Author Feature-Guadalupe Garcia McCall

 


Spirit of Texas Reading Program

High School

Featured Author

Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Summer of the Mariposas

Guadalupe Garcia McCall is an award winning children's poet and author of two novels for teens. She draws inspiration from the world around her and enjoys exploring the experiences of growing up in her novels. Ms. McCall spent the first six years of her life in Mexico before moving to Texas where she currently teaches high school English. Summer of the Mariposas is her second novel for teens.

 

 

 

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Book Discussion Questions 

Printable Copy

Chapters 1 -12

  1. Think about each of the sisters in Summer of the Mariposas as they are introduced. What is a defining personality trait for each? How do you know? Use examples from the story to support your answer.
  2. One of McCallʼs strengths as a writer lies in her use of descriptive language. What words and phrases does she use to set the scene in chapter 3? What mood is this description meant to evoke for the reader? 
  3. How is the element of disguise used in the story? By which characters, and to what end?
  4. Research the legend of La Llorona. Which version of the story did McCall choose to use? Why do you think she chose that version?
  5. The five sisters, or cinco hermanitas, have a special code that they respect when they are together. What are some of the rules of this code? Have you ever had some kind of code that you adhered to with siblings or close friends? What were some of the rules of your code? 
  6. The name Odilia means "fortunate or prosperous in battle." Why do you think McCall chose this name for the main character?
  7. Odilia knows that the trip to Mexico will be dangerous, and she tries to stop her sisters from going at first. Do you think she made the right decision to go with them? What would you have done differently, if you were in her shoes?
  8. What is Lotería? How do you play? What is the significance of the game in the story? To the way the book is structured? Pick three of the Lotería cards in the chapter headings and explain how they relate to what happens in the chapters.
  9. After reading chapter 5, what was your opinion of Velia and Delia? Of Pita? How did your opinion evolve over the course of the story?
  10. What is the reaction of Gabriel Pérdidoʼs family when the sisters return his body? Do the girls expect this reaction? Did you? Why or why not?
  11. What does Teresita foretell for the sisters? What is the Evil Trinity? What do the sisters have to do to protect themselves? What does  Teresita mean when she says, "There are too many demons yet to be faced, too many tears yet to be shed"?

Chapters 12 – 22

  1. How has Pita changed by the end of chapter 12? Use examples from the story to support your answer. 
  2. Who was Huitzilopochtli? Why does the nagual reference him? 
  3. How does McCall use foreshadowing to make readers question Chenchoʼs true identity? 
  4. What important information do the sisters learn in chapter 15? How does this information change the way they view themselves? 
  5. What advice do the girls receive in chapter 16? How do they interpret this advice? How did you interpret this advice? 
  6. Where does the beginning of Chapter 17 take place? How do you know? 
  7. Who are the roses really for? Why? What effect do the roses have when they are delivered to the right recipient? 
  8. What are mariposas? What is the importance of mariposas in the story? What do they symbolize? Why does the Virgen call Odilia and her mother mariposas?
  9. In the final scene, what does Odilia means when she says that Papá has brought a present that the girls cannot see? 
  10. One recurring theme throughout the novel is forgiveness. Find three instances where forgiveness is asked for or granted. Do you think the girlsʼ opinions about forgiveness change throughout the book? Why or why not?
  11. Summer of the Mariposas is written in a style called magical realism. What do you think "magical realism" means? Do you think that is a good term to describe this story? What are some magical elements found throughout Summer of the Mariposas?

Additional Questions: Comparisons with Homerʼs The Odyssey

  1. Compare the use of the element of disguise by characters in both Summer of the Mariposas and Homerʼs The Odyssey. How is disguise used in each? By whom, and to what end?
  2. Think about La Llorona. Which character in The Odyssey do you think McCall used as inspiration? How are the two characters similar?
  3. Which character from The Odyssey do you think inspired Cecilia? Why? Use evidence from both the text and the story of The Odyssey to support your answer.
  4. How do the events at the end of chapter 16 and the beginning of chapter 17 mirror events in The Odyssey? How do they differ?
  5. Which character from The Odyssey do you think inspired the character of Sarai? What makes you think so?

Questions provided by Lee & Low Books.


