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The Key to Extraordinary

Last updated Thursday, October 4, 2018

Author: Natalie Lloyd
Date of Publication: 2017
ISBN: 0545552745
Grade Level: 5th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Oct. 2018

Synopsis: Everyone in Emma's family is special. Her ancestors include Revolutionary War spies, brilliant scientists, and famous musicians--every single one of which learned of their extraordinary destiny through a dream. For Emma, her own dream can't come soon enough. But when Emma's dream finally arrives, it points her toward an impossible task--finding a legendary treasure hidden in her town's cemetery. If Emma fails, she'll let down generations of extraordinary ancestors . . . including her own mother. But how can she find something that's been missing for centuries and might be protected by a mysterious singing ghost?

Note to readers:
•  The book centers around women leading extraordinary lives. Think of some women who changed the course of history (Rosa Parks, Marie Curie etc.) to share later with the children.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you think a Destiny Dream is?
•  Have you ever lost someone close to you? If so, how did you deal with it?
•  If your family ran a store/business/restaurant, what would you like it to be?


•  morbid - suggesting an unhealthy mental state or attitude, gloomy; affected by, caused by, causing or characteristic of disease.
•  almanac - an annual publication containing a calendar for the coming year, times of events and phenomena, etc. and other statistical information and related topics.
•  destiny - the predetermined, usually inevitable, course of events.
•  verbatim - in exactly the same words; word for word.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you believe in destiny?
•  What is the Big Empty?
•  What person in real life qualifies as a Wildflower? Who do you think lived an extraordinary life? (Women only, good to introduce the kids to prominent women in history)
•  (If you read up to pg 58) What do you think Emma's destiny is based on her Destiny Dream?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a family tree of Emma's family, including Club Pancake.
•  Make paper flowers out of construction paper. (Blackbird Hollow has flowers blooming year-round.) Then make a flower crown.
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!

*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!