by Shel Silverstein
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
On Turning Ten
- Billy Collins
Billy Collins (b. 1941) is an award-winning American poet who writes about everyday occurrences to express the deeper meaning of life. In this poem, the speaker reflects on his youth with longing.Pair “On Turning Ten” with “Growing Down” and ask students to discuss how the adults in the two poems approach growing up. What aspects of youth do the two poems explore? What do they find valuable about it? How do the two poems depict being a grown up?
The Clock Man
- Shel Silverstein
In Shel Silverstein's poem "The Clock Man," a child is questioned about how much he would pay for more time.Pair “The Clock Man” with “Growing Down” and ask students to discuss how both poems explore the subject of growing up. How do the adults of the two poems view growing old? When do they begin to value youth and what youth can offer them? What are the benefits of youth explored in the two Shel Silverstein poems?
Play, Play Again
- Ellen Braaf
In the informational text "Play, Play Again," Ellen Braaf discusses why animals play and how it might benefit them.Pair “Growing Down” with “Play, Play Again” and ask students to discuss how children’s activities are seen as beneficial in the two texts. What do children and young animals gain from playing? Do students think that this proves that adults should play more often? Why or why not?
Act Your Age
- Colleen Archer
In Colleen Archer's story "Act Your Age," a young girl is repeatedly reminded to act her age.Pair “Growing Down” with “Act Your Age” and ask students to discuss how the characters in each text are expected to act a certain way because of their age. How does age impact the way one is expected to behave? How do the kids in “Growing Down” and Frances stay true to who they are and what brings them happiness?
The Walrus and the Carpenter
- Lewis Carroll
In Lewis Carroll's poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter," a walrus and a carpenter convince a group of young oysters to follow them.Pair “Growing Down” with “The Walrus and the Carpenter” and ask students to discuss how childhood is explored in the two poems. How does the author’s depiction of youth in “Growing Down” compare to how the young Oysters are portrayed in “The Walrus and the Carpenter”? What morals are the two poems attempting to teach readers?
Excerpt from Peter Pan: "When Wendy Grew Up"
- J.M. Barrie
Sir James Mathew Barrie (1860-1937), known as J. M. Barrie, was a Scottish author. In this final chapter of the classic novel Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie's most famous work, Wendy and the boys finally grow up, leaving Peter behind in Neverland.Pair “Excerpt from Peter Pan: ‘When Wendy Grew Up’” with “Growing Down” and ask students to discuss how the characters in the two texts approach growing up. Why doesn’t Peter Pan want to grow up? How does this compare to the speaker’s encouragement of Grown-Up Brown to “grow down?” Do the two texts identify any benefits to growing up?
Summer with Papaji
- Jyoti Singh Visvanath
In Jyoti Singh Visvanath's "Summer with Papaji," Visvanath discusses spending time on her grandfather's farm during the summer.Pair “Growing Down” with “Summer with Papaji” and ask students to compare Grow-Up Brown to Papaji. In what ways are they similar? What do both stories teach you about the relationship between young children and older adults?
The Kids' Table
- Anita Celli
In Anita Celli's short story "The Kids' Table," a boy doesn't want to eat at the kids' table on Thanksgiving.Pair “Growing Down” with “The Kids’ Table” and ask students to discuss the benefits and disadvantages of growing up. What is old Grow-Up Brown missing out on in “Growing Down” when he insists on acting like a grown up? What do students think James would say are the advantages of growing up?
- Ishmael Beah
In "Unusual Normality," Ishmael Beah describes his experience transitioning to life in America after his experiences as a child soldier in Sierra Leone.Pair “Growing Down” with “Unusual Normality” and have students discuss why Ishmael Beah wants to “experience childhood.” Often, children spend time wishing away their childhood and dreaming about growing up. What is the danger of growing up too soon? Why is childhood an important experience? Once you have grown up, is it truly possible to “grow down”? Why? What does the author of “Unusual Normality” seem to understand about childhood and adulthood that his peers do not?