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Academic Programs 

Printable Copy

Introduction

This series of activities encourages teens to think about the multicultural world around them and embrace diversity. These programs can be used before, during or after reading of the novel.

Activity 1: The Hero's Journey

Introduction

Summer of the Mariposas is a very cinematic novel that follows the tradition of quest mythology. Students will use Vogler's theory of story structure and character archetype to analyze Summer of the Mariposas.

TEKS

  • English 1 - 2, 5, 8, 15c, 17, 18, 19
  • English 2 - 2, 5, 15c, 17, 18, 19
  • English 3 - 2b, 5, 15c, 17, 18, 19
  • English 4 - 2a, 5, 15c, 17, 18, 19

Books to Display

  • Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling
  • The Odyssey by Homer
  • The Heroes of Olympus Series by Rick Riordan
  • The Odyssey by Gareth Hinds
  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Supply List

  • Composition book
  • Highlighters
  • Pen or pencils

Description

Begin by familiarizing your students with the theories of story structure and character archetype found in Christopher Vogler's The Writer's Journey. Vogler's text deals primarily with screenplays but is applicable to novels - especially epic novels steeped in mythology such as Summer of the Mariposas.

Vogler theorizes that there are eight character archetypes and twelve stages of the hero's journey in any tale. Detailed descriptions of the archetypes and stages can be found at Vogler's website.

Students will keep a Dialectical Journal (see Resources) to keep track of the hero's journey as they read Summer of the Mariposas. A Dialectical Journal allows students to respond to the text via journal entry and encourages students to draw their own conclusions about the novel. In the Dialectical Journal, students will: summarize text; pose questions; read closely for details, images and diction; notice patterns and make connections; connect techniques to purpose, effect and meaning; choose appropriate evidence; document quotations; make inferences about characters and symbols; and write analysis justifying an assertion.

Students should journal throughout their reading of Summer of the Mariposas. This journal will be used when students write either an archetype or structural analysis when the novel is complete (optional).

Resources

Activity 2: Symbolism in Summer of the Mariposas

Introduction

Symbolism allows people to communicate beyond the limits of language. Explain to students how we use symbolism all the time in daily interaction with the people around us. A symbol is a person, place, or object that stands for something beyond itself. Identify symbols that students are familiar with such as the American flag or a bald eagle and discuss their meaning to clarify how symbolism works.

TEKS

  • English 1 - 2b, 12, 17, 18, 19
  • English 2 - 2b, 2c, 7, 17, 18, 19
  • English 3 - 2a, 7, 17, 18, 19
  • English 4 - 7, 17, 18, 19

Books to Display

  • The Wizard of Oz by by L. Frank Baum
  • The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  • The Crucible by Arthur Miller
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Supply List

  • Graphic Organizer
  • Composition Book
  • Highlighters
  • Pen or pencil

Description

Students will analyze characters and events of the novel using a graphic organizer then write an essay about the symbolism of one of their entries.

Strategy Procedure
Look for references to concrete objects and analyze whether or not they could be symbols. Pay special attention to objects named in the chapter title. Make a two-column chart. In the left column, write down the concrete object. In the right column, write what it may symbolize.
Pay special attention to objects or places accompanied by a lengthy description, repetition, or special placement. Analyze the chapter title. List objects mentioned more than once or that appear at crucial moments.

On this journey, the girls meet different spirit guides. What are the different symbols of these guides? What do they represent in the story?
La Llorona
La Chupacabra
La Lechuza
The Donkey
The Nagual
The title of the novel
Can you think of any more?

Activity 3: Inference/Literary Analysis

Introduction

Inference is a skill that can help students quickly deduce information from a text. Students will practice their inference skills using Summer of the Mariposas.

TEKS

  • English 1 - 2, 5c, 5d, 7, 17, 18, 19
  • English 2 - 2, 5, 7, 17, 18, 19
  • English 3 - 7, 17, 18, 19
  • English 4 - 7, 17, 18, 19

Supply List

  • Copy of the Summer of Mariposas (per class or per student depending on teacher preference)
  • Composition book
  • Highlighter
  • Pen or pencil

Description

The game La Loteria is mentioned frequently in Summer of the Mariposas. In fact, McCall begins each chapter of the book with a riddle that ties in with a specific La Loteria card. Before reading each chapter students should read the chapter's riddle and write down their predictions about what they think will happen in that chapter. Once the chapter is finished students will revisit their prediction to see if they were correct in their inference.

