Here are seventeen original short stories that reflect young adults' views on friendships and prejudice, expectations and disappointments, and connections and confrontations. From the Paperback edition.
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Watch the video below about point of view and cultural perspective. As you read, pay particular attention to what you can identify with in each story as well as the unique cultural perspective provided in each story. (This annotation contains a video)
To learn more about Rodney King and the Los Angeles riots, you can read the article linked below. What cultural and historical significance does this have in America today? (This annotation contains a link)
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? 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... Is there a word on this page you need to look up?
How is is the boys' reaction to their first paycheck unexpected?
In some parts of the United States, the sandwich below is called a hero. In other parts, it is called a sub or submarine sandwich. How many people do you think a six foot long sandwich can feed? (This annotation contains an image)
Why haven't the girls tried to talk to the boys?
A nightstick is like a weighted bat, often carried by police, as seen in the photo below. Why would police carry a nightstick when they carry a gun? (This annotation contains an image)
Why did the author title this story "Into the Game"? Is it an appropriate title, in your opinion? Explain why or why not, using details from the story to support your answer.
Snake charming is an old Indian art. The snakes are usually cobras, which are very deadly. The video below shows some snake charmers. Why do you think snake charmers are so fascinating? (This annotation contains a video)
Does Andy see himself positively or negatively? Explain your answer by using specific examples from the story to support your opinion.
The picture below is of a cyclone fence. They are usually made of metal that is twisted together to form a strong mesh. Why do you think they are called cyclone fences? (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following is NOT a clue that Lee was a fox?
The university Paul is referring to is the Institute of American Indian Arts. Learn more about the school at its website. Does this seem like a university you would like to attend? (This annotation contains a link)
Paul attributes Stephanie's quickened breathing to not being adjusted to the altitude. What might be another possible reason?
The flat-topped houses are pueblos, much like the ones in the picture below. Do you think it would be hard to build a pueblo? (This annotation contains an image)
Is Paul complimenting Stephanie? What makes you think so? Use examples from the text to elaborate on your response.
At the website below, you can see current crime statistics for New York City. As you can see, crime is pretty prevalent, which is not surprising because New York it a large city. Why do you think people choose to live in high crime cities like New York? (This annotation contains a link)
Which of the following is NOT one of the ways the author develops the relationship between Paul and Stephanie?
The article below outlines Young MC's influence on rap music. Read about the artist and his song. Does this style or rap have appeal today? (This annotation contains a link)
Suzanne saying that cool rappers can only be black is an example of a/an
Vanilla Ice was a rapper who had a short-lived career. He came under criticism for allegedly plagiarizing from another song. Watch the MTV news report about this issue. Is Vanilla Ice a rapper Rodney should try to model himself after? (This annotation contains a video)
What do you think Rodney should have said or done? Why should he have done what you suggested? Support your response with information from the text as well as your own personal perspective.
The picture below is of the Energizer bunny. Do you think having Ivy dress in a similar costume will help or hurt Rodney's rap performance considering the topic he plans to rap about? (This annotation contains an image)
Which of the following is a lesson Rodney could learn from this experience?
Quiz -- Expectations
You are being set up for a flashback. Watch the video below to learn more about what a flashback is and what purpose it serves in a story. As you read the rest of the story, consider how the flashback impacts your understanding of the main character. (This annotation contains a video)
What effect has Chauncey had on Lucinda?
Lucinda is likely referring to plantains, which are very similar to bananas. Do people eat fried bananas in your culture?
How does the author attempt to reach you at an emotional level?
Lucinda is probably talking about learning to dance on pointe. Watch the video below paying attention to the pointe form. Can you understand why it would hurt Lucinda's feet or why a dancer's foot might bleed after watching this video? (This annotation contains a video)
The title of this story is "Viva New Jersey." Why did the author give it this title? Use details from the text in your explanation.
The graphic below shows the fielding positions in baseball. How difficult would it be to have the responsibility of playing more than one position? (This annotation contains an image)
The remarks about Asian kids being short, good at baseball, or good students are an example of
You can read about Nolan Ryan at the site below. What kinds of skills and advantages could Phuong bring to the team? (This annotation contains a link)
Based on this description of Jeff, which word would NOT be used to describe him?
Asian stereotypes and prejudices exist, and they can be seen in sports. Basketball player Jeremy Lin brought this into the forefront when he faced some stereotyping while he played for the NBA. Read about Lin's experience and compare and contrast it with what is happening with Bull, Jeff, and Phuong. (This annotation contains a link)
What is your opinion of Jeff? Why do you feel this way? Use details from the story to elaborate on your response.
The article below is about a similar contest between two men where no one blinked for over 40 minutes! Read about that contest below, and then see how long you can go without blinking! (This annotation contains a link)
Which word would best describe the way Jeff is talking about Phuong here?
