A Jar of Dreams Activities and Questions Overview

Author: Yoshiko Ochida

Subject: Japanese family struggles during Depression
Setting: California, USA, 1930s

Description: A Jar of Dreams is the story of Rinko, a Japanese-American girl growing up in California during the 1930s, when Japanese-Americans were often threatened and ridiculed. It tells of Aunt Waka, visiting from Japan, who teaches Rinko to be proud of her Japanese heritage and helps other family members overcome difficulties and realize their dreams.
Lexile Measure: 970L
Grade Level: 4
Genre: Fiction
Sub-Genre: Historical
Gender of Character: Female

Introduction to Book Punch Book Punch guides students through the steps of thinking and writing about well-known core literature. Students write paragraphs responding to interactive writing prompts. The program tutors students to develop ideas and organize their thinking about what they have read.


In the story, Mama receives a letter containing the news that her sister, who lives in Japan, will be coming to spend the summer with the family. She is very happy about the visit. Imagine you have received news that someone special is going to visit you. Write about someone whose visit would make you very happy.

Letters have often played an important role in plays, stories, and real lives. In the story, Mama receives an important letter. Write a paragraph telling about the letter and how it affects Rinko and her family.

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