The Secret Tree AUTHOR: Natalie Standiford PUBLISHER: Scholastic COPYRIGHT DATE: 2012 GENRE: Realistic Fiction/Mystery LEXILE: 510L SUMMARY: Minty is planning to skate in the local parade with her best friend. She dreams of being a roller derby star when she grows up. Her best friend, however, is beginning to think roller skating is for babies. With a new boy, Raymond, Minty finds a secret tree where notes are being stashed revealing personal secrets. They begin spying to uncover the authors of the secret messages and also try to stop what they think are curses. BOOKTALK: What secret would you write if you could stuff it in a tree and the secret would blow away on the wind? Raymond and Minty found secrets that said, “I’m betraying my best friend in a terrible way.” And, “No one loves me except my goldfish.” What do these secrets mean and what will Raymond and Minty do now that they know them? Read The Secret Tree to find out. AUTHOR’S BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: Author’s Name: Natalie Standiford Author’s Website http:/www.nataliestandiford.com Other books written by the author: The Bravest Dog Ever Switched at Birthday The Headless Horseman How to Say Good-bye in Robot The Best Little Monkey’s in the world Space Dog in Trouble Space Dog and the Pet Show Space Dog the Hero The Stone Giant Also a Dating Game series for teen readers Elle Woods books for teen Readers
CHALLENGING WORDS jammer - Page 4 - A person who scores points in roller derby by passing the other team’s skaters. blockers - Page 5 - The rest of the roller derby team that attempts to stop the opposing team’s jammer. aura - Page 48 - The color around a person’s head that some people can see. emanating - Page 48 - Coming out of dyslexic - Page 55 - Person who often mixes up letters and numbers. voodoo - Page 73 - Belief that some people can put curses on other people betrayal - Page 131 - Doing or saying something to hurt another person callous - Page 213 - Rude thoughtless actions
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: 1.
One secret was “ I just want people to like me.” Minty and Raymond decided that could apply to more than one person. What other secrets might apply to several people? P. 242
Raymond was taken away on a “social services matter.” What do you think that meant? Was that the right thing for the officers to do? P. 226-227.
Some secrets were not put in the tree. They were too hard to let go. What kind of secrets might these be? P. 210
“Melinda was mad at Thea, I was mad at Paz, Lennie was mad at Paz too, and Paz was mad at Lennie. It was all too much. It had to stop.” How does this happen that friends get all tangled up? P. 189
Minty is very worried that there will be changes in sixth grade and she won’t have any friends. What are the changes you think happen between fifth and sixth grade? P. 160
ACTIVITIES with INDIANA STANDARDS Language Arts
Read how Minty described summer. (p. 41) and write your own description of summer. 5.RV3.1 Determine how words and phrases provide meaning to works of literature. Also 4RV3.1
Read Harriet the Spy by Fitzhugh. Discuss how spying is described in this book. Is it the same or different than in the Secret Tree?
4RN.4.2 Combine information from two texts on the same topic to demonstrate knowledge about the subject. Creating Art
Create with art materials a representation of how you imagine a secret tree might look. 4.6.4 Demonstrate evidence of critique, reflection, and revision in creating artwork.
Research cicadas. (p. 41) What does Minty mean that they “whined?” 4.3.3 Observe, compare and record the physical characteristics of living plants or animals.
LIFE SKILLS Perseverance Respect Kindness RELATED INTERNET SITES: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roller_Derby Basic information about the sport including rules, history, and terms used in the sport. ACTIVITY SHEET CREATED BY: Name: Shirley Mullin Position/Location: Former Librarian/Bookseller/Kids Ink