The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World

The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World

For Ages: 10 - 14
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Discoveries

Amedeo Kaplan dreams of discovering something -- some treasure no one realizes is there until he finds it. And he would like to discover a true friend to share this with.

Improbably, he finds the friend in aloof, edgy William Wilcox. And even more improbably, he finds his treasure among the memorabilia in the house of his eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Zender. But Amedeo and William find more than treasure -- they find a story that links a sketch, a young boy's life, an old man's reminiscence, and a painful secret dating back to the outrages of Nazi Germany. And they discover unexpected truths about art, friendship, history, heroism, and the mysteries of the human heart.
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  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416953531 | 
  • March 2009 | 
  • Grades 4 - 8
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Reading Group Guide

PRE-READING ACTIVITY
Define the terms "censorship" and "degenerate." Learn about the National Socialist Society for German Culture, and their efforts to censor art they called degenerate. (http://fcit.usf.edu/holocaust/arts/artdegen.htm).
DISCUSSION TOPICS
Amedeo Kaplan is the new kid in town and at school which makes him feel "alone and anonymous." Amedeo meets William Wilcox and observes that he isn't "so much alone as aloof." What is the difference between being alone and aloof? How does being aloof protect one from being alone?
Amedeo Kaplan has a desire to discover something. Why does he think that moving to Florida will cause him to give up his dream? Debate whether Amedeo is blindsided by his discovery at Mrs. Zender's house. How does his discovery contribute to important changes in the lives of each of the characters in the novel?
Explain the difference between a relationship and a friendship. How does Amedeo's business relationship with William Wilcox develop into a friendship? Why might the two boys seem unlikely friends? What does each boy bring to the friendship? At first William appears to be the dominant person in the friendship. At what point does this begin to change? Amedeo says, "I think you always give a part of yourself away when you make a friend." What part of himself does Amedeo give away?
Both Amedeo and William have been lost in adult worlds. How are their adult worlds different? How do see more

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