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Book cover for Solimar

Solimar: The Sword of the Monarchs

As her Quinceañera approaches, princess-to-be Solimar visits the oyamel forest to sit among the monarchs where she is chosen as protector of the young and weak butterflies who give her the gift of seeing the near future.
Book cover for Solimar

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Use Solimar: The Sword of the Monarchs to promote active student engagement with the natural world. Head outside with students for a discussion about habitat protection. Ask where they have seen monarchs in their community. Have them think about ways the area they live in may contribute to habitat loss for wildlife and what species could be affected. What can they do to help at home, at school, or in your community?

The book’s backmatter is rich with information about how to protect monarch butterflies. Have students review it as well as check for additional sources of information online and in your school library about monarchs, their habitats, and the habitats of other pollinators. Knowing especially that monarchs don’t have enough habitat anymore, have students work together to come up with a plan to help protect and grow the habitat for monarch butterflies at school or in your community. It could be something as simple as removing invasive plants that decrease the diversity of nectar resources or planting milkweed and wildflowers or sharing what they’ve learned about monarch butterflies’ habitat needs with others.

Questions for Discussion or Reflective Writing

  • How does Solimar feel about traditions and rules? Do you think it is important to be respectful of traditions or to question them? Is there a way to do both?  
  • What do you know about monarch butterflies? Why are monarch butterflies important in the kingdom of San Gregorio? Why are they important to us? How are they endangered in the book and in real life?
  • Why do you think the monarch butterflies choose Solimar to be their champion? What is something that you tell yourself when you have to do something hard?
  • Why do people make promises? Have you ever made a promise you couldn’t keep? How does the monarch's gift of predicting the near future help Solimar keep her promise to protect them? 
  • Doña Flor tells Solimar, "I advise you to tell no one about the gift unless you trust them implicitly." What does it mean to trust someone implicitly? How does Solimar determine who she can trust? What does having someone’s trust mean to you?
  • Solimar has a special bond with her grandmother. What does Abuela share with Solimar? How is their relationship different from Solimar’s relationship with her mother?

Related Resources

Solimar Educator’s Guide from Disney-Hyperion
Watch a Breathtaking Monarch Butterfly Swarm video from Nature on PBS
About Monarch Butterflies from World Wildlife Fund
Types of Monarch Habitat from Monarch Joint Venture
Monarch Butterfly Teacher and Student Resources from the U.S. Forest Service

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