This activity can be done on a whole class or individual student level depending on the instructor's preference.

Resources

Activity 4: Who Am I?

Introduction

Students often enjoy reading because they identify with or are intrigued by the characters of a particular story. In this activity, students will select their literary doppelganger from the cast of Summer of the Mariposas.

TEKS

  • English 1 - 5b, 15a, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25
  • English 2 - 15a, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25
  • English 3 - 15a, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25
  • English 4 - 15a, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25

Description

Students will begin this activity by selecting one character from Summer of the Mariposas with whom they most identify. Once the character has been selected, students will then use a star chart to identify key features of the character that they like and dislike. Students will then write a 2-3 page essay about the character and why they feel that character best represents them.

Instructors can choose to have students present their chosen character to the class. If this option is chosen, the presentations can occur in several different ways. Students could present a PowerPoint or Presi presentation, create a poster or even mix a Character Soundtrack to be played in class.


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Active Programs


Printable Copy

Program: The Epic Library Odyssey

General Introduction

In Summer of the Mariposas, Odilia and her sisters go on an epic journey. This activity will send your teens on an epic journey through the library. Each stop will provide the teens with a new experience. If you like to serve refreshments at your activities, you may consider empanadas, pan de huevo, cuernos, marranitos and lemonade, or any of the foods that Cecelia fed Odilia and her sisters. The journey can take place in one space in the library or teens can move through the library to each activity.

Resources

Books to Display

  • Chupacabras and Other Mysteries by Scott Corrales
  • La Llorona: The Weeping Woman by Joe Hayes
  • When Animals Were People: A Huichol Indian Tale by Bonnie Larson
  • Abominable Science! Origins of the Yeti, Nessie, and Other Famous Cryptids by Daniel Loxton
  • Crafts of Mexico by Margarita de Orellana and Alberto Ruy-Sanchez
  • Huichol Art and Culture: Balancing the World by Melissa S. Powell
  • Searching for El Chupacabra by Jennifer Rivkin
  • La Llorona: The Crying Woman by Anaya Rudolfo
  • Chupacabra by Roland Smith
  • Huichol Mythology by Robert M. Zingg

Activity 1: Protection for the Journey

Introduction

The Huichol Indians of Mexico wove brightly colored yarn on a simple frame of crossed sticks to make a design called an Ojo de Dios (Eye of God). The Huichol made the Ojo de Dios to be placed on altars to watch over and protect those who prayed at the altar. Odilia and her sisters could have used a watchful eye! Teens will make an Ojo de Dios to help protect them on their journey.

Supply List

  • 2 craft sticks or popsicle sticks per person
  • Scissors
  • Pencils
  • 1-3 different rolls of yarn in bright colors
  • Bells for decoration (optional)

Detailed Description of Activity

Have teens follow the step-by-step instructions below to create Ojo de Dios:

  1. Cross the sticks at the center. Tie them together with the end of a piece of yarn to make an X but don't cut the yarn. Tie the yarn IN BACK of the two crossed sticks.
  2. With the pencil, number the ends of the sticks 1-4.
  3. Bring the yarn to the front between ends 3 and 4. Pull the yarn over ends 3 and 2, and bring it to the back between ends 2 and 1. Wrap it behind end 2 and bring it to the front again between ends 2 and 3. Pull it over ends 2 and 1, and wrap it behind end 1.
  4. Pull the yarn over ends 1 and 4 and wrap it behind end 4. Pull it over ends 4 and 3 and wrap it behind end 3. This is one complete round. Always lay the yarn next to (NOT on top of) the yarn already in place.
  5. Keep on wrapping the yarn behind each end, over that end and the next, and around behind that one, then over that end and the next and behind that one. Always be sure that the yarn lies next to (but never on top of) the yarn in the previous round. After the first few rounds, you will see the woven pattern of the "eye" beginning to form.
  6. When you have an "eye" in one color of yarn, you can cut the yarn, tie on another color, and continue weaving. Make sure that the knot joining the two colors stays in the back.
  7. Keep weaving the Ojo de Dios until you are about ½ inch from the ends of the sticks. Cut the yarn, leaving approximately a 7-8" tail. Tie the tail in a knot in back. If you have bells for decoration, attach one to each of the four ends. (Instructions taken from Portable Collections Program: Mexican Folk Art)

See Resources for a link to a video showing how to make an Ojo de Dios.

