Study Guide 5: Who Do Voodoo? by Elaine Donadio

Chapters 26-31.

Please see my June 2, 2017 blog post for the updated study guide schedule.

You can preview and purchase Who Do Voodoo? at Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites for a digital or paperback copy, or you can visit Smashwords.com for a digital copy.

You might want to purchase a copy of The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion to be ready for our next focus book on September 2, 2017.

 

Phil pulls his best friend Nestor into a real mess. His desire to play the role of hero endangers all involved. It’s touch and go for a while, with the future looking bleak. The force for good arrives just in time to save the group from a questionable fate. Phil avows that he has learned his lesson, but has he really?

 

These questions are based on Chapters 26-31.

 

1. Propose an alternative ending. Go as far back in the story as necessary to prepare a reader for the new ending. Use dialogue and narrative.

2. Elements of Mystery

Characters     – the detective, the culprit, and minor
characters who provide clues
Suspects         – the characters who are possibly  guilty
Setting             – a place that lends itself to a feeling of
uneasiness and concern
Problem         – a crime or puzzle is presented
Plot                   – the clear beginning, middle, and end of the story; clues and false clues (distractions) are presented
Distractions  – lead the detective away from the truth; also called red herrings
Suspense        – events that make the reader worry about the main character(s)
Solution          – all necessary clues must be included in the story so the detective   and the reader can participate in a satisfactory unriddling

 

 Analyze and apply the elements of mystery with details found in the book. See how the story follows the genre requirements. Be sure to re-write the list of elements and assign specific events from the story next to the element that it exemplifies.

 

3. Now, create your own mystery story. First, make a story outline by using the elements of mystery as listed in Question 2 and fill in your own ideas. Write at least 500 words. Be sure to use dialogue and narrative.

 

4. You can imagine Phil’s parents’ reactions to hearing the story of their son’s imprisonment at the hands of such unscrupulous people. Create a dialogue between Phil and his mother after Phil returns to New York City.

Phil:
Ms. Williams:
Phil:
Ms. Williams:
Phil:
Ms. Williams

Now keep the conversation going.

 

5. Let’s take a good look at the story. Which characters are essential to the plot? Why? Think of two characters whose presence does not change the story in any way. What roles do these characters play in the story?

Take a look at Phil’s poem about New Orleans found in the last pages of Chapter 31. Use another modality to express Phil’s perceptions of this beloved city. Compose a song, draw a picture, design an outfit, construct a model or write a play to capture Phil’s memories  of his experience.

True or false? If Phil were to be in the same set of circumstances in the future, he would act exactly the same as he does in the story. Support your answer.

 

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious adventurer, then you will discover the world on your own. Support all your answers with facts found in the book or your own research where required. Seek and you shall find!

You can email Elaine Donadio at author@elainedonadio.com

Next: The Ocean’s Way Poetry Companion Study Guide 1. See you on September 2, 2017!

All rights reserved 2017.

 

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Study Guide 4: Who Do Voodoo? by Elaine Donadio

Chapters 21-25.

Please see my June 2, 2017 blog post for the updated study guide schedule.

You can preview and purchase Who Do Voodoo? at Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites for a digital or paperback copy, or you can visit Smashwords.com for a digital copy.

 

Phil has discovered the hidden staircase to the basement. Nestor reluctantly follows Phil’s lead. Phil’s happiness in discovering his imprisoned family members is cut short by the arrival of the family of imposters. They demonstrate that they mean business causing Phil’s attitude to change from bravado to fear and regret.

 

These questions are based on Chapters 21-25.

1. Phil has found the secret passageway to the basement. Phil is acting brave and confident. Nestor goes along, but expresses doubts about their safety. Build a case for Phil’s bold actions, and Nestor’s misgivings. Use facts from the story.

What was The Underground Railroad? List each state in the route. In which states would runaway slaves and conductors most likely and least likely find help? Why? Evaluate the success of this escape system. What influence did Harriet Tubman have on the lives of slaves and on the success of the North during the American Civil War? Pretend you are Harriet Tubman. Send a secret coded message to a loyal contact in the South, describing your latest success in sequestering a slave family on their journey from New Orleans to Ohio.

 

2. What surprises you about the actions  and behaviors of the family of imposters—Mabel, Sam and Angel? Track their behavior from the beginning to this point in the story.

3. In Chapter 23, Phil and Nestor find Aunt Delphine, Uncle Antoine, and Belle being held prisoners. This chapter does not have a happy ending. Re-write this chapter with an optimistic, but realistic conclusion.

