Quaking

Quaking

In a nutshell:  A cast-off teen who wants to ignore everyone and be ignored must deal with bullies at school and their threats to the new family she's starting to love. 

 

Goth girl Matt lives her life by simple rules: Stay under the radar, never go by Matilda (only Matt), and don't let anyone get too close. But everything changes when she moves in with a peaceful Quaker family in Pennsylvania. As the country fights a war in the Middle East, Matt fights her own personal war, battling bullies of her past and present and fighting to stand up for her belief in peace. Then violence erupts in town, and Matt finds that she will need to fight even harder to save the family she is starting to love.

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Reviews:

"As one of the first, if not the first anti-war novel for this generation, Erskine's story will surely open some minds to the idea that peace is nothing to be ashamed of. A good discussion starter on several levels."

Kirkus

"Kathryn Erskine's Matt is a fragile character with a solid core of strength, and this novel beautifully explores her life-saving, life-changing growth."

Children's Literature

"In the end, the narrator chooses to abandon her restricting and no-longer-needed survival skills to become the hero of her own life."

VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

Fun Facts About Quaking

The American Friends Service Committee (Quakers) supporting peace in Syria.

Just for fun, here are 10 easy questions about Quaking and 10 discussion questions.  (Answers to the first 10 are below the discussion questions -- it's better if you read the book first, though!)

Factual Questions

1.  What is Matt's favorite dessert?
2.  What candy does Sam give Matt?
3.  What is Matt's nickname for her World Civ teacher?
4.  What book does Sam read to Rory?
5.  What's the name of the famous Quaker Matt researches?
6.  What does Sam wear on his wrist?
7.  What job does Sam get that embarrasses Matt?
8.  Who was the original owner of shawl Jessica gives Matt?
9.  What activity does Mrs. Jimenez ask Matt to join?
10. What does Jessica bake for Matt?

Discussion Questions

1.  What role do the invisible characters (Matt’s mother, Matt’s father, George Fox, Matt’s term paper character, Fatima) play in the story?

2.  What does Maggie Mahone’s shawl represent to Matt?

3.  What is the purpose of the “Blob?”  Why do you think Matt is so disgusted by him?  What makes her come around?

4.  How do you think you’d handle being in Matt’s situation?  What would you do?  Who or what would you turn to for help?

5.  Matt has strong opinions about the people in her life.  How do you think other people view Matt?  What do you think your opinion of her would be if you met her but didn’t know her story?

6.  Why do you think Matt never uses contractions in her speech, choosing to say, “I do not care” rather than “I don’t care?”

7.  What is the significance of the book, Green Eggs and Ham?

8.  What makes the Rat behave the way he does?

9.  Why do you think Matt signs the petition to reinstate Sam as a bus driver?

10. What makes Matt go after the Rat and the Wall at the end of the book?

Answers to factual questions:

Apple crisp, Wint-o-Green LifeSavers, Mr. Warhead, Green Eggs and Ham, George Fox, his father's MIA bracelet, school bus driver, Maggie Mahone (Jessica's grandmother), peace club newsletter, apple crisp