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The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman
1. If every character’s dæmon is different, how would you explain what a dæmon is? What do you think they represent or symbolise about a
2. How would you describe the initial effect Mrs Coulter has on Lyra?
3. What happens when children are separated from their dæmon and why do you think that other characters find it so horrifying?
4. What do you think of Lyra? Did your feelings about her change at all? Why?
A Gathering Light - Jennifer Donnelly
1. The book has a clever structure:
The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank
1. Who is referred to as Pim in the book? Describe Anne’s relationship with Pim and how it changes over the course of the book
2. Anne’s diary is very important to her in the attic. Write a paragraph explaining why Anne names her diary and why it is so important to her.
3. Anne has a complicated relationship with both her mother and her sister. Explain how Anne feels about them and why.
Barca: The making of the Greatest Team in the World - Graham Hunter
1. Choose one of the players Hunter writes a profile on and describe what unique qualities he credits them with bringing to the team.
2. The book details not just the players and the games, but a lot of behind-the-scenes events. Which of these behind-the-scenes events
did you find the most interesting? (Feel free to list several.)
3. The book focuses a lot on Pep Guardiola; what features of his personality come across?
4. Now you have read this book, write a few short paragraphs explaining what you think were the main factors that contributed to
I Am Malala - Malala Yousafzai
1. Give three pieces of evidence that suggest Malala was an independent thinker from a very young age.
2. Life changed for Malala, her family and her community with the arrival of the Taliban. The Mullah informed the community of the Taliban’s
rules over the radio. Write down five of these rules.
3. Explain some of the positive and negative changes that took place in Malala’s life after she was shot.
4. After reading Malala’s story do you think she is an ordinary or extraordinary girl? Explain your choice.
The Book Thief - Markus Zuzak
1. Comment on Markus Zusak's choice of narrator.
(What do you think of this choice? Were you surprised by the narrator's character? Why?)
2. What three colours are mentioned in the prologue? And what events are these connected with?
3. Besides the protagonist, Liesel, which two characters made the biggest impression on you? Do you think that these characters had a
significant impact on Liesel's life? How and why?
4. Comment on how satisfactory you found the end of the book - consider 'The End of the World (Part 2)' and the Epilogue.
(Where you surprised by the ending? Do you think it was a fitting ending? Why? Would you describe it as optimistic or pessimistic? What
do you think the author's message may be? What did you gain from reading this book?)
Empire of the Sun - J G Ballard
1. Think about Jim’s childhood before the war. Is he a lucky child? Give reasons for your answer.
2. As the story progresses, Jim sees some horrific things. What effect do these experiences have on him?
3. Think about the character of Basie. Would you say that Basie is a good guy or a bad guy?
4. Jim’s separation from his parents makes up most of the story. When he is reunited with them at the end, does this make for a happy
ending to the book?
The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
1. If the definition of a ‘Wallflower’ is a ‘shy or excluded person, usually at a dance or a party (or other social events’, how well do you think
Charlie fits this description and why? Do you think there are any ‘perks’ of him being a wallflower?
2. Why do you think the novel makes so many references to music, literature and film?
3. How reliable do you think Charlie is as a narrator? Do you believe he gives us an accurate account of everything that happened? Why?
Touching the Void - Joe Simpson.
1. Where are Joe Simpson and his climbing partner Simon Yates? What are they trying to achieve. Who else is with them and why?
2. The expedition runs into lots of difficulties early on in the story. Describe some of the challenges the climbers face.
3. Joe is badly injured during the climb. What happens to him during the accident and what injuries does he sustain?
4. Simon Yates tries to rescue Joe but this proves very difficult. Why is the rescue difficult and what happens to Joe?
Write a paragraph to describe the difficulties faced by Joe after the rescue attempt fails.
Animal Farm – George Orwell
1. Note down one fact about each of the following: the sheep; the rats; the neighbouring farmers; the windmill; Mr Jones.
2. Think about the character of Boxer. Why do you think he does what he does? What happens to Boxer in the end?
3. Does the character of Napoleon change as the story progresses? (Think of how he behaves in the early chapters of the book, compared to
how he behaves as the end of the book approaches.)
4. At the end of the day, is it a good thing that the animals took over the farm?
Hatchet – Gary Paulsen
1. Consider the various encounters Brian has with animals in the novel. At various points he comes across a porcupine, a wolf, bears, a
skunk, a moose, foolbirds and fish. Explain what you think Brian learns from these encounters. In your answer you should refer to at least
three specific moments and explain their significance.
2. The hatchet is an important symbol in the novel. Write a short paragraph explaining its significance. In your paragraph you might refer to:
who gave it to him, the uses it has (both good and bad) and his near loss of the hatchet.
3. When Brian eventually retrieves the survival pack from the plane, he has learned a lot about living in the wild. There are some items he
considers very valuable in the pack, and others he rejects. Consider his attitude to finding the following items and explain why you think he
feels this way.
* The compass
* The rifle
* The lighter
* The aluminium pots
The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness
1. Despite being able to hear the thoughts or “noise” of all the people in his hometown, Todd comes to learn that he has been lied to for most
of his life. He is also very wary of Viola’s silence when he first encounters her. What do you think Todd learns about truth and lies over the
course of the novel? Write a paragraph describing this.
2. Todd’s murder of the Spackle is an important moment in the book. Explain his motivation for killing it, and why it turns out to be an
important lesson for Todd.
3. Consider the symbolism of the knife in the novel. It is constantly at Todd’s side. At one point he says:
A knife ain't just a thing, is it? It's a choice, it's something you do. A knife says yes or no, cut or not, die or don't. A knife takes a decision
out of your hand and puts it in the world and it never goes back again.
Explain what lessons Todd learns from his experiences carrying, using and not using the knife.
Some Kind of Fairy Tale - Graham Joyce
1. Name a character that believes Tara’s story and provide evidence in support. (You must also provide a relevant page number.)
2. Name two characters that disbelieve Tara’s story and provide evidence in support. (You must also provide relevant page numbers for the
3. What key event first persuades you that Tara did enter another world and what makes you believe her? Refer to character, setting and/or
language in your answer.
4. What is the purpose of the quotations in italics at the start of each chapter? What do you think Graham Joyce wants us to think or feel
about fairy tales in general?
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou
1. 1 How does friendship with Louise change Maya?
2. a) How did Maya’s relationships with Big Bailey and Daddy Clidell differ?
b) How does her relationship with Big Bailey compare with her relationship with Vivian?
3. Trace Maya’s relationship with her brother, Bailey. Does it change significantly over the course of the book? Why or why not?