Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Book Club: Walk Two Moons

Book Club discussion groups are a great way to get kids excited about books and discussing them. This is one of a series of posts sharing some of my favorite books for Book Club discussions. Please click on the "Book Club" tag to read more.

Walk Two Moons

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech won the Newbery Medal in 1995 and is one of my all-time favorite children's books. It is definitely a tear-jerker (speaking literally for myself here) and such a well-crafted story.

This is one I used back when I taught fourth grade, as it has a lot going on, mentally and emotionally at times, for my third graders. I am sure many teachers have had success with it for older students as well,


Salamanca Tree Hiddle and her father have recently moved to Euclid, Ohio from their home in Bybanks, Kentucky. Sal befriends a neighbor, a girl her age named Phoebe. Most of the book alternates between two narratives: Sal and her grandparents on a road trip to find Sal's mother and Sal's story of Phoebe and her recent adventures. (See note above about tear-jerker. I always give students a heads up that there are sad parts in this story but that it is an incredible read.)

Reading Level: 6.6
Guided Reading Level: W
Lexile Level: 770L

Big Ideas and Discussion Topics

  • Multiple story lines. Kids have to balance both the present-day story line and the story-Sal-is-telling story line, as well as make connections (and predictions) between the two. There is a wonderful metaphor used in the first chapter that hints at how Sal's own story is hidden beneath Phoebe's story.
  • Figurative and descriptive language. Phoebe and Sal receive a series of cryptic messages (proverbs) during the course of the story. These are great conversations starters for students as they talk about what the messages might be and how they might relate to the story.
  • Big Issues. The book also deals very gently and sincerely with loss and separation. Both Sal and Phoebe are going through different issues with their parents and grandparents, and both respond in very different ways to their situations.

Suggested Chapter Breakdowns

I usually use four to six sections for Book Club discussions with my students. They meet twice a week (often Tuesdays and Thursdays), which gives us two or three weeks to finish any given round. When I first started I had many more Book Club divisions, but I found that kids had a hard time sustaining interest in a book when it became incredibly drawn out.
  1. Chapters 1-7, pages 1-40
  2. Chapters 8-14, pages 41-90
  3. Chapters 15-21, pages 91-130
  4. Chapters 22-28, pages 131-180
  5. Chapters 29-34, pages 181-225
  6. Chapters 35-44, pages 226-280
[Please check page numbers against your own editions, as publishers sometimes change the size or shape of the book, which alters the page numbers.]

Do you have a favorite book club book from another country or culture? (Click here for more Book Club recommendations.)

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