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Virtual Book Discussion: Amari and the Night Brothers w/ Polymer Activity

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston is the first book in a juvenile fiction fantasy series for 4-6th graders.

When thirteen-year-old Amari Peters' big brother went missing six months ago, her world was turned upside-down. Quinton was the golden boy of the neighborhood; always acing his exams, getting scholarships and lucking out on amazing opportunities. He was also a great big brother, which is why Amari knows her brother didn't do anything illegal. So, why can't anyone find him.

When Amari finds a ticking briefcase in her brother's closet, she uncovers that Quinton was leading a fantastical life and that he left her a special nomination for a summer tryout at the secret Bureau of Supernatural Affairs. Now Amari is determined to find a place in the bureau so that she help find her brother but that'll be easier said than done.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is this book about? What are the main themes?

  2. At the beginning of the book, Amari is in the process of losing her scholarship and she says that people with money “can do whatever they want with no consequences while the rest of us have to watch our every step” [p.3]. How does this make you feel? Is it true?

  3. If you were going to join the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, which department would you want to be in?

  4. Amari has a really big secret. Have you ever had to keep a secret? Was it hard? How did it feel having to keep it inside?

  5. What is a “stereotype threat?” Can you give some examples of this in the book?

  6. Amari points out that prejudice exists in the magical realm just like it does in the human realm. What are some of these prejudices?

  7. This book is full of really fun characters. Who is your favorite and why?

  8. When talking to Director Van Helsing about magicians and magic, he says that “Humanity was never meant for such power. It corrupts the soul” [p. 96]. What do you think he means? Do you think about access to power compels people to make corrupt choices?

  9. Why do you think Amari nominates Jayden and introduce him to the supernatural world?

  10. This is the first book in a series, where do you think the series is heading?

Activity: DIY Magic tricks

Supplies: Gallon Ziploc bag, several sharpened pencils, access to water, a deck of playing cards

Sticking a pencil through a bag of water may seem like magic, but there is actually a scientific explanation behind why the bag doesn't pop or leak.

Ziploc bags are made of a plastic polymer. A polymer is a type of flexible material made of long chains of molecules. When you stick that pencil through the bag of water, the pencil is actual slipping between the chain of molecules that the polymer is made of. Because of this flexibility, the molecules seal around the pencil and doesn't let the water out.

Demo: Sleight of Hand

We discussed what sleight of hand is and how it is part of a magicians toolbox. That a lot of sleight of hand has to do with dexterity and practicing a trick until you can do it without any hesitation. We looked at the the first video on this link and I attempted to re-create it myself, with some success. I need a lot more practice.


How'd it go:

Although my crew seemed to enjoy the book, they were pretty quiet this evening. Most just watched me do the polymer activity but those who tried it out, had a lot of fun and even grabbed some food coloring to add to their water.

That's all for now!



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