1. Doshmisi discovers that she can communicate with trees. Do you think that trees have anything to tell us or teach us? If trees could talk, what do you think they would say?
2. Even though the butterflies are very small, they are able to protect the travelers from harm. Can you think of an example of many small things joining together to accomplish something big that they could not each accomplish alone?
3. Things are not always as they appear. Do you think Denzel had a right to get angry at Jasper in the Marini Hills? Do you think the Four had a right to blame Jasper for the robbery?
4. Sonjay takes on the role of a leader and the others accept him in this role. What qualities does a person need to be a good leader?
5. The Goodacres did not know that they are part Faracadaran. There are many people who don’t know much about their ancestors. Why is it important for people to know about their ancestors?
6. Clover warns Sonjay, “Beware, for those who carry weapons are likely to have weapons used against them.” What does she mean by this? Do you think a person who owns a gun is more likely or less likely to be shot than a person who doesn’t own one? (Look up the statistics.)
7. There is an expression taken from the bible that says “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” What does this expression mean? Mahatma Gandhi said that if everyone followed the belief of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” then the whole world would be blind and toothless. What did he mean by that? Is there a difference between revenge and justice? What is the difference? Can justice satisfy the need for revenge? How? If you had the chance to kill the man who murdered your mother would you do it? Do you think it is OK for a murderer to be put to death by decision of a judge and jury?
8. Music is very important to the Coast People. How can music be healing? Has music ever changed you or helped you change your life? Why do you think music is so powerful?
9. While in the dungeon, Hyacinth regrets trusting Amaranth, who was a double agent. He apologizes to the others. What is the value of an apology? Why is forgiveness so important?
10. Denzel leaves the armor vest behind in Spriteland. He says, “If one of us falls, we all fall. I don’t see any point in wearing the vest now.” What does he mean by this?
11. The whales tell Doshmisi that violence will only create more violence and that she must find a way to “fight” without doing harm, using weapons, or engaging in violence. What ways can you think of to work for the defeat of an enemy without using violence? What alternatives are there to war? Can a powerful leader be defeated using nonviolent means? When has this been done successfully before? (Visit the Metta Center website at www.mettacenter.org to learn more about nonviolence.) If you believe what the whales say in the book, that violence will make more violence and that bad energy will make more bad energy, then how do you use positive energy to resist a powerful leader who will use violence against you?
12. The Goodacres become the Four. What are some of the things that contribute to their change? What kinds of things cause people to make positive changes in themselves and in their lives? Can you think of a time in your life when something you experienced caused you to make a positive change in who you are or how you think?