13. Family ~ Describe the Regan family. Why is Hollis so confused about Steven’s relationship with his Dad? Why does she feel that the accident was her fault, and that she has "messed up the whole family" (p. 136)? At what point does Hollis realize that Steven wants to be her brother? Discuss why Hollis calls Steven’s father the "Old Man." How has Hollis’s "W" picture changed by the end of the novel? How does the structure of the novel, especially the numerical sequence of pictures, reveal Hollis’s desire to be a part of the Regan family?
The Regan family seemed very much together. They sounded like they not only loved one another, but had fun together. Although Steven and his dad had various disputes, the love that each person had for the other shone through. Hollis was confused that two people she loved seemed to have so many disagreements. She felt that the accident was her fault because Steven had come to get her when it became dark and if she wouldn't have gone to the mountaintop the accident wouldn't have happened. I can't remember when Hollis realized that Steven wanted to be her brother, but he did accept her from the beginning. I can't remember why Hollis began calling his dad the "Old Man". Hollis's W picture changed by the end of the book in that she was the girl in the picture and another sister had been added as well. I have returned the book to the library and can't remember the structure of it.
14. Friendship ~ Why it is so difficult for Hollis to make friends? How is Steven Hollis’s first real friend? What do Josie and Beatrice teach Hollis about friendship? Hollis becomes extremely loyal to Josie. She is even willing to go to school so she can stay with Josie. How is loyalty an important element of friendship? How does Hollis remain a friend to Josie after she joins the Regan family?
Hollis moves around so much and feels so different from her peers that it is difficult for her to make friends. Steven accepted Hollis as she was from the time he met her and was so caught up with himself and yet so open to her that their friendship quickly blossomed. The long term relationship of Josie and Beatrice taught Hollis the joy of friendship as well as the need of accepting people as they are. Loyalty is important in friendship as knowing that someone is there for you is part of what friendship is. Hollis keeps in touch with Josie even after she joins the Regan family.
15. Abandonment ~ Hollis has lived in many different foster homes since she was abandoned at birth. The woman in the stucco house calls her "a mountain of trouble," and Hollis refers to herself as "tough." What is the difference between trouble and tough? How has Hollis’s abandonment and search for love made her tough? How did Hollis abandon herself when she left the Regan home? Why is Hollis so determined not to abandon Josie?
Being "trouble" is when a person causes others to have grief because of the troublesome person's actions. Being tough is when one either develops a shell that does not allow others to get close and/or no longer caring about others. Hollis had troubles and tried to be tough, but she wasn't. She cared and wanted a family and was willing to be a friend. When Hollis left the Regans, she tried to be tough and no longer caring, but she wasn't able to do so. Josie accepted Hollis for who she was and welcomed her into her life. Hollis soon cared very much about Josie and did not want her to get caught in the system as she had been.
16. Truth ~ What does Beatrice mean when she tells Hollis, "You have to keep looking to find the truth" (p. 45)? How do Beatrice and Josie prepare Hollis for her moment of truth? What was the truth that Hollis discovered at the end of the novel?
The truth is not as obvious as it should be. By accepting Hollis, Beatrice and Josie helped Hollis realize that she is a loveable person and that the Regans truly wanted her to be part of their family.
17. Hope ~ There are times when Hollis’s life seems hopeless. How is hope revealed through her art? Beatrice says, "You’re going to be something, you and that language you speak on paper" (p. 46). How do these words offer Hollis hope? How does Hollis’s last run give her the life that she has always hoped for?
Hollis respects Beatrice as a person and as an artist. Her wisdom and appreciation of Hollis' talent gives Hollis hope that she can be somebody. Hollis' last run takes her back to the Regans.
18. Here's a question especially for those outside the United States, though people in the U.S. are certainly welcome to speak up and tell us your thoughts. This novel is about foster care in the United States; what can you tell us about foster care in your country? Why was it started? How do families qualify to become foster homes? How many children in your community are served through foster care? How does the agency receive funding?
I'll pass on this question since I live in the United States.
19. What sort of pictures do you think Hollis might draw as a wordless picture book for Christina, her new little sister? Would Hollis likely call the book "My Family" or "Our Family"?
Hollis might draw pictures of the family for Christina. She would probably call the book "Our Family".