Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Letters My Mother Never Read

When her mother died in a fire, eight-year-old Jerri thought life couldn’t get worse. She was wrong. Sent to live with people who didn’t want her, Jerri was powerless to stop her once-happy childhood from becoming a nightmare of cruelty and neglect. Only a stubborn belief in her own worth and a fierce will to live allowed her to reach adulthood physically and emotionally intact. This is a book that will inspire not only those who have been orphans or foster children, but anyone who has known the pain of being unwanted.

Reading Assignments:
Thursday 12-2............Distribute Books
Thursday 12-9............Discuss Pages 1-52
Thursday 12-16...........Discuss Pages 53-102
Thursday 1-6..............Discuss Pages 103-199

Discussion Questions: Use these prompts to leave comments about this book.
1. What is your opinion of the foster care system as it is presented in this book? Cite examples from the text to support your opinions. Be sure to include your thoughts on the idea of accepting children into a foster home "on a trial basis." Is this a good idea, a bad idea, or a little of both?
2. Discuss the events leading up to Jerri's decision to stay at the orphanage rather than accept another foster home placement. Do you agree or disagree with Jerri's reasoning? Explain your thinking.
3. Discuss Jerri's strategy for survival as it appears on pages 98-101 of the text. Do you think it is a realistic or unrealistic strategy? Explain your reasoning.
4. Discuss the rules Jerri is given before going to a host or foster family's home. Are these rules reasonable or unreasonable? Explain your thinking.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Our current read for book club is Bram Stoker's Dracula. In this book, Jonathan Harker has a job to do. The young lawyer must go to the mysterious country of Transylvania to work for a man he knows as "the Count." At first, Jonathan is excited by the chance to travel and meet new people. But after his arrival in Transylvania, he begins to wonder what's going on. People act strangely upon hearing he is going to visit the Count. When Jonathan arrives at the Count's dark, isolated castle, he too begins to feel afraid. Soon after meeting his host, Jonathan finds himself trapped in a horrifying nightmare. Only this nightmare is real, and he can't wake up...

Use the comments section below to offer your thoughts and impressions of this book. Remember to include things such as
1. What you think of the characters
2. Your impression of Stoker's writing style
3. Evaluation and discussion of literary elements such as plot, theme, and setting
4. Your predictions about what will happen in the book
5. What other books does Dracula remind you of (text-to-text connections)
6. Does this book remind you of anything in your life (text-to-self connections)
7. Do you like this book and would you recommend it to a friend?