Torill Kove's grandmother often told her stories. One in particular revolved around ironing shirts for the King of Norway. And what if that intriguing detail was just the tip of the iceberg? Perhaps she also worked covertly in the Norwegian resistance... Maybe she even spearheaded a campaign to create an unprecedented brand of guerrilla warfare! Treating history as a fabric woven from personal stories, animator Torill Kove follows a thread of family history, embroidering it with playful twists along the way. In My Grandmother Ironed the King's Shirts, she imaginatively renders her grandmother's life and work in Oslo, especially during World War II. Sharp and whimsical, her story combines her grandmother's tales with historical events and fantasy, and shows how a cherished anecdote can come to acquire a mythical status. My Grandmother Ironed the King's Shirts is about an ordinary woman with a revolutionary instinct. With sharp humour it explores storytelling, myth-making and the important contributions that are possible through the most humble means.
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Ages 12 to 17
Study Guide - Guide 1
Civics/Citizenship - Citizen Responsibilities
English Language Arts - Children's Stories/Fables
History - World War II
Relate story to historical accounts of Nazi resistance in Norway. (See also the film: Through My Thick Glasses) Why did the woman feel so proud of her work? Is it possible to make a difference through such non-violent acts? Create a list of things people can do to support big causes in small ways. Ask students whether everything in the story is true. What is a tall tale? Brainstorm ideas about everyday adventures that could be turned into tall tales and have students write their own.