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Simon Sort of Says

Simon Sort of Says

Simon and his parents have moved to the National Quiet Zone (no internet or microwaves) where Simon, the sole survivor of a mass school shooting, hopes to start seventh grade as an ordinary kid.
Simon Sort of Says

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To Simon and his parents, moving to a town with no internet sounds like the perfect place to start over. The internet gives people the ability to do lots of things, including making them famous whether they want to be or not. Have students consider the impact the internet has on their lives and what it would be like to live in a world with no internet.

Have students create two columns on a sheet of paper. Ask them to make a list in the left column of things they do regularly or everyday that use the internet. In the right column, have them come up with a no-tech way to do those same things. Have students discuss their lists in small groups and discuss the benefits and drawbacks of living without the internet. Students can then make a list of how the lack of internet affects Simon’s daily life and compare it with their own lists.

Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing

  1. Do you think a book about a survivor of a mass shooting should be funny? What is the role of humor in Simon Sort of Says?
  2. What does the title of the book lead you to think about Simon’s reliability as a narrator? Did you notice other passages where you questioned Simon as a reliable narrator? What kind of story is Simon looking to tell about himself?
  3. Why do you think Simon and Agate connect as friends? How do they complement one another? What are Agate’s strengths as a person and as a friend? What are Kevin’s? What are Simon’s?
  4. Why is Simon unsure about sharing his past with Agate and Kevin? What is the question that’s been weighing on Simon? How is he finally able to confront what he’s experienced? What helps him to recognize that he doesn’t have to be defined by what happened to him?

Related Resources

Educator’s Guide for Simon Sort of Says from Disney-Hyperion
School Shooting Resources from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Trauma-Informed Schools from NEA
Your Virtual Self from National Geographic Learning

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