Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
How old do you think Julie is when she tells this
story? What leads you to this conclusion?
Why is Chingis insistent about his little brother's
staying with him? What does he say his reason is?
Do you think that is the real reason? Why or
Why do you think Chingis is so defiant about
everything Mrs. Spendlove asks him to do?
What effect does his defiance have on her and
How does Julie feel when she hears Chingis say
his brother is an eagle?
What does Chingis want Julie to do for him and
his brother? Do all new students need this help?
How does your school welcome new students?
Do you think this is helpful?
Where does Julie find Chingis's coat? How long
has it been since she last saw it? How does she feel
when she finds it?
What does Julie do to be a Good Guide to
Chingis and Nergui? Would you have done
the same? Do you think she should have done
What does Chingis say is the reason he and
Nergui had to leave Mongolia? Why do you
think they left?
What are some things Julie notices about her
school when she becomes a Good Guide that she
hadn't noticed before?
What does Julie mean when she says Chingis
and Nergui "were learning themselves ordinary"
(page 38)? Why does it upset her?
What is an ovoo, and what is it supposed to do?
When Julie and her mother go to Chingis's
apartment to return his coat, what does Julie
expect to find? What happens instead? Did you
expect this to happen?
When Julie goes through Chingis's coat pockets,
what does she find? What do the items she finds
make her realize about the photographs?
When Julie leads Chingis and Nergui back to
their apartment from the beach, why does Chingis
say Julie has cheated them?
What does Mrs. Spendlove announce to the class
the next day? How did this announcement make
you feel? Do you think the students felt the same
way? Why or why not?
What does Julie notice about Chingis's coat in the
lost-and-found bin years later?
What does Julie mean when she says, "Chingis's
Mongolia was one big mental ovoo" (page 86)?
What do you think the demon that Chingis and
Nergui are running from represents?
If students from another country came to your
school, what are some things you would do to
make them feel welcome?
Did you find the novel funny? Or sad? Or both?
How did it make you feel? Can you think of other
books or situations you've been in where you
didn't know whether to laugh or cry?
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Candlewick Press.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.
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