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Torn

(Part of The Missing)
By Margaret Peterson Haddix

Reading Group Guide

    A Reading Group Guide to

    The Missing, Book 4: Torn

    by Margaret Peterson Haddix

    About the Book

    In this fourth entry in The Missing series, Jonah and Katherine barely have a chance to recover from the traumatic events in Roanoke in 1600 when they are hurtled through time again, moments before a mutiny aboard the Discovery, Henry Hudson’s ship, in the icy waters of James Bay. As they struggle to survive the frozen seas and brutal conditions aboard the ship, Jonah and Katherine realize that something is terribly wrong. The history they remember is drastically different from what they are experiencing. Will this new version of history replace the past? Jonah and Katherine struggle to unravel the mysteries of 1611 and the mysteries about the Hudson Passage before the only future they have ever known is lost forever.

    Prereading Activities

    Before beginning the book, ask readers to share what they know about Henry Hudson and other explorers of the New World. Ask them what know about North America in 1611.

    Use an atlas to show readers where in North America the Discovery traveled during Henry Hudson’s final expedition.

    There are place names and vocabulary words cited in the story that will be unfamiliar to most readers. Ask readers to use reference books or electronic research sources to find out as much information as they can about the following: coerce, crow’s nest, doggerel, miscreant, mutiny, Northwest Passage, Orient, shallop, and variables.

    Discussion Questions

    Why did it take so long for Jonah to trust JB?

    Who is Second, and what is his connection to JB?

    What has Second done in his attempts to alter the past?

    What is significant about the drawing Jonah has of Andrea?

    What does Jonah consider to be one of the “best apps” of the Elucidator?

    What else can the Elucidator do?

    Why is time travel so complicated?

    Where and when are Jonah and Katherine? Who is Jonah supposed to be?

    What do the tracers represent? What do they indicate about the time Jonah and Katherine are in?

    What does Jonah notice about the sailor's face? What do you think accounts for his poor condition?

    Why does Jonah begin to question JB’s reliability?

    What makes Jonah conclude that Henry and John Hudson do not have a good relationship?

    Why does Henry Hudson refuse to sail for the winter cabin?

    What is the plot that Prickett and Henry Hudson plan together? How does the plan deviate from historical fact?

    What does the message that Jonah discovers in the crow’s nest warn about Prickett?

    How does Staffe remind Jonah of his father?

    What makes Jonah conclude that Second is involved with altering the history of the Henry Hudson expedition? What might be the consequences of changing history?

    Do you agree with Jonah’s comment that Henry Hudson has the “biggest ego on the planet”? What are some examples of Henry Hudson’s egotism?

    Why do the crew members turn their backs to Jonah when he is punished?

    How does Prickett remind Jonah of his friend Billy Rivoli?

    What makes Jonah conclude that Prickett is actually Second?

    Why does Second need Jonah and Katherine’s help?

    What do Jonah and Katherine assume when they see the knife?

    Who is Dalton Sullivan?

    Why does JB say they need to suspend time travel for a while?

    Post reading Activities

    Henry Hudson was one of many explorers who, for centuries, sought the Northwest Passage as a possible trade route to Asia. Ask readers to work in pairs and use reference books or electronic research sources to learn about other explorers and expeditions seeking the Northwest Passage. When they have completed their research, ask them to share their findings.

    This story will leave readers with many questions about the historical facts of Henry Hudson’s last expedition. An excellent source of information is located at http://www.ianchadwick.com/hudson/hudson_04.htm.

    Scurvy, a common disease among sailors on long sea voyages for many centuries, is mentioned several times in the novel. Ask readers to work in pairs and use reference books or electronic research sources to learn about the causes and effects of scurvy and treatments. When they have completed their research, ask them to share their findings.

    During the Age of Discovery, mutiny typically described an open rebellion against a ship’s captain. Ask readers to work in small groups and use reference books or electronic research sources to prepare a PowerPoint presentation about a famous naval mutiny.

    In her Author’s Note, Margaret Haddix states that there is no historical certainty about what became of Henry and John Hudson, only speculation and references in Native American legends. Ask readers to use reference books or electronic sources to research the various theories about what became of Henry and John Hudson and decide which one they consider most plausible.

    Recommended Books and Websites about Henry Hudson

    Books

    Duble, Kathleen Benner. Quest. McElderry, 2008.

    Foran, Jill. The Search for the Northwest Passage. Weigl, 2004.

    Weaver, Janice. Hudson. Illus. David Craig. Tundra, 2010.

    Young, Jeff C. Henry Hudson: Discoverer of the Hudson River. Enslow, 2009

    Websites

    The Life and Voyages of Henry Hudson, English Explorer and Navigator
    http://www.ianchadwick.com/hudson/

    Social Studies for Kids: Henry Hudson
    http://www.socialstudiesforkids.com/subjects/henryhudson.htm

    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.

    This guide was written by Edward T. Sullivan, a librarian and writer.

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