Cousins of Clouds

Cousins of Clouds
Tracie's NEW BOOK!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The First Part Last

Teacher’s Guide for                                                                  Book Cover
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson


How do you think your life would change as a teenager if you suddenly had the responsibility of an infant? Make a schedule of your life as it is now (look at your day planner) and then make a new one based on a life with baby.


  1. Describe how Bobby and Nia’s parents react to the news of her pregnancy. How would yours?
  2. Find a quote that most reveals who Bobby is as a person. Explain why you picked it.


  1. Find three examples that show what kind of father Bobby is to Feather.
  2. What do you think is the most difficult thing for Bobby? Why? (Answer this question after a few chapters, answer it again at the end of the novel and see if the answer changes)


  1. Predict what happens to this family ten years into the future. Explain why.
  2. Write ten questions you would ask Bobby, Mary, and Nia if you could.


  1. On page 35 Bobby says, “ … which pisses her off and makes her scream, and then I look around my room and miss me.” Explain what he means.
  2. Angela Johnson tells the story in a non-linear fashion. Why, do you think, she chose this literary device to reveal the story?


  1. How would you cope under the extraordinary circumstances that Bobby finds himself?
  2. Would you make the same choices?

  1. If Bobby had Nia’s help raising Feather would he be a different father? What makes you think so?
  2. Do you agree with Mary and Fred’s approach to grandparenthood? Why or why not?

Multiple Intelligence Projects for
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

Verbal/ Linguistic

Write at least five letters to Nia explaining what is happening with both Bobby and Feather. Be specific!


Study the spare, lyrical writing of Angela Johnson and try to write one scene of a story with a similar quality and the same economy of words.

Logical/ Mathematical:

Find the most recent statistics that you can about teen pregnancy in America. Create at least one graph explaining the results you discovered.

Visual/ Spatial:

Create a piece of art that you feel represents Bobby’s emotions throughout the novel. Think about form, color and line as you create your work. Explain your art in a brief, but illuminating paragraph.


In small groups, act out scenes from the novel.


Write the dialogue and act out the scenes that are left off camera (like what Nia says when she meets Bobby with a balloon on his birthday).

Musical/ Rhythmic

Either create an original piece of music yourself to accompany the story or, find at least three songs that you think belong on the soundtrack of the movie version of this book. Explain why you chose these songs (and include a copy of the lyrics) in a brief journal.


Cooperative Learning Project:

In groups of no more than three explore and research one aspect of teen pregnancy (or choose one of your own):

How sex education affects pregnancy rates
Social implications of teen pregnancy on communities
Long-term effects for the mother (and/or father) for future success
Long term success for the infant in health and education
The availability of birth control and other services on pregnancy rates
Which children are most at risk for teen pregnancy
Foster care system
Teen shelters
Outstanding programs for young mothers and fathers
Abstinence programs

Then, create a website (or pamphlet) sharing your compilation of facts with the public. Invite the public +/or other teens in a discussion via a message board about it.


Write a letter to yourself about where you want to be in ten years. Reflect on how your goals would be compromised if you were forced to turn your attention to another human being. Assume that your responsibilities would be maximized similar to Bobby’s and that adults would let you assume the brunt of your own mistake.
 Refer to the letter as needed.