Never Forgotten Study Guide

Page 1

Never Forgotten

Study Guide

Written by Patricia McKissack

Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon

Adapted by Josh Aaseng

How To Use This Study Guide Book-It Repertory Theatre’s Arts and Education Program closely aligns its performances and learning materials with research-based reading instruction. The purpose of this study guide is to engage students in literacy objectives and handson activities that support the comprehension of Never Forgotten.


read the book! As part of Book-It’s touring package, your school has received a copy of the story that serves as a permanent resource for your library.

second, select one or all of the activities and adjust them to fit your classroom needs and the level of your students. Some activities are designed for teachers to lead students through an interactive process; directions and support materials are included for successful facilitation. Others are handouts for independent student work or to be used for whole class instruction; these pages do not have directions for the teacher. EALRs for the study guide and performance include—Reading: 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.3, 2.4 Communication: 1.1, 1.2, 2.2 Theatre: 1.1, 1.4, 3.1, 4.3 Literacy & Theatre Alignment by Gail Sehlhorst. Activities by Natasha Ransom, Gail Sehlhorst, and Amberlee Williams. Design by Shannon Erickson. Study Guide © 2012 Book-It Repertory Theatre. No parts of this guide may be reproduced without express permission. Never Forgotten by Patricia McKissack. Used by permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd. Copyright © 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Directed by Mark Zufelt

Literacy Objectives Activating Prior Knowledge Making Connections Building Background Knowledge Vocabulary in Context Reflecting & Evaluating

themes and concepts Loss Bravery Middle Passage Slavery African Folklore

“Illustration” by Leo & Diane Dillon, copyright © 2011 by Leo and Diane Dillon, from NEVER FORGOTTEN by Patricia McKissack, illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon. Used by permission of Schwartz and Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Table of Contents Information on Book-It, the Story, and the Author Page 2 Words of Loss Activating Prior Knowledge Activity Page 3 Stories of Bravery! Making Connections Worksheet Page 4 Blacksmith’s Apprentice Making Connections Worksheet Page 5 The World of Never Forgotten Building Background Knowledge Instructions Page 6 Nonfiction texts Page 7-9 Found Poem Vocabulary in Context Activity & Worksheet Page 10-11 The Play & You Reflecting & Evaluating Worksheet Page 12

introduction to book-it Repertory Theatre’s Arts & Education Program

Book-It’s Arts and Education Program is dedicated to inspiring people of all ages to read. We tour a diverse range of stories to schools, libraries, and community venues throughout the Pacific Northwest, conduct long-term residencies in schools, offer teacher professional development for school staff, and present low-cost student matinees of our mainstage shows. What you will see and hear at a Book-It performance is literature spoken by the characters as if it were dialogue in a play—actors speak both the narration and the dialogue. Book-It takes the written word back to its roots­­—storytelling!

our mission

To provide an interactive relationship between youth and literature through theatrical productions and educational programs that promote the joy of reading, embrace diversity, enhance student and teacher learning, and inspire the imagination.

the story: Never Forgotten Never Forgotten, written by Patricia C. McKissack and illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, tells the story of an African Mende blacksmith named Dinga whose son, Musafa, is stolen by slave traders in the early 1700s. Musafa is one of the Taken, an African captured, sent across the sea, and sold as a slave. When Musafa goes missing, Dinga calls upon the Mother Elements—Earth, Fire, Water, and Wind—to search for his son and return him home. Inspired by true events of the Middle Passage and told in verse, Never Forgotten portrays the depth of loss from separation between father and son, the power and love of family, and the fact that even though they never returned home, the Taken were never forgotten.

