Unit 8

Skills Building: Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre (3-5)

Unit 8 Skills Building

Written by Anika Aldamuy Denise and illustrated by Paola Escobar

Pre-Reading Questions

  1. What do you think ‘planting stories’ means?
  2. How do you think a librarian and storyteller took initiative?
  3. Do you have any memories from visiting your own public or school library?
  4. What is your favorite book and why?

Post Reading Questions

  1. What feelings do you think Pura experienced when she first came to Manhattan?
  2. Do you have a story that was planted in your mind and heart long ago? What can you remember about it and why has it stuck with you?
  3. Why do you think Pura wanted to write a book and share her stories with children all over? What story would you like to tell and share?

Creative Enrichment Activity: Planting Stories Sock Puppet

Unit8 Sock Puppet MaterialsOverview
Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the l and. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy.


  • 1 sock turned inside out
  • Cut out mouth template on cardstock
  • 2 pom poms for eyes
  • 1 set of wiggly eyes
  • Yarn for hair
  • Feathers, ric rac, ribbon for decoration
  • Glue (Can prep in small cups and have students use cotton swabs)
  • Scissors

Duration: 40-45 minutes (for staff: 10-minute supplies prep, 10-minute activity set up)

  • 5 minutes: Introduce the activity
  • 25-30 minutes: Activity
  • 5 minutes: Clean up
  • 5 minutes: Reflect and share


  1. Staff should print mouth templates on cardstock paper prior to the activity. (Red if available. If not, students can color red with markers). If time is available, students can cut out their own mouth, if not, staff will need to cut and prep the mouths for each student
  2. Staff should pre-cut yarn into 4-6 inch segments for hair use
  3. Staff should prep all supplies in little cups for each table for students and pass out a sock to each student.
  4. Introduce the activity using the book.
  5. Each student should have a sock and make sure it is turned inside out.
  6. Students should cut out their mouth template (unless they are already cut). Color red as needed.
  7. Next, students will glue the mouth on the toe of the sock. ½ of mouth on each side.
    Unit8 SockPuppet Step7
  8. Hold mouth in place and gently turn sock right side out
    Unit8 SockPuppet Step8
  9. Toe should now be inverted. Carefully shape the mouth as you like.

    Unit8 SockPuppet Step9

  10. Heel of sock should be facing up

    Unit8 SockPuppet Step10

  11. Apply glue to pom poms and place on sock
    Unit8 SockPuppet Step11
  12. Glue wiggly eyes on pom poms
    Unit8 SockPuppet Step12
  13. Decorate sock with yarn and feathers
    Unit8 SockPuppet Step13
  14. Voila! Your very own sock puppet!

Reflection QuestionsUnit8 SockPuppet Step14

  1. If you could tell a story with your puppet, what would it be and why?
  2. Was it easy or hard for you to take initiative to create your own unique puppet?
  3. How would you feel using your puppet to perform a story i n front of other students?