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A Million Shades of Gray

A Million Shades of Gray

For Ages: 10 - 14
  • reading group guide
  • 3awards
A boy and his elephant escape into the jungle when the Viet Cong attack his village immediately after the Vietnam war.
  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers | 
  • 224 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416918837 | 
  • January 2010 | 
  • Grades 5 - 9 | 
  • Lexile 700
List Price $16.99
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Reading Group Guide

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

Discuss Y’Tin’s attitude toward school. Why is his mother so determined that he complete his education? Cite evidence that Y’Tin is willing to learn in spite of his rebellion against school. When the North Vietnamese become a threat to the Rhade tribe, Y’Tin’s family is forced to leave the village. Explain why Y’Tin suddenly wants to go to school when he no longer has to.

Y’Tin spends a lot of time daydreaming and thinking. He explains the difference to his mother: “Daydreaming is thinking about things that aren’t true yet. Thinking is when you ponder matters that are already true.” What “truth” does Y’Tin ponder the most? Which “truth” hurts the most? Debate whether Y’Tin’s daydreams come true. Discuss Lady’s role in helping Y’Tin realize his dream.

Y’Tin says that next to his father, Tomas is the man that he most admires. What is it about Tomas that Y’Tin admires? What causes Tomas to turn on Y’Tin? How does this change Y’Tin’s admiration for Tomas? When do Tomas and Y’Juen become “we,” casting Y’Tin aside? Y’Tin’s father has always told him that the jungle changes a man. Debate whether it’s the jungle that changes Tomas and Y’Juen or something else.

Y’Tin thinks a lot about betrayal. Debate whether the Rhade feel betrayed b see more

Behind the Book

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About the Author

Cynthia Kadohata
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Cynthia Kadohata

Cynthia Kadohata is the author of the Newbery Medal–winning book Kira-Kira, the National Book Award winner The Thing About Luck, the Jane Addams Peace Award and Pen USA Award winner Weedflower, Cracker!, Outside Beauty, A Million Shades of Gray, and several critically acclaimed adult novels, including The Floating World. She lives with her son and dog in West Covina, California.

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