Elvis Aron Presley was born on January 8, 1935, and grew up during the great depression, in a very poor section of Tupelo, Mississippi, which was called Shake Rag. The Presley family was dirt poor, sometimes not having enough to eat, wearing hand-me-down clothes, and being looked down upon by the wealthier side of town. They attended a Pentecostal church, where music was a large part of the services. In 1946, when Elvis was eleven years old, his mother bought him a used guitar at Tupelo Hardware, and his life became all about dreams and music. In 1948 his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where shy Elvis spent a lot of time by himself, playing his guitar by the river. His very first job was as an usher at a theater, and he used his earnings to help his family pay bills and buy snazzy clothing. Elvis graduated from high school in 1953, took a job as a truck driver, and planned on going to school to become an electrician. He would travel by a recording studio on his deliveries, and one day decided to go in and make a record for a birthday present for his mother, who he adored very much. The owner of the studio, Sam Phillips, was impressed enough to call him back, and Elvis cut his first vinyl for Sun Records in 1954. By 1956 he was an international rock and roll sensation, earning the name “King of Rock n’ Roll”. His popularity soared as he expanded his audience by making TV appearances, movies, tours, and concerts. In spite of his newfound fame and fortune, Elvis never forget his roots, and is said to have been very generous with his money and belongings. He is quoted as saying “Money is meant to be spread around, the more happiness it helps create, the more it’s worth.” Elvis died August 16, 1977 at his Memphis home “Graceland”, which is still open for tours.
To the music of Elvis. There are numerous sites to download his music from, oodles of videos on You-Tube to watch, and even radio stations dedicated to just Elvis!
Pick a movie or two starring Elvis to watch with your older children (there is always a romantic interest that may or may not be acceptable to those with younger children.)
A FREE Unit Study and Lapbook for the picture book Shake Rag by Amy Littlesugar about a period in the childhood of Elvis Presley when his family was dirt poor and he was introduced to the soulful music of the Sanctified Church that traveled to his town. You’ll find all kinds of resources in this unit, including copywork pages, an Elvis Timeline, and more.
Elvis Presley’s song, “Love Me Tender”, is paired with Tom Browning’s beautifully rendered paintings in a picture book by the same name. It comes with a CD of the music, and is a testament to the unconditional love between parent and child.
Shake Rattle Turn That Noise Down by Mark Alan Stamaty is a fun account of the author’s 8th birthday present, a radio, and its impact on his childhood. After hearing Elvis sing “Hound Dog” on the radio one lazy day and Mark’s life was forever changed.
Record what you learn about Elvis Aron Presley on:
Learn more about Presley’s home and complete:
Mississippi and/or Tennessee printables found on the USA Resource Page.
For a tea time treat:
Help your child to make Elvis’ favorite “Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich”. Spread peanut butter on one side of a piece of white or wheat bread, top with thinly sliced bananas and another piece of bread. Spread outside of both pieces of bread thinly with butter, and fry on hot griddle until golden, flipping halfway through.