Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff

I hope the cover of this book never changes.  It’s so mysterious.  I show the students the cover and ask them what they think it means: a girl’s bare legs in the woods.  At first the reader will think the book refers to a wooded area named Hollis Woods.  The story is about a girl who was abandoned in a town named Hollis Woods.  She never felt loved.  She was always in trouble at school.  She never fits in and causes trouble for every foster home she is in until she is sent to live with a new family who wants another child.  There she feels so loved that when she and the son in the family have a wreck when the son shouldn’t have been driving, she runs away again feeling that it was her fault.  Running away is the only way she knows to cope.  She is placed with a woman that shows her love and care, but then the woman gets Alzheimer’s,  and Hollis is about to be placed into another home.  Hollis does what she knows, and runs away with the old woman in tow.

Drawing Conclusions: Did Hollis draw the right conclusion? Is there any evidence in the story that would lead you to believe that the family will no longer care about Hollis after the accident?  What does she base her conclusion upon?  It is based on her past experiences with the other homes she has lived in.

What was the cause and effect of Hollis’s actions? Because she runs away, she sees the effect it has on the foster family that really does love her and finally realizes that she is loved.

This book is a keeper!  Young readers will make connections with this book.

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