This month’s book is: Hannah’s Dream by Diane Hammond
Summary (from BN.com):
For forty-one years, Samson Brown has been caring for Hannah, the lone elephant at the down-at-the-heels Max L. Biedelman Zoo. Having vowed not to retire until an equally loving and devoted caretaker is found to replace him, Sam rejoices when smart, compassionate Neva Wilson is hired as the new elephant keeper. But Neva quickly discovers what Sam already knows: that despite their loving care, Hannah is isolated from other elephants and her feet are nearly ruined from standing on hard concrete all day. Using her contacts in the zookeeping world, Neva and Sam hatch a plan to send Hannah to an elephant sanctuary—just as the zoo’s angry, unhappy director launches an aggressive revitalization campaign that spotlights Hannah as the star attraction, inextricably tying Hannah’s future to the fate of the Max L. Biedelman Zoo
Discussion Questions (Warning: Spoilers Ahead!):
1. Before reading the story, what do you think Hannah’s dream might be?
2. What expectations do you have for this story? Are you interested in reading about an elephant?
3. Explain the relationship between Samson and Hannah.
4. Why do you think Max Biedelman left Hannah in Samson’s care after he’d only been working there for 6 days?
5. While talking to Max, Samson tells her, “Ever since the baby died Corinna hasn’t had much use for God or the Bible. She says when God lets you down like He did to us, He doesnt deserve our respectfulness.” Do you agree with this statement?
6. Consider Neva’s training in elephant care and background in zookeeping. Who do you think will benefit more from Neva’s arrival - Neva, Hannah, Samson, or all 3? Why?
7. Why might Truman have gotten a pig as a pet despite his orderly nature and boring personality? Do you think the pig will do some good for both Truman and his son?
8. How do you feel about Harriet taking on the persona of Maxine? Do you think it is right to be exploiting her in this way?
9. Corinna lost a child by miscarriage while Neva gave hers up for a adoption. Do you think both suffer their loss in the same way? In what ways do they try to make up for their loss?
10. Who do you think Miss Effie really was to Maxine? Why does Harriet feel that she is not important to her portrayal of Maxine?
11. Do you think Harriet’s plan will increase visitors to the zoo, or is this a bad decision?
12. What do you think of Johnson Johnson’s generosity towards Neva? Do you think their friendship will turn into something more?
13. What is Hannah’s Dream?
14. Are you as crafty or as inventive as Johnson Johnson? What’s the best thing you’ve ever created?
15. What are your thoughts on zoos? Do you approve of them? Do your views on zoos and sanctuaries differ?
16. Was Harriet right to assume that her and Truman could be something more? Do you pity her now that you know differently?
17. Who or what does Harriet realize she is in love with?
18. What creative idea do you have for Hannah? A new toy? A game? How would you help her keep from being bored?
MORE QUESTIONS TO COME, CHECK BACK SOON!