Resources

This page is for anyone wanting resources to help them use Wild Sage Press books as opportunities for learning: teachers, parents, book club members, individual readers. Each book has its own set of resources.

Blue Grama | Dorothy McMoogle with Kumquat and Bugle | Goldeye and Funnyfin 
How to Be a RiverTending the Tree of Life | Watermarks | We're Already Home

Blue Grama

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YouTube

Conversation points

  • What is your connection to the prairie?
  • In what ways are your experiences of the prairie and prairie people similar to the author's? In what ways are they different?
  • What new insights into the prairie did this book give you?
  • What perspectives of the prairie did the book confirm for you?
  • Has the book changed your view of the prairie at at all? In what ways?
  • What other landscapes do you have a connection with (e.g. mountains, oceans, deserts)? How does your connection with nature differ according to the landscape you are in?
  • Are you familiar with any of the plants in the botanical illustrations? Where did you come across them? Are there particular favourites you wish had been included in the book?
  • What is your favourite poem? Favourite song? Favourite illustration? Why?
  • What is your reaction to David Carpenter's comments about rocks, creatures and plants, that "these mute entities are not voiceless and without being; that they are knowable to those who bring their best attention to the rocks and grasses, the snakes and insects, be they ever so lowly and wild"? Have you had the experience of "hearing" or "knowing" one of these "mute entitities"? How would you describe the experience.
  • Which poem or song had the strongest emotional impact on you? In what way?
  • Some of the poems and songs are quite "small p" political. Do you agree or disagree with the political viewpoint expressed? In what ways? 
  • If you were to write or draw something about the prairie, what would it be?
  • Although the book focuses on prairie landscape, people and plants, much of the writing has a broader resonance, for example when the author writes about her parents. What insights into life in general, and your life in particular, did the book give you? Alternatively, what in the book did you recognize that relates to your life, whether prairie-themed or not? 

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Dorothy McMoogle with Kumquat and Bugle

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 Conversation points

  • Why did the writer pick a kumquat to write about when lots of people don’t know what it is? Do you think it's because: 
    - The writer likes how kumquats look and taste. 
    - The writer likes the sound of the word. (He used the word "kumquat" a lot - did he use it more than 3 times? more than 7 times?  more than 10 times?)
    - The writer wanted to pick something people would wonder about and have to imagine or learn about.
  • What do you think a kumquat looks and tastes like? How would you find out what a real kumquat looks and tastes like?
  • If you were making up a fruit to draw or write a funny story about, what would you call it and what would it look like? What name and looks would you choose for a serious story? Why?
  • What do you think “flap your flugel” means in the poem? Did the writer make up the word "flugel"?  How can you find out? 
  • Flugel rhymes with bugle. Do you know any other words which rhyme with bugle? 
  • Which two of these are real words: octopuses; octopi; octopussies?
  • At the point in the story where Aunt Lottie is looking in her purse, which of the following do you think sounds best, and why:
    Among her siamese octopussies/A moth and six moth friends
         or
    Among her siamese octopi/A moth and six moth friends
         or
    Among her siamese octopuses/A moth and six moth friends
  •  What do you know about octopuses? What colours are they? How do they hide? Are they smarter than other fish? How many legs do they have? How many legs would a siamese octopus have?
  • Where do gnus live? What are they? Do they read gnuspapers?
  • What kind of girl is Dorothy?
  • Dot is one nickname for Dorothy. Are there any other kinds of dots in this story?
  • Do you think the writer liked writing this story? Why?
  • What parts of the story do you like the most? Why?
  • This story was written as a poem. How would it have been different if it weren't written as a poem? What do you like about it as a poem?
  • Does this story teach a lesson? What would you say it is? 

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Goldeye and Funnyfin 

YouTubePublishing StoryConversation points | More about Goldeye and Funnyfin | Facebook page

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Goldeye and Funnyfin: Publishing Story

This publishing story is for anyone interested in working with children to understand how publishing works. Adults will also enjoy it! Below are the visuals that tell the story, and the guide that accompanies the visuals.

Conversation points  

  • Who do you think was braver - Goldeye or Funnyfin? Why?
  • Would you want a house made out of sea shells, or out of something else? What are the reasons for your choice?
  • Which character do you think is most like you? Why?
  • Would you say that the Magnificent Fish is a bully? Why or why not?
  • Why do you think Octavia is so grouchy? 
  • If you were Octavia, would you have let Goldeye and Funnyfin pass by? Why or why not?
  • Why do you think Goldeye and Funnyfin became such good friends with Willa?
  • Willa the Whale is very big. Funnyfin is very small. What are some good things about being big? What are some good things about being small?
  • Which parts did you think were funny? Which parts, if any, made you feel sad or serious? Happy? Scared? Puzzled or curious? Why?
  • If you and Goldeye and Funnyfin were having a visit, what do you think you would talk about? Would you talk about different things with Willa? Octavia? Sammy? What kinds of different things? 
  • What (if anything) in the book surprised you? Why?
  • If you were travelling under the ocean, which parts would you most want to see, and which creatures would you most want to meet?
  • If you were an underwater creature, which kind would you most want to be: a fish? a whale? an octopus? a seahorse? a clam? Why?
  • Why do people like to swim in lakes and oceans? What are the reasons that people don't live underwater?
  • Originally these stories were not written down; a mother made them up and told them to her children. Do you prefer listening to storytellers or listening to books being read? Why?  

