Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Seventh Wish

Messner, Kate (Author)
Bloomsbury 2016. 232 pages
First published: 2016
ISBN: 9781681194318 (paperback)
9781619633766 (hardcover)
9781619633773 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

character, characterization, conflict, dialogue, point of view, setting

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:

“You’d think finding a magic fish that grants wishes would help, but it doesn’t, because it turns out you’re really crummy at wishing.” The lively and perceptive voice of seventh grader Charlie (Charlotte) recounts this story of coming to terms with difficult realities. Charlie’s friend Drew can’t meet his sports-loving father’s expectations. Dasha can’t pass the ESL class to join Charlie in regular classes. Worst of all, beloved big sister Abby has turned into a heroin addict since leaving for college.

Engaging peer-related plot lines, such as Charlie’s attempt to achieve “Novice” level in her Irish dancing, a science project on edible insects and Drew’s moment of YouTube stardom, interweave with the family trauma of new addiction.

The language skillfully conveys Charlie’s anguish, sense of betrayal and feeling of being overlooked—as well as her empathy and caring. A running family game creates a leitmotif of fun vocabulary throughout the tale.

The notion of healing magic is reflected in the supernatural wishing fish and in reverent descriptions of nature itself: “clear and cold and full of frigid stars. It looked as if they had fallen from the sky and turned to crystal in the morning light … Ice flowers.” In the end, Charlie learns that wishes don’t need to come true for life to be rich in meaning and beauty. “It feels amazing. It’s enough.”

  •  

    If you were given a wish, what would it be? Read the synopsis on the back cover and discuss how your wish could go wrong. Make predictions for the book.

  •  

    The author injects elements of foreshadowing in the first chapter. Once you have finished reading the novel, reread the first chapter. Create a T-chart with details on one side, and show how they are evidence of foreshadowing on the other.

  •  

    At the start of the book, Charlie is told: “Wish all you want. Wishing doesn’t make things so.” Later, she is furious about Abby breaking her promise to not use heroin again, yet she breaks her own promise to not go out on the ice alone. Write to explain how the promises are the same and different. Write about a promise that you made and did not keep. Can you see connections between your promise and those of Charlie and Abby?

  •  

    How is addiction a different kind of disease from others, such as cancer? Use information from the novel and the author’s note. Do research on a student-friendly, safe search engine. Make a poster that compares addiction and another disease.

  •  

    Charlie is living in a magical world as the novel opens, in sharp contrast to the rest of the novel where reality takes over. Explore how the narrative structure relates to Charlie’s transition into adolescence.

  •  Mrs. McNeill states “I’ve learned you take your magic where you can get it.” In small groups discuss this or another quotation about magic. Consider the way it relates to Charlie and her family.
  •  In a small group, draft a research question and delve into the way teens are portrayed in realistic fiction for young adolescents. Share the group’s findings with peers.
  •  

    If you were given a wish, what would it be? Read the synopsis on the back cover and discuss how your wish could go wrong. Make predictions for the book.

  •  As you read, write a timeline of the story. Highlight the wishes and how they went wrong.
  •  Create a character map for Charlie at the beginning of the book and at the end. Discuss how her family situation has transformed her through the year.
  •  In small groups, discuss other situations that could disrupt a family lifestyle. What changes could they bring?
  •  

    In small groups, choose questions from pages 229-231 to discuss ideas from the story. Research some of Charlie’s interests.

  •  Write a note to Charlie and her family, or a family that you know about, to encourage them in a difficult time.
  •  

    In a small group, discuss what you think a younger sibling can do to help an older brother or sister break a serious addiction. Compile your group’s best suggestions and present them to the class.

  •  

    While you read, and after seeing what happens with the first wish, guess how each of Charlie’s fish wishes will turn out.

  •  

    Charlie had a preconceived notion of how a drug addict should look and act, but her perception changed once she realized her sister was one. In a brief presentation, research and explain a realistic profile of an addict versus how society views and stereotypes drug users.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Personal Development
  • Science and Technology