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Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!
- Why is it hard for Ben to live in a house full of women?
- How does Ben relate to each of the women in the house? How does his attitude toward each of them change?
- What does dancing mean to Ben? Why is Ben's classmate, Claude, so determined to humiliate Ben about his dancing?
- Aunt Frieda says that she found Ben's family "a scattered place - lives wandering in so many different directions." What does she mean by that? How does her presence help to reunite the family?
- Why does Ben's family never talk about his dead father?
- Who are the Men of Stone? What did the Mennonites represent that the Soviet government needed to repress? As Ben asks in the book, "What [makes] somebody turn to stone
- Describe Aunt Frieda. Why does she choose to share her story with Ben? Why does Aunt Frieda continue to have nightmares about the Men of Stone?
- Describe Ben's friends, Stan and Fish. How do their friendships with Ben differ? What does Ben value about each of them?
- What does Ben learn about himself from fighting the trainer, Alec, in the gym? Do you think that Ben could become a "man of stone" or a pacifist? Which does Ben choose? Why?
Beth's cooking: Greek vegetarian pizza, scrambled egg wraps. Aunt Frieda's cooking: Peppermint cookies, sweet buns.
Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.