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A reading group guide to
See Both Sides: A Story Told in Ten Blocks
Von Jason Reynolds
About the book
look in both directionsIt consists of interconnected stories, each focused on different students at Latimer High School and set in one of the blocks surrounding the school. Through these ten stories, Jason Reynolds offers insights into students' private struggles, strengths, and secrets that are only marginally known. The book doesn't shy away from difficult subjects, and the characters deal with very real pain, fear, and loss with resilience, compassion, and even humor. Realistic and moving, the book is fast, funny and insightful, with a cast of characters that readers are sure to find likable and relatable.look in both directionsIt reminds us to take a closer look at the world and people around us and appreciate all the things that connect us to each other and our communities.
1. Jasmine says that if she had to be anything else, she would choose to be a water bear.water bearis the common name for an organism calledtardigrade. Research these organisms online. What makes you unique? Why do you think Jasmine would want to be one? Do you want to be a bear too? explain your answer
2. Jason Reynolds writes both poetry and prose and has incorporated poetic language into this novel. As you read, look for examples of figurative language. For example, make a list of all the parables you find in the first chapter. How does the use of poetic language affect you as a reader? Why do you think an author might choose this kind of language?
3. Choose one of the chapters in the book and identify specific details in the text that develop the relationships between the characters in that chapter. What details does Reynolds divulge directly? What does it reveal indirectly? Examine the way other characters react and talk to each other, as well as their thoughts, actions, and/or appearances.
4. Why do you think low cuts only steal change? In Chapter 2, explain how they will use the money raised. What do your actions reveal about your values? Has your perception of them changed after knowing how they use their money?
5. Reynolds describes low cuts as "brightness and grit". What does this description say about the group?
6. Why do you think Reynolds begins and ends the third chapter "Bastion Street" with a series of statements beginning with the wordPerhaps? What do you think would have happened if Pia and Stevie had talked?
7. Reynolds describes Pia's skateboarding as her voice. What do you think he means by that? How do you feel most comfortable expressing yourself? Do you prefer to use words or another way out?
8. Reynolds explains that Ty knows "the fear of some kind of war". What is the source of Ty's fear and confusion? Why do you think Bryson is defending him? Have you ever felt the same? If yes, how did you deal with these feelings?
9. How would you answer Benni's question if she asked how you would change the world? What change do you want?
10. How is Simeon and Kenzi Street different from the other neighborhoods in the book? Why do you think boys call each other brothers?
11. Explain why Satchmo is afraid of dogs. Have you ever had a bad experience that made you fear something? Satchmo devises an elaborate escape plan to deal with his fear. What have you discovered that will help you face your fear?
12. Why do you think Cynthia considers her mother her hero? How does laughter help her and her grandfather cope with grief and loss?
13. How do you think Sandra reacts to Gregory after he smiles? explain your answer
14. The final chapter begins with a series of metaphors describing a school bus. Choose two or three metaphors that you find most effective and explain what you think each metaphor means.
15. Which of the chapters did you like the most? Which character did you most identify with? Justify your answers.
16. Several of the characters in the book are victims of bullying or harassment; Think Pia, Stevie, Bryson and TJ. How do these characters react when they are bullied or harassed? Which character do you think solves the problem in the healthiest way? What advice would you give someone who is being bullied or harassed? What steps could you take in your community to try to prevent this type of behavior?
17. The subtitle oflook in both directionsexplains that it is a "story told in ten blocks". While each chapter of the book can be read as a standalone story, Reynolds uses repetitive images, settings, and characters to tie the stories together. Identify one of these connectors and explain how it connects the stories.
18. Although the characters in each story go to the same school and live in the same neighborhood, they don't really know or understand their peers' problems. If you could role-play a friendship between two characters from different stories, which characters would you most like to be friends with? explain your answer Do these interactions make you think differently about your colleagues or friends in your own life? Is there someone you'd like to get to know better?
19. "Canton smiled, knowing that a school bus is many things. So is a walk home. What do you think these last lines in the book mean? What does Canton realize after observing his classmates?
20. Why do you think Reynolds titled this book?look in both directions? Can you think of different meanings for the title?
1. Using text details, visualize the area and create a neighborhood map around Latimer Middle School. Identify and label the locations where the main events of each chapter take place. How do you think the characters would react if they looked at their map and saw what was happening in the blocks around the school? Think about what might go unnoticed at your school and discuss it with your peers.
2. Professor Broome, the English teacher, gives a writing assignment: “[She] wanted all students to write about being something different. No human. One thing." She Complete this task by explaining what you would be and why you chose this object.
3. One of the themes that runs through Reynolds' book is the value of empathy. Analyze the role that empathy plays in romance. What effect does giving or receiving empathy have on characters? List some instances where you see the characters empathizing with each other.
4. Write your own short story with one or more characters and settingslook in both directions. You might want to develop the backstory of one of the characters, imagine a future event, write from a different point of view, or have characters from different stories interact.
5. How well do you know the other children at your school? Interview a colleague you don't know very well, then switch roles and let them interview you. What did you learn from each other? What discovery surprised you the most?
6. In the final chapter, Canton works on an assignment that requires him to "record human interactions with the environment." What do you notice when you look at your colleagues? Spend 30 minutes completing a similar task: record human-environment interaction in a place where people gather, such as a B. a store, restaurant, school bus, sporting event, playground, or cafeteria. What do you notice about how people treat each other? Is there anything you can apply to your own actions and behaviors?
Guide created by Amy Jurskis, Director of English at Oxbridge Academy.
This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for use in classrooms, libraries and reading groups. It may be reproduced in whole or in part for these purposes.