About the Book
Bloomability, by Newbery medalist Sharon Creech, tells the coming-of-age tale of Dinnie, a thirteen-year-old girl uprooted from her parents’ nomadic lifestyle to spend a year in Switzerland. Dinnie is used to change, since her whole life has been comprised of moving to a new town every time her father excitedly stumbles upon a new opportunity. But when Dinnie’s aunt and uncle invite her to stay with them and attend an American international school in Switzerland, she wants to rebel and stay with her family. “I was used to moving, used to packing up and following along like a robot, but I was tired of it. I wanted to stop moving and I wanted to be somewhere and stay somewhere and I wanted my family” (p. 17).
Dinnie arrives in Switzerland homesick, scared, and stubbornly refusing to enjoy herself. Throughout the course of the year, however, Dinnie not only becomes comfortable in her new surroundings, but also sees the appeal of the new experiences, struggles, and opportunities presented to her.
About the Author
Sharon Creech is the author of the Newbery Medal winner Walk Two Moons and the Newbery Honor winner The Wanderer. Her other novels include Heartbeat, Ruby Holler, Love That Dog, Bloomability, Absolutely Normal Chaos, Chasing Redbird, and Pleasing The Ghost, as well as three picture books: A Fine, Fine School; Fishing in the Air; and Who’s That Baby?. After eighteen years of teaching and writing in Europe, Ms. Creech and her husband now live in upstate New York.
- Why does Dinnie refer to her time with her parents as her “first life,” and her time in Switzerland as her “second life”? If her “third life” begins at the end of the book, how do you think it would differ from the first two?
- To Dinnie, Switzerland is a strange and unfamiliar place that grows to feel comfortable. What similarities does she discover between Switzerland and her various homes in America? What differences? How do both the similarities and differences help Dinnie appreciate her experiences there?
- After Guthrie is rescued from the avalanche, Dinnie has a dream that her bubble is gone (pp. 228-29). What does that signify to Dinnie? How do the preceding events lead up to this revelation?
- Explain the contrasting perspectives of Lila and Guthrie, taking into consideration Guthrie’s story of the two prisoners. How does Dinnie’s personality complement theirs?
- Discuss Uncle Max’s graduation speech about variety (p. 250). How do variety and acceptance at the international school affect Dinnie? How is it different from her previous experiences? How does it make Dinnie feel about herself?
- What is Dinnie’s relationship with her parents like? How does this affect her fears about being in a foreign country?
- How do Dinnie’s dreams illustrate her concerns and thoughts? Select some examples to discuss.
- By the end of the book, Dinnie resolves that she no longer feels like a stranger, even while moving from place to place. Like a snail, she carries her home on her back. What does she discover about the notion of home? How do her experiences in Switzerland lead her to that conclusion (p. 261)?
- Why do you think this book is called Bloomability?