CRENSHAW

Katherine Applegate

In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again. Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Crenshaw proves in unexpected ways that friends matter,

more …

In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again. Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Crenshaw proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.

less …
  • Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
  • Hardcover
  • September 2015
  • 256 Pages
  • 9781250043238

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$16.99

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About Katherine Applegate

Katherine Applegate is the author of the bestselling Animorphs series, and the novels Home of the Brave and The One and Only Ivan, winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal. She lives with her husband, author Michael Grant, and their two children in Northern California.

Author Website

Praise

This accessible and moving novel demonstrates how the creative resilience of a child’s mind can soften difficult situations, while exploring the intersection of imagination and truth.” Publishers Weekly, starred review

A compelling and unflinchingly honest treatment of a difficult topic.” School Library Journal, starred review

Warm and, occasionally, quirkily funny. . . .[Crenshaw] paints a convincing and compassionate portrait of a social class — the working poor — underrepresented in children’s books.” The Horn Book, starred review

I immediately wanted to hand Crenshaw to my nine-year-old daughter so she, too, could meet and befriend Jackson. Such a difficult topic dealt with in such a straightforward, believable way. It was a pleasure to read this latest gem from Katherine Applegate.” —Karen Rosenthal, R.J. Julia Booksellers

Discussion Questions

1. Discuss Jackson’s statement: “Stories are lies, when you get right down to it. And I don’t like being lied to.” Why doesn’t Jackson like made-up stories? Why is it so important for him to have a logical explanation for everything that happens?

2. When are the times in Jackson’s life that Crenshaw appears? Which events occur that create a need for Jackson to have Crenshaw in his life? Discuss Jackson’s comment about the name Crenshaw: “It felt like a blank piece of paper before you draw on it.”

3. Why does Jackson feel different from the other members of his family? Describe scenes in the story where Jackson feels separate from them. Identify times in the story when Jackson realizes how important his family is to him.

4. When did Crenshaw go away in Jackson’s life earlier? Why has he never told Marisol about Crenshaw and about his family’s problems? Why does he tell her now?

5. Discuss the theme of friendship in this book. How did Jackson and Marisol become friends? What are the experiences and beliefs that they have in common? What are their differences? How does their friendship help each of them?

6. Why does Jackson steal the dog cookie? How does he feel about the few times that he has stolen from a store? Why does he feel worse about lying than stealing? What makes him ask Crenshaw: “Are you my conscience?”

7. Discuss the theme of magic in this story. What is the meaning of “magic” in the context of Jackson’s life? Why did he want to reveal how the magician’s tricks worked at school? Discuss Marisol’s comment: “Just enjoy the magic while you can, okay?”

8. Jackson sometimes feels as if he is the most grownup member of his family. Identify times in the story when he does appear to act more grown-up than his parents. Identify places in the story when his parents are in charge of the situation.