Jacob Have I Loved


Katherine Paterson

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. The author chose to open the book with a chapter that describes Rass Island and the life of the watermen. Why do you think she decided to do this? What importance is it to the novel?
  2. Have you ever spent a considerable amount of time on an island? What was it like? Did you have any of the same feelings that Sara did?
  3. What was your first impression of Caroline? Did it change at all through the course of the novel? How do you think she sees the family?
  4. Describe Grandma. What is she like? How do you think she got to be the way she is?
  5. How does Sara's relationship with Call change over the course of the novel?
  6. Why do you think Sara goes through a period of time obsessed with hands? (page 147) What do hands symbolize to you?
  7. Was Sara in love with the Captain? Why do you think she was having those feelings about him?
  8. How does Sara react to being called "Wheeze?" How does she react to being called Sara Louise? Which does she prefer?
  9. What does the title of this book refer to? (page 178). What does it mean?
  10. Why do you think Sara calls her life fishing with her father the happiest days of her life?
  11. Do you feel that Call and Caroline betrayed Sara? Why or why not?
  12. What does Sara's mother say to her that allows Sara to feel free to leave the island?
  13. Sara choses to move to a mountain-locked valley to be a nurse-midwife. Why do you think she chose that profession and that location? What does Joesph mean when he says, "'God in heaven's been raising you for this valley from the day you were born"?
  14. What is the significance of Sara giving life to the newborn twin baby girl? Why do you think the author ended the novel with that story?


If you are brave, try oysters! If not, try the cornbread that was a staple on the Bradshaw table.

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