Counting by 7s by Holly Sloan

It is Mark Twain Nominee Monday! 

Here is the Nominee & the discussion questions of the week: 

Counting by 7's 
By: Holly Sloan 

The Story 

Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life . . . until now.
Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone. Told from four different viewpoints, Willow must overcome her grief and find a new family. 

Also, check out this great book trailer!

My Thoughts 

This reminded me a lot of the books Wonder and Out of My Mind. Since it exhibits many of the same qualities of these books, I think that is why my tweens are flocking to it.

It is a very popular one at my library, but I have to admit, I had some trouble with this one. I just did not feel like it was realistic at all. I don't want to give too much away, but I wish the author made the character go through more of a struggle. I just felt like everything worked out too perfectly, but maybe after all the great reviews I read on this I expected too much & it didn't even out!

Please don't get me wrong though, I do think that there are some worth while themes in the book that are important. For instance, I think a lot of tweens enjoy this book because it hits on the aspect of not fitting in. It also touches on how everyone tries to put people into categories and giving them labels.

 The majority of this book is how the characters deal with these struggles. I think this is something that many of our tweens deal with on a daily basis. In this aspect, I do feel like this makes this book a worth while read for this age group. I think it is especially important to us as educators to use this book in our discussions to try & open door to discuss some of these feeling and hardships.

Discussion Questions 

What makes Willow different?

Is Dell a good counselor? Why does he take interest in Willow?

Pattie does not have much to offer Willow. Why does she agree to take Willow in? Is she the right person to take care of Willow?

After the social worker does the house check, Patti says: “What we expect rarely occurs; what we don’t expect is what happens.” What does she mean by this? Is this true?

Why did they think Willow cheated on her test? Could Dell have changed their mind? Why didn’t he? Why didn’t Willow tell her parents?

How does gardening & running help Willow heal?

Mai believes that her acorn is lucky & her mom, Patti, believes that wearing red finger nail polish is lucky. Do you think that it was luck that changed their situation around? Does luck exist or is it what you make of your situation?

How does Willow change the people around her? How does Willow change throughout the course of the book? How does she address her grief throughout the book?

What is significant about the number 7 in the book?

Willow compares her life to a plant. How is her life like a plant? Willow tries to not set down roots. What does this mean? Does end up doing so anyway?

Willow says that giving in is different than giving up. What does she mean by this? Is this true? Willow also says it is impossible to put people in categories (which Dells does) is this true?

Books like this one 

Until next time,


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