13 Little Blue Envelopes

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When Ginny receives thirteen little blue envelopes and instructions to buy a plane ticket to London, she knows something exciting is going to happen. What Ginny doesn't know is that she will have the adventure of her life and it will change her in more ways than one. Life and love are waiting for her across the Atlantic, and the thirteen little blue envelopes are the key to finding them in this funny, romantic, heartbreaking novel.

Curriculet Details
84 Questions
88 Annotations
3 Quizzes

This free digital curriculum for high school students contains interactive videos exploring European countries and culture, as well as annotations describing irony, character development, and author’s craft (e.g., in medias res). Students will explore the themes of self discovery and family. The Common Core aligned questions, answers and quizzes in this free online unit will increase student engagement in the book while supporting reading comprehension.

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Part #1

Watch the short video below. The author uses a literary technique called "in medias res" meaning "into the middle of things." It's when the author begins a story by jumping right into the action, then going back to describe the characters, setting, conflict, etc. What's a benefit to starting a story "in medias res?" Are there any drawbacks? (This annotation contains a video)
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently. For example, you may not know what the word aforementioned means so try the define feature to look it up. This is a great tool to help you quickly improve your vocabulary! 
What type of a person sends a letter like this? 

Homework #6

Watch the video below. The title of the chapter is an example of a simile. As you read, see if you can discover any other similes or metaphors. (This annotation contains a video)
Rudy Guilani was the mayor of New York City from 1994 - 2001 (see photo below). (This annotation contains an image)
The smell of the restaurant reminds Ginny of 
Ginny reacts strangely to Alice's request, then decides not to tell Alice whatever information she has. What secret is Ginny keeping and why? 

Homework #7

Summarize Peg's life before, during, and after college in 3-5 sentences. Be sure to use specific details from the text. 
What happened to Aunt Peg? 
Even though it's against Ginny's better judgment, why does she decide to follow her aunt's directions? 
Can you make a text-to-text connection to another book or movie where a character receives guidance from a deceased relative or friend? Watch the trailer below of P.S. I Love You. (This annotation contains a video)

Part #2

Read this short article from The Huffington Post featuring interesting facts about the Empire State Building. (This annotation contains a link)
What's Peg's purpose in going to the Empire State Building? 
In the United Kingdom, the currency is called the pound sterling or the pound for short (see image below of a 10 pound note). (This annotation contains an image)

Homework #9

Heathrow Airport is located in  
Have you ever had to navigate your way in an unknown place? How did it make you feel? Imagine how Ginny is feeling being in a foreign country by herself. 
Watch the video below. Notice the author's use of imagery to immerse the reader in the setting. The reader experiences London through Ginny's eyes. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does the author include this description? 
What does this reveal about Ginny's character? 
How does Ginny identify Peg's room? 
See Manet's painting below. (This annotation contains an image)

Homework #10

Why is Richard pointing out all of these places in London? 
Harrods is an upscale department store founded in London in the 1830's (see photo below). (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Ginny want to leave Harrods? 

Homework #11

Watch the video below. What is the point of view of the novel? (This annotation contains a video)
Ginny describes Richard's apartment as being "a man's house." Give two examples from the text that support this description. 
Ginny has so little to go on that she has to take in her surroundings to figure out who Richard is and what kind of relationship he could have had with her aunt. 

Homework #12

London is known for its red double decker buses (see picture below). (This annotation contains an image)
Why is Ginny almost hit by a car? 
What's the significance of pants? 
Ginny must be surprised by this because earlier she says that Aunt Peg was always broke. Aunt Peg's bank balance is the equivalent to over $3,000.00. 

