Mama's Saris Teacher's Guide

Discussion Questions

  1. What is a sari? In what country are they the traditional clothing? How do we learn about other people's traditions? Why is it important?
  2. When does the narrator's mother usually wear a sari? What does she typically wear to work each day?
  3. What special clothes do you wear for birthdays, holidays, and other
  4. Describe the saris that are in the suitcase. Which one would you
    like the best?
  5. When the narrator asks to wear a sari, Mama responds, "when you get older." When do you hear this all to familiar phrase from your parents? What would you like to do that you must wait for?
  6. Who wears a sari every day in the story? What smells remind the narrator of her grandmother? What scents remind you of your grandmother?
  7. Why is the orange one with the fire edges a good choice for today?
  8. How does the narrator convince her mother to let her wear a sari? What details convince Mama?
  9. Describe what other embellishments are added to the outfit.
  10. What do you think the narrator loves best about wearing the sari? How will her friends react when they see her?


Language Arts
At the front of the book you'll find a glossary of Hindi words used in the story. Are these necessary to understand the book? Why or why not? How can good writing explain a word without having to look up words in the dictionary? Create a glossary of words (at least four) from your own family traditions or for an activity or sport in which you're involved. Illustrate these words and try to use them in a story that does not require your reader to look them up to understand!

Sing to the tune "Frère Jacques"
Mama's Saris
Mama's Saris
Orange and blue
Eggplant too
Folded pleats of secrets
Folded pleats of secrets
Try one on!
Try one on!

On a large white piece of rectangular paper, create a design for a sari of your own. First, paint the background color (experiment mixing colors to get just the right hue you're after) and then embellish with repeating designs. Will you add something along the borders? Will you add some type of sparkle?

Locate India on a globe and a world map and answer the following questions:

  1. What countries border India?
  2. What bodies of water surround it?
  3. What island is off the tip of India?
  4. Name five cities within the country.
  5. What is its largest city?

Teacher's guide prepared by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer.