The Great Upending – Book Discussion Questions and Activity

The Great Upending, by Beth Kephart

The Great Upending

First, listen to author Beth Kephart reading the first few pages of THE GREAT UPENDING here.

Then, on March 31, get the book!

You can buy it here:                  Amazon                 Indiebound

Then, read … and enjoy.

You can answer these questions as you read or after you’re done. It might be fun to do this online with some friends too.

Also – if you’d like to read an interview with the author, look here.



Below are some questions you and your family might consider as you read this book.

  1. Sometimes, when Sara and Hawk sit outside, they listen to the sounds of their world: “The farm noises There are cows in the cow barn, goats in the goat barn, cats in their cuddle, and the old horse Moe, who snorts like a warthog.” What are the sounds of your world? Make a list, then write a poem so that others can hear what you hear.
  2. Hawk loves the book Treasure Island so much that he carries parts of it around with him in his Name the book that you love best, then write a letter to the author (even if the author is no longer here) to tell them why.
  3. Sara has her own private seed Why? What do the seeds mean to Sara? What is your private, or personal hobby? Find a way to document that hobby with just four photographs.
  4. Sara’s mom can do a lot of things—fix a fence, fight a fire, bake delicious In fact, every member of the Scholl family has special talents. What are they? What do they contribute to the story?
  5. Kalin is a very special librarian. Draw your version of the World’s Best Library—and the world’s best librarian.
  6. When you first meet The Mister in this book, what do you believe his story is? How does your impression of him change as the story unfolds?
  1. Sara and Hawk have been asked, very clearly, not to interfere with The Why? Do you think they were wrong to get involved with him? Should they have told their parents what they were up to?
  2. The Mister is the creator of famous wordless picture books. Create your own wordless picture Now create a version of this book with words. What is the power of a story without words?
  3. What do you think the red shoes in The Mister’s picture book symbolize?
  4. Marfan syndrome is a connective tissue disorder that has affected many famous Research the condition to find out more about its symptoms and the studies now being undertaken to help those who are diagnosed with it.
  5. The author, Beth Kephart, dedicated this book to a young friend named Becca Weust, who has Marfan. To whom would you dedicate a poem or story of your own? Write and illustrate that poem or story. Write the dedication.

Read this interview with the author, Beth Kephart. What other questions do you have? Email your best one to: info (at) junctureworkshops (dot) com

Heather Murphy Capps
Heather Murphy Capps has always had a deep appreciation for comfort and elegance. She and Claudia would have run out of money quickly together but would absolutely have been on the same page about taxis and nice restaurants. And of course, solving mysteries about beautiful art. That said, Heather also appreciates Jamie’s love of complication, which is why she spent several years living in rural Kenya and then became a television news reporter, which involved standing for hours in the middle of hurricanes and political battles. Now she’s raising middle-grade readers and writing for them. She loves to read and write books with lots of great science, magic, mystery, and adventure. Heather is the communications coordinator for Mixed-Up Files, as well as creator/curator for our We Need Diverse MG series. She is committed to creating more diversity in publishing.