Solo Girl: Street Music of Life

Activity to see how the author’s life shows up in her writing

Purpose: Children will find examples in the text that support the author’s statement that sounds from her childhood are found throughout the story.

Materials needed:

Andrea Davis Pinkney’s life shows up in many different ways in her books. The book Solo Girl is a great example to use with younger readers.  In the author’s note on the back cover, Andrea states:

When I was growing up , I lived on a street in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Whenever I think back to that special place, I hear music. Not the kind of music that played on the radio, but street music: the quiet scratch of a metal snow shovel; the hiss of bike tires on the sidewalk; the giggly chatter of me and my girlfriends; and the distant holler of my mom calling me in for supper. Solo Girl is a slice of these sweet musical memories.

This activity is to be used as part of a guided reading group. The guided reading level of this book is level M.

Before reading the book, tell the children a bit about Andrea Davis Pinkney (see biography section). Then ask the children what they think street music is. After taking some responses, read the author’s note. Think of other noises that could be part of street music.

Children work with partners to go through the book and find examples from the text that are influenced from the street music that Andrea Davis Pinkney remembers so vividly from her childhood. Different partnerships can be in charge of different chapters. The students write the street music examples on the sticky notes. Collect sticky notes and put them together on a large piece of chart paper. What sounds might be heard in your neighborhood? Can you sort the sounds? How do the sounds help the story come alive?

Some examples:

  • Ma Lettie calls from her upstairs window. (page 1)
  • Cass saying her times tables while blowing her whistle (page 3)
  • Kids shouting as Pearl jumps (page 5)
  • Fast Feet Four Song (pages 7, 10, 14, and others)
  •  Bud and Jackson’s rhyme (pages 20 and others)
  • The rhythm of the jumping combined with Cass and her whistle (page 25, 46, and others)
  • Pearl calling out from the stoop (page 28)
  • Street corner full of kids, clapping, stomping) (page 42)
  • Tapping of Cass’s toes and feet. (page 43)
  • Mr. Lamont, the ice cream man (page 48)
  • Song of the Fast Feet Five (page 51)

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: