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Klara's New World Free Unit Study and Lapbook

Klara's New World

  Author: Jeanette Winter
ISBN: 0517135531
Summary:  A heartfelt and totally believable picture-book re-creation of 19th-century immigration as seen through the eyes of a young Swedish girl. With their crops dying and little hope for the future, Klara and her parents leave their homeland for the uncertainty of life in America. After a difficult journey, they arrive in Minnesota, build a cabin, and begin farming the new land. During the winter, Klara's father writes a letter home and Klara encloses a flower that bloomed from seeds her grandfather had given her as a parting gift.

Unit Study Prepared by Ginger A.
Lapbook by Ami


Flag of Sweden Minit Book
Home Sweet Home Book
Grocery Store List Simple Fold
Goose Facts Fan
Where is Sweden?  Shutterfold
America Trunk (for list making)
Word Problems Tab Book
Goose Classification File Folder
St. Martin's Day Layer Book
Commas Side by Side Book
Farm Animals Simple Folds
Goose/Chicken Venn Diagram
Country Report Forms
HWOT lines
Primary lines

Pocket   to store country report
Bill of Rights Pocketbook
Scroll Cards

What is Immigration?
Matthew 28:20
Is a Fever Useful?
Why is Religious Freedom Important?



Sweden is officially known as "the Kingdom of Sweden."  It is located in Northern Europe in the eastern part of the Scandinavian peninsula.  Stockholm is the capital and largest city.

Most of the population speaks Swedish.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church is the largest church in Sweden.  Citizens enjoy a high level of education due to an excellent school system.  The country is highly industrialized and has one of the highest living standards in the world.  Sweden is known for its decorate and folk arts, glass ware, and steel cutlery.

Draw a picture of Klara's grandfather on a small circle and place it on your map (on the Kingdom of Sweden).

More information about Sweden
Outline Map of Sweden
Flag of Sweden

An older student may enjoy learning more about Sweden's policy of armed neutrality in World War I and II.  Another topic to explore is the concept of welfare state. 

Klara and her family immigrated from Sweden to America.  Discuss what it means to immigrate. 
Immigrate-- to remove into a country for the purpose of permanent residence

Read the information at the end of the story.  Ask your student for reasons why Klara's family wanted to leave Sweden:
1. Sweden was ruled by a king and an upper class of nobles and wealthy land owners.
2. Klara and her family were peasants.
3. The owner of the manor also owned all surrounding (good) farm land.

The letter from Bertil says "Everyone who works hard can live well here."  How is that different from life in Sweden?

Freedom of Religion and the Bill of Rights
Bertil also mentions freedom of worship.  Why is this important?  Until 1858 the government in Sweden was connected to the State Lutheran Church.  Many Swedes were intolerant of countrymen who practiced another religion.  So, many Swedes left their homeland during 1840-1860 to find religious freedom.   

What other freedoms do we, as Americans, have?  Discuss the Bill of Rights with your student.   The Bill of Rights includes the first ten amendments to the Constitution.  Talk about the basic freedoms available to United States citizens.   If you want, assign your student a project-- to design a poster of The Bill of Rights.  Some of our freedoms in the Bill of Rights include:
Freedom of Religion
Freedom of Assembly
To Keep and Bear Arms
Freedom of Speech
Freedom of the Press
Protection for those Accused of Crimes

The Bill of Rights

Klara and her family do not want to visit in the USA and then return home to Sweden.  They want to make a home in America.  Explain to your student that living in a country is not the same as citizenship.  Only citizens enjoy all the promises of the Constitution. 

Steps to becoming a U.S. Citizen
1.  Fill out an application form.  The form asks background questions.  The applicant is required to have a set of fingerprints taken.
2.  Take a citizenship test which includes questions about American government and history.
3.  Appear before a judge in a court.  The judge listens to the person's reasons for wanting to become a citizen and decides whether or not to grant the request.

Note:  Citizenship would be a great topic for your older student to research.  If your child is ready to pursue current events, there is much to discus on this hot topic.

Swedish Holiday- St. Martin's Day
St. Martin of Tours didn't want to be ordained bishop, so he hid in a goose pen, but the cackling geese gave him away.  His name day is celebrated in November when the geese are fattest.   This medieval autumn festival included eating goose which only the craftsmen and noblemen could afford (peasants ate hen or duck).   The festival is still popular in southern Sweden due to the number of goose farms.

Is your student familiar with weather lore?  If he is, share this weather lore associated with St. Martin's Day:
Some people believe that if it snows on St. Martin's Day then there will be no snow on Christmas Day.  Others believe that if St. Martin's Day falls on a Friday or Saturday, the coming winter will be harsh.   What does your student think?  Who really determines the weather? 

Map Skills
Numerous places and nationalities are mentioned in Klara's New World.  Gather a world map, USA map, and map of New York.  Locate some of the places mentioned. 
New York Outline Map
United States Outline Map
Europe Outline Map

New York
"The captain pointed out the Manhattan Island ahead of us with Staten Island and Brooklyn on either side."

World map
"Once inside we found ourselves among hundreds of people newly arrived in America.  There were Norwegians, Finns, English, Germans, Dutch, Russians, Irish, and Italians all speaking their own language, which sounded strange to me."

U.S.A. map
"Only Old Gustaf the fiddler was going with us to Minnesota."

"At Chicago we changed for the last time to a small steamboat, which took us up a canal to the Mississippi River."

"When we reached the city of Buffalo, we left the train and boarded another steamboat to cross the Great Lakes."

More information on the Great Lakes
Enchanted Learning Printable
remember the Great Lakes-- Harry Made Sally Eat Onions
Harry (Huron) Made (Michigan) Sally (Superior) Eat (Erie) Onions (Ontario)

Geography: Minnesota
Swedish people chose to settle in Minnesota for several reasons.  The Homestead Act of 1862 opened up the Minnesota Territory for settlement.  Swedish people were able to own large farms with rich soil.  There were also employment opportunities in the railroad and timber industries as well as in iron mining.  The Minnesota Territory was geographically similar to Sweden with forests, lakes, and rivers.  Of course, lots of new immigrants were sending "America Letters" back to Sweden describing the natural resources and beauty of the Minnesota Territory. 

More Minnesota Information
Minnesota Outline Map


In the story Klara mentions that she "felt alone, even though there were people all around..."
Discuss loneliness with your student.  Is a Christian ever really alone?   Memorize Matthew 28:20, "...and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.  Amen." 


List Making
Make a list of the items packed in the America trunk:

heavy tools kettles mugs spinning wheel
gun pots knives needles
fishing tackle wooden plates forks thread
bedding soap clothing family Bible

Make a list of the food items packed into baskets and sacks

dried meat flat bread salt brandy (for medicinal purposes)
smoked herring cheeses pepper  
potatoes butter coffee  
dried apples flour sugar  

Activity Idea:  Decorate a legal size envelope as an America Trunk. Illustrate the items on the list and pack the "trunk" while listening to the story.  Decorate another envelope as a basket and pack the food items. 


Write each word on an index card and put in alphabetical order.   Choose a few words to study each day.  *  write the word  in the middle of each page.  Below the word write the definition of a sentence using the word.  Above the vocabulary word let your student draw a picture to illustrate the word or sentence. 

