Classroom Activity
This activity will allow children to revel in, and share, their own childhood memories.

AGES 4–5


  • book: When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoirs of Her Youth by Jamie Lee Curtis (HarperCollins, 1993; $16.95)
  • chart paper
  • drawing paper
  • crayons, markers, and pencils
  • stapler and paper clips
  • file folder

Objective: Children will develop math, language, fine-motor, and creative skills as they make individual books that document special events in their lives.

In Advance: Explain to children that they will engage in a variety of activities to learn about shoes. Begin the activity by asking children to describe what they already know about shoes. Record their responses on chart paper.


  1. Show children the book When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir of Her Youth. Explain that a memoir is a story about a person's life, told by the person. Ask children to predict what they think the book will be about.
  2. After reading the story, invite children to describe the different things that the little girl remembered. Record children's responses on chart paper. Ask them if the book reminded them of things in their own lives. Engage children in a discussion about their own experiences. Encourage them to describe how they have grown and changed.
  3. Invite children to write and illustrate their own memoir. Provide them with the suggested drawing materials so they can create the illustrations and a cover for their book. Children can work on their memoirs for several days. Use a paper clip to keep their drawings together and place their work in a file folder until they are finished.
  4. Assist children with writing or dictating the narrative of their memoirs and ask them to organize their drawings. Remind children to include their own name on the book as the author.
  5. Invite the children to read their memoirs to their friends during reading time or plan a special reading party to conclude the school year.

Curriculum Connection

Family Involvement: Family Memoirs. Encourage children to interview their families to gather information about their family's memoirs. Children can work together to develop a few questions for their interview. Write the questions on a sheet of paper. Photocopy the questions and send them home with a note to family members explaining the activity. Ask families to do the activity with their child. Share each child's family memoirs with the class. Invite family members to the classroom to share photographs and memories with the children.

What If?*
by A.H. Benjamin
(Scholastic Inc.; $3.95)

When I Was Little
by Toyomi Igus
(Just Us Books, 1992; $14.95)

Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge
by Mem Fox
(Kane/Miller, 1989; $7.95)