Far From the Tree

Far From the Tree
Written by Robin Benway

Publisher’s Summary:
Being the middle child has its ups and downs. But for Grace, an only child who was adopted at birth, discovering that she is a middle child is a different ride altogether. After putting her own baby up for adoption, she goes looking for her biological family, including Maya, her loudmouthed younger bio sister, who has a lot to say about their newfound family ties.

Primary Source Pairing:
The narratives of Grace, Maya, and Joaquin are powerful and heartbreaking. The reader feels what these characters feel as they uncover more information about their biological family and build their relationships as siblings. The consistent pattern of narratives: Grace, Maya, and Joaquin, throughout the entire text is satisfying and an incredible way to build their story. For this primary source pairing, give the students a visual learning extension activity. Invite students to build on the alternating narrative style of the text to create a visual representation of each character. Using the reading skill of synthesis, invite students to complete the three-circle Venn Diagram graphic organizer. Students can use words, passages from the text, and images (found or digital) to fill in each circle and where the circles overlap. When students use multimodal learning to comprehend text, the depth of thinking increases. Post and share completed Venn Diagrams in a library display.

Questions for Discussion:

  • What do you notice first?
  • Find something small but interesting.
  • What do you notice that you didn’t expect?
  • What do you notice that you can’t explain?
  • How does the process of creating a visual representation of Grace, Maya, and Joaquin help you understand their character development?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Character Venn Diagram, created by JMarek: Far From the Tree Character Venn Diagram
Character Venn Diagram, created by JMarek: editable in Google Docs

Additional Resources:
Editable Venn Diagram: LucidChart (requires a free account)
Image of three circle Venn Diagram: Wikimedia Commons