My Name Is Jorge Literature Guide

Grade Level: 
K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Identify/Articulate Problems
Learning Names
by Jan Medina - 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 themselves and others.

Jorge is learning English.  He wants to be like the other boys and girls in his class, while also being true to he is. Jorge’s journey is very similar to a lot of children migrating to the United States. Jorge’s point of view allows others to see the value in bilingualism and differing cultures. It also allows the reader to think through their actions and reflect on their interactions with others in their community.  This book is in verse and is also written in English and Spanish.

Literature Guide by Kaitlyn Pressnall

Before Reading

Ask: What do you think this story is about? What is the illustrator showing you about the story?

Show: Look at the front and back covers. Read the title of the book, as well as the author and illustrator. Why do you think the author has included “On Both Sides of the River” under the title?

Connect: The story tells about a boy that is learning English. He wants to learn but still wants to keep true to his culture. Do you know anyone who has learned a second language? What can you do in your community to help others that are learning a new language? Talk about the meanings of the words, immigration and bilingual.

During Reading

Ask: What are some things in school that Jorge struggles with? 

Show: Look at the poems on the pages, why do you think the author wrote them in English and Spanish?

Connect: What do you feel when you are reading Jorge’s poems? How do the poems help you see another point of view? Talk about the meaning of empathy.

After Reading

Ask: Why do you think Miguel’s family moves back to Mexico?

Show: What is happening in the last picture on page 44?  Why is this picture important?

Connect: How can you help your community or class understand what others are experiencing and respond with kindness? What can you do in your community to help families that are new to the area?


  1. Watch this video about learning someone's name. Create your own video clip about how to pronounce your name and the story behind your name. Ask a few friends to do it with you. Share the clip with you friends and encourage others to do the same.
  2. Create a public service announcement for classrooms and families to help them understand the difficulties a student new to the country goes through while learning a new culture and new language. Together research what papers and procedures families need and share knowledge about the strength and hard work involved in going through this process. 
  3. Visit a multicultutral center in your area. Learn about some of the places where families in your community come from and learn about those places.
  4. Volunteer at an event or community center that celebrates people from different cultures.
  5. Pretend you are Tim and write a letter to Jorge after he moves to Mexico.
  6. Read The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi and/or Teach Your Name by Huda Essa.
  7. Make a tip sheet for kids your age on things they can do to show kindness and respect to people that are different than them.