Ms. Ila’s Middle Grade Reading Club: Golden Ticket by Kate Egan

Kate Egan's Golden Ticket explores the pitfalls of having a gifted and talented program in elementary school.  Golden Ticket is in a genre called School Story.  This genre covers a story that occurs primarily in the setting of a school.

As I mentioned previously, you can often find the reasoning behind a story by looking in the Author's Note at the end of the book.  Sure enough, Ms. Egan tells us that she is not a proponent of gifted and talented programs, because her research shows that gifted and talented programs do more harm than good.

Kids in gifted and talented programs become afraid of challenges, she says, because "they are afraid of losing their status as smart."  There is a real fear of making mistakes, which is definitely not what school is all about.  When we make mistakes, we have the opportunity to learn!

Ash Becomes Paralyzed by the Fear of Being Found Out!

Ash McNulty is a part of a gifted and talented program in her fifth grade class.  A gifted and talented program is a special class for students who are academically ahead of their upper elementary-aged classmates.

Ash has a secret, though.  She can no longer keep up with the rest of her classmates!  She is devastated when she struggles with metaphors in the English section of the program.

As a fourth grader, she was at the top of her game, beating the fifth grade participants in the school's annual competition, "The Quiz Bowl."

As a fifth grader, though, she finds that she is struggling to maintain her gifted and talented status.  Her confidence falters, in parallel with her academic struggles.

Soon, Ash finds that she is tempted to cheat.  The consequences of being found out lead to a change that Ash never expected:  she is happier!  In fact, she finds that maybe there is more to her than just academics, as she excels in running!

What can you do if you are tempted to cheat?

The Library Has Resources for You When You Need Help with Your Homework

There is an alternative to cheating; you can get help when you are struggling at school!

The Library has several options for you listed under Student Help:

Rather than risk losing the trust of those around you, please consider asking for help rather than cheating!

Some Questions to Consider:

  • Ash looks down on several people, including Caden.  Do you think it is okay to look down on other people or is there something to learn from every person that we meet?
  • Do you think that a friend should expect the best from you?
  • Do you think Tilly or Jane is a better friend?  Why?
  • Gracie relies on practice to develop her skills in soccer.  Ash relies on her status as a gifted and talented student to move ahead academically.  Who do you think has the better approach to success?
  • What do you think of Mr. Lopez as a teacher?  What about Ms. Cooper?
  • How would you tell your parents that you want to try something different?

Next month, let's read The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga.