Sarah, Plain and Tall is a historical fiction novel set in the 19th Century Midwestern Plains written by Patricia MacLachlan. The story is a beautiful tale of exploring the themes of loneliness, loss, grief, and rebirth. This is a wonderful book to use for a novel study, literature circles, book clubs, or individual study in the classroom or home school.

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Sarah Plain and Tall is a beloved children’s book that has been a staple in classrooms for years. It tells the story of a young girl named Anna and her family’s journey to find love and acceptance with the arrival of Sarah, a mail-order bride. This book has won numerous awards and is a perfect addition to any classroom.

Why you should use Sarah Plain and Tall in your classroom and how it can benefit your students.
  • Engaging and Accessible Content: One of the main reasons why Sarah, Plain and Tall is a great choice for classroom use is its engaging and accessible content. The book is written in simple language that is easy for young readers to understand, making it perfect for students in grades 3-5. The story is also full of interesting characters, vivid descriptions of the prairie, and themes of love, loss, and family that will capture students’ attention and imagination.
  • Teaches important life lessons: Sarah, Plain and Tall is a book about love, loss, and acceptance. It explores the idea of blending families, which is something many children can relate to. It also teaches children about the importance of being open-minded, accepting others, showing kindness towards others, and understanding that differences can be a source of strength.
  • Historical Significance: Sarah, Plain and Tall is set in the late 19th century, and as such, it provides a glimpse into life during that time period. The book touches on important historical themes, such as westward expansion and the mail-order bride system, making it a great resource for social studies lessons. Teachers can use this book to start discussions on the history of the American West, the Homestead Act, and the hardships faced by pioneers.
  • Integration with Other Subjects: In addition to its historical significance, Sarah, Plain and Tall can be integrated with other subjects, such as language arts and science. For language arts, teachers can use the book to teach literary elements, such as plot, character development, and theme. They can also use the book to teach writing skills, such as descriptive writing and dialogue. For science, teachers can use the book to teach about the ecology of the prairie and the plants and animals that live there.
  • Great way to introduce literary devices: Sarah, Plain and Tall is filled with literary devices such as metaphor, simile, and personification. This makes it a great way to introduce these concepts to young readers in a fun and engaging way.
  • Great way to start discussions: Sarah, Plain and Tall deals with complex themes and emotions that can be difficult for young children to understand. However, by using the book as a starting point, teachers can encourage children to discuss their own experiences and feelings, and learn from each other in the process.


See what people are saying about the Sarah, Plain and Tall Novel Study by The Teaching Bank!

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Sarah Plain and Tall is a timeless classic that is a perfect addition to any classroom. Its engaging and accessible content, historical significance, integration with other subjects, and positive social themes make it an ideal resource for teachers. By using this book in your classroom, you can help your students develop a love of reading, a deeper understanding of history and science, and important social and emotional skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. It’s a beautiful, simple story of loss, grief, and taking the risk of opening yourself up to love again.

I offer a complete novel study to accompany Sarah, Plain and Tall for use in the classroom or homeschool. The unit includes both a printable format and a Google Drive™ format for use in a paperless classroom or with Google Classroom.

You can purchase this novel study at the following locations:

Are you interested in reading about and sharing ideas with other educators on using children’s literature in your classroom? My goal is to bring together teachers and homeschoolers who teach grades 3-8 and use novels with their students. I’d love for you to join me to learn, share, and grow together!

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