Introduction: Use this poem as a part of a map skills lesson and as an introduction
to the Depression. Have a world map and a map of the United States to show the students China, where the poem begins,
in relation to America and the state of California where the poem ends.
"GongGong and Susie" by Janet Wong
Got to be.
I treat her right.
kill a skunk.
Did I tell you?
I did eat
Take out them
with garlic, onion.
Skunk, snake, night
I eat them
It was Depression time.
No work, nothing
We hunt, we fish, we camp.
want to eat
*GongGong is one Cantonese word for grandfather.
Wong, Janet. 1996. A SUITCASE OF SEAWEED AND OTHER POEMS. New York: Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing.
Extension: Ask the students who they think was speaking in this poem?
Was the person young or old? How did it make them feel?
Pair the students up and have them practice reading the poem as they think the man in the poem
would speak. This is a perfect poem to explore "voice" within a poem.
Read the author's excerpt about how this poem came about to the students.
The excerpt by the author can be found at:
Lead the children in a discussion about The Depression.