Note to teachers: Please feel free to use these questions to encourage further thinking with your students as they read the novel. You may wish to assign written responses for only one or two questions per chapter and use the remainder of the questions for small group discussion. It is important that the main emphasis of this book is to enjoy, ponder and reflect.
Before the reading:
Read the following quote:
There are two ways that man looks at violence. The first is a glorified lie. The second is the hideous truth and leaves us wondering, if man is capable of causing such horror, how can violence be glorified in the first place? - Donna White
The author calls violence “a glorified lie”. What does this mean to you? She also calls violence “the hideous truth”. What does this mean to you?
As you read the novel pay attention to any changes that occur in your understanding of the two forms of violence the author makes reference to in the quote and the novel.
During the reading:
The story is set in ancient Africa. What clues does the author provide to show that the story took place hundreds of year ago?
1. What characteristics does Scott possess that you admire? 2. Before Scott has the vision he is in awe of the stones. Why? 3. What do you think is happening in Scott’s vision?
1. How is the statue symbolic of the situation in Uganda? 2. Do you think there is a connection between the stones on Blandine’s necklace and Scott’s stones? What do you think is the connection? 3. What is the general feeling of the people in Uganda towards Kony? What is Scott’s reaction to the children dancing? Why?
1. What do you think is the message of Blandine’s story? 2. What are Blandine’s and Scott’s beliefs on the origin of the story? 3. What are some of the thoughts that are going around in Scott’s head near the end of the chapter?
1. Describe the character of Blandine Aluko. 2. In the passage from his mother’s book Scott reads, “I was in Primary 2 ...” Describe your reaction when you read this first sentence. 3. What do you think is the significance of Scott's dream? Chapter Five:
1. Discuss each student’s reactions to the article and compare it to Bruce’s. What assumptions can you make about Bruce’s character?
2. Summarize Scott’s attitude towards the stones since he found them in the cave. What has changed?
1. Describe Bruce’s character and give examples. 2. Is Bruce a character capable of change? Why or why not?
1. What is Bruce’s reaction to Charlie’s story about the LRA? Why? 2. In what ways is Bruce a muzunga?
1. Why doesn’t Bruce want to accept thanks from Charlie for saving the people? 2. Why did Charlie cry over the death of a boy he didn’t know? 3. Why did Charlie bury the body? 4. What is Bruce’s reaction? Why?
1. What is Charlie’s reaction to Bruce’s act of stealing? 2. What is Bruce’s reaction to Mandaca catching him stealing? 3. Why are their reactions different? 4. Why is Charlie angry at Bruce and why does he turn his back to him in the jail cell?
1. Describe Suzanne’s character. 2. Describe Charlie and Bruce’s reaction to receiving the bread. Why are they different? How do they become the same?
1. Discuss your reactions to Charlie’s story.
1. What major events happened prior to Bruce returning home? 2. What has changed in Bruce? What has stayed the same?
1. What is your reaction to Scott’s attack on Bruce? If this attack had occurred before Bruce went to Uganda, what would your reaction have been then? 2. Describe Scott’s reactions to Bruce before and after Scott took the stones.
1. What effect does the email about the Nikes and the angel named “Bruce” have on the reader? 2. What are your predictions of what will happen next?
1. What events have occurred in the book to show that Scott has gained more courage/confidence? 2. Rob can be described as the voice of reason for Scott. What events happen in this chapter to show this?
1. Describe what may have been going through Bruce’s mind as he was running to Scott’s home. 2. Should Scott have forgiven Bruce? Why or why not?
1. Describe Scott’s mother’s reaction to the raid at the refugee camp in Lira. 2. Go to click here (http://truth-out.org/archive/component/k2/item/65561:africa-action-the-tale-of-two-genocides-the-failed-us-response-to-rwanda-and-darfur) and read “A Tale of Two Genocides”. Then go to click here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Kony) and read the section “Action Against Kony: United States”. Does Scott’s mother’s argument seem justified?
1. Describe the three “mistakes” Scott made in this chapter. Do you think there is any hope that Scott will rescue Charlie? Why or why not?
1. Describe two somewhat insignificant actions of Charlie’s that prove to Scott that Charlie does not want to escape. 2. Discuss your reactions to Charlie killing the boy soldier.
1. Discuss Charlie’s anger towards Scott when they are huddled into a circle. Do you think it is justified?
1. Describe the hierarchy of command that is used in the LRA. How is this effective in controlling the children? (You may also compare this to the hierarchy in a wolf pack). 2. Discuss Scott’s thoughts about himself and Charlie while he buries the young soldier. 3. Why does Scott cry over the soldier’s grave as he buries him?
1. What does Scott forgive Charlie for? 2. What does Charlie forgive Scott for? 3. What major events happened prior to Scott returning home? What has changed in Scott?
1. What is Rob’s reaction to the stones? 2. Why does he not want to go with Scott and Bruce to Uganda? 3. Imagine that you are in Rob’s position and you have the opportunity to go to see Charlie. Make a list of reasons why you would want to go and a list of reasons why you wouldn’t want to go. What would your final decision be?
1. What is the purpose of the purification ceremony the children go through before they go off to war? Why is this effective on the children? 2. Eighty to ninety percent of the soldiers in Kony’s army are children. What advantages are there in using children as soldiers?
1. Consider the Pastor’s religious beliefs versus the religious beliefs of the soldiers. Why is it ironic that they are members of the Lord’s Resistance Army?
1. Bruce calls himself a “good jok”. Has he earned this title? Why or why not?
1. Discuss some of the street smarts Bruce possesses that have helped Scott and Charlie throughout the story. 2. Why did the boy not want to trust Suzanne when she said she could help him escape?
1. Describe Charlie’s reaction to the magic stones. Why is it like this? 2. Charlie calls Bruce his angel and Bruce thinks of himself as a good jok. Has Bruce’s character changed all that dramatically? Why or why not?
1. Describe the scene when Scott receives the food and water. Why do you think the author put this short scene into the story?
1. What has Scott learned about Charlie and how do you think his telling Charlie this effects Charlie? How has Scott “rescued” Charlie? 2. How is the magic of the stone “spent” on Scott?
1. List the clever things Charlie does in this chapter to out-smart the soldiers. What can you say about Charlie’s character? 2. What does it mean that Charlie danced, “Because he could.”?
End of Book Questions Suitable for Group Discussion
Refer to chapter eight when Bruce first meets Charlie. To Bruce it’s simple: take the gun, shoot the bad guy and run away. But Charlie says it’s more complicated than that. Discuss the ways in which it is more complicated and why the children don’t run away from Kony’s army.
Discuss the theme of forgiveness in the book, with reference to the dedication/Author's Note in the novel.
The stones transport Bruce and Scott to Uganda but they have a larger power. What is the true power of the stones?
In the end of the novel Kony is given one of the stones. Where do you think he will be sent to? What transformations in his character are going to need to take place before he will be able to return? Do you think the stone has the power to change Kony?