Parent-Child Book Discussion
snack ideas: apple pie, blueberry muffins, krispy creme donuts
1. At the beginning of the book Bird says she doesn't have any friends. Why do you think this is?
2. Why does Bird want to be friends with Harlem? If there was someone you wanted to be friends with, what would you do to let them know you want to be friends?
3. Bird and Harlem both go through times when they want to give up on their goals. Is it okay to give up? When is it okay to give up?
4. The spelling bee has lots of cool prizes: a gold necklace, 3 speed bike, 4 free haircuts, 2 free guitar lessons, free dental exam, a grocery gift certificate, 1 month of karate lessons, 2 months of ballet lessons, a set of encyclopedias, a CD player and a clock radio that projects the time on the ceiling. What would you pick? Have you ever won a contest before? What did you win?
5. Why does Miss Delphine live in Freedom, Ga? Do you think she minds watching over her father? Why or why not?
6. Miss Delphine and Ray become good friends-- what do they have in common?
7. For much of the book, Bird does not like Mr. Moody. Why doesn't she like him? What changes her mind?
8. Harlem and Bird become friends. What do they do to encourage each other?
9. Why did you think Harlem lost the spelling bee? How well do you perform under pressure? What do you do to prepare for a big game/recital/ competition?
10. Have you ever had to do something for a friend when they were having a problem? what would you do if a friend of yours didn't have enough money for something they needed for school? What would you do if a friend told you their parent threw a can of beans at them?
11. Sometimes we make assumptions about people, like when people assumed Harlem was mean and dumb. What kind of assumptions would you make of the following (and what might the actual reason be?)
--someone is crying (they might be sad, or they might have an eyelash in their eye).
--someone won't talk to you (they are snobby, or maybe they are shy or lost their voice).
--someone takes your bookbag (they are a thief, or maybe they have the same bookbag).
--someone has dirty clothes and hair (they are poor, have bad hygiene or maybe the water isn't working at home)
12. What happens after Harlem gets new glasses? Do you think he and Bird will stay friends? Why or why not?
13. If you were to look ahead a year from now, what do you think would be happening in Freedom, Georgia? How would things change and how would things stay the same?
Lion's Club International has many sight programs that include recycling eyeglasses. Many public libraries collect eyeglasses for them.
Interested in spelling bees? Learn more!
Learn more about the author:
Teacher's Guide with more questions and activities:
Activity: hold a mini-spelling bee. Parents and children work together to spell some of the words from the book. Another team will say if they think the word is correct or wrong.
Words from the book:
abacus, accent, admirable, affectionate, assess, atrocious, attire, authentic, biennial, boutique, cable, censor, collapse, compile, cantaloupe, facilitate, fluent, facsimile, forsythia, fungus, likable, omitting, orator, granddaughter, souvenir, palmetto, salary, emperor, factual, propel, ferocious, insufficient, provincial, compatible, appendix, visually, larynx.