“As I sang, I felt the aching and loss in the song’s lyrics, and I poured my own sadness into my voice. It made me feel better. I was still sad, but I felt connected to my [family] – as if the music made us all part of something bigger.” Tenney by Kellen Hertz (Pg. 71)
Before heading off to tag along on my husband’s work trip to Tennessee, we read the American Girl book “Tenney” by Kellen Hertz because it is set in Nashville. We had a lot of fun reading the book before our trip to learn more about Nashville and what it has to offer. Here are our unit study ideas to go with the book:
Music History/Music Appreciation: Listen to top hits from some of the musicians referenced in the book.
LeAnn Rimes – But I Do Love You
Waylon Jennings – Ramblin’ Man
Dolly Parton – Coat of Many Colors
Creative Writing: Try writing a song or song lyrics of your own! I even got the kiddos new journals for the trip: Journal Notebook with Pen Holder. Remember what Portia said in the book and “write what you know”.
Kitchen Science: Cook the Grant family Sunday supper of salad, grits, BBQ ribs, cornbread, and banana pudding pie. Or if you want to bake something more simple, try blueberry muffins like Mrs. Grant makes for Tenney.
Health Science: In the book, we learn that Portia recently had a stroke. Do some research to learn what causes a stroke, what the symptoms are, and the basic first aid to help someone who is having a stroke.
Art: Write your name using fancy letters inspired by your favorite hobby just like Jaya did in the book to create “your font”. Draw a picture of your family members each doing a favorite activity like Aubrey did in the book.
Outreach Opportunities: Tenney has an older brother and a younger sister, there are many examples of the siblings being kind to each other. Think of some ways you can show kindness to your siblings and follow through with your ideas! You could also head to a local senior center and visit with some of the residents.
Culture: Try a new-to-you food truck, bonus points if it’s southern cuisine.
When we got to Nashville, we were excited to visit some of the places mentioned in the book like…
Centennial Park & the Parthenon
Of course, we have limited resources (time & money) so we couldn’t make it to every place mentioned during our week-long vacation. Here are the places that were referenced in the book we will have to try and see next time: Ryman Auditorium, The Bluebird Cafe, Bolton’s Hit Chicken, and Printer’s Ally.
We only had time to read the first book in the American Girl “Tenney” series, but there are 3 other books to check out next!
I splurged on some Tenney extras too!
Check out my previous post Nashville, Tennessee – Unit Study to see the other books we used to prepare for our trip to Nashville.
If you like this American Girl unit study, be sure to check out:
American Girl: Kaya 1764 – American History Unit Study
American Girl: Felicity 1774 – American History Unit Study
American Girl: Molly 1944 – American History Unit Study
📚 Happy homeschooling friends!