The second book read and discussed through a grant funded by YALSA and the ALA: The First Part Last by two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner Angela Johnson. (Page numbers refer to the hardcover version, copyright 2003, published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.)
- How did Bobby’s parents respond to the news of Nia’s pregnancy (pg. 12)? How did Nia’s parents respond to this (pg. 20)? How would your parents respond to this same announcement?
- Look at how Bobby’s friends react (pg. 37-40). How would your friends react?
- What does Bobby mean by saying, “I walk to my room…look around my room and miss me” (pg. 35)?
- How does Bobby feel about Feather? Would this be different if Nia were awake? (pg 81)
- What do you think about everyone’s reaction to Bobby and Nia’s decision to put their baby up for adoption?
- Do you agree with the way Bobby’s parents support (or don’t support) him and Feather?
- Imagine your room at home. What things would you have to change if you became a full-time parent? What everyday things would you have to do differently?
- Where do you see these characters five, ten years from now?
The reactions to this book surprised me somewhat. The students were very critical of Bobby, saying he was stupid for letting the pregnancy happen. They also saw Bobby’s parents in an odd role reversal where his father acted more like a mother, supportive and understanding, while Bobby’s mother was distant and unhelpful. Two of the boys in the discusison group were young fathers and mentioned the strong support of their parents made things very different for them. All noted the strong feelings Bobby held for Feather but there seemed to be no definitive opinion on Bobby’s success as a father. Also, the cover image was not well liked. Many thought the image was of a woman holding a baby!
The 2004 Printz Award winner.