1. How are imaginary friends similar to books?
2. What did you learn about homelessness from the book? What could you do to help homeless people in your area.
| Vocabulary for Chapters 46-52
1. Why has Jackson never told Marisol about Crenshaw and about his family’s problems? Why does he tell her now? Why do you think Crenshaw is walking right in front of Jackson and Marisol the entire time he is being truthful with her?
2. Discuss the theme of friendship in this book. How did Jackson and Marisol become friends? What are the experiences and beliefs that they have in common? What are their differences? How does their friendship help each of them?
3. Discuss the theme of magic in this story. What is the meaning of “magic” in the context of Jackson’s life? Why did he want to reveal how the magician’s tricks worked at school? Discuss Marisol’s comment: “Just enjoy the magic while you can, okay?”
| Vocabulary for Chapters 33-36
1. We have read a little about Marisol, but we really get to know her in chapter 37. In at least 3-5 sentences, give a detailed description of Marisol.
2. What does Marisol want to name the statue? Why is this a shocking moment? How does Jackson react?
3. Review some of the things that upset Jackson. What upsets him the most? Do you ever feel this way?
1. Why doesn’t Dad like going to the food pantry? Why would it be difficult to go to a place like that?
2. What bad choice does Jackson make while shopping in the pet store? Does this bad choice surprise you? Why or why not?
3. What part of the shoplifting process does Jackson feel the worst about?
4. Think about what Jackson has stolen so far. What does this tell us about him?
| Vocabulary for Chapters 33-36
1. At the end of Ch. 30, Jackson meets a girl named Marisol at his new school. After introducing himself he stands up and looks around for Crenshaw, but Crenshaw has vanished. How do you think the two events are related?
2. Why might more children have imaginary friends at six or seven years old rather than at three or four years old?
3. Explain why Jackson thinks it will be easier for Robin if they have to leave their apartment. Do you agree? Why or why not?
| Vocabulary for Chapters 27-32
1. What does Jackson’s mom mean when she tells her husband that he will need to “apply for assistance?”
2. When the summer camp bus comes by, why does Jackson hunch down in his seat rather than looking at the kids?
3. When Jackson’s dad is finished playing music at the intersection, his mom says, “Next time, I’ll do it.” Jackson’s dad says, “No, you won’t.” Discuss some reasons why Jackson’s dad might be against his mom standing at the intersection and singing in order to get money?
4. A word for people asking for money on the street is panhandling. This is a compound word, a verb. Think about the two parts of this word. Draw a mental picture of the word. How do you think this word came to be?
| Vocabulary for Chapters 23-26
1. Jackson’s mom compares money problems to __________________. This is called a metaphor. A metaphor is when a writer compares two unlike things or events. Another example of a metaphor from these chapters is when Jackson’s dad compares living in the minivan to an adventure.
2. “I wrote kep out jacksons rum on the top. Mom said,’too bad we had to leave our dictionary behind.’” Explain Mom’s sarcasm. Why is this comical?
3. Why does Dad say that they are “car camping?”
| Vocabulary for Chapters 18-22
B. B. King
Golden Gate Bridge
1. Why does Jackson keep telling Crenshaw to leave? What is he afraid of when Crenshaw is there?
2. “I don’t think you understand what’s going on here, Jackson,” he said, “Imaginary friends don’t come of their own volition. We are invited. We stay as long as we’re needed. And then, and only then, do we leave.” Jackson seems to think that Crenshaw is a burden and is trying to get rid of him, but according to Crenshaw, he is there because Jackson invited him. Explain this.
3. Why might Robin be particularly clinging (to Jackson) at this point? Why does she seem to need reassurance right now?
|Vocabulary for Chapters 14-17
1. When Jackson asks his parents if they have enough money for things, how do they answer is question? Jackson calls his parents “optimists” because they always look at the bright side of problems. Why do you think they do this?
2. Why might parents be inclined to fight more when they do not have enough money?
3. Why do you think Crenshaw chose late at night when Jackson’s parents were arguing to appear in the bath?
4. Compare Crenshaw and Aretha in the way they behave. Can Aretha see Crenshaw the way Jackson can? Does she sense whenever he is around, or does Jackson imagine that she does?
|Vocabulary for Chapters 9-13
Optimist & Pessimist
1. “Everybody in my family was named after somebody or something else. My dad was named after his grandpa. My mom was named after her aunt. My sister and I weren’t even named after people. We were named after guitars.” What is the origin of your name? Ask your parents if you don’t know.
2. Why might Jackson remember getting lost in the grocery store but not remember getting found by his mom and dad (or other parts of his young childhood)?
3. If you had to put all of your keepsakes in one paper bag, what would they be? What would be the first item you put in the bag? Name some items you could easily live without.
| Vocabulary for Chapters 5-8
1. Talk about imaginary friends. Why do people have them? Is it ok to have an imaginary friend? Invent an imaginary friend, and describe him/her.
2. Discuss Jackson’s statement, “Stories are lies, when you get right down to it. And I don’t like being lied to.” Why doesn’t Jackson like made-up stories? Why do you think it is so important for him to have a logical explanation for everything that happens?
3. “My sister, Robin, and I were playing Cerealball in the living room of our apartment. Cerealball is a good trick for when you’re hungry, and there’s nothing much to eat till morning. We invented it when our stomachs were grumbling to each other.” Do you do anything to take your mind off of “problems” like when Jackson and his sister play Cerealball?
| Vocabulary for Chapters 1-4