Ms. Hempel Chronicles (Bynum)

Discussion Questions
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for Ms. Hempel Chronicles:

1. Does Ms. Hempel like her job? How does she view her students? How do you view her students?

2. What was the point of having her students write their own progress reports in place of standard teacher evaluations?

3. How has Beatrice's past shaped her present personality and performance as a teacher? What ever happened to the teenaged girl who wore steel-toed boots and listened to punk rock?

4. Talk about this passage from the book: "When you are in school, your talents are without number, and your promise is boundless... But at a certain point, you begin to feel your talents dropping away...until one day you realize that you cannot think of a single thing you are wonderful at." How true do you find this observation? If it is true, how does it happen?

5. The passage in Question 4 reflects what can happen to children—they start out as colorful butterflies and move toward drab moths as they head into adulthood. Can you trace a sort of reverse movement—from moth to butterfly—for Ms. Hempel?

6. There is little plot and little conflict in Chronicles. Does that bore you...or hold your interest? What about the way the book is structured, its series of vignettes?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online or off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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