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Yolonda's Genius

Yolonda's Genius

For Ages: 8 - 12
  • reading group guide
  • 3awards
After moving from Chicago to Grand River, Michigan, fifth grader Yolonda, big and strong for her age, determines to prove that her younger brother is not a slow learner but a true musical genius.
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  • Margaret K. McElderry Books | 
  • 224 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780689847851 | 
  • January 2002 | 
  • Grades 3 - 7
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Reading Group Guide

Reading Group Guide to

Yolonda’s Genius
By Carol Fenner

About the Book

Recently uprooted from her beloved Chicago, Yolonda is bigger and stronger and smar ter than all the fifth-graders at her new school in Michigan. She’s not a genius, but her little brother, Andrew, is. At least that’s what Yolonda decides when she hears the sweet roll and pitch of Andrew’s harmonica-playing. Other people, even her mother and her glamorous Aunt Tiny back in Chicago, aren’t so sure. But Yolonda believes that people don’t really take the time to listen to Andrew. They just think he’s a quiet first-grader, a slow learner. She knows it takes an attentive ear to hear Andrew’s genius. So Yolonda hatches an ambitious, audacious, and completely satisfying plan to get her family, and thousands of others, to tune in.

Discussion Topics

1.Yolonda longs for Chicago when her widowed mother moves the family to a smaller town in Michigan. Discuss the pros and cons of that move. What are some of the dangers that the family leaves behind? What are some of the pleasures? Do you think Yolonda’s mother made the best decision for herself and her children?

2.Remembering the Chicago girls who jumped double Dutch so deftly, Yolonda “liked to pretend those girls were her friends.” Why did she have to pretend? Why was it difficult for Yol see more

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