the author: Patricia Mckissack As a child growing up in the South, Patricia McKissack always enjoyed writing. She was inspired by her grandfather’s stories and encouraged by her teachers’ praise. Patricia graduated from Tennessee State University in 1964 with a Bachelor’s degree in English. In 1975, she received her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Literature and Media Programming at Webster University. After teaching junior high school for nine years and editing children’s books for six years, she launched her own writing career. Patricia is the author of many highly acclaimed books for children, including Goin’ Someplace Special, a Coretta Scott King Award winner; Let My People Go, recipient of the NAACP Image Award; and Mirandy and Brother Wind, recipient of the Caldecott Medal and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book. McKissack found inspiration for her latest book, Never Forgotten, when she heard of a legend in Barbados about a hurricane called “Mother Africa” that was in search of her lost children. Patricia and her husband, Frederick, live in Chesterfield, Missouri. Sources:

Author Patricia McKissack

page 2

Activating Prior Knowledge


“Loved ones are never forgotten—when we continue to tell their stories.” —Patricia McKissack

Words of loss a time you lost something you really loved... Time 5 - 8 minutes Purpose Words of Loss is a word association activity designed to activiate prior knowledge on the theme of “Loss.” Other relevent themes include: Hardship, Courage, Determination, and Perseverance. Preparation Read through the directions and dialogue before leading the activity. Feel free to adjust the theme for the level, age, and background of students. Directions Students stand or sit in a circle, or sit at their desks. Tell students they will activate prior knowledge around a theme in the story they will see performed. Give a student-friendly definition of the word being explored and have a general discussion before beginning the activity. Explain how the activity is played. Feel free to keep going around the circle until all ideas are exhausted or do another round with a different theme. After the activity, reflect and make connections to the performance they will see. Dialogue Just like good readers think about what they already know before reading, we’re going to think about our own experiences before seeing Never Forgotten in an activity called Words of Loss. In the story we’re about to see, one of the characters loses something very important to him. Take a moment to think of something or someone you have lost in your life. This thing or person was very important to you. It could be an object, friend, pet, or family member. Think about how losing this person or thing made you feel—sad, angry, confused, afraid, or frustrated. In Words of Loss, - - - - -

We go around the circle and each person says one word that relates to the theme we’re thinking about. For example, I might say, “bicycle,” “grandma,” or “dog.” These are all words that represent a person or thing that was dear to me that I lost. Only the person sharing their word speaks—everyone else listens without commenting. What you say only needs to make sense to you. You can repeat what other people say. If you can’t think of anything or don’t feel like sharing, you can say the safety word, which is “loss.”

Let’s begin. I’ll start...

page 3


making connections “Fear is a leopard; Courage renders him toothless. Gather your courage. Be strong!” —Musafa

Stories of bravery! Tell about a time you were brave... In the story you’re about to see called Never Forgotten, one of the characters named Musafa, has to be brave as he faces great hardship and danger. To be brave means to face a difficult situation with courage or without fear. Think about a time you were brave—like making friends, sticking up for someone or yourself, or doing something that scared you. What happened? What did it feel like? In the space below, write or draw your story of bravery.

page 4

Making Connections


“In due time Musafa took his place beside Dinga as a blacksmith’s apprentice.” —Dinga

Blacksmith’s Apprentice

In the story you’re about to see, a young boy named Musafa is a blacksmith’s apprentice to his father, Dinga. What is a blacksmith? A blacksmith is someone who creates objects out of iron. They are able to change the shape of the metal by heating it, and then hammering it. The word “black” describes dark metals like iron. Metals like tin are considered “white.” What is an apprentice? An apprentice is a person who works for someone in order to learn a specific skill or trade. For example, if you wanted to become a professional baker, you could learn by being an apprentice for a baker. Not only would you help them prepare ingredients and recipes, but you would also learn all of the tricks that make that baker so good at their job. A blacksmith at work.


What about you? If you were going to be an apprentice, what would you want to learn? Does someone in your family have a special skill? What are you good at doing? How would you share that with someone else? Write or draw your ideas in the circles.

to share... t n a Iw

I want to learn how

page 5

to.. .


