Wish by Barbara O’Connor Activities

Wish Book ActivitiesAfter seeing a cardinal, close your eyes, spit three times and make a wish. — You can make a wish if you clap three times before crossing a state line. — You can make a wish if you see a camel-shaped cloud.

The Story

These are just a few of the unusual things Charlie uses to make her daily wish; the same wish she has made every day since fourth grade. 

When Charlie’s family ‘becomes broken,’ Charlie moves to the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina to live with her aunt and uncle. She becomes friends with Howard who lives next door. The two are complete opposites — Howard’s calm easygoing personality compared to Charlie’s fiery temper. Throw in a stray dog who Charlie names Wishbone, and you have a heartwarming story that will make you tear up as you watch Charlie struggle with where she belongs. 


All versions of this book are now available.

FREE Teaching Idea for Wish by Barbara O’Connor

Activity – Comparing Dog Novels 

Literally, thousands of great books about dogs can be found. This project centers on six novels including Pax which is the story of a fox. Students read the summaries of the six books. They then complete a chart to make comparisons. A Venn Diagram is also included for students to go into detail when comparing and contrasting two dog-themed books.

The Books 

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Shiloh  by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

As Marty walks the hills of Friendly, West Virginia, he runs across a shy beagle pup. The pup follows him home. The two forms an immediate friendship. Marty names the pup Shiloh after the place he finds him. He soon learns he must return the dog to its rightful owner, Judd Travers, who is unkind to his dogs. After doing so, Shiloh turns up at Marty’s home for a second time. Marty decides to hide him on the hill behind his house. This leads to all kinds of trouble for Marty. 

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

Set in the Ozark Mountains during the Great Depression, Billy Coleman works for two years to save enough money to buy two coon hounds. The book follows Billy and his hounds, Old Dan and Little Ann, as they confront challenges of both nature and man. Some of these include mountain lions, bullies, and a winter storm.

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

Grandfather will not get out of bed although Doc Smith says nothing is wrong with him. Little Willy takes over Grandfather’s duties and harvests the potato crop. He thinks everything will be fine until Clifford Snyder comes to collect $500 in back taxes. In his desperation, little Willy decides to enter the adult dog sled race. Will he be able to win the prize money he needs to save the farm? 

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Peter and his much-loved pet fox named Pax are separated because of war. The book contains chapters alternating between Peter’s and Pax’s perspectives as they make their way back to each other. 

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCammilo

Because of Winn-Dixie

Because of Winn-Dixie tells the story of ten-year-old Opal. She has just moved to Naomi, Florida with her preacher father. On an errand to the grocery store, Opal finds a large, ugly, homeless dog. Opal is immediately attached to the dog whom she names Winn-Dixie after the grocery store where she finds him. Together they make friends with Otis, an ex-convict who runs the local pet store; Miss Fanny, the librarian who has a desk full of “Litmus Lozenges” a type of candy which her great grandfather invented; and Gloria Dump, the lady the local children think of as a witch because of her jungle-like yard. This book will make you laugh as Opal and Winn-Dixie make friends with these very likable characters in this small southern town.

 Google Docs

Free Google Digital Activity - Compare Dog Themed Books (Great to use with Wish by Barbara O'Connor)

This activity may be downloaded from Google Docs here. The file includes two activities and an answer key.  

Wish by Barbara O’Connor Book Unit Samples

Wish by Barbara O'Connor -- Free Book Unit Samples

If you would like to try out the Wish by Barbara O’Connor Book Unit before you buy it, this download contains free samples including:

  • Vocabulary Practice
  • Comprehension Questions for Chapters 1-2 
  • Constructed Response Question for Chapters 1-2
  • Photos to Show What the Rest of the Unit Looks Like


Wish Book Unit contains graphic organizers for an interactive notebook. Vocabulary, comprehension, constructed response writing, and skill practice are all included. Printable and Google Digital versions are available.

Gay Miller


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