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Summer of the Wolves Discussion Guide

Summer of the Wolves Discussion Guide

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Julie of the Wolves meets Hatchet in this middle grade novel that follows orphaned twelve-year-old Nika and her seven-year-old brother Randall as they leave a California foster home to visit a long-lost uncle in the wilderness lake country of Northern Minnesota
Julie of the Wolves meets Hatchet in this middle grade novel that follows orphaned twelve-year-old Nika and her seven-year-old brother Randall as they leave a California foster home to visit a long-lost uncle in the wilderness lake country of Northern Minnesota

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on Feb 21, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved


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A Discussion GuiDe
978-0-547-74591-6 $15.99 CL / $18.95 CAN
About the Book
 Julie of the Wolves
in this middle grade novelthat follows twelve-year-old Nika and her seven-year-old brother, Randall, as they leave their California foster hometo spend a summer with their long-lost uncle.Together withher uncle, a wildlife biologist who studies and monitors
wlves, Nik nds n phned wlf pup in  cve. With
vivid details about caring for a wolf pup and a deep sense
f u intecnnectedness with ntue, this cmpelling stnvel exples themes f seching f fmil nd nding
a balance between caring for—and leaving alone—wildanimals.
Author Biography
Pll Clsn-Viles ss this nvel, he st, gew ut f 
several things: her longtime love of the wilderness countryin northern Minnesota, her experiences with wolves at the
Intentinl Wlf Cente in El, Minnest, nd he cee
of working with lost and found children as a secondary
specil ed/English teche in inne cit Minneplis. Shelives with he husbnd nd dg ne El, Minnest, highn  idge css the lke fm the Bund Wtes Cne
Area, where on lucky nights they listen to the music of thewolves.
Discussion questions
1. Read the Rumi quotation at the beginning of the book.
Wh did the uth chse this qute, nd wht is she
trying to convey to the reader?2. From the beginning, we feel that Nika does not want
chnges t hppen in he life. Wht e he esns f
this?3. Find passages in the book that talk about thedevelopment of senses (seeing, hearing, smelling,
tuching, tsting) in Khn nd the wlf pups. Whichsense seemed t develp st, nd wh wuld this be?Which tw senses seem t be the mst imptnt f
young wolves? Is this different from what you knowabout the development of humans? Discuss senses andwhat they do for us. (To go further with this question,look on the Internet about human development andwolf pup development.)4. Bristo casts a cloud over Nika at the beginning of the book. Does the book represent him as an evil character,or in some other way? Give your own idea about whatmight motivate Bristo, and talk about how his behavior
ffects the chctes in the bk. Wht d u think 
happens to Bristo past the ending of this book? Howdoes a person learn to deal with the “Bristos” in his orher life?5. Name several times in the book when Nika breaks
ules, nd tell hw she justies this. Then tell wht u
think she could have done to be more forthright and
vid beking ules. Wht wuld u hve dne in
these situations, and why? Are there things she couldhave done instead while still standing up for herself and what she thought and wanted?
6. The Lun st uns thugh the bk, septe t st,
then coming together with Nika’s story. How are their
tw sties simil? Wht d Lun nd Nik hve in
common as far as what they need and how they havestruggled?7. How does Nika’s self-image change over the period of the book? Does she grow stronger or more vulnerable,or both? Talk about incidents in the book that tell howshe sees herself and how this changes.
Hughtn Mifin Bks f Childen • Hughtn Mifin Hcut • www.hmhbks.cm
8. Wht des Nik get ut f being in the wds? Hw
does this change her? Name one scene in the book where she feels changed by experiencing somethingdirectly in nature.9. Do other people cause Nika to change during this story,or is change her own choice? Give examples.10. Name one scene in which Thomas shows that he is
 supptive fiend t Nik. Wht d we len fm
Thomas about empathy? Does Thomas always agreewith Nika? Do good friends sometimes disagree witheach other?11. Pearl seems to realize that Nika has to work out herrelationship with Ian on her own. Give examples of how she offers Nika support but not direction. Do youget the feeling that Pearl knows she is doing this?
12. Wht d u think but Nik’s feelings but
 burying the dead wolf? How are her feelings differentfrom Ian’s? Is there more to Nika’s reaction than herappreciation of a beautiful animal?
13. When Nik chses t leve rndll t the end— fte
all of the time when it had been just the two of them—
d u think this ws  selsh decisin  unselsh
decision? How would she justify this decision?14. Think about the word
which meansshowing concern for the feelings and suffering of others. How does Nika show compassion in this story?Name several acts of compassion by any character inthe story.15. How does one decide what is ethical in the treatmentof wild animals? Human views vary widely about thissubject. Name four characters that represent differingattitudes about the treatment of wolves. Talk about
wht ech ne believes. Wht d u believe?16. Wht ttitudes but ntue nd wild nimls eeected in the fllwing events?
Luna is kept alone in a pen as a pet.
Luna’s owner decides to give her to the center.
 Bristo keeps wild animals in pens even though hedoes not have permits to do so.
Bristo shoots Luna.
Thomas and Nika decide to feed Luna secretly.
Nika runs with Khan on the Big Island.
 a mn insults Nik in the newsppe fce, clling
her uncle a “bleeding heart.”
 In nd Elin stud wild nimls nd tech thes
about them.
animls e kept cptive t the CSNa.
 Fm the plne Nik nd Elin wtch the wild
wolves running. 
17. Wht is Meg’s le thughut the bk, even whenshe is n bsent chcte? Wht des she s in lette t get Nik bck n tck gin? Wht des she
teach her about love?18. In spite of the pain of Nika’s losses, what does she dothat allows her to accept love and family in the end?
19. Wht is it but the gil n the bus tht cuses Nik t
tell her, “You saved my life.” Describe what she learnsabout herself from this girl.
20. Des Nik keep secets? Wuld it hve chnged he
experience if she had shared truths at these times?
Wh didn’t she?
21. In reading the epilogue, what do we learn about whathappens in Nika’s life from the point of view of thewolf Luna?
Writing Prompts
1. In a small group, write down these terms and adescription of each on separate snips of paper:
overcoming challenges
. Shufe nd hve echstudent dw ne. Ech student will wite  bief 
description of ways the concept he or she drew relatesto
Summer of the Wolves
. After writing, the group willtake turns sharing with one another, allowing othergroup members to add to each student’s ideas.2. Think of a memory of when you experienced
smething in ntue f the st time—tuched 
snake, learned the name of a variety of tree, werescared by a storm or wind. Talk about this memory andhow you value it: describe it using as many senses asyou can—sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste. Concludewith what it means to you and what you learned.
Hughtn Mifin Bks f Childen • Hughtn Mifin Hcut • www.hmhbks.cm
A Discussion GuiDe

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