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Maddie lives in the East Tennessee Children's Home. Ricky Ray, age six, is her special friend. Then Murphy, a new girl, comes to the home telling wonderful stories about her previous life. Maddie doesn't know whether to believe them but enjoys them anyway. Maddie makes scrapbooks of houses, houses cut from magazines, houses where she'd like to live. The children build a fort with the help and in the yard of Logan, who has a home and a family. The children make scrapbooks and weave stories about how they would like their lives to be. THEMES
Adoption; Orphans and foster children; Friendship; Imagination. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
• Why do you think Murphy tells such stories about herself?
• Do you think Penny Korda will adopt Maddie and Ricky?
• Why did Maddie bury the books? What was the symbolism?
• Maddie was judging the other children by her first impressions. Why can that sometimes be wrong?
• How did Logan's mother change during the story? ACTIVITIES
• Start a scrapbook of your favorite things -- faces, clothes, toys, etc.
• Draw a map of what you think the fort looks like. Where are the doors, windows, and furniture?
• Maddie collects pictures of houses to decide which one she wants for herself. What would your ideal home be like? Draw a picture or write a description.
• Read some other books about foster children, such as Pictures of Hollis Wood
by Patricia Reilly Giff, The Pinballs
by Betsy Byars, and The Same Stuff as Stars
by Katherine Paterson. How are they alike and different?
This reading group guide is for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Prepared by Marj Lloyd
© William Allen White Children's Book Award
Please visit http://www.emporia.edu/libsv/wawbookaward/ for more information about the awards and to see curriculum guides for other master list titles.