The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place


E. L. Konigsburg

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How many of you have been to camp? And do you remember it fondly? Well, believe it or not there are plenty of kids who don't remember camp fondly and don't ever want to go again. Margaret Rose Kane knew that she didn't even need to go once to know that she never wanted to. But she did - through many protests - go to camp, and she had a terrible experience. So bad that she had to be rescued. Which is exactly what she wanted in the first place: The chance to spend the summer with her uncles Alex and Morris.

And so, having barely survived a week with seven horrible cabin mates, Margaret Rose settles into the usual routines of time spent with her uncles at 19 Schuyler Place. What Margaret Rose doesn't realize is that this is not to be a summer of usual routine. Her beloved uncles, watchmakers and repairers, are engaged in a battle that they are rapidly losing. Try as they may to keep it from Margaret Rose, she finds out and decides on her own that she is going to do all she can to help them win. She employs tactics learned during her one week at camp and gleaned from her relationships with many people older than she.

With the help of none other than her seven cabin mates, the "shuffling handyman" from camp who was really a budding artist and soon to be Margaret's first love, and two of her mother's childhood friends, Margaret Rose has a three-point plan to STOP the destruction, STALL the developers, and SAVE the towers. The towers? Oh yes, the towers. Those are the very tall structures that her uncles have been building in their backyard for the last 45 years. They are constructed of metal and glass and cement and paint and they sing when the wind blows, and there are some people on the neighborhood who don't like them. New people in the neighborhood - people who are interested in Rejuvenating the Neighborhood.

With an unlikely cast of accomplices, Margaret Rose sets out to do what no one else is even willing to try. Will she succeed and if so, how? Find out by reading The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place, by E. L.Konigsburg.

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 didn't Margaret Rose want to go to camp for the summer?
  2. What didn't she like about camp? Was there anything that she did like at camp?
  3. Do you think it was a good idea for her to live with her uncles?
  4. How do you picture the towers?
  5. What were Margaret's goals with regards to the towers?
  6. Who were some of the people who really helped Margaret achieve her goals?
  7. What role did Jake play at Camp Talequa and at 19 Schuyler Place?
  8. Why were the other residents of Schuyler Place angry about the towers?
  9. Do you think E. L. Konigsburg was trying to send a message about anything when she wrote this book?
  10. Do you think Margaret Rose made any mistakes during the course of her summer?
  11. What did Margaret Rose believe in, and why does she choose to fight to save the towers?
  12. How are the uncles different from some of the other people in Margaret Rose's life?

If you liked this book try

  • Bat 6 by Virginia Euwer Wolff
  • A Corner of the Universe by Ann Martin
  • Here Today by Ann Martin
  • Hoot by Carl Hiassen
  • Ida B by Katherine Hannigan
  • Silent to the Bone by E. L. Konigsburg


Ice-cream sundaes: chestnut pate, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce. Coffee for the grown-ups.

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.