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How to Be a River

Conversation points | More about How to Be a River

Conversation points 

  • Why do you think the author chose the title How to Be a River?
  • In what ways does each section title - Room Full of Men, Over the North Atlantic, Blunt Instrument, Places of Grass - fit with the poems in that section?
  • How would you describe the character of Anita, who plays a central role in the first section? How would you explain the reasons for the path her life took?
  • How much of the intensity of the second section arises from the nature of a long distance relationship? How does a long distance relationship differ emotionally from other kinds of relationships? 
  • What issues regarding legal systems does the third section raise? 
  • How does your family compare to the family highlighted in the last section?
  • What is the role or impact of physical landscape in the poems? 
  • What kinds of emotions do you experience as you read the poems?
  • In what ways do or don't the poems reflect your own experiences?
  • Which poems do you relate to most, and what is it about the poems that connect you to them?  

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Tending the Tree of Life

Conversation points | More about Tending the Tree of Life | Facebook page

Conversation points 

  • In what ways did the memoir change your understanding of topics such as:
    -- the early Jewish immigrant experience in Canada
    -- life in the Air Force
    -- the role of politics in affecting health policy
  • How is your view of schizophrenia and other mental illness similar or different to the author's?
  • How would you sum up the author's character? Which qualities of his do you share? Why is he or isn't he someone you would like to meet?
  • A strong motivation for the author's life choices was his desire to make the world a better place. How common a motivating factor do you think this is for people? Why is it or isn't it common?
  • What are the different ways that a passion to help people expresses itself? In what ways do you see yourself helping people?
  • The author mentions a number of different kinds of challenges he faced in life, such as having to complete his high school degree by correspondence, the death of his wife, loss of friends and family during the war, a psychiatric establishment resistant to change, health issues. Which challenges have you faced that are similar or different to the author's? Based on the author's experiences and your own, what is the best way to approach challenges?
  • What was your favourite part of the book? What part did you find the most surprising? moving? the funniest? Why?
  • If you were to write your own memoir, in what ways would your approach differ from the author's, for example regarding writing style, content, and underlying themes?

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Watermarks

Conversation points | More about Watermarks

Conversation points

  • Which physical landscapes in which poems speak to you? How? 
  • What kinds of emotions do you experience as you read the poems?
  • What is the difference in emotional tone between Dreaming Your Ex and Dreaming Your Current? Which poem do you prefer, and why do you prefer it?
  • Having read Advice from Noah's Wife, is there an historical character, real or fictional, that you would like some advice from, or would like to give some advice to? Who and what?
  • How does the juxtaposition of stories in Twenty Easy Payments make each narrative more powerful?
  • Which poems are playful? What about them amuses you?
  • Which of the poems are about writing poems? What perspectives do they bring on how to write?
  • What transitions do the poems highlight?
  • In what ways do the photos influence your interpretation of the poems they belong to?
  • Which poems do you relate to most, and what is it about the poems that connect you to them?
  • How would you describe the nature of the emotional landscapes that the poems explore? 

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We're Already Home

YouTube | Conversation points | More about We're Already Home | FaceBook page 

YouTube

 Conversation points

  • Have you experienced a situation where you have misunderstood, or been misunderstood, because of mistaken cultural assumptions or lack of knowledge (e.g. Ruth not knowing that the Ahmed family has dietary restrictions because of their religion)? What was the result? What suggestions do you have for avoiding misunderstandings in future?
  • Do you know any families where a teenager has taken a romantic interest in a person of another race or religion, similar to Jacob and Sila? If yes, how did the situation unfold (e.g. regarding emotional responses, attitudes within the family and in the broader community, how challenges were addressed, what were the benefits, what was learned, what was the end result). If you don't personally know a family with similar circumstances, how do you imagine the situation might unfold regarding these points? 
  • How do you explain the differences in the way that Roy and Ruth react to their new neighbours?
  • Would people involved in cross-cultural relationships benefit from reading/seeing this play? In what ways?
  • Who was your favourite character in the play? Why?
  • What things surprised you in the play?
  • John Lent writes, "The play invents a human drama full of humor, tension and passion that reaches past itself to connect far into our larger society." What examples can you think of that illustrate how the play connects itself to our larger society?
  • In different ways the play touches on feelings of fear, lack of belonging, and insularity. In what ways are you able to relate to these feelings? What suggestions do you have for addressing these feelings, e.g. in order to promote feelings of courage, belonging and wanting to reach out to others?
  • In what ways did or didn't the ending make sense to you? 

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