Building Background Knowledge

This page will help you decide how to use the nonfiction texts to build background knowledge with your class for the performance of Never Forgotten by Patricia McKissack. Topics in the Nonfiction Texts: The Middle Passage—The Journey & Survival The Middle Passage—Timeline The Mende Tribe The Four Elements Nonfiction Text Features: Feel free to do a mini-lesson on nonfiction text features. Each topic includes some of the following features: heading; sub-heading; photo with a caption. Options to facilitate reading: Some of the vocabulary and content may be challenging for students depending on their grade and reading level. Students can: • Read independently • Read the text aloud while students follow along • Read the text in pairs to support developing readers • Jigsaw the texts so each group reads and discusses a topic and shares with the rest of the class Options to facilitate discussion: Each topic has information relevant to the story. They are springboards for deeper discussions about slavery, the Middle Passage, courage, and African folklore. Students can: • Respond to the texts individually in writing • Pair-share or talk with their table groups • Engage in a whole class discussion • Jigsaw the texts so each group reads and discusses a topic and shares with the rest of the class

The inside of a slave ship


page 6

The Middle Passage—The Journey & Survival 1600-1800 The Journey

Map of the Middle Passage


The transporting of Africans to the New World was called the Middle Passage because it was the middle section of a three-part voyage. The first part of the voyage started in Europe with a company of men that would load a ship with goods like iron, cloth, brandy, firearms, and gunpowder. These men traveled to Africa where they traded their goods for African captives. The second part of the voyage, the Middle Passage, was from Africa to America and would take 6-8 weeks. Here, the Africans who survived the harsh trip were exchanged as slaves for sugar, tobacco, and other goods. The third and final part of the voyage was bringing the ship of American goods back to Europe in exchange for money. This pattern was repeated for over 200 years as goods were traded and sold for human beings.


The journey was excruciating and miserable for the captured Africans. Europeans packed as many Africans in one ship as they could because the more slaves they sold, the more money they would make. The captured Africans were branded and chained to one another and kept in a deck with less than five feet of headroom. This left them packed into the ship with little room for moving around, ventilation, or space for buckets of waste. The lack of fresh, clean air caused terrible smells and was unfit for breathing, which brought on sickness, disease, and death. While the actual number of captured Africans is not known, it is believed that 20-30 million were taken, with 10-20% of the taken dying during the voyage. Source:

The deck of a slave ship


page 7

The Middle Passage—Timeline A Dutch ship brings the first permanent African slaves to Jamestown, Virginia. 1619 1641 Massachusetts becomes the first colony to recognize slavery as legal. 1651 Rhode Island declares a slave must be freed after 10 years of service. 1688 In Germantown (now Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.), Quakers and Mennonites protest against slavery.

1750 Georgia is the last of the British North American colonies to legalize slavery. 1775 Founding of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery (PAS), the world’s first antislavery society.



The first autobiography of a free black is published in London: A Narrative of the Lord’s Wonderful Dealings with John Marrant, A Black, by John Marrant.

The first independent black organization, Free African Society in Philadelphia, is established. The U.S. Constitution allows a male slave to count as three-fifths of a man in determining representation in the House of Representatives. Rhode Island outlaws the slave trade.


First American edition of Olaudah Equiano’s Interesting Narrative, an eye-witness account of the Middle Passage and the first autobiography by an enslaved African, is published in London.

1792 1794

Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin, making it possible for the expansion of slavery in the South. The Slave Trade Act of 1794 bans the transport of slaves from the U.S. to any foreign country as well as makes it illegal for American citizens to outfit a ship for purposes of importing slaves. However, the penalties for Americans convicted under this law were fines and did not include jail or prison.


Haiti is founded as an independent black nation, becoming an inspiration and celebration throughout northern free black communities in America.

1807 1808

Parliament outlaws British participation in the African Slave Trade. United States outlaws American participation in the African Slave Trade.

