Skills Building: Island Born (PK-2)5

Written by Junot Diaz and illustrated by Leo Espinosa

Pre- Reading Questions 

  1. In what ways are we all different?
  2. What makes you unique?
  3. How do you show pride in your uniqueness? 
  4. What are some special things that your family does together (meals, holidays, church)

Post- Reading Questions

  1. How did Lola feel when she couldn’t remember anything about the island? What did she learn from the people in her neighborhood? 
  2. Have you ever felt like Lola? Did your family grow up in a place that you don’t remember? 
  3. In what ways were Lola and her classmates all the same? In what ways were they different? 
  4. How did Lola’s teacher display all the student’s pictures? How do our differences make our community more interesting?

Creative Enrichment Activity: Draw and Paint Your Favorite Place (PK-5)


Lola’s teacher in Island Born asked all the students to draw a picture of the place where they are originally lived. Since Lola couldn’t remember the Island, she talked to all her neighbors and family members to learn more about the Island where she was born. Think about a place that is meaningful to your family or a place you wish you and your family could visit.


  • White or beige construction paper 
  • Crayons
  • Watercolor paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Cups of water
  • Shape templates (printed on cardstock) and pre-cut for students to trace

Duration: 30 – 40 minutes (for staff: 5 pre-activity set up and 10-15 minute prep)

  • 2 minutes – Introduce the activity, relate the activity to the illustration in the book 
  • 5-10 minutes – Students draw the outline only of their place with crayon, using the shape templates if they need them 
  • 10-15 minutes – Students use watercolors to paint inside the lines that they drew
  • 5 minutes – Clean up activity
  • 3 minutes – Students view the work of their classmates
  • 5 minutes – Reflect


  1. Before the activity, create multiple photocopies of the shape templates on cardstock. Cut out each of the templates. These templates can be used for students who do not want to draw freehand. Create one set of templates for each table. 
  2. Set up all paint, water, and materials before students start. Keep paint and watercolors on a separate table until it is time for painting. 
  3. Introduce the activity and relate it back to the book; show the book illustrations and the craft examples.
  4. Students will brainstorm and then draw the outline only of their place with crayons. They can use any color crayon that they would like but they will not be coloring in with crayons. The outlines should be very simple. 
  5. When students are finished with the crayon outline, they will move on to using the watercolor paints to color in their drawing. 
  6. Students clean up and place all their drawings on a table to dry. 
  7. Let students walk around the “museum” to view the places that their classmates drew. 
  8. Reflect as a large group or in small groups.

Reflection Questions

  • What place did you draw? 
  • Why does it mean something to you and your family? 
  • What do you notice about your classmates’ paintings? What similarities or differences do you notice between your painting and your classmates’?