1.  Manor:  a landed estate or territorial unit
2.  Fertile :  bearing, producing, or capable of producing vegetation, crops, etc., abundantly; bearing or capable of bearing offspring
3.  Loom:  a hand-operated or power-driven apparatus for weaving fabrics, containing harnesses, lay, reed, shuttles, treadles, etc
4.  Auction:  a publicly held sale at which property or goods are sold to the highest bidder
5. Knapsack:  a canvas, nylon, or leather bag for clothes, food, and other supplies, carried on the back by soldiers, hikers, etc
6. Seasickness:  nausea and dizziness, sometimes accompanied by vomiting, resulting from the rocking or swaying motion of a vessel in which one is traveling at sea
7. Hammock:  a hanging bed or couch made of canvas, netted cord, or the like, with cords attached to supports at each end.
8.  Port:  a city, town, or other place where ships load or unload.; a place along a coast in which ships may take refuge from storms; harbor.
9.  Galley:  a kitchen or an area with kitchen facilities in a ship, plane, or camper
10.  Bay:  a body of water forming an indentation of the shoreline, larger than a cove but smaller than a gulf
11. Smallpox:  An acute, highly infectious, often fatal disease caused by a poxvirus and characterized by high fever and aches with subsequent widespread eruption of pimples that blister, produce pus, and form pockmarks.
12.  Typhus:  an acute, infectious disease caused by several species of Rickettsia, transmitted by lice and fleas, and characterized by acute prostration, headache, and a peculiar eruption of reddish spots on the body.
13.  Immigration: To enter and settle in a country or region to which one is not native.  
14. Steamboat:  a boat propelled by a steam engine 
15. Canal:  an artificial waterway for navigation, irrigation, etc
16. Street vendors:  shopping area such as a marketplace
17.  Oxcart:  an ox-drawn cart
18.  Filed a claim
19.  Acres:  a common variable unit of land measure
20.  Peasants:  A member of the class constituted by small farmers and tenants, sharecroppers, and laborers on the land where they form the main labor force in agriculture
21.  Parish:  an ecclesiastical district having its own church and member of the clergy
22.  Bandits: a robber
23. Rascals:  One that is playfully mischievous; An unscrupulous, dishonest person; a scoundrel
24. Famine:  A drastic, wide-reaching food shortage
25. America Trunk
26.  America Letter
27.  Gentians:  Any of numerous plants of the genus Gentiana, characteristically having showy, variously colored flowers.

Discussion Questions
1.  What problems face Klara's family in Sweden?  (poor soil, rocky ground, no grain, crops dying, food shortage, cow stopped giving milk, slaughtered last pig, low on flour, Klara may be forced to go and work, etc.)
2.  How does Bertil describe America? (land is beautiful and fertile, everything grows wonderfully, plenty of wheat, meat, milk, butter, and eggs, freedom of religion, those that work hard live well, there is plenty of room, etc.)
3.  How does Klara's family prepare for the journey to America?  (Mama wove cloth for new clothes.  Papa built a trunk.  Grandfather decorated the trunk.  The work horse was sold.  Food was purchased for the journey.  Klara and Mama baked flat bread.  The family prepared salted herrings, salt pork, dried beef, and dried apples.)
4.  Why were the family's special things sold in the auction?  (The family could not afford to pay for these items to be shipped.  They must auction these items in order to pay for travel expenses.)
5.  What does Grandfather give Klara?  Why?  (He gives her a little pouch of seeds to plant in America.  He wants Klara to remember her family and life in Sweden.)
6.  Describe the family's home on the ship.  Would your student like to live on a ship for awhile?(straw mattress, America trunk for a table, hammock for Klara's bed, take turns cooking at stove, etc.)
7. What were some of the above-deck activities? (shared food, told stories, played hide and seek, sang and danced to fiddle music, on Sunday the pastor led prayers and Gustaf played hymns.)
8.  Papa told Mama that this is a trip you make only once.  What does he mean? (He could mean several things.  The trip is too expensive and too dangerous to repeat...that once a person decides to make so great a journey, there is no turning back...etc.)
9.  Why do doctors come on board?  (They are checking the immigrants for serious diseases.)
10.  What does Papa buy from the street vendors? (fresh bread, sweet milk, oranges, and bananas)
11.  How does Papa communicate with people who do not speak Swedish? (Papa used a kind of sign language.)
12.  Describe Klara's new house.
13.  What is the difference between a house and a home?  "This was to be our home for many weeks."  The family made the space on the ship into a home by loving and caring for each other.  They used some familiar items to set up housekeeping and maintained a close family relationship.  Later in America, Papa builds a house and Klara helps him.  Papa makes simple log furniture. Mama is happy to have a home.  What made the small rough house become a home?  The family inside.  Discuss this with your student. Why do some homes feel warm and welcoming while others feel cold and stiff?

Letters and Letter Writing
During the time period of our story, letters were the only way to stay in touch with family and friends.  Bertil wrote a letter to Klara's family.  Klara's father wrote a letter to his father.  These letters are known as friendly letters. 
There are five main parts to a friendly letter.
1.  Heading
The heading gives the date that the letter was written as well as the complete address of the person who is writing the letter.
2.  Greeting
The greeting tells to whom the letter is written.  The most common greeting is "Dear __________".   It is considered impolite to use only the person's name as a greeting. 
3.  Body
The body is the letter itself.
4.  Closing
The closing is a polite way to say goodbye.  (Sincerely, Sincerely Yours, etc.)
5.  Signature
The signature is the name of the writer. 

