when Spot was missing? Explain with details.
9. People gave items from their homes to help the war effort. How is that time similar or different from today?
10. Grace’s neighbor lost his son in the war. Do you think Grace did the right thing to offer him a dog or was she being too meddlesome?
11. How did Grace and Johnny contribute to the war effort?
12. What were some of the challenges families faced on the homefront?
13. How is the main character like you? How is she different?
14. What is one thing in this story that has happened to you?
Create a WWII Memory Profile on someone who lived during WWII. Interview people who lived at that time or children of those who lived through WWII about life during the war. Ask students to share stories with the class.
Write a letter to a soldier.
Write a newspaper article about something that happened on the homefront.
Create a timeline for WWII events. Students will suggest dates to place on the line.
The war created many new jobs for Americans.
The war increased women's participation in the labor force. Why? What types of jobs did women do during the war?
What was rationed during WWII?Students will examine posters to make a list of items that were rationed.
What do we do today that reminds you of the way people saved during WWII?
Posters were popular during WWII. Show students several war posters and have each student create their own version of a war poster with a slogan.