4. In what ways are Aunt Delphine and Uncle Antoine different from the people who are impersonating them? What do their speech patterns and word choices tell us about them?

5. Use your imagination, but be realistic. Predict what might happen next in the story. Who are the characters who might miraculously appear in the nick of time to save the group from a very sad ending? What role might each of them play in the rescue?

 

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious adventurer, then you will discover the world on your own. Support all your answers with facts found in the book or your own research where required. Seek and you shall find!

You can email Elaine Donadio at author@elainedonadio.com.

Next: Who Do Voodoo? Study Guide 5. See you on August 26, 2017!

All rights reserved 2017.

 

Study Guide 3: Who Do Voodoo? by Elaine Donadio

Chapters 14-20.

Please see my June 2, 2017 blog post for the updated study guide schedule.

You can preview and purchase Who Do Voodoo? at Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites for a digital or paperback copy, or you can visit Smashwords.com for a digital copy.

 

Phil and Nestor visit Barataria Bay, a historical stronghold of famous pirates. Phil is inspired by this visit, and begins to devise a plan of action. Colette offers invaluable help. Phil’s investigation leads him to what he believes is the underlying motive behind the hoax that is being perpetrated. The puzzle pieces are coming together.

These questions are based on Chapters 14-20.

1. Explain the difference between a swamp and a bayou. Define wetlands, and give examples with definitions. What important roles do cypress and tupelo gum trees play in maintaining the wetlands ecosystem? What is an ecosystem?

Where does chewing gum come from, anyway? (Hint: not the store)

Why are wetlands important? How would the destruction of the wetlands affect the environment? Which creatures are capable of destroying the balance of nature in the wetlands of Louisiana? Explain.

In what ways does urban expansion impact wetlands and coastal regions?

 

2. Barataria Bay is an area rich in natural resources. Why would unscrupulous people have a special interest in acquiring rights in this location?

In many respects, Pirates Jean and Pierre Lafitte were shrewd businessmen, despite their mostly illegal practices. In what ways did they demonstrate their strategic thinking? Use details from the story and your own research to support your answer.

Phil envisions an action plan based on his findings about Jean and Pierre Lafitte’s tactical maneuvering. Predict some different ways Phil might implement the pirates’ behavior into a plan of his own.

The War of 1812—Which groups were involved in the conflict? Causes? Effects? Famous generals? Four men who later became US presidents? Why was the Battle of New Orleans fought after the peace treaty was being discussed? Britain and America both claim to have won the conflict known in America as the War of 1812. Defend or refute the claims of one of the sides of the conflict.

 

3. What is your opinion of Colette’s plan for the boys? What do you foresee going wrong?

What qualities are necessary to be a good detective? How do Colette, Phil, and Nestor measure up to this standard?

In your opinion, is the police officer’s presence at Daisy Dukes a coincidence or part of a plan? Support your answer.

Defend or refute Phil’s decision not to involve any adults in his investigation. Support your answer.

 

4. What is fracking? How is it harmful to the environment? What obstacles would opponents of fracking have to overcome in order to prevent corporations from overtaking land for their own purposes?

 

5. Jennifer, the waitress, appears as a hovering presence during Phil and Nestor’s visits to Daisy Dukes. What might her role in the story be? Is she a force for good, or for evil? Support your answer.

 

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious adventurer, then you will discover the world on your own. Support all your answers with facts found in the book or your own research where required. Seek and you shall find!

You can email Elaine Donadio at author@elainedonadio.com

Next: Who Do Voodoo? Study Guide 4. See you on August 19, 2017!

All rights reserved 2017.

 

Study Guide 2: Who Do Voodoo? by Elaine Donadio

Chapters 8-13.

Please see my June 2, 2017 blog post for the updated study guide schedule.

You can preview and purchase Who Do Voodoo? at Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites for a digital or paperback copy, or you can visit Smashwords.com for a digital copy.

 

Phil is hurt and embarrassed by the way he and Nestor are being treated by the St. Pierre family. He doesn’t understand their lack of love and concern and feels like a failure in the role of Icebreaker. Strange things happen and it is clear the boys’ presence is not wanted. Phil and Nestor do some sightseeing and have a wonderful time experiencing new things, and even manage to make a new friend. Phil makes up his mind to devise a plan to get to the bottom of the bizarro world in which he finds himself.

 

These questions are based on Chapters 8-13.

1. Why do you think Phil is so obsessed with being viewed as a hero? What qualities do heroes have that set them apart from other people? How are heroes generally treated in society? What examples can you think of where people went out of their way to destroy a hero’s life? If you don’t know any real life situations, use movie or TV heroes to answer the question. What conclusions can you make about the problems heroes might face?