Read the two letters in this story and identify the parts of a friendly letter.  (We do not see a heading in either letter.)  The heading may have been left out of the story because people living at that time didn't always have street addresses as we do today.   Notice the affectionate greeting and closing of both letters.  Why do you think the writers chose them?  Talk about the great distance between Sweden and America and the fact that a letter was highly cherished.  Letters were important keepsakes to be read over and over by the receiver.   If you were going on a long journey and could only communicate to your loved ones by letter, what would your greeting be?  Here are a few ideas-- "Dear and greatly loved Mother"  or "Dear and highly cherished Father"

Activity:  Write an America Letter
Imagine that you have left your homeland and journeyed to America.  Now that you are settled on your farm, write an America Letter to encourage your family and friends to join you.  A young student can dictate a letter to mom or copy one of the letters in the story. 
Note:  If you are making a lapbook, this is easy to include.  Simply glue the front of an envelope to your lapbook.  Put your letter inside the envelope.  

There are several lists in this story.  When we write a grocery list we write the items in a column.  However, when these items show up in a sentence, we have to separate them with commas. 

Rule 1
Use commas to separate three or more items in a series.  Do not use a comma before the first item or after the last item in the series.
Examples from the story:
1. We have as much milk, butter, and eggs as we want.
2.  ...sold everything we couldn't take to America:  Papa's plow, the beautiful painted clock, Mama's loom, the cradle she rocked me in, the little wagon that Grandfather had made for me.
3.  The days before we left were spent filing knapsacks, baskets, and the America Trunk.

Have your student write a list of items he wants to purchase from the grocery store.  Then write the list as a sentence using commas where necessary. 

Rule 2
Commas separate items in dates and addresses.
Did you correctly place commas in the heading of your America Letter?
Write your address in a sentence.
I live at 417 Western Trail, Glenwood, Mississippi.

Rule 3
Use commas after the greeting of a friendly letter and after the closing of any letter.
Did you correctly place commas in the greeting and closing of your America letter?

Quotation Marks and Dictation
Write the following sentences on paper.  Let your younger student add the quotes in the appropriate places. 
Dictate the sentences to your older student.

"These are seeds, Klara.  Plant them in America," he said.  "Remember Sweden."
"Come see us in America, " Papa called back.
As the coast disappeared even Papa had a tear in his eye.  I heard him whisper, "My homeland, farewell."

Swedish Language Print-outs from Enchanted Learning


Klara is not yet eight years old.  How old is she?  Are you younger, older, or the same age as Klara?  How much younger or older are you?

Grocery Store Math
In this story Klara's family sold their workhorse to buy food to eat on the trip.  Talk about the way food is packaged and sold at the grocery store.  Now plan a trip to the grocery and take your list of food items (from Language Arts lesson).  At the grocery store, record the price for each item.  When you return home, arrange the items in order from least to most expensive.   What would the total cost of all the items on your student's list be?

Counting Practice
Count the number of items sold at the auction.
Count the number of items packed in the America Trunk.
Count the number of food items mentioned in the story.

Word Problems
1.  Grandfather gave Klara 25 seeds.  She lost 2 while boarding the ship.  She gave 5 to a new friend on board the ship, and she gave two to Gustaf when he left the steamboat at Wabasha.  How many seeds does Klara have left to plant? 
2.  Papa needs to borrow Bertil's ox and plow for two weeks.   Two weeks is equal to _______   days.
3.  Papa needs eight posts to make one bed frame.  How many posts does Papa need to make two beds?
4.  It is five miles from Klara's farm to Bertil's farm.  It is 10 miles from Bertil's farm to the nearest town.  How far is Klara's farm from town?
5.  Papa's wagon holds 50 logs. 
If Papa hauls one load each day for six days, how many logs will he have hauled?


