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Reading Discussion Guides

Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

About the Book

Stargirl Caraway explores her new neighborhood with an eye for the unusual. She notices the agoraphobic neighbor, the seemingly homeless young boy, and others who do not fit in easily. Stargirl, never one with an inclination to conform, empathizes with the outcasts, making many of them her new friends. In the “longest letter ever” to her old boyfriend, Leo, Stargirl explores the magic in her new home and her decision to mark time in her own unique way.

About the Author

Jerry Spinelli is the author of more than a dozen books for young readers, including Maniac Magee, winner of the Newbery Medal, and Stargirl, a New York Times bestseller and an ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults. He made his picture book debut with My Daddy and Me, a loving tribute to fathers and sons. He lives with his wife and fellow writer, Eileen, in Wayne, Pennsylvania. While they write in separate rooms of the house, the couple edits and celebrates one another’s work together. Their six children have given Jerry Spinelli a plethora of clever material for his writing.

For more information about the author, watch our video interview with Jerry Spinelli.

Guide prepared by Teri S. Lesesne

Discussion Questions

  • Spinelli develops characters effectively in many ways. One method of developing characters is through extensive use of details about each person. For instance, Dootsie adores ketchup and Alvina wears a necklace with Winnie the Pooh dangling from it. What details help to reveal more about these characters: Perry, Betty Lou, Stargirl’s mother and father, Stargirl herself.
  • Stargirl writes to Leo early in the novel that nothing is empty. Even when she is sitting alone on the hill, she feels as if she is at the center of the universe. What does this observation reveal about Stargirl and her sense of herself?
  • On her field trip to the clock on the Morning Lenape Building, Stargirl reflects about clocks and time. What does this poem suggest about how differently each person measures time? (p. 126) Based on the content of the poem, what would be the time for each of the following characters: Leo, Stargirl, Dootsie, Alvina, Betty Lou.

Extension Activities

  • There are several poems written by Stargirl on her various field trips in Love, Stargirl. Select one of the poems and rewrite it as a field report that contains facts about where Stargirl has visited. Conversely, select a key scene from the book and write it as a poem.
  • Start a Stargirl Society at your school. Hold regular meetings, and host special events like an Inner-Beauty Pageant. For more ideas, visit the author’s Stargirl Web page.
Love Stargirl

Love, Stargirl

Jerry Spinelli
Age Level:
Middle Grade


Jerry Spinelli
Age Level:
Middle Grade, YA