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Walk Two Moons
by Sharon Creech
The Book Club Novel Guide outlines a complete theme-based unit with Book Club lesson plans focusing on Walk Two Moons.
Below you will find a synopsis, further reading materials, discussion topics, and reviews that you might find useful during your teaching of Walk Two Moons.
Salamanca Tree Hiddle and her father moved to the suburban town of Euclid, Ohio, about a year ago. Sal misses her family’s farm in Bybanks, Kentucky, and more than that she misses her mother. Momma left, without explanation, on a trip across the country while they were still living in Bybanks. After getting postcards from her for several days, Sal and her father learned that she had died in a tragic accident. Sal doesn’t understand her father’s desire to move to Ohio and pursue a friendship with a woman named Margaret Cadaver. But on the first day in her new home she meets Phoebe Winterbottom, a girl her own age who becomes a source of entertainment, adventure, annoyance, friendship—and ultimately healing.
When the novel begins, Sal has joined her grandparents on a six-day trip to Idaho on the same route her mother took. To pass the time, Sal tells her grandparents about the previous year’s outrageous adventures with Phoebe. Phoebe’s story begins with poetic messages left on her family’s front steps and the appearance of a mysterious stranger. Then Phoebe’s mother disappears. Phoebe becomes convinced that her mother was kidnapped. Eventually, Phoebe’s mother returns to reveal a surprising secret—she has a son, born before her marriage to Mr. Winterbottom.
As Sal tells Phoebe’s story, she finds that it reflects her own story in many ways. Her journey with her grandparents leads her to a long-overdue realization that her mother will never return. Sal visits the site of the accident and her mother’s grave. She begins to allow herself to heal.
Further Reading and Links
The following books and sites can be used to support and enrich the Book Club unit for Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech.
About the Author and the Novel
Setting of the Novel
Themes and Things Mentioned in the Novel
Theme-Related Song Lyrics
Big Theme Questions
How do different kinds of journeys help us grow?
How, and to what extent, does our family shape who we are?
How can sharing similar experiences deepen a friendship?
What are some different ways that people might react to being separated from a loved one?
What things in life are lasting or permanent? What things change? Can something be both lasting and changeable?
Outline of Lesson Plan | Discussion Topics | Writing Prompts
The following section can be used to get discussions started in your classroom. It is based on the Lesson Plan within the Book Club Novel Guide for Walk Two Moons. The Lesson Plan includes blackline masters for the students that support the writing prompts. The writing prompts provided are meant as suggestions only. As students become more comfortable with the Book Club format, they will certainly have ideas and questions that go beyond the prompts. Consider giving students “free choice” as a log option. Book Club Reading Logs help students respond to literature and organize ideas as they participate in Book Club.
Chapters 1–6 | Literary Elements: Story Structure; Character Development
Chapters 7–9 | Language Conventions: Elements of a Good Book Club Discussion
Chapters 10–11 | Literary Elements: Figurative Language
Chapters 12–13 | Comprehension: American Indian Culture
Chapters 14–16 | Language Conventions: Assessing Log Entries
Chapters 17–19 | Literary Elements: Characterization
Chapters 20–22 | Response to Literature: Soul Drawings
Chapters 23–24 | Literary Elements: Motifs
Chapters 25–27 | Literary Elements: Dynamic and Static Characters
Chapters 28–30 | Comprehension: Making Predictions
Chapters 31–32 | Comprehension: Making Inferences
Chapters 33–35 | Response to Literature: Exploring Themes
Chapters 36–39 | Literary Elements: Point of View
Chapters 40–44 | Response to Literature: Book Critique
Planet Book Club's Review
We would like to introduce Planet Book Club's student book reviewers: Raoul and Phoebe.
Note to Our Readers: You will notice that the book gets two reviewers. Why? Because we believe two opinions are generally more helpful than one opinion. Remember that people have completely unique sets of experiences that shape how they think and feel about things. Something else to keep in mind: Even perfectly pleasant human beings can have cranky days, lazy days, and confused days. Let's face it—we can't be thoughtful, clear-headed, and fair every moment of our lives. Our reviewers, though friendly and occasionally brilliant, are only human. So, to be fair to you and to each book, we always give two points of view. That way, if one reviewer is having a bad day and seems completely out to lunch, you can perhaps connect with the other reviewer. Got it? Good.
