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Southwest Book Club Meets June 19

children_fire.jpg Join the Southwest Book Club this month to discuss the book, Children and Fire by Ursula Hegi on Tuesday, June 19 at 7:00 p.m. in the Meeting Room. Protecting her beloved students from the devastating world outside of their 1934 Berlin classroom, Thekla Jansen, a gifted young teacher sacrifices some of her personal freedoms to retain her teaching position until activities within Hitler's early regime test her moral courage.

Anyone age 18 or older is welcome to attend. The book club meets monthly at the Southwest Branch Library.

For more information, please call 407.835.7323 or email southwest@ocls.info.

Discussion Questions
If you are unable to attend the meeting or you would like to join our discussion, you can share your thoughts or respond to the discussion questions below. Simply click "Comments" located at the bottom of this post. Join the discussion!

1. Children and Fire takes place over the course of one day, with flashbacks interspersed throughout. How does the novel's structure influence your understanding of the events in the book? How does Thekla's past inform her response to the events of February 27, 1934?

2. Being a good teacher is incredibly important to Thekla. What do you think makes a teacher effective? Do you think teachers have responsibilities to their students beyond the curriculum? Can you explain what they are? Do you believe Thekla is a good teacher?

3. On page 97, the author writes, "Messages change. Right and wrong can trade places, fall out of fashion." How do you interpret this? Can you think of an incident when you were forced to reexamine your perceptions of right and wrong? What is the impact of propaganda on society--past and present?

4. When the students pick on Eckart, one of the weaker students in the Thekla's class, she thinks, "if you step back, you are lost. The urge of the pack will escalate." (p. 191) How is Thekla's classroom a microcosm of the attitudes in Germany and in the world at large? What is the allure of losing yourself to "crowd mentality"? What is the danger?

5. Why do you think the Hitler Youth is so alluring to the boys in Thekla's class? Can you empathize with them? Do you believe they are aware of the moral implications of participating?
Discussion questions obtained at:
http://books.simonandschuster.com/Children-and-Fire/Ursula-Hegi/9781451608298/reading_group_guide

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