Shadow Spinner


Susan Fletcher

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. What did you know about the story of Shahrazad before you started this story?
  2. What kind of person is Marjan? How have the events of her life influenced her personality?
  3. Marjan looks up to Shahrazad and considers her a hero for delaying the murder of more young women. Who do you look up to in that way? What do you admire about that person.
  4. Marjan has a deformed foot. How does this effect her life? How does she see herself?
  5. There are many exciting moments in this book. Share which part was most thrilling to you?
  6. What did you think about escaping in an olive jar? What would it be like to be shut in such a small space?
  7. What is your favorite "Lessons for Life and Storytelling?" Why?
  8. What role does Zaynab, the pigeon care-taker, pay in this story. How is she like Marjan?
  9. How is it possible that Shahrazad loves the Sultan in spite of his actions? Why does she think he can be changed?
  10. Why did Marjan's mother maim her foot? Do you agree or disagree with her actions?
  11. Does Soraya get what's coming to her? How was she used by the Khatun?
  12. How does Marjan react to learning the truth of her mother's actions?
  13. At the end of the novel, Marjan is safe, but she has to leave the city. What do you see in the future for her?
  14. Some might say this is a story about the power of storytelling. What kind of power do you think storytelling has? Find parts of the book that show the power.
  15. In the last Lessons for Life and Storytelling, Marjan tells us that, "The thing about life is, no matter what happens to you, it goes on. What seems like an ending is really a beginning in disguise." What does this idea mean to you?


Write your own "Lessons for Life and Storytelling"


Try some unique Middle East snacks including pita bread, hummus, cucumbers, olives and grapes.

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