Discussion will take place in the Health room (211).

Sean Cahill
Alexis Trainor
Alex Finkle
Kiley Campbell
Ihila Lesnikova
Kym Dakin-Neal
Melissa Madigan

Template for Discussion Agenda

1. Student Facilitator(s): This person's role will be to read the agenda from his or her computer to direct the conversation. Someone should volunteer or nominate a peer(s). Communicate with each other! Please list all the group members on your wiki page as well. IHILA?

2. Protocols: Protocols are helpful to give everyone in the group the time and chance to speak. Use at least two protocols and customize them to fit your discussion

Whip (Beginning)
Did you enjoy the book/books?
Which story did you enjoy the most?
DId you find this book easy to understand?
Which character, if one at all, did you relate the most with?

Whip (middle)
What passage(s) made an impact on you?
How did you respond to a plot event?
What points already said do you agree or disagree with?

Whip (end)
Is this a book that you would recommend to a friend?
Has this book left an impact on you?
Did you like how the book ended?
Do you have any questions still?

Ten words or less - summarize the book in ten words or less --- give the group members time to think about it.

3. Discussion Questions:

What are the issues and ideas within this novel you’d like to discuss with each other? Be sure to consider various parts of the text (beginning, middle and end). Collaboratively create 15-25 open-ended questions that promote discussion and organize them logically. You can use them within a protocol or on their own.

  • Personal Response Questions --
    • If you were in the situation of one of these children from the several stories, how would you respond?
    • What story do you sympathize the most with?
    • When reading about stories in the media such as those in the book, how does your reaction vary?
    • How do these children's lives differ from ours?
    • Do these stories make you want to help children in need?
    • Do the stories open your eyes and help you realize what is going on in the world?
  • Open-ended, analytical questions -Significant passage questions --
    • Why do you think Maisha, the sister/prostitue in the first story, chose to leave her family?
    • How can a family member, like Fofo Kpee the uncle in "Fattening for Gabon", sell their own family into slavery?
    • Do you think if you were in Maisha's position that you would go to such extremes to provide for your family?
    • Is there a certain theme that is shared throughout all the stories?
    • Do you have a favorite character at all from these stories?
  • Significant passage questions
    • • Did you like how the book was written?
    • • Did you like how some of the book is written in the native language of those who are speaking?
    • • Do you think the author did a good job at telling the stories and portraying the right amount of emotion?
    • • What do you think the author's overall purpose of writing these stories was?

4. Culture & Context

We recognize that we're reading books that take place in different cultures than ours. What do you need to know about this culture that would give you deeper insight to the story? Use a Historical/Biographical approach and pose questions. The bullets below give you some places to start. Each group member should pose at least one question, and each group member should research a resource and post his or her findings that respond to the question. Post a resource for someone else's question. Label your questions and posts so we can see that everyone contributed to both steps.

  • history and political conflict of the nation depending on the time it takes place: historical articles or current news
  • cultural or religious traditions
  • biographical information about the author
  • articles of literary criticism (using Marvel)
  • author information -- interviews, obituaries, statements
  • book reviews
  • research allusions and cultural references

Did the author, Uwem Akpan, ever encounter a situation such as that of one of these characters in his book "Say You're One of Them." (sean)

5. Pre-Discussion Processing

The purpose of this section is to sort out the basic fiction elements in the novel. We've put it at the bottom of your agenda, but it is the first place you'll start to work. This is a good way to check your understanding of the novel, and the group can use this information as a reference during the discussion. You can use your collective knowledge to answer these questions and build a foundation for your discussion so the conversation can focus on higher level issues.