2. What beliefs, practices and celebrations are associated with the residents of New Orleans? How are they the same or different from your family’s belief system? What would happen if your family moved to New Orleans? Send an email message to your best friend back home telling about a typical day in your new life.

3. What do the boys learn at Mardi Gras World? What conclusions can we draw from the care and attention that goes in to the Mardi Gras celebration? In your opinion, is it worth all the trouble? Defend your position.

4. The boys make a new friend, Colette, whose father is a detective with the New Orleans Police Department. What part could they play in helping Phil find answers to his questions? Predict some possible events that might occur now that these two characters have been introduced.

5. At this point, what clues do we have that something is very off with Phil’s relatives in New Orleans? Phil wants to stick around until he can get to the bottom of all this strange behavior. To which clues has Phil not paid enough attention? What recommendations can you make to help Phil figure out what’s going on? Why do you believe the St. Pierre family is acting so strangely? Support your answer.

 

 

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious adventurer, then you will discover the world on your own. Support all your answers with facts found in the book. Seek and you shall find!

You can email Elaine Donadio at author@elainedonadio.com

Next: Who Do Voodoo? Study Guide 3. See you on August 11, 2017!

All rights reserved 2017.

Study Guide 1: Who Do Voodoo? by Elaine Donadio

Chapters 1-7.

Please see my June 2, 2017 blog post for the updated study guide schedule.

You can preview and purchase Who Do Voodoo? at Amazon or Barnes & Noble websites for a digital or paperback copy, or you can visit Smashwords.com for a digital copy.

 

Phil Williams and Nestor Ramirez are feeling very cool right about now—traveling by themselves to New Orleans on official family business. Phil is entrusted to be the Icebreaker to mend hurt feelings between Phil’s grandmother and his great-aunt. Nestor is along for the ride. Their optimism is quickly dashed by the strange reception they receive when they arrive in New Orleans.

 

These questions are based on Chapters 1-7.

1. Compare and contrast how Phil and Nestor are the same and different. Which one would you rather have as a friend? Why? Phil is disturbed by some things he’s experiencing. What clues do we have that something is amiss?

2. Suspense is when the reader feels anxious or worried about the characters and what might happen next. Which events in Chapter 3 – Chapter 7 help build suspense?

Tell about a time when you felt afraid or worried. What caused your nervousness? What steps did you take to calm yourself down? In what ways are Phil and Nestor’s actions the same or different from how you reacted when you were in a tense situation?

3. What does Phil hope to accomplish by his trip to New Orleans? Pretend you are Phil who is now able to send a text message to his parents. What would the text message say?

4. Things are not making sense at the St. Pierre household. List the strange things that are happening. What inconsistencies appear? What do you believe is the biggest clue that Phil might be in over his head? The boys are in a tough position. Phil is embarrassed by his family’s behavior. With hospitality sadly lacking, the boys are told to spend the day sightseeing. What alternatives, if any, are open to them?

In what ways do Madame Destiny’s words tie-in with the strange events the boys are encountering?

Predict some things that might happen later in the story. Support your answer with details from the book.

5. We know Angel has beady eyes, but that’s all the description we have. Design a T-shirt with the face you imagine for Angel in the center, surrounded by five words or phrases that tell what he’s all about.

Describe Phil and Nestor’s friendship. What do you notice about the way they treat each other? What can we learn about friendship from observing their behavior?

 

Spoiler alert: I will not be providing the answers for the questions. If you’re a serious adventurer, then you will discover the world on your own. Support all your answers with facts found in the book. Seek and you shall find!

You can email Elaine Donadio at author@elainedonadio.com

Next: Who Do Voodoo? Study Guide 2. See you on August 9, 2017!

All rights reserved 2017.

Earth Day Kudos to NY Governor Cuomo, NY Senator Avella, NYC Councilman Paul A. Vallone, NYC Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein and Environmentalist Boyan Slat

On this Earth Day 2016, I would like to praise New York State politicians who have taken positive steps to improve our planet – NY Governor Andrew Cuomo, NY Senator Tony Avella, NYC Council Member Paul A. Vallone and NYC Assemblyman Edward C.Braunstein. Also, praiseworthy is environmentalist Boyan Slat of the Netherlands. In case anyone is looking for ideas on how to improve the condition of our planet, here are some exemplary examples to follow.

Governor Cuomo banned fracking in New York State. High volume hydraulic fracturing commonly known as “fracking” is detrimental to Earth and to all living things that inhabit our planet. How can the government allow companies to carry on businesses that harm the world in which we live?