Part #3

Why would Aunt Peg tell Ginny to select an artist? 
The concept of a mysterious benefactor is common in many stories, including Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. The main character, Pip, is supported by a mysterious benefactor, or patron. Watch this 60 second clip below. (This annotation contains a video)

Homework #14

The common theme of the Shelia paintings appears to be 
Watch the video below. Themes are found in literature, but they can also be found in art. (This annotation contains a video)
Why doesn't Ginny select the first two artists to receive her gift? 
Watch a part of this clip of buskers, street musicians, in London's Covent Garden playing Pachelbel's Canon in D. (This annotation contains a video)

Homework #15

Where is Ginny? 
Below is a picture of a barista wearing the signature Starbucks green smock. (This annotation contains an image)
Ginny realizes that the advice she read in a travel book makes her stand out like a tourist (pictured below). Her white sneakers represents how out of place and foreign she feels on this adventure. (This annotation contains an image)
What causes Ginny to want to buy all of the tickets for Jittery Grande's (Keith Dobson's) performance? Give at least two details from the text in your answer. 

Homework #16

"Lock, stock, and barrel" is a figure of speech meaning everything or total. 
What's wrong with Ginny's plan for becoming Keith Dobson's benefactor? 
See the photograph below of London's West End. (This annotation contains an image)
For a comparison, see the photograph below of Broadway in New York City. How are these two spots different? (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Ginny most likely decide to write a letter? 
The tone of Ginny's letter shows that she has a good sense of humor because she's able to make fun of herself. 

Homework #17

Why does Ginny lose her voice? 
One of the famous "Dogs Playing Poker" paintings is called "A Friend in Need" (see painting below). Perhaps this pub's name comes from this painting or maybe its name is from the saying "a friend in need is a friend indeed." (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Ginny order a pint of Guinness? 
Watch the video for a trip on the London Eye. (This annotation contains a video)
Before attending art school, Keith was 
Watch the video below. What could this pineapple incident symbolize in the text?  (This annotation contains a video)

Homework #18

What does Keith's driving reveal? 
Notice again how Ginny analyzes her clothing versus others. What can a person's clothing tell you about him or her? 
Who is Fiona? 
Why do you think Ginny acted this way? 

Part #4

Below is a photograph of Edinburgh, Castle in Scotland. (This annotation contains an image)
Who else was heading to Scotland? 

Homework #20

Why does David want to stay in London? 
Below is a picture of a stack of papadams. (This annotation contains an image)
How does David trick Ginny? 
This is an example of Ginny's ability to think quickly. She knows she can't physically outrun David, so she mentally outwits him by faking an injury. 
What might this rare appearance of a fox symbolize, or stand for? Be specific with your answer. 

Homework #21

Using your knowledge of geography, why might the city of Edinburgh (the capital of Scotland) be on multiple levels? Look at the picture below if you need a hint. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Keith insist on accompanying Ginny to Mari Adams' place? 
The description of Mari suits her well because she is 
What is your impression of Mari so far? Does she remind you of any other characters in this novel or in others? 
Below is Jan van Eyck's painting. Examine the elements of the painting as Mari describes it to Ginny and Keith. (This annotation contains an image)
What important lesson does Ginny learn from Mari? 

Homework #22

How would Keith most likely characterize Aunt Peg? 
Keith comes clean with Ginny about why he was arrested and what happened before. Read on to discover more of Keith's story. 
Do you think this "thing" between Ginny and Keith will turn into a real relationship? Why or why not? 
Where was the Godzilla toy located in Mari's place (before Keith stole it)? 
Quiz Envelopes 1-4 

Part #5 & #6

In Greek Mythology, Vesta is known as Hestia. See an image below of Vesta. (This annotation contains an image)
What mostly drew Peg to the vestal virgins? 
Watch the video below to learn more about the vestal virgins. (This annotation contains a video)

Homework #24

When did Ginny give a similar description of seeing different settings flash before her eyes? 
Watch the video below. In what ways is Ginny changing as she travels around the world? (This annotation contains a video)

Homework #25

What does Ginny do to try and find the vestal virgins? 
Vespa scooters are a popular way to get around Rome and other European cities. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck made the Vespa scooter famous in Roman Holiday. Watch a clip from the movie below. (This annotation contains a video)
What offering does Ginny give to the virgins? 
Aunt Peg is trying to help Ginny learn from her mistakes. Peg was so committed to her art that she never really loved. Keep reading to discover Ginny's next task. It's a sweet one. 

