Taking Sides by Gary Soto Activities

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Gary Soto's ''Taking Sides'' deals with themes of racism, acceptance, and growing up. Use these activities to help your students engage with this book and its big ideas.

Taking Sides by Gary Soto

Taking Sides is a children's book by American author Gary Soto, in which a boy moves from his largely Hispanic barrio in San Francisco to the suburbs and must play his old school in basketball. There's a lot for students to explore in this book, from racial prejudice to fears of moving and other challenges of adolescence. The following activities can help your students delve deeper into the book and its themes through unique and interactive exercises.

Taking Sides Activities

Draw a Cover

For this activity, students are going to draw a new book cover for Taking Sides. Start by asking students to free journal, reflecting on their thoughts about the plot, characters, themes, motifs, and conflicts in Taking Sides. Using these ideas, students will sketch and then finalize their cover for the book. This cover must include the book's title and author, but otherwise students should have the freedom to design their covers as they wish. They could depict a scene or character from the story, or they might create something more abstract and metaphoric. After they are done, let students share their work with each other. Please remind students that they are being evaluated on their ideas, not their artistic talent.

  • Materials: Copies of Taking Sides, paper, art and craft supplies as desired

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