Knowing something about the reviewers might help you to understand their opinions. So, let's get to know them:
I'm Raoul, and I'm your worst nightmare. Just kidding! Actually, I hope to be a politician one day. I'm really good at juggling tasks and pretending to be in control, I can act friendly toward most people, and I'm sort of photogenic, which means I look awesome in photographs. In my free time I like to play clarinet in our school jazz band, go bowling, follow the stock market, and listen to music. That's what I have to say about Walk Two Moons...
Raoul: The book Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech opens with the quotation, "Don't judge a man until you've walked two moons in his moccasins." No, Creech's book is not about being open to different styles of footwear. It's about trying to understand people. The quotation suggests that in order to truly understand a person, you must first think about what it is like to be that person. To put it simply, everyone has a story. Even that annoying kid who insists on belching over and over again in the cafeteria has a story. Maybe he isn't getting enough attention. Maybe he thinks being a clown is the only way to get friends. Maybe he genuinely has a digestive disorder. My point, and Creech's point, is that if we knew a bit more about the people around us, we might be more understanding of one another.
"So," you say, "what if I'm not interested in understanding people? What if I just want to be entertained?" Well, I didn't say Walk Two Moons wasn't entertaining as well as wise. It has suspense. Its characters are wonderful, interesting people. It also happens to be two great stories in one. Let me explain: Salamanca (Sal) Tree Hiddle is a thirteen-year-old girl on a special road trip with her grandparents. While cramped in a car for six days, Sal passes the time by telling her grandparents what she calls "an extensively strange story"—the story of her friend Phoebe Winterbottom. You see, this trip follows a difficult year for Sal—one filled with painful life changes. Phoebe was a close, entertaining, but challenging friend who was an important part of her life during this difficult time. As you begin reading, you might assume that the novel is mainly about Phoebe. However, through the story of Phoebe, readers gradually learn more and more about Sal's life. It turns out that Sal's story—a story about love, relationships, and learning to cope with life changes—is just as interesting and powerful as Phoebe's story.
I don't want to give away too much information about the twists and turns the plot of this novel takes. But I will tell you one thing. As you begin the book, think about the word journey. This novel is about the journeys we can take in a car or by train, and it is also about the more personal, complicated journeys we take in life. The journeys in this book will sometimes make you sad and sometimes make you laugh, and they will always encourage you to think.
Greetings. This is Phoebe. My sign is Leo, my personal planet is Jupiter, my favorite color is purple, my lucky number is 3, and I was born in the year of the dragon. In my free time I work with white socks—decorating them and selling them to friends and family. I also like to sit beside the cool rock fountain I got at the mall last year and listen to music. I love English, math, and art and hope to be a massage therapist or a clothing designer one day. Here is what I think about the book...
Phoebe: I'll say right off the bat—I'm sometimes not great at figuring out what books mean. I have a really strong feeling from this book, though. It talks about one of my interests—astrology. No, I mean astronomy. You know—stars and planets and comets and stuff. First, let's talk about moons. Moons are heavenly bodies that circle planets. Earth has one moon—the one we see at night. Some planets have more than one moon. Now, think about the quotation that opens the novel Walk Two Moons: "Don't judge a man until you've walked on two moons wearing moccasins." This quotation really captures the magic of space travel. It is saying that everyone should have an interest in exploring outer space. By saying that people should walk on two moons, Creech must be saying that people should explore other planets, because Earth has only one moon. Get it? Not only that—people shouldn't have big, bulky boots between their feet and the moons they visit. No—they should wear soft moccasins so that they can truly experience every step they take. Don't think I don't see the symbolism in the quotation. I know it isn't talking just about men - it's talking about women, too. Maybe even children and pets as well. This book gives us hope that someday we will all be in space. I've been thinking about it so much, I feel I'm practically there already.