Anna and Natalie Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
By Barbara H. Cole - A guide for parents, teachers, and group leaders to accompany the reading of this picture book. The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions. Choose from activities and discussion questions to build children's understanding of generosity, community, and service to others. 
 Spanish Version Attached.

Every year a group of students from Mrs. Randall’s class gets to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This year, the lucky students will be those who write the best letter pleading their case. Anna and Natalie are determined to win, and they submit a convincing letter inspired by the role Natalie’s great-great-grandfather played in World War II. This story, with a surprising twist at the ending teaches the power of believing in your own talents and respecting the variety of ways people can be differently abled. 

Before Reading

ASK: What and who do you think this story is about? What clues on the front and back cover tell you the theme of the story?

SHOW: Look at the front and back covers of this book, and read the title.

CONNECT: The story we will read tells about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Do you know what this is? What can you infer from the name? Learn more about this monument.

During Reading

ASK: Why is Anna so excited about being the wreath presenter at the ceremony?

SHOW: Look at the pictures of Anna in her school classroom. What can you tell about what the class is studying?

CONNECT: If you had the opportunity to represent your class during an important event, for what reasons do you think you would be the best person?

After Reading

ASK: Who did you think Natalie was before you read the end of the story? Did the author surprise you?

SHOW: Look at the pictures of Anna and Natalie at the wreath-laying ceremony.

CONNECT: Do you know why Natalie is a special dog? Make sure you notice Natalie’s special harness. Does this look like a regular dog’s collar? Natalie is a guide dog. She helps Anna get around because Anna is blind. Natalie helps Anna cross the street, walk around furniture and other obstacles, and she could help Anna in the case of a fire or other emergency. A guide dog is also a great friend. Natalie’s great-great-grandfather was a special dog, too. Read the last page of the book to find out why.


  1. Anna said she was often not chosen for opportunities. It is not fair to believe a girl who is blind might not be able. If you know someone who is sometimes left out, make a plan to include that person. Draw a picture of that person happily included and involved in a group activity. 
  2. Learn some Braille or American Sign Language so you can be respectful of someone else's communication methods.
  3. If you were going to create a memorial for your dog, what would you include and how would you describe your dog? Draw a picture or write a paragraph to explain.
  4. Guide dogs are working animals. This means that when they are out helping their owners, they are at their job. Learn more about guide dogs and their training.