Post on the wiki prior to discussion and include textual references wherever necessary

  • Characters-
    • Jigana (first story) is a ten year old boy whose sister is a prostitute at the age of 12. His story takes place during Christmas time and portrays the tragedy for children in Africa.
    • Maisha - sister of Jigana from first story who is only 12 and a prostitute
    • Fofo Kpee - uncle who sells his nephew and niece into slavery.
    • •Yewa - willing, excited, naive
    • •Big Guy - trickster, sly, two faced
      •Kotchikpa - scared, careful
      •Mr. & Mrs. Ahouagnivo - illegal smugglers
      •Selam - Muslim
      •Jubril - Muslim refugee
      •Mallam Abdullahi - aids refugees of religious wars
      •Chief Okpoko Ukongo - attention seeker
      •Emeka - loud, opinionated
      •Monica - opinionated, minority view
      •Madam Aniema - peacekeeper
      •Colonel Silas Usentok - war-addled brain
      •Jean & Monique - unsuspecting, naive
      •Maman - Tutsi
      •Papa - Hutu
      •The Wizard - pagan
      •Tonton André - very race oriented
  • Setting - The settings vary depending on the story
    • "My Parents' Bedroom" takes place in Rwanda
    • "An Ex-mas Feast" takes place in urban Kenya.
    • "Luxurious Hearses" takes place in Nigeria.
    • "What Language Is That?" takes place in Ethiopia.
    • "Fattening for Gabon" - takes place in Gabon
  • Important plot events - Choose at least 3 significant plot elements and explain their importance
    • meeting Mr. & Mrs. Ahouagnivo - made Yewa & Kotchikpa feel safe and reassured, even though they knew the awful things they were going to put the kids through in the future
      •Escape on the Nanfang - Fofo Kpee finally realizes his mistake and tries to correct it, but he’s too late. Huge turning point.
      •Colonel Usentok coming on the bus- if he hadn’t come Jubril would have made it to his destination unscathed
  • Conflicts - Identify and elaborate on the conflicts that drive the plot
    • Religion is the main conflict in "Luxurious Hearses" and "What language is that?" In
      "What language is that?" a six-year-old Christian girl has to stop being friends with Selam because Selam is Muslim. In
      "Luxurious Hearses" a Muslim teenage boy named Jubril tries to escape to the South and has to pass a Christian refugee in order to do so.

  • Narration (point of view) -Important passages - Have at least 5 important passages on the wiki; a brief comment or question about how and why the passage is important should follow each
    • The stories are told in the children's point of view, rather than an adults, giving the story more thought and a different view point than usual.
    • because the narrators are very engaged it makes the stories a little more emotional and personalized

Passage 1
They take Hélène into my room, and Maman pulls open the hatch. A cloud of fine dust explodes from the ceiling. They shove Hélène's body in.
Now I understand–they are hiding people in our ceiling. Maman was in the ceiling last night. She tricked me. Nobody is telling me the truth today. Tomorrow I must remind them that lying is a sin.

Comment: This passage is important because it shows how truly innocent Monique is. She doesn't understand the genocide, government, and is kept out of her parents' plans in order to protect her. She sees her parents' plans of survival as a form of trickery and dishonesty.

Passage 2
“Selling your child or nephew could be more difficult than selling other kids. You had to keep a calm head or be as ruthless as the Badagry-Seme immigration people. If not it could bring trouble to the family.”

This precedes the entire story, foreshadowing what will happen in the story with Fofo Kpee going back on his deal to sell the children. It gives the reader a hunch about what may happen as he or she reads on.

Passage 3
“No matter how many times we asked, nobody volunteered any information about our parents’ sickness. Our relatives talked in hushed voices about it, a big family secret. However, by eavesdropping, I learned that my parents had AIDS, though I didn’t know what it meant then” (50).

Comment: This quote shows how uneducated these children are, considering AIDS is a huge disease/sickness that occurs in the country that they live in. The passage also shows just how innocent and helpless these children are.

Passage 4
"There are corpses everywhere. Their clothes are dancing in the wind. Where blood has soaked the earth, the grass doesn’t move. Vultures are poking the dead with their long beaks; Jean is driving them away, stamping his feet and swirling his arms. His hands are stained, because he’s been trying to raise the dead. He’s not laughing anymore. His eyes are wide open, and there’s a frown on his babyish forehead" (354).

Comment: This quote shows just how terrible life has become for them so quickly at such a young age. They are witnessing horrible crimes and deaths of people they love when they should just be playing with friends and growing up.