Kiss the Dust Lesson Plan

Instructor: Nora Jarvis

Nora has a Master's degree in teaching, and has taught a variety of elementary grades.

In this lesson, you'll help your students understand the book 'Kiss the Dust' by Elizabeth Laird in its historical context. You'll facilitate discussion between students and help them understand the themes of the book.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain how conflict in Iraq influenced the life of Tara's family
  • Analyze the themes of the book and provide text evidence to support ideas


2 hours, divided into two different days

Curriculum Standards


Cite the textual evidence that most strongly supports an analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text


Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text



  • Refugee
  • Kurds
  • Iraq


  • This lesson is designed for after your class has read Kiss the Dust by Elizabeth Laird.

Lesson Instructions

  • How would you feel if your home became so violent you couldn't live there anymore? Discuss with students and write their ideas on the board.
  • To ensure that all students understand the basic plot of the book discuss as a class:
    • How do you think the Tara's family changed over the course of the book?
    • What were some of the factors that changed her family?
    • How did Tara come of age in the book?
    • Why do you think family is so important to the book and to Tara?
    • Where do Tara and other characters show courage?
  • Ask if there are any questions before moving on.

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