The Year We Learned to Fly

Author: Jacqueline Woodson
Plot Summary: On a dreary, stuck-inside kind of day, a brother and sister heed their grandmother’s advice: “Use those beautiful and brilliant minds of yours. Lift your arms, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and believe in a thing. Somebody somewhere at some point was just as bored as you are now.” And before they know it, their imaginations lift them up and out of their boredom. Then, on a day full of quarrels, it’s time for a trip outside their minds again, and they are able to leave their anger behind. This precious skill, their grandmother tells them, harkens back to the days long before they were born, when their ancestors showed the world the strength and resilience of their beautiful and brilliant minds.
Posted In: ancestors, change, Imagination, Metaphysics

Discussion Questions
  • What does it mean to fly?
  • What is the relationship between our thoughts and our actions?
  • What is the role of imagination in facing difficulties and envisioning change?
  • What is the nature of time?
  • What relationships do we have to our ancestors and to future generations?
  • How are values adopted across generations?

Read Aloud by Jacqueline Woodson: