Ms. Ila’s Middle Grade Reading Club: The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga

The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga falls under the genre called Civic Engagement Fiction.  It is a moving work of fiction that explores the meaning of friendship when tragedy occurs.

Cora and Quinn were best friends before gun violence divided them.

When Quinn's brother commits an unspeakable violent crime that affects Cora's sister, the friendship is severely tested.

Their friendship seemingly broken and beyond repair, Quinn thinks up a plan that will hopefully reverse the tragedy.  Will her impossible plan repair the friendship and her broken family?

Like the title, which is impossible, as thunder is a sound and not a visual, Quinn hopes to accomplish the impossible to solve the problem of their broken friendship.

First, let's revisit a topic we have explored last year: civics engagement.

Civics Engagement Revisited

Since we are celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday this month, lets explore the topic called civics.  According to Britannica School, civics is the study of a person's rights and duties as citizens.

We've already explored this topic in great length last year.

Let’s revisit our Kids on the March book choice from March 2022.  Remember that when we explore a complex topic, it is best to:

  1. Learn about all viewpoints
  2. Go to the Library’s SJ Engage to become more engaged

When we learn all viewpoints, we can come to a decision about what we believe.  We can learn how to be more involved through SJ Engage!

In addition to civics, let’s also explore a topic that may be difficult for people to discuss: grief.  Grief, like anger, makes many people uncomfortable.

Grief, Like Anger, is Often Hidden from Other People

Anger, as explored in The Anti-Book book selection in July 2022, is an emotion that is often quashed, in order to get along better with others.  We learned that quashing anger can be harmful to us, however, and that we need to learn how to express anger in an assertive, but not aggressive, way.

Like anger, grief makes other people uncomfortable.  How can we overcome this discomfort?  We can learn how to manage our grief.

Portland, Oregon’s Dougy Center helps kids like you with grief.

According to their website, “When someone dies, it can feel like you’re alone in your grief. At Dougy Center, you will find support, resources, and connection before and after a death.”

You can find articles and activities that will help you to feel better.  Filter your search by topic and by the person who died.  Here are some of the tools that you can try:

  • Explore your thoughts and feelings
  • See what grief might look to different people
  • Find books about grief
  • Create a memory bracelet, time capsule, or other things that will keep your memories alive

Questions to Consider

  • Do you think impossible tasks bring people together (like time travelling)?
  • Do you think you would blame Quinn for what her brother did?  Is that right?
  • Do you think you would forgive Quinn, because it wasn't her fault?
  • Why do you think Quinn felt it was her fault?  Was it?
  • Do you think Quinn and Cora can become friends again?
  • Why do you think the parents want them to remain friends?

Next month, let's read a book about friendship and kindness: The Elephant Girl by James Patterson and Ellen Bandu-Aaku.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments below!