Author Feature-Jennifer Mathieu

 


Spirit of Texas Reading Program

High School

Featured Author

Jennifer Mathieu

Jennifer Mathieu

The Truth about Alice

Jennifer Mathieu is a former East Coaster and journalist who spends her days teaching English to middle and high school students somewhere in the Lone Star State. She enjoys pepperoni pizza, chocolate and is oddly obsessed with The Golden Girls sitcom. The Truth About Alice is her first novel. Ms. Mathieu's next novel, Devoted, releases in June 2015 from Roaring Brook Press.

 

 

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Book Trailer

 


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Book Discussion Questions 

Printable Copy

  1. Why do people gossip?
  2. How does gossip ruin peoples' lives?
  3. How fast do rumors and gossip spread?
  4. What role does gossip play in bullying and slut shaming?
  5. Is there a double standard for guys and girls when it comes to reputations in high school? In adult life? Why or why not? What are some examples?
  6. Think about the power of the written and spoken word to hurt and heal, to build up and tear down, to promote good and evil. How is the power of words demonstrated in the book? For what purposes are words used in the book? Find some examples of good and bad uses.
  7. Have you ever been involved in a bullying situation as a bully, victim, or bystander? How did it make you feel? How do you think the other people in the situation felt?
  8. What is the best, most effective, way to deal with a bully? What effective and ineffective ways have you seen? What were the results?
  9. Do you think our society condones or even encourages bullying of certain people or groups of people (for example, LGBT community, Muslims, racial minorities, teen girls,  etc.)? Why or why not? What does this say about our society? How can we work to change this?
  10. Is your high school a kind or a cruel place? Can it be both at the same time?
  11. In your experience, are teachers, administrators, counselors, parents, and other adults helpful or hurtful to victims of bullying and sexual harassment in high school? What would you tell these adults about bullying and how to stop it? 
  12. In the book, the slut stall is allowed to stay in place and grow. What do you think would be the reaction in your high school? Would the adults remove it quickly or let it stay?
  13. What is the strongest theme of the book? Some possibilities are truth vs. the appearance of truth, friendship, loss, individuality, and cruelty vs. kindness. What lesson or truth do you think the author wants readers to learn from the book?
  14. The Truth about Alice is set in a very small Texas town. How do you think the events and characters would have changed if it had been set in a large city?
  15. Some adults feel that bullying is a normal part of growing up in the United States and that bullying actually makes the victims into stronger people. Do you agree with this? Why or why not? Why do you think some people feel this way?
  16. The slut wall that is set up to shame Alice is anonymous. How does anonymity change the situation for the bully and for the victim? How can a victim fight back against anonymous comments? How does the slut wall compare and contrast to cyberbullying, which is also largely anonymous?
  17. How widespread is bullying and sexual harassment in your school?
  18. What did you think of the multiple perspective setup of the book? Do you think you got a more complete idea of the events of Alice's story with the book written that way? Would it have the same power written in standard first person point-of-view?
  19. Alice didn't get to share her voice until the end of the book. Do you feel that was a good decision by the author? How would the impact of the story would have been different if Alice had been given chapters throughout the story? What if she never got to tell her story at all, how do you think that would have changed your opinion of the book?
  20. This book covers a lot of teenage issues (bullying, underage drinking, unplanned pregnancy, etc.) Do you feel like it is a realistic portrayal of real teenagers dealing with these issues? Are there parts of the book that seem unbelievable? Do you think the characters could easily be living in small town Texas (or any other state)?
  21. What does the future hold for these characters? If the author decides to write a sequel about this group's 10-year class reunion, where do you think all the characters will be? Which ones will stay in Healy and which ones will leave? What will they be doing with their lives? How will the events of the book affect them in the long run?


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Academic Programs 

Printable Copy

Introduction

The Truth About Alice is a great book to use in a high school setting since students may face situations like those described in the book in their own lives. A realistic book like this one lets them rehearse their actions and reactions if they should be confronted with such a situation. Bullying is also a hot topic right now. Each of these activities is meant to increase student sensitivity to bullying and to give teens some tools to use in a bullying situation, no matter what their role (bully, victim, or bystander).

Activity 1: Fan Fiction

Introduction

Having empathy for others, especially people who are in tough situations, is extremely important though it can be difficult to teach. In this activity, students will learn to empathize with characters from The Truth About Alice by writing fan fiction in the form of journal entries for a chosen character. Fan fiction allows students to take already established characters and timelines and create new situations for them to convey stories the students want to tell. This writing will allow the students to see through a new pair of eyes and better understand bullying from a different perspective.

TEKS

  • English 1 - 7, 13, 14a, 14c
  • English 2 - 5a, 13, 14a, 14c, 18a, 18b, 19
  • English 3 - 2a, 5a, 5b, 5c, 13, 14a, 17, 18, 19
  • English 4 - 2c, 5b, 8, 13, 14a, 17, 18, 19
  • Creative Writing - 2, 3

Books to Display

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  • Among Friends by Caroline Cooney
  • The Boyfriend Rules of Good Behavior by Catherine Bateson
  • The Burn Journals by Brent Runyon
  • Fat Boy vs. the Cheerleaders by Geoff Herbach
  • Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  • Lucy in the Sky by Anonymous
  • One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen
  • Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff

Supply List

  • Point of View Writing Handout (1 copy per student.)
  • Fan Fiction Writing Activity Handout (1 copy per student.)
  • Copies of The Truth About Alice (enough for each student in a small group if this is done in a book club setting, or a classroom set if it is a large group or classroom activity).
  • Paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Computers to type on (optional)
  • Film Clips for Character Education, Episode 4: Knowing Yourself, Facing Peer Pressure, Understanding Bullies DVD
  • Television with DVD Player or YouTube Film clip on bullying and a Smartboard or other projection system

Description

Begin the lesson by showing a bullying scenario from a TV show or a movie. If using Film Clips for Character Education, Episode 4, appropriate clips would be selections from "Back to the Future," "Mean Girls," "Cheaper by the Dozen," "Hoot," "The Ant Bully, " or "The War." If you choose to use a YouTube video, an excellent choice is "The Game" (5:46 minutes), by Chaz Smith, which is a student-made video that highlights the male role in the culture of sexual harassment and sexual shaming in the U.S.

