One Book One School

Save Me A Seat

by Sara Weeks and Gita Varadarajan

Our McAlister One-Book, One School community read for Summer of 2021 is Sara Weeks and Gita Varadarajan’s book, Save Me a Seat . This is a great book to share and discuss as a family! Don’t miss out on the opportunity for discussions around acceptance and facing challenges by having your child read it alone. Use the guide below to pace your reading and for great discussion questions. Click here to download a copy of the guide. Talk around the campfire, dinner table or at the beach!

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Chapter One – Ravi

-What do we find out about Ravi’s name?
-How is Ravi’s home different in America compared to his home in India?
-What does Ravi’s grandmother mean when she says, “If you’re not careful, you’ll turn into one of them.” (Page 5)
-What does “ABCD” stand for?
-Who does Ravi give this acronym to? Why?
-What happens when Ravi introduces himself in front of the class? Why does this happen?
-Who is Miss Frost? Why does Ravi have to see her?
-Do you think Dillion wants to be Ravi’s friend?

Chapter Two – Joe

-How will the school year be different for Joe?
-How does Joe feel about school?
-Who is Mr. Barnes? How does Joe feel about him?
-What does Joe mean when he says, “One thing I know about Dillon Samreen: He really knows
how to play a crowd.” (Page 13)
-What accommodation does Joe use in school to help him focus?
-Why does Joe think he might have a “year off” of being bullied?

Chapter Three – Ravi

-Why does Ravi think he will sit with Dillon at lunch? What happens instead?
-Why does Ravi want to be friends with Dillon so badly?

Chapter Four – Joe

-How does Joe act in the cafeteria? Why does he act this way?
-What is Joe’s nickname? Why did Dillon give him this name?
-Why does Joe watch Dillon all the time?
-What happens with Joe and his mom at lunch?

Chapter Five – Ravi

-How do Amma and Perimma react when Ravi gets home from his first day? What does he tell them?
-How does Perimma treat Amma? Why do you think she treats her this way?

Chapter Six – Joe

-Why does Joe’s mom work at his school?
-Describe Joe’s relationship with Mr. Barnes. Why do you think the author developed their relationship this way?
-Joe says, “I wonder if Mr. Barnes has ever seen the look on the face of a zebra who’s just
stepped into a crocodile’s mouth.” (Page 37). Why do you think Joe makes this comparison?
-What advice did Mr. Barnes give Joe? How does he deliver this information?
-Why is Joe’s mom crying when he gets home from school? How does he respond to her? Do you think Joe is being too hard on his mom? Why or why not?

Chapter Seven – Ravi

-What advice does Appa give Ravi? Do you think this will work?
-What does Ravi think he needs to do to fix things with Mrs. Beam? Do you think this will work?

Chapter Eight – Joe

-What does Joe expect to hear from his dad when he is having problems? Is this real advice?
-Why is Joe having such a difficult time in school?
-Do you think Miss Frost forgot to talk to Mrs. Beam about Joe?
-At this point in the book, what do Ravi and Joe have in common? What makes them different?
-Why do you think the author made the characters share similar characteristics?

Chapter Nine – Ravi

-How does Ravi’s family view his education?
-How does Ravi feel about Joe Sylvester?

Chapter Ten – Joe

-What is APD? How does this make school difficult for Joe?
-“Sometimes teachers think they’re doing you a favor by treating you like you’re no different from anyone else.” (Page 54). What does this quote mean?
-What does Joe think about Ravi?

Chapter Eleven – Ravi

-“This is it. The moment I’ve been waiting for.” (Page 56). Do you think Ravi is getting his hopes up?
-What happens when Ravi gets up to do the math problem?
-What does Joe do to ruin Ravi’s day? Do you think Joe did this on purpose?

Chapter Twelve – Joe

-What does Joe realize about the way Mrs. Beam pronounces Ravi’s name? What does this show you about Joe?
-What does Joe realize about Dillion when he is “helping” Ravi? Why do you think Joe is the only person who notices this?
-Why does Joe think Dillon winks? How is this different compared to Ravi?
-If Joe was to give Ravi advice, what do you think he would say?

Chapter Thirteen – Ravi

-What happens at Ravi’s old school regarding a student named Hassan? What does this show us about Ravi’s character?
-What happens when Ravi answers Mrs. Beam’s question about the word assimilate? Why do you think the author includes this incident?
-What happens when Mrs. Frost comes into the classroom to see Joe?
-What do you think will happen when Joe and Ravi go to Mrs. Frost’s classroom?

Chapter Fourteen – Joe

-How did Joe feel when he had to start seeing Miss Frost? Why?
-What did Joe hear Ravi say to Miss Frost that probably upset him? Why do you think Ravi said this?
-How did Joe’s parents react when they heard about his APD? Why do you think they acted this way?
-How did Joe initially feel about Ravi? How does he feel about him now?
-What was important about Joe’s speech about M&Ms? How could his thinking of the candy have a deeper meaning to the story?
-When Ravi leaves Miss Frost’s room, which M&M does he select? Why do you think he picked this one?

Chapter Fifteen – Ravi

-How did Amma react when his teacher thought he had reading issues? How do you think she would react if she knew what was happening at school?
-Why does Ravi start reading the dictionary in Miss Frost’s room?
-What does Ravi discover when he is reading the dictionary? How does this make him feel?
- On page 84, Miss Frost says, “You shouldn’t assume things about a person before you know who they really are.” How is Ravi being a hypocrite regarding Joe?

Chapter Sixteen – Joe

-Why did Joe ask Miss Frost if she informed Mrs. Beam about his APD? What does he discover?
-What has been bothering Joe all afternoon? Why?
-At this point in the book, what do Ravi and Joe have in common? What makes them different?

Chapter Seventeen – Ravi

-What does Amma do with the red chilis and salt? Why?
-What does Amma make for Mrs. Beam? Why?
-What does it mean when Appa says, “Remember she has the black tongue.” (Page 96) -When Ravi sees the American flag, what does he think about? Why?

Chapter Eighteen – Joe

-How does Lucy Mulligan treat Joe? How did she treat him in the past? Why do you think there has been a change?
-What does Dillon do when he asks to get a drink of water?

Chapter Nineteen – Ravi

-What was school life like for Ravi back in India?
-Why was Coach Victorine screaming at the end of the chapter?

Chapter Twenty – Joe

-How was Joe’s view about picking teams different from Ravi’s in the previous chapter? Why was there such a difference?
-What does Joe reveal about what happened to Ravi during the baseball game?

Chapter Twenty-One – Ravi

-What happens in the conversation between Ravi and Dillon on the way to the nurse’s office?
-Why do Dillon and Ravi have the conversation they do?
-On page 117, Ravi says, “Finally, I am where I belong.” Where does Ravi think he belongs? Why do you think he believes this?

Chapter Twenty-Two – Joe

-What happened when Celena took Ravi’s supplies to the nurse’s office?
-Do you think Mr. Barnes offered good advice to Joe regarding his relationship with Dillon?
-What does Joe mean when he says, “Once a zebra, always a zebra.” (Page 122)
-How does Joe feel when Ravi picks his seat at lunch?

Chapter Twenty-Three – Ravi

-What does Ravi notice about Dillon’s eyes?
- What happens when Ravi eats American chili? Why is this an issue for Ravi?
-Do you think Dillon and his friends knew there would be an issue with Ravi eating American chili?
-How does Ravi feel about Dillon and his friends at the end of the chapter?

Chapter Twenty-Four – Joe

-How does Joe feel about Ravi?
Chapter Twenty-Five – Ravi
-On page 132, Ravi says, “I look in the mirror and don’t even recognize my own face.” What does he mean by this?
-At this point in the book, what do Ravi and Joe have in common? What makes them different?

Chapter Twenty-Six – Joe

-What happens when Dillon wakes up for school?
-How does Joe’s father feel about Dillon?
-Joe repeats the word hate multiple times on pages 141 and 142. Why?
-How will Joe’s parents feel about him telling the truth?

