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Book Club Kits: The Tale of Despereaux

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Book Summary

 A brave mouse, a covetous rat, a wishful serving girl, and a princess named Pea come together in Kate DiCamillo's Newbery Medal–winning tale.

Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other's lives. What happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out.

Discussion Questions/ Teacher's Guide


1.  Have a discussion on what it means to conform. When is it necessary and not necessary in the lives of the students and people they know or have read about?

2.  Have students look up the words desperate and despair in the dictionary. Ask students if they know anyone who feels desperate or in despair. Encourage the class to express their thoughts and feelings. For Spanish-speaking students, use the words esperar and desesperar.

3. Engage the class in a discussion about what it means to be a hero or heroine. Let children say what qualities of character their favorite heros and heroines have. Who are their favorite heros and heroines in real life, in the news, in other stories?

More discussion questions are included in the following teacher's guide, as well as classroom activities, an author bio, and more!