—Slavery continues for another 57 years even though the Middle Passage was banned.—

1865 2008

The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution ends slavery. 200 years after the end of the African Slave Trade on November 4, 2008 the first African American is elected President of the United States—Barack Obama. Sources:

page 8

The Mende Tribe The Mende are one of the largest tribes in Africa and live out of Sierra Leone in West Africa and Liberia. Hundreds of thousands of Mende were captured during the Middle Passage. In Never Forgotten, Dinga and Musafa, the main characters, are from the Mende tribe. Dinga is Musafa’s father and has a special ability to see and speak with the Four Elements: earth, fire, water, and wind. This was a trait associated with the Dogons. Dogons are said to be the landlords of Africa and are almost exclusively blacksmiths. Dogons have a responsibility to preserve the Earth and everything that lives in it. They are known as a spiritual people. In Never Forgotten, Dinga is like a Dogon.

The Four Elements In Never Forgotten, the Four Elements—Earth, Fire, Water, and Wind—are like mothers to Musafa and help Dinga raise his son. Each element has a specific phrase meant to represent their spirit. Each element has a special relationship to Dinga and Musafa and their quest to stop the Middle Passage.

Earth (Dongi) Phrase: Pump um pa pump um pa

Fire (Ngom-Gbi) Phrase: Kiki karum kiki karum kiki karum

• Ageless and forever.

• Swirls majestically in her flaming garment of red.

• Creates a resting place for Musafa.

• Debates ideas with Musafa.

• Gives Musafa the wisdom of the ages.

• Collects her power into a flaming ball then engulfs the grasslands in pursuit of the intruders, her rage scorching the savannahs.

• Shakes and tears her garments as an earthquake in search for Musafa.

Water (Dzhe-Lo-Wa) Phrase: Shum da da we da shum da da we da

Wind (Fe-Fe) Phrase: Swi swi a swi swi a swi swi a swi wa

• Sings to the boy an old lullaby and hears the music in Musafa’s voice and laughs with him.

• Keeps Dinga’s brow cool and runs freely through the tall grasses with Musafa.

• Pursues Musafa’s ship, melting the river where her tears flood the shore.

• Gathers speed and heat through the Atlantic to transform into a hurricane to find Musafa. • Finds Musafa in America, kisses his brow, and hears him say, “In my mind I have always been free, free as wind.”

page 9

vocabulary in context

pre/post show

“I have tried to create a story that addresses the question all of us who are descendants of the Taken ask: ‘Were we missed?’ I answer with a resounding ‘Yes! We were never forgotten.’” —Patricia McKissack

found poem what’s your message?

A “found poem” is a poem created with words and phrases from an existing story. You’ll create a five-line poem with a message you want people to remember using words and phrases from Never Forgotten.

Step 1: Pick one of the themes from the stories and circle it:





Step 2: Pick words and phrases from these lists to create your own found poem about the theme you circled. Under each line there is a direction about what to write. Have fun!

Words Anger Memory Listen Warrior Power Chaos Run

Phrases Live! Forgotten Beautiful Silence Honored Beware!

Running freely We remember One of the Taken Tripping, stumbling, falling Family endures forever Gone, gone, gone Always been free

Great white wings A single message, a warning Pale men Free as wind Ageless and forever beautiful Swirled majestically

Write the theme word you circled Write one phrase from the list Write three words from the list Write one phrase from the list Write one word from the list

Step 3: Now that you’ve composed your found poem, copy it on the My Found Poem page.

page 10

my found poem by

page 11

post show

Reflecting & Evaluating “The last part of a story is the silence that comes at the end. A time to think, to reflect.” —Dinga

The Play & You Pair-share... 1. Pair-share your favorite part of the play. 2. Pair-share the saddest part of the play. 3. Pair-share something you learned about slavery. 4. Pair-share something you didn’t understand or have a question about. My thoughts... In the circles below, write what you remember most about the play. This could be something you talked about with your partner, an event in the story, how the play was acted, the set, and the question and answer session. Write or draw your answers.

I remember...

I Liked...

I learned...

page 12

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.