Homework #26

How did Aunt Peg know this task would be difficult for Ginny? 
How does Beppe help Ginny? 
Gelato is similar to ice cream, but it contains less fat. See a picture below of a case full of Italian gelato. (This annotation contains an image)

Homework #27

Below is a picture of Travestere, a neighborhood in Rome. (This annotation contains an image)
What does Ginny realize when she enters Beppe's sister's apartment? 
Think back to Beppe's comments about Americans. What kind of impression does he have about them? 
Why does Ginny give the vestal virgins her button? How is she feeling when she does this? Give specific examples from the text in your answer. 

Part #7 & #8

Watch the movie clip below from Midnight in Paris to get a flavor of what the city is like. (This annotation contains a video)

Homework #29

What are the "surfboards" Ginny refers to? 
Hostels are popular among travelers in many countries and offer people (particularly students) affordable lodging. It's less expensive than staying in a hotel, but there are fewer amenities. 
Below is a picture of the Louvre, one of the most famous museums in the world. (This annotation contains an image)
How does Ginny feel as she walks around the Louvre? 
The Louvre is home to the Mona Lisa. Many visitors are surprised at how small the painting is and how crowded the gallery can be (see photograph below). The Mona Lisa is located on the far back wall. (This annotation contains an image)
What is Ginny's next task? 
Watch the video to learn about tone and mood in literature. Is Ginny's mood similar or different to the overall mood portrayed in Paris? (This annotation contains a video)

Homework #30

Why does Ginny most likely break the "no electronic communication" rule? 
Ginny's task is a little like finding a needle in a haystack. How would you go about finding Aunt Peg's cafe, if you were Ginny? 
Why might Michel Pienette be able to help Ginny locate her aunt's cafe? 
Remember back to earlier descriptions of Aunt Peg's rooms. How did she turn trash into art? 
How did Peg's art help the restaurant become successful? 
Who could it be? 

Homework #31

What are Keith's true intentions for traveling to Paris? 
Watch the video below. Is the highlighted text an internal or external conflict? In Ginny's journeys, does she seem to struggle more with one type of conflict over the other? (This annotation contains a video)
Keith is referring to the climax of the play. Watch the video below for a quick overview of one of Shakespeare's most famous works. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Keith mostly like Ginny? 

Homework #32

What is their punishment for trespassing in the graveyard? 
Why do you think Keith is most likely making these comments? 
Watch the video below to learn about one type of irony. (This annotation contains a video)

Part #9

Watch the video (or read the transcript) below to learn about the Netherlands and how they stay afloat. (This annotation contains a link)
For this task, where will Ginny stay? 
Below is Rembrandt's painting. Notice his use of light and movement. What stands out to you? (This annotation contains an image)

Homework #34

Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands (see photograph below). (This annotation contains an image)
What does Ginny discover when she arrives at the address Aunt Peg gave her? 
The author includes such vivid (and disgusting) imagery that you can almost imagine being in this hostel. Would you have stayed the night or left like Ginny? 

Homework #35

At this point, how does Ginny mostly feel? 
Tulips are often associated with the Netherlands (particularly Holland). See image below. (This annotation contains an image)
Olivia seems ___________________ of Ginny. 

Homework #36

Would you like to travel with the Knapps? Why or why not? 
Why does Ginny ask to stay behind? 
The Knapp's furious schedule reveals that they are interested in seeing all of these great places, but don't truly appreciate them or understand their importance. 

Homework #37

Why doesn't Ginny answer her best friend? 
While away on a vacation, who would you miss the most? Ginny obviously misses her best friend, Miriam. 
Who is Piet? 

Homework #38

The Dutch are known for their wooden shoes called clogs (see image below). (This annotation contains an image)
What is Olivia's secret? 
With the Knapps, Ginny spends almost a hundred euros a day (the equivalent to roughly $136/day). 
Quiz Envelopes 5-9 