 Fracking mixes great quantities of water with sand and chemicals that are pumped into layers of rock far below the earth’s surface to cause fractures which allow gases to escape. Opponents of tracking cite contamination of drinking water, rivers, streams and farmlands as reasons to reduce, regulate or eliminate fracking.

The water cycle is interrupted because of the millions of gallons needed for the fracking process. Noise, light and air pollution are associated with the large number of diesel trucks driven by workers at these sites which cause undue stress on local inhabitants, as well as farm animals. Serious illnesses have been linked to proximity to fracking sites. There has been a marked increase in seismic activity in fracking sites and a noticeable change in weather patterns. Most often, property values are greatly reduced and insurance is difficult to obtain in adjacent areas.

According to the Inside Climate News website  Jan. 20, 2015 article, “Map: The Fracking Boom, State By State” by Zahra Hirji and Lisa Song “New York is the ONLY state in the union with sizable fossil fuel reserves that has banned the practice. Fracking now occurs in 22 states with  another 5 states investigating feasibility. Vermont and Massachusetts symbolically banned fracking since they do not have any major resources to tap into. Rhode Island and Georgia respectively have no or small deposits of gas or oil. Florida allows it, but it is not practiced. Tennessee and Kentucky allow it but use other extraction methods.”

The article also tells us …”New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo banned fracking in New York State in December, 2014 citing public health risks from water and air pollution, and the unknown climate change impact of extracting gas.”

So, we’re talking about ground, water, air, light and noise pollution disturbing the peace of a once pristine bucolic landscape. The vast quantities of natural gas in North America offer an alternative energy supply to reduce reliance on the Middle East for oil. The price is too high in our densely populated  country. The Middle Eastern refineries are not near populated areas or near waters that serve as food sources or near farmlands. Their topography is different from ours. We must develop alternative methods like wind, hydroelectric power and solar energy to meet our country’s needs. 

Realizing the negative impact on their quality of life, some local communities have begun to fight back. Make your feelings known to your legislators. Investigate. Organize. Mobilize. Protest. Discuss. Vote. We’re talking about the health and well-being of your family as well as future generations. This is worth your time.

This brings us to New York Senator, Tony Avella of whom I’ve been a long time fan and supporter. Senator Avella has worked hard to improve quality of life issues.

His bill was passed protecting mute swans from arbitrary eradication, permitting non-lethal control of the NY population of 2,200 birds pending proof of any danger they may present.

Senator Avella is working with Assembly Member Steven Otis to ensure passage of the green building tax credit into law allowing home owners to apply for tax credits to incentivize environmentally friendly buildings. Installation of low-flow plumbing, energy-efficient appliances, heating and cooling systems, for example, would qualify for tax credits.

Senator Avella worked with Assembly Member Linda Rosenthal to sponsor legislation which has passed into law that would require pet dealers to provide instructions on the care and feeding of small animals so owners may be aware of the full extent of their responsibilities.

Also, Senator Avella has been able to provide the Udalls Cove Preservation Committee $210,000 to acquire a marshy plot of land adjacent to the Udalls Cove Park where several species of plants and animals have taken up residence, insuring protection as a wetland. (Senator Avella newsletter, Jan., 2016)

According to NYC Councilman Paul A. Vallone’s April 11, 2016 e-newsletter, he and NYC Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein sponsored the Rain Barrel Giveaway Program in partnership with the NYC Dept. of Environmental Protection and the Alley Pond Environmental Center, whereby residents of Northeast Queens County were able to get a sixty gallon rain barrel to install and connect to the property owners’ downspout to catch and store rainwater to water lawns and gardens and to use for other outdoor chores.

“Boyan Slat, a 21 year-old resident of the Netherlands, has devoted himself to founding and forwarding The Ocean Cleanup, a system in which plastics in our oceans, driven by currents, would amass in accessible zones, reducing cleanup time from theoretical millennia to a manageable period. Leading a team of 100 scientists and engineers for one year, they turned the concept into a potentially viable method to clean up half the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 10 years. Crowdfunding will launch the pilot phase in Japanese waters in 2016… .Slat has been named a United Nations Champion of the Earth. The Ocean Cleanup is a recognized Design of the Year by the London Design Museum.”  (Natural Awakenings, October 2015, p. 17)

You might want to check out “Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch” on Netflix.

Hey, Governor Cuomo, Senator Avella, Council Member Paul A. Vallone, Assemblyman Edward C. Braunstein and Boyan Slat, you did good!

Check out earth justice.org for more information.

Next blog post: Teaching Kids To Save Our Planet And Ourselves

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