Define "Normal" (Hardcover) by Julie Anne Peters. Little, Brown Young Readers, 2000. ISBN: 9780316706315. pp: 144. Ages: 11-15, gr: 6-10
Paperback (2003) ISBN: 9780316734899

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Summary

Antonia (Tone), a straight-A middle school student, has accepted the task of peer counseling Jazz Luther who spikes her hair and wears black make-up. The girls both appear to believe that this arrangement is a waste of time but as Tone’s precarious home life falls apart she starts to warm up to Jazz and the two girls become friends. The girls together make a journey that changes them both as they deal with issues of parent-child relationship, responsibility, individuality, trust and defining what is normal.

Activities

  1. During reading: After the first chapter, have the students write about Antonia and Jazz. What about them is normal? What about them is abnormal? Are the girls normal or not? Why or Why not?

  2. Write a journal entry on Dr. DiLeo’s question, "If you could change one thing about your life what would it be?"

  3. Compare and contrast Jazz and Tone.

  4. Jazz spends one of her peer counseling sessions teaching Antonia about meditation. Try sitting in lotus position.
    What is a mantra and what is the origin of the word?
    Meditation is one type of relaxation technique. How does meditation provide stress relief? about.com (lots of ad frames) or posted article

  5. Antonia used to be in math club and spent time playing math games. Find math puzzles and games online or in books that you think would be used by a middle school math club. You could start with this week’s problem at Middle School Madness and try the past problems while you’re there.

  6. Jazz states that her grandmother died of lung cancer. Most cases of lung cancer death, close to 90% in men, and 80% in women are caused by cigarette smoking. Discuss the effects of smoking.

  7. Cookies and brownies are mentioned in the story. Find recipes for chocolate chip cookies and brownies. Compare the recipes. Discuss measurements and proportions needed in order to use one of the recipes to make enough for the class. If possible, use one of the recipes for a baking project.

  8. Jazz’s mother spent time in an art gallery. It was also mentioned that there was a Native American exhibit and a Howell (Frank Howell) piece of artwork was being added. Find sites online that show Howell artwork and other Native American artwork.

  9. Jazz’s mother spent time in an art gallery. It was also mentioned that there was a Native American exhibit and a Howell (Frank Howell) piece of artwork was being added. Find sites online that show Howell artwork and other Native American artwork.

  10. Write a short story as a sequel to this book that features Michael as the main character.

About the Author

Awards

Related books

More for the teacher

Links to other online guides for Define "Normal".

Assessment

Define "Normal". Accelerated Reader: Quiz #41465 EN; Book Level 3.6; Points= 6.0
Reading Counts: Reading Level 4.5; Points= 11.0
Lexile Level 350
word count= 41100
Flesch/Kincaid 3.6

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