Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos


Book Summary

Norvelt is a small town, and getting smaller as residents pass on, or move away and never return. There's no shortage of strangeness to go around, though, as 12-year-old Jack discovers in the summer of 1962. Torn between the conflicting commands of his parents, Jack is grounded from his usual summer routine, but finds snippets of freedom (and more than a little town gossip) helping an elderly neighbor write updates for the local newspaper.
Dead End in Norvelt book cover
Dead End in Norvelt

Book Review

This book is not my cup of tea, and I find it difficult to picture a student who would be a good fit for this book. I think that people who grew up during this time period, particularly in small towns, will find it to be a nostalgic treat with some dark humor. The writing in this semi-autobiographical piece is well-crafted, and this book was the Newbery winner of 2012.

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Small Town Life in 1960s U.S.
  • Growing Up
  • Unusual Neighbors; Gossip
  • Family Relationships

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions Coming Soon**

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