Discussion Question Category: Social and Political Philosophy

Strega Nona’s Magic Lessons

How could magic help Bambalona? Is it possible to get what you want without hard work? Why did Big Anthony want to learn magic? Why couldn’t he? Was it fair for Strega Nona’s to trick Big Anthony? Did Bambalona actually learn how to do magic? Did Big Anthony? What is magic? Contributed by Gobe Hirata

Shelter in Our Car

Why do Zettie and her mother live in their car? Can a car be a home? Do people need shelter? Why? What are the most important things people need in life? What does it mean to be homeless? Why does Zettie want her mother to drop her off at the corner behind the school instead Shelter in Our Car

Rainbow Fish

Is it better to be different or to fit in with the community? Should everyone be the same? Is the Rainbow Fish acting selfishly when he won’t give away his scales? What makes the Rainbow Fish unique? Does he have a right to keep what makes him unique? Why do the other fish stop talking Rainbow Fish

Paperbag Princess

Why does the story tell us that Elizabeth wore “expensive princess clothes?” Does being a princess depend on wearing certain clothes or looking a certain way? Why does Elizabeth chase the dragon? Is Elizabeth brave? How does Elizabeth save Ronald? Why doesn’t Ronald thank Elizabeth? Should he? Does Ronald expect certain things of Elizabeth because Paperbag Princess

Other Side

Why did the fence stretch through the town? Why wasn’t it safe for Clover to climb over to the other side of the fence? Why was it safe for Annie to climb over to Clover’s side of the fence? Why did Annie want to sit on the fence? Were Clover and Annie friends? Does race Other Side

Inch by Inch

Can our weaknesses be our strengths? Does the appearance of something capture what it really is? Is there a hierarchy in nature – if so, on what is it based? Do we assume some creatures are more important than others based on external features (appearance, size, etc.), and, if so, is this assumption morally justifiable? Inch by Inch

Giving Tree

Why does the tree give so much to the boy? Is the boy right to keep asking for me? What should the tree give to the boy? What should the boy ask of the tree? What is love? Can a tree love a boy? Can a boy love a tree? Why do we change as Giving Tree

Freedom Summer

Why is the book called Freedom Summer? Who is free in the story? Who is not? Are Joe and John Henry friends? Why does John Henry eat in the kitchen at Joe’s house, while Joe and his family eat in the dining room? Why isn’t John Henry allowed in the store? Who decides? Who controls Freedom Summer


Does Frederick do his part for the family community? Does being a member of a community mean that you are obligated to contribute to it? What are the responsibilities of family members to each other? Is Frederick meeting his responsibilities? Is Frederick’s work of gathering ideas and words and images as important as gathering food? Frederick