Homeless Bird


Gloria Whelan

Number of Pages: 


Minimum grade level: 


Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. What did you know about India before reading this book?
  2. What kind of person is Koly? Does she control her future? Does that status change during the course of the novel?
  3. What kind of picture of marriage is painted in this novel?
  4. How does Hari's family betray Koly?
  5. What is your opinion of the way marriages in India are arranged? Why do you think it is that way?
  6. How do you feel about Chandra? Does she betray Koly by using her widow's pension? Why doesn't she help Koly after she is married and moves away?
  7. How does Koly learn to read? What comfort does it give her?
  8. How does Koly use her embroidery talents to save herself?
  9. Why does Koly disobey Maa Kamala, the one woman who has helped her?
  10. Why do you think Koly hesitates when Raji proposes? Is that realistic for someone in her situation and based on her past actions?
  11. What do you predict for Koly's future?


Try some of the traditional Indian food mentioned in the book: chickpeas cooked with onion and ginger, curry, mangoes, and coconut cake.

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