Resources

Activity 2: Sneak a Peak

Introduction

The cinco hermanitas needed to work together to make it through their journey to Mexico and back. The activity will help build teamwork skills and boost communication among teens attending the program.

Activity Supply List

  • Building blocks or other materials that can be used to build a sculpture/structure.

Description

Begin by dividing the participating teens into four groups. In an area equal distance from each group and hidden from the teens' view, the activity leader (librarian) will build a small sculpture or structure with some of the building blocks. Each team should be given enough building material so that they can duplicate the structure the librarian created.

One teen from each team will be chosen as the Ojos of the group. The Ojos from each group will approach the hidden sculpture at the same time to look at the sculpture for ten seconds and try to memorize it before returning to their team. When the Ojos return to their teams, they have twenty-five seconds to instruct their teams on how to build an exact replica of the activity leader's sculpture. After one minute of trying to recreate the sculpture, another Ojo from each team can come up for a "sneak a peek" before returning to their team and trying to recreate the sculpture.

The game should be continued in this pattern until one of the team's successfully duplicates the original sculpture. (Activity taken from http://www.huddle.com/blog/team-building-activities/)

Resources

Activity 3: Locate La Llorona's Children

Introduction

La Llorona is a central figure in Summer of the Mariposas. Legend says that La Llorona wanders streams and rivers at night searching for her drowned children. In this activity teens will answer trivia questions to receive pieces of a map that show the location of La Llorona's children.

Supply List

  • Library floor plan
  • Access to a copy machine
  • La Llorona's Children 
  • Trivia Questions
  • Scrap paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • La Llorona legend (from one of the books or internet resources listed)

Description

Preparation:

This program requires some preparation prior to start of activity. To begin you will need to find or create a simple floor plan of your library. On the floor plan mark the location of La Llorona's children. The legend says that she had two or three children, they can be split up to make the search more difficult. The children can be marked with a simple "X" or star.

Make copies of your map, the number of copies you need will depend of the number of teens attending the event. Each team will need a map. Teens will be split into teams of 4 or 5 for this activity. Next, cut each map into pieces. The teens will need to answer a trivia question correctly to receive a piece of the map, so keep this in mind when you are deciding how many pieces you will cut the maps into. Make sure to keep each map separate as you cut so they don't become jumbled.

The next step is to create trivia questions. If your teens have read Summer of the Mariposas, you can base your trivia questions on the book. Samples of trivia questions from Summer of the Mariposas are listed in the Activity Resource section. If your teens have not read Summer of the Mariposas, general trivia questions will work. Many general trivia questions can be found on the Trivia Champ website. Just before the event hide the cut outs of La Llorona's children in the locations indicated on your map.

Activity:

Start the activity by reading one of the legends of La Llorona. The legend can be read from one of the suggested books or internet resources listed in the resources. This will familiarize teens with the legend if they haven't heard it before.

After reading the legend, divide teens into groups of 4 or 5. Each group will be given some scrap paper and a pen or pencil to write their answer on. Explain to the teens that they will not shout out their answers but will write them down on the paper instead.

Read the first trivia question and give teens time to confer. After every team has written down their answers, check the answer and give each team with a correct answer a piece of the map. Repeat reading trivia questions and distributing map pieces for correct answers until a team has enough information to locate La Llorona's children. When one of the teams has enough information to locate the children send them off to search for the children. The other teams can continue answering trivia questions until they can complete the map, or until a team locates the children.

Resources

HANDOUTS

BOOKS

    • La Llorona: The Weeping Woman by Joe Hayes
    • La Llorona: The Crying Woman by Anaya Rudolfo

WEBSITES

Activity 4: Surviving the Chupacabra

Activity Introduction

In Summer of the Mariposas Odilia and her sisters have a run in with a Chupacabra. In this activity, one of the teens will be the Chupacabra and the other teens will attempt to survive the night.

