Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
by Susin Nielsen

Book Summary

Henry is the brother of a boy who was bullied extensively, and now Henry has to deal with the fallout of a tragedy. His reluctant journal is part of his therapy program, and pieces of the story are revealed through his writing.
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen book cover
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen

Book Review

This is an excellent book, brilliantly written. While the subject matter is disturbing, the perspectives and issues are important to discuss, including fallout from bullying, and how violence affects a larger group of people than those at the scene. You wouldn't expect to find humor here, but you can, and the realism is so touching. This is a painful and beautiful book that leaves a mark long after you finish the last page.
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Do you think the Great Dane ever cries?" Dad asked as he blew his nose.


"What about Vlad the Impaler?"

"Never. His mother had his tear ducts removed when he was a baby." p. 96

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Surviving Tragedy (fire)
  • Family Relationships
  • Bullying
  • Truth vs. Perception
  • Community Judgment
  • Suicide in U.S. Culture

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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