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A GUIDE FOR READING GROUPS BLACK STORM COMIN'
By Diane Lee Wilson ABOUT THE BOOK
Colton Wescott, a twelve-year-old boy traveling west in a wagon train with his white father and black mother and two younger sisters, has his inner strength put to the extreme test when the family is separated from his father and his mother becomes very ill after the birth and death of a new baby. Colton needs to figure out a way to ensure the survival of his family and begins a treacherous job as a Pony Express rider traveling through the mountains to California. THEMES
Family life; Growing up; Multiculturalism; Pony Express; Slavery; Identity; Racially mixed people; Self-acceptance; Frontier and frontier life; West ( U. S.) -- History -- nineteenth Century; United States -- History -- 1815-1861; Pre-Civil War DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
• How does Colton's experience as a member of a multiracial family affect his life? How does his repeated use of his ability to "pass" for white affect his self-image?
• While the Pony Express isn't in operation today, there are many other challenges we face while growing up. What do you confront in today's world that you see as parallels to the challenges Colton faced?
• Colton was not the only character in the story to face hardships. How did other family members (Dad, Ma, Althea, Jewel) react to pressures of the outside world? ACTIVITIES
• Working in groups of two or three, look up Pony Express trails in books or on websites. Have each group work on drawing a map of the route the Pony Express followed.
• Make a Pony Express board game with Pony Express riders as the game pieces, including various hazards encountered on the ride. Be creative, and use other board games as models and for ideas for your game.
This reading group guide is for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
Prepared by Barb Stransky
© William Allen White Children's Book Award
Please visit http://www.emporia.edu/libsv/wawbookaward/ for more information about the awards and to see curriculum guides for other master list titles.