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Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy

Last updated Sunday, January 28, 2007

Author: Gary Schmidt
Date of Publication: 2004
ISBN: 0618439293
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Feb. 2007

Synopsis: (From AudioFile) Boston and Phippsburg are close geographically, but 13-year-old Tucker Buckminster, who moves to Maine with his minister father, discovers they are two different worlds. He tries to fit in but the door is firmly shut until he finds friendship with old Mrs. Heard and sprightly Lizzie Bright. From the beginning, Sam Freed portrays Tucker as open, caring, and honest as he faces his new life. Freed doesn't differentiate the many characters, but his Maine accent is superb. Freed superbly conveys Tucker's innocence and naïveté as he faces prejudice, his wonder and awe at communing with the whales, and finally his growing strength of character and sense of self.

Note to readers:
•  This is a great book, however you will not be able to finish it. Encourage the kids to finish the book at the school library. It is touching and sad with a uplifting ending. If you read the author’s note at the end, it is based on real events.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Looking at the cover, it this book happening now? Have you ever seen a boy wear a shirt like that? When?
•  Who is Lizzie and who is the Buckminster boy? How are they different?
•  At the time when this story occurred, could a girl like Lizzie be friends with a boy like the Buckminster boy?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  If you’re good at one game/sport, does that automatically mean you are good at another? Why or why not?
•  Have you ever lived in a new place? How did you make friends? Did you make friends with people you thought you wouldn’t like?
•  Have you ever gotten in trouble with a neighbor?
•  Do you have friends who are a different nationality? What do you learn from them?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a picture of all the different people you know (different nationalities, different age, different sex, etc.) and the good things they remind you of.
•  Fold a paper in half. On one side draw a picture of yourself. On the other side draw a picture of someone you know who is a different nationality from you. Write/draw the things that are the same about you (fingers/toes, food you eat, toys you like, clothes you wear ....)
•  Go to the map of the world or the globe. Close your eyes and point on the map. Draw a picture of the place/country you chose and what you think it looks like. Write down or draw the things that make it the same as where you live (kids go to school, there are parks, buses, cars ....)

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!