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Blended Family, Cultural Connections, and a Lesson in Loyalty in Delightful Story of Found Sisters

Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.

Delightful Story of a Blended Family and Loyalty Learned as They Forge Special Ties as Sisters

Lessons for all blended families in Bo's story

Lessons for all blended families in Bo's story

Lessons in Forming a Blended Family

Operation Sisterhood from author Olugbemisola Rhu-Perkovich is a delightful story of an African -American family who embarks on a new journey of forming a blended family when Bo's mom decides to marry a man with a daughter, some twins and their parents, and a large assortment of pets that include a dog, two cats, a turtle, and chickens. There is even a bearded dragon that is part of the family. They all live in a brownstone in Harlem. Bo and her mom must move from the Bronx to Harlem and live together with an entirely new experience for Bo. There are many young readers who will relate to Bo's experience with finding her way as she and her mom form a blended family. Bo really likes Bill, the man who will become her stepfather, but she is not sure that there is room for her in this large group. Bo wonders if she will ever be able to spend time alone with her mom ever again, but she wants her mom to be happy.

There are daily happenings with her new sisters and the pets that begin to bring them a sense of bonding. Bo begins to get the feeling that this new family might not be so bad after all. All of the girls discover that they have the love of music in common. Bo plays the drums. One of the twins plays electic guitar and the other one plays bass. Bo even sings to the chickens. All are homeschooled and doing homework brings more closeness. All of the sisters like to write and there are always special writing projects to work together on. They also enjoy special trips to plaeces they love in New York City. The sisters plan a large block party to celebrate the upcoming wedding and other special events which included a shelter show for animals. When asked about their success with the block party, they coined the phrase "Operation Sisterhood".

Rhuday-Perkovich includes an Author's Notes section and writes that chis charming story is based on her experiences as a child in a big family living in New York City. Her mom taught her to take advantage of all of the wonderful free activities that were available to them in the city. She hopes that all African-American girls might see themselves in this story and learn to use their creativity as did Bo and her new sisters as they formed this new family.

She also includes the recipe for the Sunshine Surprise cake that Bo learned to bake.

Operation Sisterhood was published by Crown Books for Young Readers, a division of Random House and is recommended for ages 9-13. It has an ISBN of 978-0-593-37989-9.

Bring Operation Sisterhood Into the Classroom for Engaging Activities

Teachers who teach reading or language arts to students in 3rd-6th grade will want to bring this fun read into the classroom for students to engage in life experiences and creative writing experiences. Operation Sisterhood is a chapter book that can be read together as a class or individually as students choose. Students enjoy reading a few chapters aloud each day to practice reading skills.

*Take a class poll of the number of students who live in a blended family. How many sisters and brothers are in the family?

*Engage your students in a discussion of what they do to forge a bond with their new sisters and brothers. What kinds of interests do they have in common?

*Assign a creative writing activity for students to write a story about their experiences with bonding in a blended family.

*Have students bring in the ingredients to prepare Bo's Sunshine Surprise Cake and make the cake as a cooking activity in the classroom.

*Learn about the section of Harlem in New York City and have students explore the area with research.

*Bo and her sisters are interested in the Black Lives Matter. Engage your students in an age-appropriate discussion of why Black Lives Matter.

© 2022 Cindy Hewitt

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