Reading Guide Questions
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
- Martin freezes after he is slapped in the face by Lowery, but he hates himself
for his cowardly reaction. (p. 13) Why does he react the way he does? What
would be a more appropriate reaction? Does the punishment he receives fit
the crime? Why or why not?
- After Martin and his mother meet with Father Thomas about the fight,
Martin mother tells him, ow you will live in the future depends on how
you live now in the present.(p. 27) What decisions does Martin make in the
present that will affect his future? How will his decisions positively impact
- Martin sister and friends show concern for Martin emotional well-being,
fearing he is suffering from depression; even Martin, who says his days are
empty and pointless, thinks he needs to do something other than stay in the
basement. What other symptoms does Martin exhibit that show he might be
depressed? What does his sister do to try to help him get out more? What
role do his friends play? How does Martin finally overcome his feelings
- Due to the power and reputation of the Lowery family, Hank breaks the rules
with few consequences, and his family seems to expect special favors because
of their status. How does their pride and arrogance affect the other boys at
All Souls Preparatory School? Do the families of the other boys have any
influence on Hank behavior?
- After Martin meets Jimmy and visits him in the past, he asks Margaret, ho decides what he real history
of a timeis?Margaret responds, he winners decide.(p. 119) How does this hold true for Martin when he
sets the record straight about General Hank Lowery war record and his own grandfather role in the war?
- After Martin receives the Philco 20 Deluxe Radio, he begins to have strange dreams, so the first time he
meets Jimmy, he is sure it is a dream. What does Martin do that convinces him that he is traveling back in
time? How does this experience affect him? What finally helps him make the decision to help Jimmy, even
though it is dangerous?
- The painting of Abraham and Isaac seems to show up wherever Martin goes - in his present at All Souls, in
his past in Jimmy book, and in his future when he goes to London to meet Jimmy dad, Mr. Harker. How
does this painting symbolize the father-son relationships in the book? What clues does this painting give
about the outcome of the story?
- When Martin travels back in time, he becomes braver and more courageous. He says, agreed to follow
this strange boy into those bombed out streets, for a purpose even he did not understand.(p. 134) Why
did Martin agree to put his life in danger for an unknown mission? Even though Jimmy and Martin live in
different times, what do they have in common?
- Martin own grandfather was also considered a war hero. What does he learn about him that alters the
course of history? How does what he learns change his family present and future? What impact does the
information have on Martin relationship with his father?
- On page 227, Martin asks his father, hat do you think makes one man a disgrace, and another one a
hero?How would Martin answer that question after his experiences in London with Mr. Harker? How
does Martin discovery about his grandfather make a difference in his relationship with his father?
- When Martin father dies, Martin is assured that he can answer the question: hat did you do to help?
p. 299) How would Martin father have answered the question? How would other characters answer the
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Knopf Children's Books.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.