What You Need to Know:|
• A young couple discover a small boy sleeping on their porch, and their lives are forever changed.
• The boy is mute and must find ways to communicate without words.
• The story is told from the parents' point of view, which is a unique perspective for a young reader.
• There are some challenging words like audible, gambol, and derelict.
• Use this discussion guide to discuss The Boy on the Porch in the classroom.
The Boy on the Porch is a tender story about Marta and John, a young couple who discover a little boy asleep on their porch. Despite their initial shock and confusion, they take him in, care for him, and grow to love him. Although the boy, called Jacob, doesn't speak, they learn to communicate through his tapping, his music, and his paintings. Marta and John don't know much about children, but they find themselves looking for ways to make the boy happy and realize that his smile makes them happy too. Life on their remote little farm takes on new meaning, but how long will the boy stay? Will the person that left him on their porch come back to claim him?
This timeless story has the rhythm of a folktale and sheds light on the gratification that can come from connecting with other people. Yes, Marta and John give Jacob a home, but he fills an emptiness that they didn't even realize was there. Their lives become richer and more complete with every day that Jacob is with them. While the story is told with an ease and simplicity that is consistent with the tranquility of life on the farm, the vocabulary, perspective and deeper message give greater weight to the book. It's a great choice for classroom discussion or for a reader who is more comfortable with reflection rather than action.
2013, 176 pages
Adoption, Compassion/Empathy, Family Life, Life Challenges, Physical/Mental Differences
• How do John and Marta feel about the boy when they first discover him?
• How do those feelings change over time?
• What type of person is the sheriff?
• Do you think that John and Marta do the right thing when they tell the sheriff about Jacob?
• What is your guess as to why Jacob is mute?
• How does Jacob communicate without words?
• Where do you think the story takes place? In what time period?
• How do the many foster children that come to stay on the farm impact John and Marta's lives?
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