The Nest

The Nest

Illustrated by: Jon Klassen
For Ages: 10 - 99
  • 14
The Nest leaves a lasting mark on the memory.” —The New York Times Book Review

Steve just wants to save his baby brother—but what will he lose in the bargain? Kenneth Oppel’s (Silverwing, The Boundless) haunting gothic tale for fans of Coraline, is one of the most acclaimed books of the year, receiving six starred reviews. Illustrations from Caldecott Medalist Jon Klassen.

For some kids summer is a sun-soaked season of fun. But for Steve, it’s just another season of worries. Worries about his sick newborn baby brother who is fighting to survive, worries about his parents who are struggling to cope, even worries about the wasp’s nest looming ominously from the eaves. So when a mysterious wasp queen invades his dreams, offering to “fix” the baby, Steve thinks his prayers have been answered.

All he has to do is say “Yes.” But “yes” is a powerful word. It is also a dangerous one. And once it is uttered, can it be taken back?

Celebrated author Kenneth Oppel creates an eerie masterpiece in this compelling story that explores disability and diversity, fears and dreams, and what ultimately makes a family. Includes illustrations from celebrated artist Jon Klassen.
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781481432337 | 
  • October 2016 | 
  • Grades 5 and up | 
  • Lexile ® 640L
List Price $8.99 (price may vary by retailer)
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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

The Nest

By Kenneth Oppel

Illustrated by Jon Klassen


About the Book

Steve loves his baby brother, Theo, but Theo is not well. Steve’s parents take Theo to the hospital almost every day, but they don’t talk to Steve about what is wrong with him. As Steve becomes more worried about Theo, he begins to dream about a wasp queen who says she can fix the baby. Every night the queen comes to Steve in a dream and tells him about events that are going to happen; she reassures him that the baby will be okay.

In the beginning, the queen makes Steve feel better, but, eventually, Steve begins to confuse reality with his dreams. As the situation with Theo’s health intensifies, Steve’s dream world comes crashing down—just as his reality comes into focus.

Discussion Questions

1. Why does Steve think that the flying insects who come to him in his dreams are angels? What type of insect are they?

2. Why is Steve so worried about his baby brother? What is his concern?

3. Why does Nicole name the mysterious caller Mr. Nobody? Why isn’t the family concerned about the stranger who repeatedly calls them?

4. Why does Steve’s father have to take him to the hospital? What is Steve’s reaction to his experience?

5. Why is Steve afraid when the knife guy knocks on the doo see more

More Books from this Author

Every Hidden Thing
The Boundless
The Silverwing Collection
Such Wicked Intent

About the Author

Kenneth Oppel
Photograph © Jim Gillett

Kenneth Oppel

Kenneth Oppel is the author of numerous books for young readers. His award-winning Silverwing trilogy has sold over a million copies worldwide and been adapted as an animated TV series and stage play. Airborn won a Michael L. Printz Honor Book Award and the Canadian Governor General’s Literary Award for children’s literature; its sequel, Skybreaker, was a New York Times bestseller and was named Children’s Novel of the Year by the London Times. He is also the author of Half Brother, This Dark Endeavor, Such Wicked Intent, and The Boundless. Born on Canada’s Vancouver Island, he has lived in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Canada; in England and Ireland; and now resides in Toronto with his wife and children. Visit him at