Ryne Duren was a great Yanlkee pitcher. What is Bull trying to say about Phuong's pitching? (This annotation contains a link)
How are Bull, Jeff, and Phuong actually working as a team?
Bull is using psychology to help Phuong pitch well. It might surprise you to learn that psychology and tools like visualization and meditation are common in professional sports.
The title of this story is "No Win Phuong." How does the meaning of this title evolve as the story progresses? Use details from the story to develop your response.
Pilot whales sadly beach themselves more often than you realize. The video below shows a news story about some pilot whales in New Zealand. (This annotation contains a video)
Lien says that Curt is enjoying being the "voice of authority," but he really isn't. How can you tell?
What effect does giving the whale the name "Junior" have on you as the reader?
It is clear that Curt is a bully to Lien. Shani, Mitch, and Debby speak up in defense of Lien at the end of the story, but not at the beginning. They are bystanders to the bullying. Why do you think so many bystanders are reluctant to defend the victim and stand up to the bully? (This annotation contains a link)
Quiz -- Friendship
The over-arching theme for the next group of stories is "Dilemmas." The dilemmas the characters face in these stories are going to be examples of internal conflict. The internal conflicts are brought about by external conflicts. Watch the video below to gain more understanding about internal and external conflict. Then pay attention to how internal conflicts are created by external factors in the stories. (This annotation contains a video)
What does Maria really envy?
Smoking cigarettes can have a severely negative impact on the health of teenagers. The site below discusses the impact smoking has on teens in particular, as well as the effects of smoking hookahs and e-cigarettes. Is there anything surprising to you in the article? (This annotation contains a link)
What did Maria mean?
The link below is to a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks called "We Real Cool." How does this poem connect to this story? (This annotation contains a link)
Do you think Sundara would be right to feel happiness for herself? Why or why not? Use what you know so far about Sundara's history as well as your own personal experience to develop your response.
The Khmer Rouge is not commonly studied in great depth in American schools. One excellent book that highlights one man's personal experience as a child soldier who managed to elude death at the hands of the Khmer Rouge is Never Fall Down by Patricia McCormick. The video below features the author and subject of the book. (This annotation contains a video)
From what you have read, do you think Moni thinks "turning American" is a good thing or a bad thing? Explain your position using information from the text.
According to the American Psychological Association, 40-50% of married couples in the United States divorce. The rate is higher for marriages beyond the first. Sundara is right in thinking that divorce is common and socially acceptable in the United States.
What does this simile mean in this context?
Look at the Cambodian bride below. Which do you think is more beautiful -- the traditional American bride, or the traditional Cambodian bride? (This annotation contains an image)
Why is the point when Sundara learned of Srey's suicide attempt the climax of this story?
Do you know where Cambodia is? You can find it on the map below. How long would a journey from Cambodia to the United States take? (This annotation contains an image)
You can read more about Maya Angelou and her legacy at the website below. Can you see why someone would want to name a child after her? (This annotation contains a link)
This story has a third-person omniscient point of view. This means that you, as the reader, will be able to know the thoughts and feelings of both Monique and Carla even though this is Monique's story. What are the advantages and disadvantages to this point of view? Use examples from the story as well as any experience you have with other stories written in third-person omniscient point of view to develop your response.
The Cosby Show was extremely popular during the 1980s. (This annotation contains a link)
What exactly is Monique talking about here?
The phrase, "Bless your heart" can mean different things in different parts of the country. For instance, in the South, it is often used in a condescending way, said when someone does something considered foolish. However, in other parts of the country, it can be used to express gratitude or kindness. How do you think Monique is using that phrase here?
Which of the following is NOT a mistake Monique made through this whole situation?
There will be quotes from this man interspersed throughout the story. You will recognize them because they are italicized. As you read the story, think about what purpose this character's words serve. While they may not appear to be directly related to the plot of the story, they certainly are not randomly placed.
What is being conveyed in this simile?
You can learn more about teen pregnancy rates at the site below. Which groups have a higher rate than normal? Which groups have a lower rate than normal? What has happened to teen birth rates over the past decade or so in all ethnic groups? (This annotation contains a link)
Quiz -- Dilemmas
Why is this story called "The Child"? Is it because Karen is having a child, or could it be that Karen is the child referenced in the title? Explain your choice, making sure to use evidence from the story to support your opinion.
The reader has no idea who Rima is talking about, but her reference to this person is meant to pique your interest and make you wonder who this guy is and why he makes her nervous. Read on to find out!
The map below shows the Middle East. Can you find Lebanon? (This annotation contains an image)
How has the author created tension in the story so far?
Fuad's words are written the way he would actually speak them. This creates a stronger, more vivid character. What is this literary technique called?
Do you think he will hear it again someday? Consider the title of this story.
