Kira-Kira Topics for Further Study
by Cynthia Kadohata

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Topics for Further Study

(Literary Newsmakers for Students)

  • Research the U.S. labor movement in the twentieth century. What segments of the population joined unions? Did some ethnic groups participate in the unions more than others? What were women's roles in the unions? Write a five-paragraph paper detailing the pros and cons of joining a union. Tell the reader whether you would join one, and include the reasons for your decision.
  • Keep a diary for a week, and write down your activities, thoughts, impressions of other people, opinions about ideas and news that you heard during the week, and things you would like to do in the future. Write a three-paragraph paper describing anything you learned about yourself from keeping a diary.
  • Interview family members, friends, and people in your community about their thoughts on identity. Ask your interviewees how they define the term "identity." Does it refer to family heritage, to nationality, to the language(s) they speak, to gender, or to something else? Write a three-page report detailing your findings and include your own definition of identity in your report. Consider the age, gender, and religious background of the people you interview.
  • Research an ethnic group in the United States other than your own. What country did they emigrate from, where have they settled geographically, what kind of general experiences have they had in the United States, what are their traditions and customs, and what languages do they speak? Write a two-page essay detailing your findings.
  • Write a two-page short story in which the narrator is a young girl or boy whose parents were not born in the United States. Write the story using a first-person narrator. Imagine his or her thoughts, feelings, relationships, and activities regarding American culture. Explore differences and similarities between American culture and the culture of your narrator's parents. How does your narrator cope with these differences?