Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

When You Reach Me

Stead, Rebecca (Author)
Penguin Random House 2010. 200 pages
First published: 2009
ISBN: 9780375850868 (paperback)
9780385737425 (hardcover)
9780375892691 (e-book)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel

Text Elements:

character

Award

Newbery Medal – 2010

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:

This novel is a magnificent melange. It’s a story of the complexity of friendships; a historical novel depicting the sights and sounds of New York’s Upper West Side in the late 1970s; a mystery with 12-year-old Miranda Sinclair discovering cryptic notes in odd places; a science fiction story with a serious nod to time travel.

Miranda’s natural and engaging voice sets an easy, personal tone for this first-person account. Of her lifelong friendship with Sal she says, “I used to think of Sal as being part of me: Sal and Miranda, Miranda and Sal. I knew he wasn’t really, but that’s the way it felt.” When Sal suddenly stops talking to her, Miranda finds new friendships and entanglements with classmates she has previously judged. At home, she coaches her single mom for her appearance on a TV game show.

Miranda finds the first of four mysterious notes in her knapsack. “M, This is hard. Harder than I expected, even with your help. But I have been practising and my preparations go well. I am coming to save your friend’s life and my own.” Like this one, each note makes a request: “First you must write me a letter.” What link might they have to the strange laughing man who has suddenly appeared on the corner?

The author meticulously weaves details and clues into chapters that build up to a unique conclusion. The effort to deliver on the themes of independence, atonement and friendship is beautifully transparent.

  •  

    Discuss some friendships you have had. Have they changed over time? Consider how friendship is portrayed in books, movies and the media. What distinguishes realistic from unrealistic representations of friendship?

  •  

    Miranda’s mother participated in The $20,000 Pyramid game show. As a class, recreate the game show using a similar format.

  •  Imagine you had the chance to win $20,000. Write a persuasive letter to the director of the game stating why you should win the money and what you would do with it.
  •  

    Miranda and Marcus discuss time machines. In pairs, design a time machine and create a Top 10 list of places and times you would like to visit.

  •  

    Discuss some friendships you have had. Have they changed over time?

  •  

    Discuss how kindness is evident throughout the story. Write about your own kindness toward your friends in your reader-writer’s notebook.

  •  Create a mind map of the story. Choose a way to indicate any text-to-self connections.
  •  

    Imagine you had the chance to win $20,000 like Miranda's mother. Write a persuasive letter to the director of the game stating why you should win the money and what you would do with it.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Ethics and Religious Culture