Flying Lessons & Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh



This book of short stories represents the  vibrant, and diverse writings of several distinct award winning and bestselling writers committed to sharing stories that provide mirrors and windows for all young people.

  • Matt de la Pena - How to Transform an Everyday, Ordinary Hoop Court into a Place of Higher Learning and You at the Podium
  • Grace Lin -  The Difficult Path
  • Meg Medina - Sol Painting, Inc.
  • Tim Federle - Secret Samantha
  • Kelly J. Baptist - The Beans and Rice Chronicles of Isaiah Dunn
  • Tim Tingle - Choctaw Bigfoot, Midnight in the Mountains
  • Jacqueline Woodson - Main Street
  • Soman Chainani - Flying Lessons
  • Kwame Alexander - Seventy-Six Dollars and Forty-Nine Cents
  • Walter Dean Myers - Sometimes a Dream Needs a Push

Genre - Realistic Fiction
Text Structure - short stories
Lexile Level  - 800L
Themes -family, love, identity, coming of age, friendship, loss, storytelling, being different, hope and more...

Rings of Culture represented -

Ethnicity: Various, including Choctaw, Black, Whiteness, Cuban, and Mexican
Age: 10-15/  intergenerational
Gender: boy/girl
Socio-Economic: various
National: United States/Various

Why it’s VABBulous -  

  • rich with authentic representations of diverse cultural experiences, and various rings of culture.

  • Surface level  culture is easily identified in language, food, music, dress.

  • consistent presence of rich, nuanced examples of  unspoken, and unconscious rules of the cultures represented in each story.

  • Various deep culture rules evident in each of the stories

Ideas for CLR -

The Get Down/The After Party(During/After Reading)

Literacy Strategy - Mind Streaming
(check out the latest VABB-it for more on Mind Streaming)

How to:

  1. Students work with partners during and after reading to analyze the text.

  2. Give students  question(s)/prompt(s) to guide their discussion/review of the text.

Sample Prompts

  • What did the main character in the first story learn about himself during his summer vacation, and how did he learn those things?

  • Which stories do you learn the most about the main characters cultural beliefs/values, and what specific things did you learn?

  • Which characters change the most from the beginning of the story to the end and how do they change?

  • Which characters would make the best friends/worst friends? Why?

               3. Partners take turns telling each other the answers to prompts. Partners that are listening take                         notes, and then they switch.  

You can use a worksheet like the one below to structure the discussion.  Click this link to see a complete worksheet example.

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Pair Mindstreaming with  Stand and Deliver to facilitate students sharing out with the whole class.

I gave this a 7-10  on Responsive Dots. What would you give it?


Lydia McClanahan