Thursday, January 18, 2018

January Grades 5-6 Book Club: Beyond the Bright Sea

For January's Book Club, we read Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk. Anthony, Claire, Emma, Madison, Maida, Reagan and Ryan were present. Here's what we talked about, based on suggestions from Penguin Books were the publisher.

Osh says, “I ended up here because my country was not really my country. It was just where I lived. Where some of us were less than others. Where it was sport, to hurt us.” (pg. 87) What do you think happened that caused him to leave everything behind? What challenges did he face when starting a new life on a small isolated island?

-He's very calm and maybe he left somewhere where people were bullying him
-He could be from Germany and be Jewish.
-Finding things to build with, eat, sustain himself

The island itself could be considered a major character in the story. Describe the “personality” of the island. How does the island interact with the other characters and influence their actions?

-Through my eyes, I would see it as a friendly personality and loving. They treat the whole island as their home.
-The island gives them a home.
-Crow and Osh have a symbiotic relationship with the island.

What evidence do you have that the story happens in 1925? Do you think this story could have taken place in the present? Explain why or why not.

-When they went into the city, there weren't cars or airplanes.
-There were no cell phones.
-There were no bridges; you had to take a ferry.
-There were telegrams.
-They wrote letters to each other and didn't text.
-The story itself could have happened in modern times.

Crow comes to this realization on page 271: “I dried myself off and put on some clean clothes, amazed by the power of such small accomplishments to restore my good mood.” What do you think she means by this statement? Describe a situation where this was true for you.

-I felt happy with myself when I finished a small detail on one of my drawings.
-When I ran a race (3 miles) and made a goal not to stop, I didn't. And that felt really good.

Why do names have such profound meaning for Osh and Crow? What physical and behavioral characteristics does Crow share with her feathered namesake? If you were named for an animal, which one would it be and why?

-She has a pointy nose and black hair.
-She has a feather on her cheek.
-As a baby, her cry was almost like a crow.
-Because they come from different places from where they are now.
-Crow wants to know where she comes from and who she is while Osh just wants to forget.
-Raven because it sounds similar to my name and it describes my personality; I would love to fly. Raven's are a little mysterious.
-I would be a pet rock. It's my spirit animal. Rocks get to see everything occur over millions of years and there are pieces of them all over the world. I'm an observer and so are they.
-I would be named after a husky because I love the outdoors, snow and I like to talk. Huskies love to talk.
-Raccoons keep popping into my head.
-I'd be a tiger because they are just so bold and they love to swim.
-I would be an underwater creature that is alive for a long time. I like that because they get to observe.

Crow says on page 7: “When I asked questions about pearls or tides, he [Osh] did his best to answer them. But when I looked beyond our life on the islands, he became the moon itself, bent on tugging me back, as if I were made of sea instead of blood.” Why is Osh so reluctant to talk to Crow about her past? Do you feel he is right to withhold information from Crow? Explain why or why not.

-He knows information that he doesn't want her to know.
-He might think that she might not be able to process the information the right way.
-Osh might be afraid that she'll leave him if she finds a "better" family.

Why do you think Crow said she “carried those questions [about her past] around…like a sack that got heavier as the years went by, even though I had become accustomed to the idea of it. Even though I was not unhappy with the life I had. I just wanted to know. To understand. To put the sack down.” (pg. 11) Why do you think Crow needs to know where she came from? Do you think she would have been better off not knowing? Explain why or why not.

-I think it's good that she knows where she's from.
-She wanted to know because she probably would have wondered and tortured herself with questioning.
-I think it would have been better if she didn't know. Knowing the truth might have been too hard for her.
-It would be better if she didn't find out. She talked about it all the time, ignoring Miss Maggie and Osh's feelings.

How do Osh and Crow change each other’s lives? How would things have been different if Osh hadn’t been the one to find Crow floating on the raft?

-Crow might not have lived if Osh hadn't found her.
-Osh must have guessed that she came from an island close by.

Please rate this book between 1 and 5. 

-One 3
-Two 4s
-Four 5s

For February's Book Club, we will be reading The Wonderling by Mira Bartok. 

Welcome to the Home for Wayward and Misbegotten Creatures, an institution run by evil Miss Carbunkle, a cunning villainess who believes her terrified young charges exist only to serve and suffer. Part animal and part human, the groundlings toil in classroom and factory, forbidden to enjoy anything regular children have, most particularly singing and music. For the Wonderling, an innocent-hearted, one-eared, fox-like eleven-year-old with only a number rather than a proper name — a 13 etched on a medallion around his neck — it is the only home he has ever known. But unexpected courage leads him to acquire the loyalty of a young bird groundling named Trinket, who gives the Home’s loneliest inhabitant two incredible gifts: a real name — Arthur, like the good king in the old stories — and a best friend. Using Trinket’s ingenious invention, the pair escape over the wall and embark on an adventure that will take them out into the wider world and ultimately down the path of sweet Arthur’s true destiny. 

We will meet on Wednesday, February 21 at 3:00 p.m. Please pick up your copy of the book at the Circulation Desk (as well as register) a few days after the January session.

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