Part #10

Aunt Peg thought that forgetting things may have been a the first sign of 

Homework #40

Look at the map of Europe below. Can you locate all of the countries Ginny has visited so far? (This annotation contains an image)
The picture below gives you an idea of what Knud's vehicle looks like. (This annotation contains an image)
Given what you know about Vikings, why might Knud call himself one? Use details from the text to support your answer. 
"Midnight Sun is a name given to the sun when it can be seen at midnight during the Arctic or Antarctic summer. From March 21 to September 23, the sun is visible 24 hours a day at the North Pole. As a person here moves southward toward the midnight sun's limit (just south of the Arctic Circle), the number of days of continuous sunshine decreases. Northern Scandinavia, which extends 300 miles (480 km) into the Arctic zone, is sometimes called Land of the Midnight Sun. Northern Russia, Alaska, Canada, and Greenland also experience the midnight sun. At the South Pole, the midnight sun is seen from September 23 to March 21. The midnight sun occurs because the earth's axis tilts toward the sun in summer and away from the sun in winter. Thus the poles are exposed to the sun's rays for six months each. This tilting of the earth's axis, together with the revolution of the earth about the sun, also causes the seasons" (howstuffworks.com). 

Homework #41

The man most likely compares Ginny's hair to a pretzel due to 
How does Hippo's compare to the The Apple hostel in Copenhagen? 

Homework #42

Ginny has really changed throughout the novel, but at her core she is still very shy. 
What is Ginny about to do? 
The author creates an interesting phrase here. This is a "reverse mugging" because instead of having money taken, Ginny is given money by this stranger. 
What happens after Ginny conquers her stage fright? 

Part #11

Aunt Peg's words are true. She has sent Ginny on the journey she made, but Ginny has really made this journey her own. She's followed her aunt's instructions, but she's encountered so many "extras" beyond her tasks. Where do you think this journey is leading Ginny? 
Make a prediction: who or what was Aunt Peg referring to? Support your prediction with text-based details. 

Homework #44

How do the Australians react to Ginny's envelopes?  
Remember Aunt Peg told Ginny to head south, so that's exactly what they're doing. 
Why is Ginny most likely happy to have fresh air? 
Below is an aerial view of Corfu. Do you see any elements that look dragon-like? (This annotation contains an image)

Part #12

What moral or lesson is Aunt Peg trying to teach Ginny? 

Homework #46

Ginny is able to open the thirteenth envelope whenever she's ready. What's holding her back from reading it? 
What happened to the girls' bags? 
Does Ginny's reaction to her bag being stolen fit with her character? Why or why not? 

Homework #47

Below is a picture of a Greek olive tree. It's easy to understand why Ginny compares its appearance to a lime. (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following best describes how Ginny feels in the highlighted text? 
Who does Ginny call for help? 
How does Ginny's mood change after hearing Richard's news? 

Homework #48

Where is Ginny going? 
This is yet another reference to Ginny's appearance. Can you visualize what her clothes must look like after traveling on a train, swimming in the ocean, and flying in a plane? 
Keith believes that Richard is 

Homework #49

Explain how the painting is symbolic of Aunt Peg's life before returning to Richard. Give two examples in your response. 
Here's the painting again. The yellow arrow points out the green slippers. (This annotation contains an image)
How does Ginny figure out the mystery key may unlock something at Harrods? 

Homework #50

Talk about a role reversal! Ginny grabs Keith and makes him enter Harrods, when Keith is usually the one who makes Ginny take risks. 
Why is Ginny nervous to see Richard? 
Keith is making a joke by changing the name of the Dead Sea Scrolls (see photograph below). These scrolls were discovered in the 1940's and 1950's and they contain some of the oldest known biblical documents. (This annotation contains an image)
Why does Keith leave? 
Both Ginny and Richard are thrown into an awkward situation, but they realize the value in the relationship because of their shared love for Peg. 

Homework #51

Cecil is interested in 
This place is ornate and lavish. Where do you think they are? 
Cecil gives one explanation, but it appears that Ginny believes her aunt most likely waited to sell the paintings for what reason? 

Homework #52

Keith is inspired by Ginny's journey to create what? 
Remember that after traveling all over Europe, Peg felt like something was missing. She decided to go back to London to be with Richard. Although their circumstances are different, something keeps pulling Ginny back to Keith. 

Homework #53

Why does she give this stranger chocolates? 
Why does Ginny most likely tell Richard that her Aunt Peg really loved him? 
Quiz Envelopes 10-13