The Season of Styx Malone

The Season of Styx Malone
Written by Kekla Magoon

Publisher’s Summary:
Caleb Franklin and his big brother Bobby Gene are excited to have adventures in the woods behind their house. But Caleb dreams of venturing beyond their ordinary small town.

Then Caleb and Bobby Gene meet new neighbor Styx Malone. Styx is sixteen and oozes cool. Styx promises the brothers that together, the three of them can pull off the Great Escalator Trade–exchanging one small thing for something better until they achieve their wildest dream. But as the trades get bigger, the brothers soon find themselves in over their heads. Styx has secrets–secrets so big they could ruin everything.

Primary Source Pairing:
Styx is legendary. His presence quickly changes the course of the summer for Caleb and Bobby Gene. From the description of the Great Escalator Trade (page 46) and the plan to do the same to get the Grasshopper to his bravery and nonchalance about the moped accident, Styx Malone is an epic character, and as it turns out, a really great friend, too. Caleb has always wanted to go to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis but he has not ever been granted permission by his over-protective dad. The summer’s adventures and the lessons learned by Caleb, Bobby Gene, Styx, and Mr. Franklin shed new light on taking risks, staying safe, and the balance of the two. For this primary source pairing, invite students to study a photograph taken at the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and encourage students to discuss the importance of this place in the book. Why is it a critical part of the text that Caleb finally gets to go to the museum? Use this visual analysis learning experience as a way to talk about character change (Mr. Franklin’s especially). Cite textual evidence to support the characters’ growth and changes.

Questions for Discussion:

  • 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?
  • Why did Caleb want to visit the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis?
  • Why didn’t Mr. Franklin give Caleb permission to visit the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis?
  • What happened in the story that changed Mr. Franklin’s mind about visiting the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis?

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
“The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Welcome Center, featuring two brachiosaurs attempting to enter the building.” photograph: Wikipedia