One of our recommended books is The Silver Arrow by Lev Grossman

THE SILVER ARROW


From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Magicians comes a must-read, wholly original middle-grade debut perfect for fans of The Chronicles of Narnia and Roald Dahl

Dear Uncle Herbert,

You’ve never met me, but I’m your niece Kate, and since it is my birthday tomorrow and you are super-rich could you please send me a present?

Kate and her younger brother Tom lead dull, uninteresting lives. And if their dull, uninteresting parents are anything to go by, they don’t have much to look forward to.

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Magicians comes a must-read, wholly original middle-grade debut perfect for fans of The Chronicles of Narnia and Roald Dahl

Dear Uncle Herbert,

You’ve never met me, but I’m your niece Kate, and since it is my birthday tomorrow and you are super-rich could you please send me a present?

Kate and her younger brother Tom lead dull, uninteresting lives. And if their dull, uninteresting parents are anything to go by, they don’t have much to look forward to. Why can’t Kate have thrilling adventures and save the world the way people do in books? Even her 11th birthday is shaping up to be mundane — that is, until her mysterious and highly irresponsible Uncle Herbert, whom she’s never even met before, surprises her with the most unexpected, exhilarating, inappropriate birthday present of all time: a colossal steam locomotive called the Silver Arrow.

Kate and Tom’s parents want to send it right back where it came from. But Kate and Tom have other ideas — and so does the Silver Arrow — and soon they’re off to distant lands along magical rail lines in the company of an assortment of exotic animals who, it turns out, can talk. With only curiosity, excitement, their own resourcefulness and the thrill of the unknown to guide them, Kate and Tom are on the adventure of a lifetime . . . and who knows? They just might end up saving the world after all.

This thrilling fantasy adventure will not only entertain young readers but inspire them to see the beautiful, exciting, and precious world around them with new eyes.

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  • Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Hardcover
  • September 2020
  • 272 Pages
  • 9780316539531

Buy the Book

$16.99

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About Lev Grossman

Lev Grossman is the author of five novels including the #1 New York Times bestselling Magicians trilogy, which has been published in 30 countries. A TV adaptation of the trilogy is now in its fifth season as the top-rated show on Syfy. Grossman is also an award-winning journalist who spent 15 years as the book critic and lead technology writer at Time magazine, where he published more than 20 cover stories. In addition he has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street JournalWiredThe BelieverThe Village VoiceNPRSalonSlate, and Buzzfeed, among many others. He lives in New York City with his wife and three children.

Praise

“I loved it. Completely unpredictable and completely charming. A perfect book to cuddle up with and savor–and even better to read aloud with someone you love.” –Adam Gidwitz, bestselling and Newbery honor-winning author of A Tale Dark and Grimm and The Inquisitor’s Tale

Discussion Questions

1. If you could have any birthday present in the world, what would you wish for? Why?

2. Do you think technology makes it easier or harder for people to stay connected, both to other people and the world around them?

3. Grace Hopper, the famous inventor and computer programmer, is one of Kate’s biggest role models. Who are some of your role models? Why do they inspire you?

4. If you were the conductor of a magical train like the Silver Arrow, which train cars would you choose to add? Why?

5. Which animal did you most enjoy learning about? What was your favorite fact about them?

6. Over the course of the book, Kate learns about invasive species from the animals. How do invasive species impact other animals and their environments? How are humans an invasive species?

7. What examples of changing habitats are shown or described throughout the book? How do these changes affect the animals who live there?

8. Kate and Tom spend time as trees in exchange for wood to fuel the Silver Arrow. How does being a tree feel to them? How do you think being another form of life would feel?

9. Kate notes that, “People looked down on animals, but animals never made excuses or felt sorry for themselves” (p.183). What other differences between animals and humans do Kate and Tom notice? How are Kate and Tom’s interactions with the animals in the book different from other classic children’s books? Do you think our relationship with the natural world has changed? How?

10. When describing the plight of the baby pangolin Kate says, “Some problems in this world just don’t have answers. Not yet.” (p. 216) How can we work to find answers for those problems? What can you do personally to make our world a better place?