Rima seems distrustful of Fuad. What things make her suspicious that he is hiding something? Do you think she is right to feel this suspicion? Explain your perspective, remembering to use details from the story.
Traditionally, people applied pressure and tilted their heads back to stop a nosebleed. Now experts say you should lean your head forward. (This annotation contains a link)
How has the author managed to hook you into Fuad's story?
Fuad is likely suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, which is not uncommon for people who live in areas of high combat. Interestingly, military dogs can also experience PTSD.
Why does Rima sing those words to Fuad?
Notice Beverly's seemingly abrupt change in how she engages with Willa. As you read, see if you can figure out why she interacts like this with Willa.
Why is Willa feeling ill?
This is a picture of Duke Ellington's white baby grand piano. You can see why this instrument would have had such an impressive impact on Willa! (This annotation contains an image)
Write what you think Willa will say to her mother from Willa's point of view. Be sure to use the events of the story so far as talking points.
Cornrows are braids that are braided flat against the head. Do they look hard to create? (This annotation contains an image)
Which statement is likely to be Godmother's response to Willa having a pair of shorts like Debby's?
Denzel Washington is a famous actor. Can you understand why Willa and Debby might have a crush on him? (This annotation contains an image)
A collect call was when the caller dialed the operator and asked to place a call to someone else and have the charge for the call billed to the receiver of the call instead of the initiator of the call. Collect calls are no longer common.
Even though Willa does not seem to like Godmother much, she does seem to love the room Godmother prepared for her. Why would Willa still love the room if she doesn't really care for Godmother? Explain your answer using details from the story to support your ideas.
If you enjoy baking or eating chocolate chip cookies, consider trying the recipe below, which is the classic recipe for chocolate chip cookies! (This annotation contains a link)
Which of the following is NOT a way that Willa and Godmother are beginning to bond with each other?
How can you tell that Willa's feelings toward Godmother have changed since the beginning of the story?
Kente cloth is traditionally created from very bright colors. It is likely the box was covered in fabric similar to the fabric pictured below. (This annotation contains an image)
Now that you've reached the end of the story, reflect on Godmother's behavior. Why do you think she acts the way she does? Explain your analysis of Godmother, remembering to use details from the story in your writing.
This story starts in medias res. Watch the video about this technique, then as you read the story think about why this technique was used. (This annotation contains a video)
Why does Bobby want to know what Margie is going to do?
The guitar below likely resembles the one Bobby is playing. It is different from an electric guitar. (This annotation contains an image)
What does this simile mean?
If you want to hear a version of the song "Beale Street Mamma" you can click the link below. (This annotation contains a video)
It is obvious that Bobby's grandfather has money. When was the first clue of this?
A Rolex watch truly is a luxury item. They start at prices of a few thousand dollars and can go as high up as more than $20,000! (This annotation contains an image)
There have been some pretty big plot twists. Before reading any further, make a prediction about how the rest of the story will go. Be sure to back up your prediction with evidence from the text.
Decide for yourself: the video below is Joe Cocker singing one of his most iconic songs. Does this white Englishman have soul? (This annotation contains a video)
Quiz -- Connections
This is what a chow chow looks like. Do you agree with Cesar that this is an ugly dog? (This annotation contains an image)
Cesar knowing the purse thief is an example of which literary device?
What is the most likely effect on you as the reader when you read about Pochie?
Here is a mesquite tree growing in the desert. They are few and far between, so that is why Pochie can tell that the ones she is seeing are not familiar to her. (This annotation contains an image)
Bullfighting is not well regarded everywhere. Many people believe it is a harsh form of animal cruelty. This is why Nuncio is so upset by what he has done.
This story evokes many emotions in the reader. What emotions did you feel? Discuss two emotions you had as you read and analyze what in the writing brought forth those emotions. Use examples from the story to illustrate your points.
Which of the following is NOT how Saeng feels about her family?
Smelt fishing is pretty interesting! The fish are tiny and caught in nets. (This annotation contains an image)
The image below shows the hand signal to use when driving a car or riding a bicycle. Why might you need to use these hand signals when driving? (This annotation contains an image)
Before reading on any further, make a prediction: what do you think the instructor is going to say to Saeng and why? Be sure to support your prediction using evidence from the text.
The website below gives a timeline of Laos' history. What events in Laos would have forced Saeng and her family to flee to Thailand? (This annotation contains a link)
Why does Saeng decide not to take the driver's test again?
The sense of smell can be one of the biggest triggers for memories. Are there any scents that bring back immediate memories for you -- perhaps the smell of perfume or baking bread?
Why is this story titled "The Winter Hibiscus"? Do you think there is some symbolism happening in this story? Explain the meaning of the title as you interpret it, remembering to use details from the story to support your writing.
The flower below is a winter-hardy hibiscus, similar to the flower Saeng planted. (This annotation contains an image)
Quiz -- Confrontations