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Stormstruck!
by John Macfarlane

Trade Binding | 144 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/4 | US$ 16.95
ISBN: 9780823433940 | 08-30-2015

Also available as an ebook.

Grade: FIFTH | Age: 8 to 12

Themes: Family & Relationships, Growing Up, Contemporary Issues/Social Problems, Death, Dying & Grief, Survival
Recommendations: ★K

CCSS Codes:
RL.6.1-6, 9, 10
L.6.3, 4, 4a, 4c, 4d, 5, 5a, 5b, 5b, 6
SL.6.1, 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 3, 6
SL.6.1, 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 3, 6
W.6.1, 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 9, 9a, 10

About the Book

This gripping adventure-at-sea skillfully blends a suspenseful survival story, a heart-wrenching boy-and-his-dog tale and the sensitive treatment of a youngster coming to terms with the death of a family member.

When twelve-year-old Sam overhears his parents talking about their elderly and infirm Labrador retriever, Pogo, he's convinced they plan to have the dog put down. To save Pogo, Sam sets sail with the dog in a fourteen foot boat for an island off the coast of Maine. The elements conspire against them as they move from one danger to another: fog, near decapitation by a tugboat cable, a storm at sea, a lurking shark and the loss of their boat. Sam summons courage and ingenuity to meet each new challenge, helped along the way by Pogo's loyalty, a one-eyed cormorant, a retired ornithologist, and a lifetime of good nautical advice from his older brother. As he battles nature's fury, Sam is finally able to come to terms with what he has truly been running from: his brother's death in Afghanistan.

Classroom Discussion Questions with CCSS:

1. What kind of person is Sam? Describe his beliefs, hopes, dreams, values, fears, strengths, weaknesses and talents. What does Sam do and say to reveal himself? Find evidence from the story. RL.6-8.1, 3

2. What people, forces and values oppose each other in STORMSTRUCK!? What decisions must the characters make in order to resolve the conflicts? RL.6-8.1, 3 / SL.6-8.1, 3

3. How does the setting affect meaning? What feelings are evoked just by the setting of STORMSTRUCK!? How does author John Macfarlane's background and experience influence his writing of STORMSTRUCK!? W.6-8.2, 7, 9

4. Discuss and write about the themes of survival and loyalty. How does John Macfarlane emphasize the themes by sharing Sam's feelings, his thoughts and conversations, what he learns throughout the story and his actions? RL.6-8.2 / W.6-8.9