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Better Nate Than Ever

Last updated Sunday, March 6, 2016

Author: Tim Federle
Date of Publication: 2013
ISBN: 1442446897
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Mar. 2016

Synopsis: Nate Foster has big dreams. His whole life, he’s wanted to star in a Broadway show. (Heck, he’d settle for seeing a Broadway show.) But how is Nate supposed to make his dreams come true when he’s stuck in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, where no one (except his best pal Libby) appreciates a good show tune? With Libby’s help, Nate plans a daring overnight escape to New York. There’s an open casting call for E.T.: The Musical, and Nate knows this could be the difference between small-town blues and big-time stardom. Tim Federle writes a warm and witty debut that's full of broken curfews, second chances, and the adventure of growing up—because sometimes you have to get four hundred miles from your backyard to finally feel at home.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What city skyline is on the cover?
•  Have you ever been to New York City?
•  What do you think the boy is late for?


•  Strategizing- to make a plan for achieving a goal
•  Schmuck- a stupid or foolish person
•  Ludicrous- very foolish
•  Ailment- a sickness or illness
•  Extravagance- the act or practice of spending a lot of money
•  Emporium- a store or shop (old-fashion word)

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Where is Nate going by himself? What is he going to do there?
•  How does Nate get to New York?
•  Have you ever seen a musical?
•  How does Nate feel when he first sees the Empire State Building?

Craft ideas:
•  Have kids draw their names in a marquee style. Have kids draw block letters and add marquee lights. See example on the cover of the book and on Pinterest.
•  Check out our March craft ideas on Pinterest! https://www.pinterest.com/readingtokids/march-music-2016-crafts/

Special activities:
•  Discuss some popular musicals and pull up music to play clips of songs for the kids. (ex. The Wiz, and Sound of Music)

*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!