A List of Cages
Written by Robin Roe
When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian–the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.
Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kind-hearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives.
Primary Source Pairing:
Adam and Julian’s voices intertwine and weave together to tell a beautiful story of life-saving friendship. Adam’s positive attitude and open heart welcome Julian and give him hope in his dark and scary homelife. Julian’s abusive and unstable guardian has deeply impacted his ability to live a normal life. Julian’s memories of his parents and his father’s refrain about ten million stars give him hope. Together Adam and Julian create a new normal – one that is safe and free from pain. For this primary source pairing, use an image of the Milky Way in the night sky, and invite students to discuss this how the stars in the sky provided solace to Julian. While this is not an easy book to read, it may be one students who have read it want to discuss. Let the primary source be an entry into the discussion about the story A List of Cages.
Questions for Discussion:
- Describe what you see.
- What do you notice first?
- Find something small but interesting.
- What do you notice that you didn’t expect?
- What do you notice that you can’t explain?
- What do you see that looks strange or unfamiliar?
- Why were the stars important to Julian? Make a connection to the image and something you read in the book A List of Cages.
Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Milky Way Galaxy Night: Pixabay
Illinois Department of Child Protective Services: https://www2.illinois.gov/dcfs/safekids/reporting/pages/index.aspx
Call the 24-hour Child Abuse Hotline at 800-25-ABUSE (800-252-2873 or TTY 1-800-358-5117) if you suspect that a child has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed by abuse or neglect. If you believe a child is in immediate danger of harm, call 911 first.