Reading Guide Questions
Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
- Define family from the points of view of Zane, Malvina, and Mr. Trudell Manning.
- Describe Zane's relationship with his mother.
- Why was his mother so determined for him to meet his father's relative?
- Discuss Zane's thought that "you can't miss someone you never knew."
- Why didn't Miss Trissy tell Zane the reason his father ran away from home?
- How did her silence make Zane more curious about his dad?
- Explain why Tru thought a boy should know about his daddy.
- How did Zane's idea about family change by the end of the novel?
- Explain why putting more effort in gym class may have benefitted Zane when he was struggling to survive against the rising water.
- Why was the Superdome the only chance that some citizens had for survival?
- Describe the living conditions at the Superdome.
- Explain how crime ravaged the city and threatened the wellbeing of many people, including Zane, Malvina, and Tru.
- Why did Tru realize that they had to get out of New Orleans?
- How did Zane and Malvina call upon their ingenuity to get Tru out of the city?
- Explain how Tru saved Malvina by risking his life, and how Malvina saved Tru by risking her life.
- Discuss how the minister at the New Mission Baptist Church instilled hope in his parishioners.
- Explain how Mr. Trudell Manning managed to stay calm and hopeful.
- Tru encouraged the children not to look back.
- Debate whether this advice was hopeful or hopeless.
- Discuss how the chaos and lack of food, water, and healthcare at the Superdome made Zane feel hopeless.
- How did Tru's cousin Belinda give them hope at the end of the story?
- Explain the irony in the name of her animal shelter.
- Zane experienced fear throughout the novel. What were his most fearful moments?
- Explain what Zane meant when he said that being afraid is tiring.
- How did Malvina and Tru help to calm his fears?
- At what point did he begin to panic?
- In what ways did fear cause Zane to feel homesick for his mother?
- How did the news coverage of Katrina create fear in Zane's mother, especially when she couldn't reach her son by telephone?
- In what ways was Malvina fearless?
- Explain what Belinda meant when she told Malvina that she had the "heart of a lioness Cite evidence from the novel to support this claim.
- Discuss Zane's courageous journey from the moment he arrived in New Orleans until his mother arrived from New Hampshire to take him home.
- How did Tru and Malvina show courage when they rescued Zane and Bandit?
- Debate whether Zane acted responsibly when he chased Bandit back to Miss Trissy's house.
- How did Tru step up and take responsibility for Zane and Malvina?
- At what point did the children have to become responsible for Tru?
- What might Zane's mother say to him about responsibility once they safely returned to New Hampshire?
- Discuss Miss Trissy's opinion on the subject of race and color.
- She preferred the term "mixed race" instead of "multiracial." Explain the difference.
- Define racial profiling. How were Zane, Tru, and Malvina victims of racial profiling?
- Tru said that the police and fire department weren't looking out for the people in their neighborhood. How was this a form of profiling?
- Explain the role of racism in the scene where guards used a helicopter to rescue expensive rugs and threatened Tru's life.
Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of The Blue Sky Press.
Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.