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Reading Discussion Guides

The Sacrifice by Kathleen Benner Duble

About the Book

In the year 1692, life changes forever for ten-year-old Abigail Faulkner and her family. In Salem, Massachusetts, witches have been found, and widespread fear and panic reign mere miles from Abigail’s home of Andover. When two girls are brought from Salem to identify witches in Andover, suspicion sweeps the town as well-respected members of the community are accused of witchcraft. It isn’t long before chaos consumes Andover, and the Faulkners find themselves in the center of it all when friend turns themselves in the center of it all when friend turns against friend, neighbor against neighbor, in a desperate fight for the truth. At the heart of this gripping story are Abigail and her sister, Dorothy, who together must find a way to persevere during a period marked by terror, adversity, and ignorance.

Told from Abigail’s point of view and based on actual events in the author’s own family history, The Sacrifice offers a unique perspective of the Salem witch trials by delving into the devastating effects the trials had not just in Salem but throughout Massachusetts.

Discussion Questions

  • What beliefs of Puritan life in 1692 do you think we still hold on to today?
  • Can you think of another situation either now or in the past (such as the McCarthy era), where fear has overcome reason? What were the consequences of this?
  • Abigail’s world was one where conformity to the group was important-and yet she wanted to be an individual. Do you think this is still true today? Why or why not?
  • What situations (such as riots after a sporting event) in today’s world reflect a lack of reason and a “mob mentality”? What would you do if you were faced with this situation?

Extension Activities

  • Create a dramatic reenactment of the Salem witch trials.
  • Design and create a memorial for the victims of the Salem witch trials. Use the information to find actual names of people involved in the trials.
  • Write a feature article (with a headline) that tells the story of the book as it might be found on the front page of a newspaper in the town where the story takes place. Make sure it is appropriate for the time period.
The Sacrifice

The Sacrifice

Kathleen Benner Duble
Age Level:
Middle Grade
Historical Fiction