Supply List

Description

This game is based on the card game "Mafia." Begin by gathering teens in a large circle. Each teen will be given a card from the deck by the Narrator. The narrator should be a librarian or teacher (at least for the first round). Teens should not reveal their card. The teen that receives the ace of spades is the Chupacabra.

The game begins with the Villagers (the circle of teens) going to sleep (closing their eyes). Once the Villagers are sleeping the Chupacabra will wake up and select someone to be the Chupacabra's victim. The Chupacabra should silently indicate to the Narrator who will be preyed upon by the Chupacabra then close their eyes. The narrator then tells the Villagers to wake up.

When everyone has opened their eyes the narrator tells the group who was attacked by the Chupacabra. That person then moves away from the circle and is out of the game. The Villagers will then try to find the Chupacabra by making accusations. Any Villager that is accused of being the Chupacabra will stand. The Narrator will then go to each accused Villager and take votes on whether or not the group thinks that Villager is the Chupacabra. The Villager with the most votes will then reveal their card. If they are not the Chupacabra (teen holding the ace of spades) they are sent away from the Village (leave the circle and are out).

The game then repeats for two more rounds. If at the end of the third round the Chupacabra has not been found, the Chupacabra wins and the game ends. If the village finds the Chupacabra in three rounds the villagers win. A script has been provided to simplify the narrator's role.

Resources


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Passive Program 

Printable Copy

General Introduction

The following activities are passive activities that teens can participate in with little or no guidance. The Mexican Folklore Display highlights a few of the legends touched upon in Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall. Librarians and teachers will need to print out the listed items and display them on a wall, or bulletin board. The second activity is a blackout poetry contest. Teens will black out unneeded words on discarded book page to create a poem.

Activity 1: Mexican Folklore Display

Introduction

Summer of the Mariposas is full of rich folklore from Mexican tradition. This display will highlight some of the legends touched upon in Summer of the Mariposas.

Books to Display

  • Mexican Ghost Tales of the Southwest by Alfred Avila
  • Chicano Folklore: A Guide to the Folktales, Traditions, Rituals, and Religious Practices of Mexican Americans by Rafaela G. Castro
  • Chupacabras and Other Mysteries by Scott Corrales
  • Abominable Science! Origins of the Yeti, Nessie and Other Cryptids by Daniel Loxton
  • Chupacabras! by Steven Roberts
  • Giants, Monster, and Dragons: An Encyclopedia of Folklore, Legend, and Myth by Carol Rose
  • Chupacabras by Roland Smith

Supply List

  • Access to a Printer
  • A bulletin board or space to display on wall
  • Tape or tacks

Description

Download and print the files in the "Activity Resource" section. Display the illustrations and information about the folklore on a wall or bulletin board.

Activity Resources

Activity 2: Blackout Poetry Contest

Introduction

Summer of the Mariposas is a modern retelling of The Odyssey, an epic poem. In this activity teens will create their own poems by blacking out words on a page of a discarded book, or photocopy of a page from a book. The poems will then be displayed for a contest.

Books to Display

  • Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block
  • Writing Poetry: Creative and Critical Approaches by Chad Davidson
  • The World of Odysseus by M.I. Finley
  • The Iliad by Homer
  • The Odyssey by Homer
  • Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall
  • Poetry for Dummies by John Timpane and the Poetry Center
  • Navigating Early by Claire Vanderpool
  • The Unknown Odysseus by Thomas Van Nortwick

Supply List

  • Discarded books or photocopied book pages
  • Black markers
  • Scissors or X-Acto Knife
  • Bulletin board, wall, or similar space to display poems

Description

First, locate some discarded books and cut individual pages away from the spine. If you do not have any discarded books to work with you can photocopy pages from any books on hand. It is ideal to have a page full text page to have the most words to work with.

Set out the pages and markers in a designated location. Display the Blackout Poetry Sample (provided below) to give teens an idea of how blackout poetry works. Designate a place for the teens to submit their poems. Be sure to number each poem to make voting easier. Names and contact information can be collected on the Blackout Poetry Log (provided below). Leave the paper and markers out for a specified amount of time.

Once all poems have been submitted poems can be voted on by peers, a teen advisory board, or staff. Prizes for the entries with the most votes can include a magnetic poetry kit, gift card from a local bookstore, journal, or writer's block dice.

Resources

 
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Created on Apr 5, 2015 | Last updated July 15, 2015