Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.
Amigo Brothers is a 1978 story by Piri Thomas about two Puerto-Rican New Yorker friends and a boxing match that pits them against each other. With Puerto Rican colloquialisms thrown in, it's a fun chance for students to gain a little cultural exposure in a story about friendship and dreaming big. These activities can be adapted to most classrooms, and will help your students gain a deeper appreciation for the book.
Amigo Brothers Activities
After reading Amigos Brothers, students will explore these characters in greater depths by writing first-person monologues from the friends' perspectives. Students will imagine that it is the night before the fight, and write a short monologue from the perspective of either Antonio or Felix in which they imagine what that person is feeling and thinking before having to fight his friend. Once students are done, pair them up and ask each to read one of their monologues.
- Materials: Copies of Amigos Brothers, writing supplies
Draw the Characters
After reading Amigos Brothers, provide students with a large piece of paper or poster paper. On that paper, students are going to draw a scene of Antonio and Felix getting ready to box, and design it as if it were the screen of a sports broadcast. This means there should be a title for the fight (i.e. Amigos Brothers Division Finals Fight) as well as stats for each athlete. In these stats sections, students will list out the personality traits and fighting style of each character, as described in the book. Students will also try to draw the boys as they are described in the book. Give students time to draw and color in the full scene, including the crowd in the arena, etc.
- Materials: Copies of Amigo Brothers, large white paper or poster paper, crayons/colored pencils/pens/markers, other art supplies as desired
Write a Sequel
After reading Amigos Brothers, talk to the class about why the author left the ending of the story unclear. After you've talked about this topic, students will write a brief sequel in which they imagine the winner of that match going on to the Golden Gloves Championship Tournament. In this short story, students will imagine how the other friend handles defeat and continues to act as a supporter for the friend that goes on to compete in the tournament.
- Materials: Copies of Amigo Brothers, writing supplies
After reading Amigos Brothers, provides students with large, long paper. Students are going to map out the story of Amigos Brothers as a narrative timeline. They will start by listing out the major plot points and determining things like the rising conflict, climax, and resolution. Students will draw that onto their paper as a straight, horizontal line that rises and falls with the action. Students will label the major plot points on this line, then draw simple images of the brothers at each of those points. For example, the first scene could simply show them jogging together, then a later one splitting apart, and then fighting, and then celebrating together. This will add a visual component to the story map.
Note: You can also ask students to start mapping this out as they start reading the book, building their story map as they go.
- Materials: Copies of Amigo Brothers, large and long white paper, pencils/pens/markers/crayons, other art supplies as desired
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