Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
This Journal Belongs to Ratchet
by Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Book Summary

She and her father never have enough money, but Ratchet knows more about engines than most people. She's looking to find a friend and some answers about her mother, who died when she was five. Ratchet's father is passionately committed to environmental causes, but it sometimes gets him into trouble. Ratchet is trying to balance her unfashionable, sometimes embarrassing, homeschooling father's priorities with whatever her own will be.
This Journal Belongs to Ratchet book cover
This Journal Belongs to Ratchet

Book Review

This book is very accessible for fifth graders. In spite of the too-common missing parent theme, this book avoids being too sentimental. Readers who like this book might also like The Red Thread Sisters, which is a different issue (adoption to a US family from China), but also explores the tension between what your family is and what you might think it ought to look like.

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Surviving Loss of a Parent
  • Environmental Activism
  • Homeschooling
  • Building Families
  • Gender Roles; Engine Repair

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**

If you liked this book, you might also like . . .

Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie book cover
Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie
Mockingbird book cover
One of the Survivors book cover
One of the Survivors