Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Everyday Hero

Cherry, Kathleen (Author)
Orca 2016. 162 pages
First published: 2016
ISBN: 9781459809826 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

character, characterization, conflict, point of view, setting

Award

The Forest of Reading – The Silver Birch Award (Fiction) Nominee – 2017

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

The simple and skillful language of this book immerses readers in a radically different viewpoint. With great style and humour, it tells a brief and powerful story of friendship and growing up.

“People who are average in type, appearance, achievement, function and development go to the fair?” Alice’s perspective differs on most everything. This, coupled with her peculiar stress-management techniques, makes her a target for malicious bullying and misdirected frustration. Alice’s poignant, ongoing challenge is expressed with a charming lack of self-pity. “Because … for that whole wonderful evening, I hadn’t wanted to count or bang my head or squish myself into a corner.”

The swift-moving plot relates the unlikely friendship between tough-girl Megan and scapegoat Alice with a series of ordinary yet illuminating events: the bus ride home, an evening at the fair, at school by the lockers. “This is a hands-off school,” the principal admonishes, after Alice hits a classmate who insulted her first-ever friend. “(This means we are not allowed to push or hit or shove. It does not mean we have to remove our hands from our wrists.)”

In the end, an ill-advised trip to Vancouver provides the vehicle for the book’s message of self-acceptance—and that in difference, there is strength. “Heroes are not average. That’s what makes them special.”

  •  

    Discuss what makes a person a hero. After reading, discuss heroes again. How has your understanding changed?

  •  Discuss the two main characters, Alice and Megan. How are they similar or different? Create a character map for each of them.
  •  Based on what the story reveals, discuss what you have come to understand about Asperger’s syndrome. To deepen your understanding, do some research and share your findings.
  •  

    With a partner, use a graphic organizer to show the different ways that Alice and Megan care for and help each other.

  •  

    Alice tries her best to appear normal, “the average in type, appearance, achievement, function and development,” yet her obsession with definitions and numbers presents challenges. Discuss what being “normal” means and relate this to the way Alice is constructed early on in the story.

  •  

    In small reading groups, discuss how Alice is characterized. Discuss the way the elements of author's craft are used to build the character and her world.

  •  

    Following reading and discussions, respond to the text. Share with peers and gather feedback from them.

  •  

    Before reading, define hero. After reading, revise your definition.

  •  Discuss the two main characters, Alice and Megan. How are they similar or different? Create a character map for each of them.
  •  

    Discuss Alice’s specificity. From the information in the book, explain what you now know about Asperger Syndrome. Compare your ideas with others to enrich your understanding.

  •  

    With a partner, use a graphic organizer to show the different ways that Alice and Megan care for and help each other.

  •  

    From this story, form a definition of a good friend.

  •  

    What do you know about Asperger Syndrome? Do some research, then discuss the main characteristics in a small group.

  •  As you read, take note of how Alice deals with overwhelming situations or things she doesn’t understand.
  •  Write a persuasive essay explaining who you think needs the other’s friendship more: Alice or Megan.
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Personal Development
  • Social Sciences