1. Which character did you connect with most and why?


    1. Why do you think that Olivia was so invested in the relationship she had with her favorite student, Benz?  Why was he her favorite student? What was it about their relationship, as opposed to the other student/teacher relationships that Olivia had, that made it so important and meaningful?


    1. Have you had a teacher from your past that has made a significant impact on your life?  Was the impact positive or negative – how and why?


    1. Is the book character or plot driven? Did the plot unfold, because of the actions/decisions of the characters or were the characters’ actions driven by the plot?


    1. If the story was told from one of the student’s perspective, which student would be your choice to tell the story? Why? How might their voice or point of view have changed the story or made it different?


    1. Where do you think Olivia developed such an inner sense of security that allowed her to enter Malcolm High School each day?  Could you or would you want to be a teacher in that sort of setting?


    1. What, if any, challenges might Caucasian teachers in predominantly African American classes face?  Why or why not?  Do you think an African American teacher might have been more effective?  Why or why not?


    1. Inter-racial adoption has become rather popular in recent years.  Should race matter when adopting?  How about gender?


    1. Do you think that Olivia’s opinions of some of the mothers she met throughout the novel changed as the story progressed?  Is there anyone in your life that you didn’t like or respect after your first meeting, but later found they were not who you initially thought?


    1. Olivia loves and appreciates Tom for constantly wanting to protect her yet she still takes risks along the way that she knows Tom wouldn’t approve of. Why?


    1. Mariella has an unwavering faith in G-d even after so much loss.  Olivia is somewhat in awe of this faith and even a bit desirous of Mariella’s incredible strength.  Do you know anyone with such dedication that it leaves you somewhat envious?


  1. Can you imagine what happens to Kie as time goes on?  What do you see in her future?