Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
One of the Survivors by Susan Shaw

Book Summary

Joey has already survived one fire when he encounters a second one at school. Unfortunately, not all of the students escape from the building, and Joey is left missing his friends and feeling guilty that he survived.  To make things worse, his father has to build a fence around their house, since some people drive by and yell horrible things, blaming Joey for starting the fire.
One of the Survivors book cover
One of the Survivors

Book Review

This is not an easy book to read, but it does move quickly. The author begins the story with Joey's fog and confusion, and details about the past are revealed chapter by chapter as Joey tries to come to terms with what happened. Moving forward is an extra challenge: even a trip to a therapist would mean going out in public and risking community wrath. This is an interesting examination of a person inside his darkest moment, and how other people in his life offer and/or refuse support.
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Why hadn't we died with the rest of our history class? That's what everybody wants to know."  p.105

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Surviving Tragedy (fire)
  • Family Relationships
  • Luck
  • Truth vs. Perception
  • Community Judgment

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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