Ben Mikaelsen

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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. How do you feel about Petey's parents leaving him in the institution? Do you blame them or understand what they did?
  2. What do you think happened to Esteban? How would Petey's life have been different if Esteban would have stayed?
  3. Why did it take so many years for Petey to learn how to make sounds?
  4. What do you think it would feel like to have thoughts, feelings, and ideas inside you and not be able to communicate them with anyone? Is that what Petey is feeling?
  5. What motivated Trevor to step in when the boys were throwing snowballs at Petey? Would you be that brave?
  6. What are some similarities between Trevor and Petey? How have they both learned to cope with their situations?
  7. Why is it so important to Trevor to get Petey a new wheelchair?
  8. How realistic did Trevor's search for Calvin seem to you?
  9. Petey's nurse Sissy says, "We're all dying from the second we're born. That's why it is so important to live." What does that mean to you?
  10. Do you know anyone with cerebral palsy? Did reading this novel effect how you might respond to someone with this disease?


Visit Ben Mikaelsen's website and learn about the real-life man who inspired the story of Petey.

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