Moon, Kit and Hal (the three main characters) all live, for a while at least, in a boys’ group home. They are not bad kids. When we think of the residents of a boys’ home, how many of us and our kids would think of a boy like Kit, sick and parentless? Not me. Watt Key has given us a group of likable, real boys to represent a population of kids that might otherwise be considered in only a negative light.
This activity is focused on ways we can help those youth in need. The Boys Home of the South (www.boyshomeofthesouth.org) has a great website that specifically gives ideas on donations they could use and projects your group could do to help. I especially like the birthday idea. Maybe you could contact a facility in your own community to ask what needs they have that the book club kids could help with. If nothing else, take this opportunity to discuss the needs of those children, like Moon, who have ended up in these facilities.
One of my favorite parts of the book is what the judge has to say on page 264 about the system not fitting all of the kids, especially Moon. As a homeschooler, this paragraph felt very personal to me, as if the same words could be used to describe schools as well as a boys’ home. Just something to think about.
Bonus Activity: Burning Letters
My family recently had some of our pet chickens killed by a fox. One of my son’s first thoughts after hearing the news was to have a bonfire so he could write a letter to his chicken. While reading that part of the book, it seemed very sad and a little disturbing to think of Moon really trying to communicate with his father that way. But after my son mentioned wanting to write that letter, I started thinking that writing and burning letters could be a sweet and healing activity even beyond the scope of sending messages to those we have lost.
Students could write down feelings, frustrations, or even dreams to later take home and throw in a bonfire, fire pit or backyard grill. Think of it kind of like writing a diary and never having to worry about it being read by someone else. The benefit of getting those thoughts and feeling on paper still remains the same.
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~ Valerie the Book Club Lady