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Book Club Kits: Hurricane Child

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

Prepare to be swept up by this exquisite novel that reminds us that grief and love can open the world in mystical ways. Winner of the Stonewall Book Award! Winner of the Lambda Literary Award! 

Caroline Murphy is a Hurricane Child. Being born during a hurricane is unlucky, and twelve-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck lately. She's hated and bullied by everyone in her small school on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, a spirit only she can see won't stop following her, and -- worst of all -- Caroline's mother left home one day and never came back. But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline's luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, becomes Caroline's first and only friend -- and the person for whom Caroline has begun to develop a crush. Now, Caroline must find the strength to confront her feelings for Kalinda, brave the spirit stalking her through the islands, and face the reason her mother abandoned her. Together, Caroline and Kalinda must set out in a hurricane to find Caroline's missing mother -- before Caroline loses her forever.

Discussion Questions

What is the book about?

When you initially meet Caroline, what do you learn about her?

As the book progresses, what else do you find out about Caroline? How does your impression of her change throughout your reading of the book?

When Caroline says she “sees things no one else sees,” what does she mean? Have you ever felt this way?

Who do you think the “woman in black” is?

What do you learn about Caroline’s mom and how does Caroline feel about her mother’s leaving?

What do other people say about Caroline’s skin complexion? How does she feel about it?

In contrast, how is Marie’s skin complexion discussed in the book? What does this tell us about society’s ideas about beauty?

What is Caroline’s experience in school like? How does her teacher treat her? How do her peers treat her? What impact does this have on Caroline?

In what ways in Caroline bullied by Anise and the other students at school? What are some examples of the bullying that takes place?

Is there anyone that acts as an ally to Caroline? If so, who and what do they do?

What happens when Caroline meets with Miss Joe, the principal? Why do you think Miss Joe gives Caroline a journal?

Have you ever written letters to someone without sending them? Please explain.

What does it mean that Caroline is a “Hurricane Child?” What impact do you think it has had on her to be born during a hurricane and told it is bad luck?

Is there anything significant that happened during your birthdate? If so, how does that impact your identity?

What happens when Kalinda, a new student from Barbados, comes to Caroline’s school?

How does Kalinda interact with the other girls and with Caroline?

About Author

Kacen Callender is a Saint Thomian author of children's fiction and fantasy, best known for their Stonewall Book Award and Lambda Literary Award-winning middle grade debut Hurricane Child. Their fantasy novel, Queen of the Conquered, is the 2020 winner of the World Fantasy Award and King and the Dragonflies won the 2020 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.  Callender is Black, queer, trans, and uses they/them and he/him pronouns. Callender debuted their new name when announcing their next young adult novel Felix Ever After in May 2019.