Men of Stone

By: 

Gayle Friesen

Number of Pages: 

216

Minimum grade level: 

7th

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. Why is it hard for Ben to live in a house full of women?
  2. How does Ben relate to each of the women in the house? How does his attitude toward each of them change?
  3. What does dancing mean to Ben? Why is Ben's classmate, Claude, so determined to humiliate Ben about his dancing?
  4. 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?
  5. Why does Ben's family never talk about his dead father?
  6. 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
  7. 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?
  8. Describe Ben's friends, Stan and Fish. How do their friendships with Ben differ? What does Ben value about each of them?
  9. 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?

Snacks

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.