Reading Group Guide for Zara’s Rules for Finding Hidden Treasure
By Hena KhanAbout the Book
In this second book in Hena Khan’s Zara’s Rules series, Zara is thrilled to get a brand-new bike, but that excitement turns to disappointment when someone steals her bicycle from a nearby park. What’s worse is that she had forgotten to lock it, so her parents insist that she earn the money she will need to replace the bike. Luckily, her best friend, Naomi, helps her start a business turning their families’ unwanted trash into treasure with a mobile neighborhood yard sale. The only problem is that Zara and her grandmother Naano find it difficult to part with anything. How can you keep the memories if you get rid of the objects that inspire them?Discussion Questions
1. Zara and her friends like to play at Radley’s Park. Read the description of the park found in chapter one and then write a description of your favorite park or playground. What was your favorite thing to do at a playground when you were younger? What do you like to do now?
2. How does Zara feel when she realizes someone has stolen her bike? Have you ever lost or had something stolen from you? Compare how you felt (or imagine you would feel) to how Zara feels.
3. Why do Zara’s parents think that Zara is at fault for having her bike stolen? Do you agree that Zara is responsible for what happened? Explain your answer.
4. Why don’t Zara’s parents help her buy a new bike? Do you think Zara’s parents are doing the right thing when they require her to earn money to purchase a new bike?
5. Examine the conversation in chapter four between Zara and Naomi about how to earn money in the context of entrepreneurship.
a. In business, to make a profit, you need to be able to secure the product you want to sell (supply
), and people need to want or need the product (demand
). The cost of making or acquiring the product also needs to be less than the amount you sell it for to make a profit.
Your profit margin is the difference between the price you sell an item for and the amount it costs to produce. The steps you take to inform customers about your product and make it appealing are a part of marketing
. How do these concepts impact Zara and Naomi’s decisions about their business?
6. Before starting their business, Zara comes up with three rules (chapter four). Explain why each rule is important. Are there any rules you think they should add to their list?
7. When Zara asks her mother to pack samosas in her lunchbox, her mother comments that “times have changed,” noting that when she was Zara’s age, she did not want any Pakistani foods in her lunchbox (chapter seven). Why do you think Zara’s mother was hesitant to express her cultural identity at school? Why is it important for people to feel free to express their cultural identity? How can you show others that you respect and appreciate their cultural traditions?
8. Why does Naano get upset when Zara’s mother tells her she needs to clean out her storage area and throw things away? Are you more like Zara’s mother or Naano regarding how you feel about getting rid of objects you no longer use?
9. What experience helps Zara’s mother understand why Naano holds on to things?
10. What mistake does Zara make when gathering her mother’s unwanted items to sell? How does she fix the mistake?
11. Read the paragraph describing the handmade pillow covers in chapter thirteen and explain the difference between their monetary
value (how much money an item is worth) and their sentimental
value (the personal and emotional attachment to an object). What possession of yours has the most sentimental value? What memory makes it valuable to you?
12. What experience helps Naano realize that she does not need to hold on to objects to hold on to memories?
13. Look at the apology that Zara’s mother gives Naano in chapter fourteen. What does she do in addition to simply saying “I am sorry”? How do both her words and actions make this an effective apology? What can you learn about how to apologize from Zara’s mother’s example? Read Zara’s apology to Naomi in chapter thirteen. Explain how her apology follows her mother’s example.
14. How does Zara finally earn the money she needs to purchase a new bike? What bike does she end up choosing to buy? Had Zara not worked to make her own money, do you think she would have purchased the bike she did? How did working change her perspective on what is valuable?Extension Activities
1. Zara and Naomi create a business to earn extra money. While they decide to sell a product, a business can also provide a service (like babysitting). Working alone or with a friend, develop a plan for a business you could start and present your plan to a group such as your class, friends, or family. If you need additional resources, Wikihow has a tutorial on how to create a business plan: https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Business-Plan-(for-Kids)
2. Zara and Nana Abu share a love of gulab jamon, a dessert made of fried dough balls in a sweet syrup. Interestingly, most cultures have a version of fried dough (a video showing the different iterations of fried dough can be found here: https://www.insider.com/fried-dough-delicacies-from-countries-around-the-world-2021-3).
Choose a fried dough recipe and have an adult help you make it at home. After trying the food, record your thoughts of the cooking process and the taste in a video, voice recording, short essay, or comic strip. What was familiar about the food you tried? What was unfamiliar? Why do you think fried dough is a food that so many cultures have in common?
3. At Michael’s bar mitzvah, Zara’s mother notices the similarities between the synagogue and their family’s mosque and comments, “‘We truly are all brothers and sisters’” (chapter eleven). Later Zara, Naomi, and Jade discuss the things that a bar/bat mitzvah, Ameen ceremony, and sweet sixteen party have in common. Using the library and internet resources, research the ways different cultures celebrate coming-of-age, and choose a cultural tradition to highlight. Create a visual aid to share information about your selected tradition with your classmates, friends, and/or family.
4. Both Zara and her Naano have a sentimental attachment to objects that connect to important memories. Think about something you own that is emotionally valuable to you and write a descriptive essay, sales ad, or commercial about the object. Make sure to use imagery (words that appeal to the senses) to describe the object. You should also use your preferred method to explain the memories that make the object personally valuable.
5. Zara and Naomi discuss the Marie Kondo method of organization in chapter ten. Marie Kondo is a consultant who helps people organize and declutter their homes. One of her strategies is only to keep objects that spark joy and cultivate gratitude. Read more about Marie Kondo’s method (https://konmari.com/
), then use her process to organize your backpack, locker, or desk. Make sure to take before-and-after pictures of the organized area. Afterward, reflect on the process. How did you feel before you got started? How did you feel while you were organizing? How did you feel once you finished? Was the process harder or easier than you expected?
6. Inspired by a photo slideshow from Michael’s bar mitzvah, Zara creates a slideshow of family memories and an accompanying photo album as a gift for Naano and Nana Abu’s fortieth wedding anniversary. Collect photos of your family to create a slideshow highlighting your life or the life of a grandparent or parent. Use a timer to create a slideshow that displays twenty photographs for fifteen seconds each, and share your project with your class, friends, family, or club, explaining the significance of the photos you selected.Guide prepared by Amy Jurskis, English Department Chair at Oxbridge Academy
. This guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.