Farm Animals
Make a list of the animals mentioned in the story and discuss the importance of each.  Make a chart showing each animal's product. 
cow- milk, meat, cheese, butter, dried beef, leather, tallow
pig-  meat, lard
geese- meat, eggs, down
horse- work, pulled wagon, ride
ox- pulled ox-cart, plow

Farm Animals in Swedish Worksheet

The story says, "...and tend geese and pigs on the big manor farm."  Geese are quite common in Sweden. 
Classification Information
Phylum- Chordata
Subphylum- Vertebrata
Class- Aves
Order- Anseriformes
Family- Anatidae

Goose is the common name for large wild and domesticated swimming birds related to the duck and swan.  The word goose is applied to female, gander to male, and gosling to their babies.

Goose Print-out

The breast meat of a goose looks red instead of white like a chicken.  Geese are flight birds, so the muscles in the breast are in need of more oxygen.  Oxygen is delivered by red blood cells.  Myoglobin, a protein in meat, holds the oxygen in the muscle and that is why the meat looks "red."   Geese have a layer of fat for buoyancy.  The fat is not marbled in the meat.  It must be removed before cooking or rendered out during cooking. 

Based on this information, why do chickens have white breast meat? (chickens spend most of their time standing and little time flying)
Where do we find red meat in a chicken?  (the legs, they stand a lot)

Cook a chicken or goose.  Observe the parts that are red.  The red meat is also what we call dark meat.  Is the dark meat a muscle area used for flying or standing?  Share some basic information with your student about geese and chickens.  Create a Venn Diagram or chart to organize the information.  Here are some of the similarities and differences between chicken and geese:

Goose Same Chicken
flight bird   rarely flies
swims   doesn't swim
dark breast meat   white breast meat
common food in Europe   more commonly eaten in United States
feathers used to make expensive coats and comforters   feathers are cheap
goose, gander, gosling   rooster, hen, chicks
  lay eggs  
  raised for food  

Prepared Venn Diagram

Chicken Print-outs at Enchanted Learning

"The fever claimed more passengers."
Talk with your student about any past illness he has had.  Did he have a fever?  Share some of the following information with your student.  He may be especially interested in learning that fever is usually a helpful condition.

A fever is when your body temperature rises above the normal level (which is about 98 degrees F when measured correctly), and is caused by the heat from your body burning food.   It is a symptom of a disorder and not the actual disorder.    When you have injury to the body tissue or an infectious disease your body temperature usually rises.  It rises because the body is trying to defend itself against infection-- working hard to kill bacteria-- so a fever isn't necessarily a bad thing.  Your body is fighting! 


Artist Study:  Jeanette Winter
If your student has rowed Cowboy Charlie or Follow the Drinking Gourd (from FIAR Volume IV and Volume II), compare the artwork in those two books (illustrated by Jeanette Winter) with this one.  What elements are part of Winter's style?   After discussing and examining her artwork, you may want to give your student some more books to look through (some Winter's books and some from any illustrator).  Without looking at the cover, can he determine which books were illustrated by Jeanette Winter?  How does he know?

List of Jeanette Winter books
Follow the Drinking Gourd
Cowboy Charlie
The Christmas Tree Ship
Emily Dickinson's Letters to the World
Shaker Boy

(you may just want to do a search at your library and see what they have for Jeanette Winter)



Swedish Angels
(Anglakakor, a Christmas cookie; children help roll the dough and dip them, and then can use a cookie stamp on them)
Note:  You can find cookie stamps at gourmet shops or kitchen specialty stores; you can also use the bottom of a glass.

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Grease 3-4 large baking sheets.  In a medium bowl, combine flour, soda, cream of tartar, and salt.   In  a large bowl, beat shortening, butter, and sugars and light and fluffy.  Beat in egg and vanilla.  Stir in flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time.  Blend well after each addition.   Place an additional cup of white sugar in a small bowl.  Fill a seond small bowl with cool water . Roll teaspoons of dough into 1- inch balls.  Dp tops of balls first in water and then in sugar.  Arraange, sugared side up and 1 inch apart on a baking sheets.  Use the bottom of a glass or a decorative cookie stamp to flatten balls.   Bake 11 minutes or until golden.  Cool on racks and store at room temperature for up to 1 week.  Makes about 5 dozen.   (Recipe from The Joy of Cookies by Sharon Tyler Herbst)

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