Teaching Social Studies Reaction #6


In her book, When Lightning Comes in a Jar, Patricia Polacco offers a refreshing insight into the cultural and family values that should be upheld by the society. By use of storytelling, she portrays the end of one generation and the beginning of another and the values that are to be passed down along.

I would recommend using this book in a classroom social studies lesson. In particular, it should be applied to illustrate the importance of positive cultural values in society and how to deliver them over to the subsequent generations. The author uses the reader’s imagination in order to pass along the intended message.

The story falls into the Culture social studies strand. It explores the positive cultural values within a family and the role played by those values in ensuring continued unity. The author also emphasizes on the importance of passing over the cultural heritage. Polacco narrates, “My Grandma knew that someday in the future, the children would account to their children the same stories we told them. They would also teach them how to capture lightning in a jar”. This passing over is what sustains a society and its valued cultural practices.

The book When Lightning Comes in a Jar can be extraordinarily helpful in teaching various Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills to children. It can be used to develop cultural skills in realizing the role of family members in sustaining the culture of a society. Moreover, it teaches about cultural values and their importance in holding up together the family and the society in general.

Patricia Polacco is a world renowned writer of the children’s books who has published Babushka’s Doll, Chicken Sunday, and other exited stories as well.


Work Cited

Polacco, P. When Lightning Comes in a Jar. New York: Philomel Books, 2002. Print.

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