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Some Teaching Tools for One Amazing Thing by Chitra Divakaruni




Classroom Activity: Group Writing Assignment

Assign each group with one of the One Amazing Things themes (below)

  • Border crossings
  • Community
  • Control
  • Disaster
  • Diversity
  • Habits
  • Heroism
  • Immigrant experiences
  • Incompleteness
  • Karma
  • Prejudice
  • Secrets
  • Storytelling
  • Trauma

Review One Amazing Thing to find three quotes that relate to your theme. Then, explain why you selected those quotes.

Use the quotes to make a claim about the theme. What conclusion could you draw about the novel based on your evidence?

Classroom Activity: Small Group Discussions Topics

In One Amazing Thing, the different characters respond in very different ways to being
trapped in a dangerous situation that is out of their control.

  • Can you categorize some of these responses?
  • What kinds of people seem to respond most positively in such circumstances?
  • What kinds of people respond most negatively? Are there mental habits we can learn that would allow us to deal better with such circumstances, should they occur in our lives?

Classroom Activity: Vocabulary, Composition and Reference

Dr. Wayne Smith’s packet (updated March 17, 2012) includes sections on English vocabulary, other vocabulary, composition (linguistically interesting words and concepts), literary references, and music references.

Classroom Activity: Service Learning

Building on Cameron's story, create a service learning project that connects students to a local non-profit organization in the community that need volunteers.

Follow up with a paper asking students to write about the experience.

Classroom Activity or Writing Topic:  Health and Addiction

Several of the characters in One Amazing Thing fall prey to addictions of different kinds,
some physical and some psychological.

  • Analyze these addictions, their causes and their results. 
  • Research ways in which they may be dealt with.
  • What have you learned from this about the causes of addiction, ways in which it may be prevented or controlled, and solutions to addiction?

Writing Topic:  Issues

Research one of the issues discussed in One Amazing Thing

  • Adoption
  • Cultural Expectations (dress, profession, behavior, etc.)
  • Disaster Response
  • Immigration
  • Medication
  • Suicide
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Treatment of Muslim-Americans
  • Visas

Writing Topic:  Storytelling  

One Amazing Thing points to the importance of storytelling as a cohesive force

  1. Personal History Storytelling:  Write the story of your “one amazing thing” in your life.
  2. Personal and Cultural Histories Storytelling: Describe and analyze any storytelling experiences/traditions you have had, or wish you had, in your life.
  3. Society Storytelling: What role does storytelling play in the United States?  Where do we get our stories?  How can storytelling be utilized to build societal structures.

Classroom Discussion:  Questions

Jada Augustine’s Questions for Discussion  of One Amazing Thing, part of a faculty/staff book group she led on July 25, 2012 in CIELO. Questions relate to travel, judgment, relationships, memory, storytelling, language, love/marriage, Muslim-American life, economic mobility, and education. July 26, 2012.

One Book, One Community of Monroe County Discussion Questions. 2013.



Reading Group Guide and author interview: One Amazing Thing. Divakaruni, Chitra. pages 221-227 in the paperback edition.

Jada Augustine’s “Thematic Supplemental Readings” and "Sample Skeleton Syllabus for Stretch Composition Semester A" (using One Amazing Thing). This was part of the faculty/staff book group she led on July 25, 2012 in CIELO.

Writing assignment based on "The Danger of a Single Story," a “TED talk” by Chimamanda Adichi.

Light Lesson Plan by Lisa Riccomini (revised June 26, 2012).  Students will perform a character analysis of one of the 9 characters in the book.

Medium Lesson Plan by Lisa Riccomini (revised June 26, 2012). Students will be inspired to become leaders through unique experiences such as reading a text and connecting with the author, particularly a text with such integrated themes as ethics, diversity, cultural awareness, understanding and personal and community responsibility.

Extensive Lesson Plan by Lisa Riccomini (revised July 12, 2012). Students will employ essential academic skills by using One Amazing Thing to reflect on personal/life skills.



The Art of Storytelling will help you learn how, and includes hints on techniques, contacts with online story resources and websites, storytellers, and associations devoted to the Art of Telling.

Storytelling in the Classroom.  A collection of story-related activities, projects and games-developed by storyteller/author Heather Forest for her storytelling workshops with students, teachers, and librarians-can be used by educators in a school setting to encourage speaking, listening, reading and writing skills.

Michigan Storytelling has information about storytelling in Michigan, including links to find local Michigan storytelling, national, & regional organizations. Other issues of interest to lovers of storytelling in Michigan also are found here.

Storytellers Resources links to websites include storytelling festivals, associations, books, university programs, storytellers and other resources - worldwide. After looking at over 1,000 sites, this organization selected a few that they felt would be most interesting to educators, storytellers, (all levels) students and parents.

Everybody Has a Story.  2010 CBS video series.  Every two weeks someone threw a dart at a map of America. CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman then went wherever it stuck, flipped through the local phone book, and picked a name at random. He then did a story on someone at that house.