105 pages 3 hours read

Gordon Korman


Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 2012

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Discussion/Analysis Prompt

If you had to rank the Daniels, Noah, Chloe, and Abigail according to which is the healthiest friend for Donovan, how would you rank them? What evidence from the story would you use to justify your rankings? Do you think that Donovan would rank these people differently from the way you would rank them? Would Donovan’s rankings change at any point in the novel?

Teaching Suggestion: This question lends itself well to small-group or whole-class discussion and debate, although you may wish to ask students to at least jot down their rankings and some potential evidence before discussion begins so that the stronger voices do not prematurely sway other students’ rankings. A discussion of students’ rankings and evidence and Donovan’s changing beliefs about his friendships is a natural springboard for a discussion of the text’s theme of Human Growth and Development and what it means to have a healthy friendship. This is also an opportunity to discuss Donovan as a dynamic character and the Daniels as somewhat static characters.

Differentiation Suggestion: Should you choose to have students answer this question in writing, a reasonable accommodation for those who benefit from assistance with written expression might be to accept a listed ranking of character names along with brief annotations of evidence in lieu of a fully developed paragraph-style response.