Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
The Smile by Donna Jo Napoli

Book Summary

Elisabetta, known as Lisa to her family, is planning for a marriage to a good noble family in Florence, Italy.  When tragedy strikes, she must deal with a new set of challenges involving family relationships, money, and expectations for her future. 

The Smile book cover
The Smile

Book Review

This book is a charming fictional explanation about the inspiration behind one of the world's most famous paintings. Lisa is introduced to Leonardo da Vinci, as well as members of the Medici family. In some ways, this is a more complex version of A Little Princess, or Esperanza Rising.  At its core, this book is a love story, and Lisa's imperfections and strengths make her a relatable, interesting character.

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • The Renaissance Era, Florence
  • Fairy Tales
  • Responsibility vs. Happiness
  • The Mona Lisa
  • Falling in Love

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions coming soon**

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