Leah GiarritanoMarch 19, 2012LIS 590SMLGerm File Assignment Before I Die Author: Jenny DownhamBibliographyDownham, Jenny. Before I Die. New York: Random House, Inc.,2007. Print.SummaryTessa, at sixteen years old, has been diagnosed with acutelymphoblastic leukemia and will die within the next sixmonths. She’s made a list of things that she would like to dobefore she dies including having sex, driving a car without alicense and falling in love. Along the way, Tessa learns a lotabout what is most important in a life well lived. Touching andmemorable, this story will stay with you long after you’vefinished the book.Awards received 2012 Abraham Lincoln Award Winner: Illinois’ High School Readers Choice Award Publishers Weekly Best Children’s Book of the Year Winner Booklist Children’s Editors’ Choice Winner Book Sense Children’s Pick List Winner Kirkus Reviews Editor Choice Award Winner
Publishers Weekly Flying Start Author Winner ALA Best Books for Young Adults Top 10 WinnerReviews "This may sound too depressing for words, but it is only one indication of the inspired originality of Before I Die, by Jenny Downham, that the reader can finish its last pages feeling thrillingly alive ... I dont care how old you are. This book will not leave you."John Burnham Schwartz Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2007 "Lucid language makes a painful journey bearable, beautiful and transcendent." Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, August 6, 2007 "The eloquent dying teen can seem a staple of the YA novel, but this British debut completely breaks the mold. Downham holds nothing back in her wrenching and exceptionally vibrant story."Author Information Jenny Downham http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/authors/jenny- downhamDiscussion Questions What message did you take away from reading Before I Die? What do you think about Tessa’s transformation throughout the book? How did her character change? What did you learn about yourself through Tessa’s experience?
If you were to draw a picture that represented what you found to be most important in this book, what would you draw and why? How do you think the story would have been different if it had been told from Zoey’s perspective? Would you want to read another book by Jenny Downham? Why or why not?Curricular Activities Writing: Each student should create a bucket list of ten things they’d like to do before they die with an explanation for each one on what it would be important to them. Science/Human Physiology/Biology: Have an oncologist come in to speak to the students about acute lymphoblastic leukemia to tie in with one of their lessons on diseases. The doctor can discuss cutting-edge treatments, life expectancy, how the disease spreads throughout the body, etc.Each student will then write a research report on a different type of cancer and give a presentation to the class. Technology: Each student will use video creation technology, like Animoto, to make a book trailer for Before I Die, depicting his or her own unique interpretation of the story. Art: Reread Chapter Forty-six, the final chapter, in which Tessa’s death is recounted. Create a piece of artwork representing the feelings and emotions expressed by Tessa during this dramatic decline. Drama/Writing: Watch the movie, Now Is Good, based on Before I Die and write a paper comparing the book to the movie, explaining which you preferred and why. Explore
whether or not you feel the actors and actresses captured the essence of the characters as introduced in the book.Related Books The fault in our stars by John Green http://www.amazon.com/The-Fault-Stars-John- Green/dp/0525478817/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&q id=1332959448&sr=1-1 One of those hideous books where the mother dies by Sonya Sones http://www.amazon.com/Those-Hideous-Books-Where- Mother/dp/1416907882/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8& qid=1332959574&sr=1-1 My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult http://www.amazon.com/My-Sisters-Keeper-A- Novel/dp/0743454537/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&q id=1332959628&sr=1-1 Deadline by Chris Crutcher http://www.amazon.com/Deadline-Chris- Crutcher/dp/0060850914/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8 &qid=1332959659&sr=1-1Other titles by author You Against Meby Jenny Downham http://www.amazon.com/You-Against-Me-Jenny- Downham/dp/0385751605/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF 8&qid=1332958734&sr=1-1
Websites for further study or enrichment Learn more about acute lymphoblastic leukemia on the following website: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/acute-lymphocytic- leukemia/DS00558 Plan a lesson around talking to young adults about death and dying on the following website: http://www.hospicenet.org/html/talking.html Have young adults create their own bucket list of things they’d like to do before they die by using the suggestions on the following website for guidance: http://www.squidoo.com/100thingsExtras Interview with Jenny Downham: http://bwibooks.com/articles/jenny-downham.php Read the following full New York Times book review of Before I Die by Jenny Downham: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/14/books/review/S chwartz2-t.html Learn more about the movie, Now Is Good, based on this book: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1937264/