After Read Discussion

Becoming Jesse glitters in sparkling trails of stardust as Jesse endears himself to our hearts and souls with his everyday magic. Even in the inevitable ‘dark’ passages, Jesse’s Light only glitters all the brighter. This is the fabled realm of storytelling. Becoming Jesse is like a long-missed jewel, with all the facets shining on the values we prize, all that was ever deserving in the everyday magic of childhood, perfectly unspoiled.

After reading Becoming Jesse, use these questions to discuss the many facets of his story.

Discussion Questions

  1. Jesse talks to his cat, Gypsy when he experiences unexpected surprises. Why do you think it’s sometimes easier to talk to or be friends with a pet?
  2. When you met Grams Maguire, did you make a quick judgment about her nasty inclinations? Does Jesse? As Grams spends more time with the characters, her opinions change. Have you ever judged someone too quickly? Did you eventually change your opinion? What made you change what you thought? Why is it important not to “judge a book by its cover”?
  3. Does this same thinking hold true when Jesse meets Tim Braedon? What is the difference?
  4. What decisions does Jesse make in this story that end up changing his life? Have you ever made what seemed like a small, unimportant decision, but it turned out to be very important? Explain.
  5. What made you laugh in this book? Why?
  6. Do you think Jesse is a clever boy? Give examples of his cleverness.
  7. In what ways are Jesse’s mother – and her mother – very important characters in the book even though they never appear?
  8. Why do you think Jesse wants to know about his mother – and her mother?
  9. Jesse collects clues about his mother. Can you tell what his mother is like from the things the other characters tell him? Do you think these things really describe a whole person?
  10. Mac tells Jesse, “You’ll find your grandmother a lot easier if you stop calling her ‘disappeared’.” What does he mean by the power of words? What is Dearie’s Rule of Tongue? What are her ‘Remarkable Gates’?
  11. When Jesse has a challenge selling newspapers with Billy, how does Dearie explain ‘good and bad’ – and chewing on one or the other? What is your ‘hum’? What does it have to do with your choices?
  12. After listening to Gram’s Maguire’s story about her young life, Jesse heard Dearie tell the story of Kintsugi. What can we learn about ourselves when we listen to stories about other people’s lives?
  13. Especially with the story of the Lady Bird, we learn that Light is deeply important to Dearie and Mac – and eventually, Jesse, too. What do they get from knowing their Light. How does it affect others?
  14. How does Dearie help Jesse understand his innate and his learned, spontaneous “Habit Energy”? How does Habit Energy affect you? What does Jesse learn to do about it? (THINK)
  15. Jesse learns from Dearie that life is like a loom – weaving us all together. Do you agree? Do you see your family and friends weaving together? How far back in your family tree do you know your relatives? Did anyone have an impact on you or your family?
  16. What does it mean to smile with tears in your eyes?
  17. Why does Jesse feel numb after Dearie dies?
  18. After Dearie is gone, what are the heart clues that Jesse misses?
  19. How did storytelling help Jesse escape from Tim Braedon?
  20. After Dearie died, when did you feel Jesse had come back to knowing his Light? What were some of the things he felt? What were some of things he did that showed he had his Light again?
  21. When Jesse sits with Mac after the final performance of A Christmas Carol, they discuss ‘Love’ and Jesse says, “It is the greatest thing you’ll ever learn.” What do you think Jesse means? Do you agree with his thought? Why or why not?
  22. What does the title Becoming Jesse mean to you?
  23. At the end of the story, Jesse seems to accept that his quest to find his grandmother is not going to happen any time soon. He still needs patience. Why is this an important part of the story? What is something in your life that you’ve had to accept and wait for?
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