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Literature Link

Three Cheers for Catherine the Great!


Cari Best


A beautifully told story about a Russian grandmother full of so much life, and her desire not to receive birthday presents because she was so blessed. “I want no presents! I have music in my Russian bones, and laughing in my heart. I have the day and the night, and I have all of you. That’s why for me the best presents will be no presents.” During her birthday celebration, her family respectfully provides “no presents” of singing and dancing. Her granddaughter, who struggled to think of a unique “no present,” presented her grandmother with a promise of reading and writing lessons in English.

Character Education Focus:

  • It’s important to respect someone else’s wishes even though it might be different than your own wishes.
  • Creating a respectful relationship with those you love is so important.

Reading Objective:


  • examine and share ideas abou the rich illustrations and cultural differences while listening to the story.
  • make a list of “no present” ideas (a hug, a kiss, a song, a poem, etc.) to suggest for someone’s birthday.
  • create a list of all the ways that respectful actions were shown in the story.


Social Emotional Objective: Children will participate in the creation of a class party in which they will be given a child’s name in the group to give a “no present” - (“something that comes from deep within you”).

ASCA: Grade 1, PS:A3.3    Develop a broad range of interests and abilities.

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