2022-2023 Wyoming High School English Department Summer "Big Read"
All students in grades 9-12 for the 2022-2023 school year will read:
Finding Chika: a little girl, an earthquake, and the making of a family by Mitch Albom
Finding Chika is a celebration of a girl, her adoptive guardians, and the incredible bond they formed - a devastatingly beautiful portrait of what it means to be a family, regardless of how it is created.
You can find this book at your local library, on Amazon, and in local bookstores. Please have the book read for August 10, 2022: Day 1 of the 2022-2023 school year.
As you read, we suggest you consider the following questions and topics:
- After her death, Chika first appears to Albom the morning of his father’s funeral. Why do you think the author chose to use these “dialogues” to help tell the story?
- Why is it particularly difficult for Albom to write about Chika at first?
- What are healthy ways to maintain powerful connections to lost loved ones? In what ways might such attachment become unhealthy? (See p. 15)
- Consider the various allusions to stories (The House at Pooh Corner, The Chronicles of Narnia, etc.) throughout the book. What is so important about stories for children? What role should narrative play in a healthy adult life?
- What is the epiphany Albom has when watching the children sing and dance beneath sprays of water? How does this powerful experience change him?
- What does Albom mean when he says that awful news is “literally a bend in your life”? Why is how you decide to frame and respond to such a challenge so important?
- What might it mean that “you can have more than one journey of your life”?
- How is “a child … both an anchor and a set of wings”?
- What role does hope play on Albom’s journey with Chika? What does he mean when he says that hopelessness can be contagious?
- Consider the Haitian proverb, “Misfortune doesn’t have a horn.” What does it mean? How is it relevant to Chika’s story?
- What is the complex nature of the Alboms’ role as parents to Chika? Beyond biology, what might establish a person as a parent?
- What is joy? How is it that Albom found joy in such profound loss? What are some ways to stay aware of joy in our daily experience?
- What might explain Chika’s vibrant courage in the face of such challenges?
- What does Albom mean when he says, “What we carry defines who we are”?
- What is the nature of grief? How do the Alboms respond to theirs? What are healthy, effective ways to endure such feelings of loss?
- Albom likens families to “pieces of art.” What does he mean? What are the essential elements of a powerful, loving family? How did Chika “make a family” for the Alboms?
- What is Chika’s legacy?
More information about about outside reading texts can be found below in our book rationale list.
Parents & Guardians
The Parent/Guardian Outside Reading sign-off is available here.
QUESTIONS & CONCERNS
Outside Reading Books are central to the English Department’s coursework. Each has been carefully selected to encourage creative and critical thinking around cultures, beliefs, and ideas. If you have questions, our philosophy and objectives are outlined here, and our book evaluation form is also publicly available here.
If you have questions or concerns about a book, it is standard procedure to contact your student’s teacher. We encourage you to discuss the matter, and to make mutually agreeable arrangements should you still have concerns.
If you do not know your student’s teacher or have further questions, please contact Wyoming High School English Department Chair Angie Edmonds at firstname.lastname@example.org.