Chapter Twenty-Seven – Ravi

-What happens when Ravi wakes up on Thursday morning?
-What does Ravi want to tell Amma? Do you think he should?

Chapter Twenty-Eight – Joe

-How does Joe spend his day off of school?
-What does Joe’s dad slip under his door?
-What does Joe think about Mr. Barnes’ quote, “Writing can change the world”?
-What do you think Joe is going to bring for his personal reflection?

Chapter Twenty-Nine – Ravi

- How does Rai spend his day off?
-What do Perimma and Amma do for Ravi on his day off? Why do you think they do this? -What do Perimma and Amma make for Ravi’s personal reflection? How does Ravi feel about this?
-What do you think grandfather’s idea is going to be?
-At this point in the book, what do Ravi and Joe have in common? What makes them different?

Chapter Thirty – Joe

- What does Joe’s mom announce? Why did she decide this?
-How does Joe’s mom react to his personal reflection project?

Chapter Thirty-One – Ravi

-Why does Ravi feel so much different when he is walking into school?

Chapter Thirty-Two – Joe

-What does Joe see when Dillon’s mom drops him off at school?
-What happens when Joe leaves his personal reflection object on his desk? Who do you think is responsible?

Chapter Thirty-Three – Ravi

-What does Ravi see in class?
-Since Ravi has seen what Joe has taken, what do you think he is going to do?

Chapter Thirty-Four – Joe

-Why does Joe compare himself to an empty dish?
-What does Dillon bring in for his personal reflection?

Chapter Thirty-Five – Ravi

-When Mrs. Beam calls Ravi up to see her, what does she want to tell him?
-Why does Ravi tell Mrs. Beam about his name pronunciation?
-What do you think Ravi was searching for in his desk?

Chapter Thirty-Six – Joe

-What happens when the class sees Ravi’s personal reflection object?

Chapter Thirty-Seven – Ravi

-What was in Ravi’s jar?
-What do we discover about Perippa and his life in India?
-Why did Ravi bring in leeches?
-What does Ravi place in Joe’s glass dish? Why do you think he still has this?

Chapter Thirty-Eight – Joe

-How does Joe know who is responsible for placing the candy in the glass dish?
-How do you think the rest of the plot will change because of this incident?

Chapter Thirty-Nine – Ravi

-Ravi compares Dillon to the leeches in his jar. Do you think this is an accurate comparison?

Chapter Forty – Joe

-On page 195 it says, “He’s got his eyes glued to the jar of leeches.” What do you think Dillon is up to?

Chapter Forty-One – Ravi

-When Dillon is trying to guess who wrote Quitting is not an option, why do you think Ravi winks at him?

Chapter Forty-Two – Joe

-When the class discovers the notecard Quitting is not an option belongs to Ravi, how does Dillon respond? Why do you think he acts this way?

Chapter Forty-Three – Ravi

-What happens when Ravi is telling his story about how leeches and his notecard are connected?

Chapter Forty-Four – Joe

-“I look at that beautiful blue double peanut M&M sitting in the bowl in front of me and… woop, zoop, sloop…” (Page 205). Why does Joe say/think the words in italics?
-What do you think Joe’s great idea is?

Chapter Forty-Five – Ravi

-What does the folded paper on Ravi’s desk say?
-What do you think is going to happen?

Chapter Forty-Six – Joe

-On page 209, Joe says, “Zebras have to stick together.” Why does Joe compare himself and Ravi to zebras?
-Why does Dillon come flying out of the classroom when they are on their way to the library?

Chapter Forty-Seven – Ravi

-Why does Ravi decide not to finish telling the class his story?
-Which card does Ravi pick? Why did he want that card?

Chapter Forty-Eight – Joe

-How has life changed for Joe in the past few days?

Chapter Forty-Nine – Ravi

-On page 215 it says, “Winning is not always about shining the brightest.” What does this quote mean?
-Why do you think Ravi has finally realized the truth about this quote?
-What happens when Ravi enters the cafeteria on Friday?
-At this point in the book, what do Ravi and Joe have in common? What makes them different?

Check out a video of the two authors here.

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Brooke had fun reading "Save Me a Seat"!