Thursday, August 9, 2007

You asked for it!

I am putting together the supplies I will need to host my first Book Club meeting. I found some fun paper and gold doilies to substitute for lace. I still need to cut out cardboard or posterboard backings once I know how many kids to expect.

I came up with some discussion questions for the Book Club, so take a look and tell me what you think. Feel free to add to them in the combox!

I have a teeny, tiny request to make of all of you fine friends I have never met. If you have a Kitchen Madonna, would you mind sending me a picture of it as it is in your home? I would love to show the kids the variety of Kitchen Madonnas out there. Yours might be a statue or an icon or a plaque, it doesn't matter. What image of Our Lady (or maybe a saint) do you have where you do your work that reminds you to "find a little Heaven amidst the saucepans and broomsticks"? My email address is over in the side bar just change the "at" and scrape off the SPAM. Or, we could turn it into an impromptu carnival. If you want to post your picture on your blog, just send me the link and I will provide a link to them all. What do you think?

Literary Terms: Characterization is the method used by a writer to develop a character. The method includes (1) showing the character's appearance, (2) displaying the character's actions, (3) revealing the character's thoughts, (4) letting the character speak, and (5) getting the reactions of others.

Theme is the general idea or insight about life that a writer wishes to express. All of the elements of literary terms contribute to theme. A simple theme can often be stated in a single sentence.
Example: "After reading (this book, poem, essay), I think the author wants me to understand......."

Questions to think about:
Before reading this story, what did you imagine a Kitchen Madonna to look like? Have you ever seen one before?

Which character do you identify with and why? Who would you want to be friends with from this story and why?

Marta came from the Ukraine and the two cooks before her came from other countries. Marta brought with her the experiences and memories of this country. Do you have any traditions in your family that come from a different country?

What does the Kitchen Madonna represent in this story?

What do you think is the theme of the story? Does anyone learn a lesson? Does anyone change in this story and how?

Marta’s Madonna was in the kitchen. Gregory was going to make a Hatshop Madonna and a Sweetshop Madonna. Why?

Where do you do your work? What does it mean to “find a little Heaven among saucepans and broomsticks”? (St. Stanislaus Kostka)

Did you know? Church bells once rang out in the morning for prayers, at noon for the angelus and again in the evening for prayers as a reminder to the lay people in the field that they were still united to the Body of Christ’s Church, that prayer wasn’t just for the religious in the monasteries. What can you do to remind yourself throughout the day that you are united to the Body of Christ’s Church?

(Characterization) A good author doesn’t always tell you who a character is, they let you find out for yourself. An author can leave you many different clues in the text. By using all five methods of characterization, the author reveals a character to you. Your job is to find the clues and interpret them. For example… the passage below is about Gregory.
“You are invited, “ said Janet at the drawing-room door, “to a private view in Gregory’s Loft, to see what he has made.” “Gregory has made something?” asked Mother as if she didn’t believe it, and Father put down his spectacles. “Made something?”

Gregory is not in this scene. The author is using the other character’s reactions to give us information about Gregory. Can you find more clues like this that help us get to know the characters in this book?

Using the definition above, what do you think the theme of this story might be?


  1. Awesome post! And yes, we do have a kitchen Madonna. I'll take a photo for you this weekend.

  2. Enjoy your book club! That is a wonderful book.

  3. I don't have a kitchen Madonna; but I did hang up a small San Damiano crucifix right next to the kitchen sink. I'll see if I can take a picture.

    I also have a prayer card of the Holy Family stuck in a corner of the mirror above the rack where we hang our keys. There's a Pope JPII magnet on the fridge holding up a holy card of St Joseph and the child Jesus in the carpenter's workshop. Oh, and there's a crucifix above the back door, which is also in the kitchen.

    When I finally get around to hanging the rest of our pictures, I may well put a small Madonna in the kitchen. I still haven't decided where everything is going to go yet.

  4. I just started reading The Kitchen Madonna and I could hardly put it down. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. Just posted a Kitchen Madonna photo...I can't wait to introduce this book to my children!

    Thanks for the inspiration!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and yourself!