Review the elements of fiction with students using the Point of View Writing handout. Tell students that authors carefully choose from whose point of view they will tell their story. Point of view directs the story in several ways. For example, the author can only reveal parts of the plot that are familiar to their character's point of view. How the character tells the story also lets the reader know a lot about that character's personality, motivation and role in the events of the story.

Next, hand out the Fan Fiction Instructions to each student. Use the handout to explain that in The Truth about Alice there are five point of view characters: Elaine, Kelsie, Josh, Kurt, and Alice. Students will choose one of these characters and write a continuation of the story, an elaboration of an event in the story, or an event described by another character and rewrite the scene from their chosen character's point of view. At the end of the assignment, students are encouraged to share their writing with the class.

Activity Resources Provided

Resources for Teens, Teachers & Librarians

  • Film Clips for Character Education, Episode 4: Knowing Yourself, Facing Peer Pressure, Understanding Bullies
  • The Game by Chaz Smith 

Activity 2 Title: Bullying Role Plays

Introduction

Research has shown that students use many different strategies to address bullying (Davis and Nixon, 2011). Giving students a chance to practice several of these strategies via role playing may help them increase their repertoire of responses, as well as help them decide which reactions are effective and which are ineffective when faced with bullying behavior.

TEKS

  • Communication Applications - 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e, 3f, 3g, 3h, 3i, 4
  • English 1 - 24a, 25, 26
  • English 2 - 24a, 25, 26
  • English 3 - 25, 26
  • English 4 - 25, 26
  • Health I - 13d, 13e, 13g, 14a, 15
  • Theatre Levels 1 thru 4- 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f

Books to Display

FICTION

    • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
    • Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance edited by Rhoda Belleza, et al.
    • Some Boys by Patty Blount
    • Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti
    • Can't Look Away by Donna Cooner
    • I Swear by Lane Davis
    • Fault Line by Christa Desir
    • Stick and Stones by Beth Goobie
    • In Too Deep by Amanda Grace
    • Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant
    • Brutal by Michael Harmon
    • The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder
    • The Distance between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes
    • Party by Tom Leveen
    • Random by Tom Leveen
    • Watched by C.J. Lyons
    • Tease by Amanda Maciel
    • Get Even by Gretchen McNeil
    • Skank by Teresa McWhirter
    • Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina
    • By the Time You Read This I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
    • All the Rage by Courtney Summers
    • Empty by K.M. Walton
    • The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

NON-FICTION

    • Bullied Kids Speak Out: We Survived—How You Can Too by Jodee Blanco
    • Bullying: Replies, Rebuttals, Confessions, and Catharsis: An International and Multicultural Anthology edited by Magdalena Gomez and Maria Luisa Arroyo
    • Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones
    • Bullying under Attack: True Stories Written by Teen Victims, Bullies + Bystanders edited by Stephenie Meyer, et al.
    • Positive: Surviving My Bullies, Finding Hope, and Living to Change the World by Paige Rawl
    • Vicious: True Stories by Teens about Bullying by Hope Vanderberg
    • Are You Being Bullied? by Kathleen Winkler

Supply List

Description

Discuss the different forms of bullying that take place in The Truth About Alice. Mention the sexual shaming of Alice, the fact that Kurt is ostracized for not fitting in, and that Kelsie also was ostracized for her appearance and the religious beliefs of her family at her prior school. Ask students to share incidents of bullying that they have experienced or witnessed, if they are comfortable sharing. Ask how they or the victims responded.

Divide students into pairs and give each pair a different Bully Role Playing Problem Card and Bully Role Playing Solution Card. One person will role play the bully and the other will role play the victim. During the role plays, please monitor to make sure students are behaving appropriately and that no actual bullying occurs. If time permits, have students switch roles. Then, have each group act out one of their role plays in front of the class. The class will discuss which responses were most effective. Give each student a copy of the Effective Bully Responses handout. Use the "Think about It" cards to stimulate student discussion and to wrap up the class.

Activity Resources Provided

Resources for Teens, Teachers & Librarians

Activity 3: "Tag You're It" Schoolwide Game

Introduction

Kindness is contagious! Start a movement at your school to encourage kindness in your students, faculty and staff.

TEKS

  • Health 1 - 8a, 13d, 13e, 13g, 14a, 15
  • Advanced Health - 6b, 13a, 14c,

Books to Display

FICTION

    • Kindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman
    • Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde
    • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
    • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
    • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
    • A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
    • Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
    • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

NON-FICTION

    • The Street or Me: A New York Story by Judith Glynn
    • Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together by Ron Hall
    • Practice Random Acts of Kindness: Bring More Peace, Love and Compassion into the World by the editors of Random Acts of Kindness, foreword by Harold Kushner
    • The Kindness Diaries by Leon Logothetis
    • Words Wound: Delete Cyberbullying and Make Kindness Go Viral by Justin Patchin and Sameer Hinduja
    • Cool to Be Kind: Random Acts and How to Commit Them by Val Litwin, et al.

Supply List

Description

Print out the Tag You're It cards and distribute them to a core group of teens and adults. This game has just one rule: each person must perform an act of kindness to someone at school. The acts can be random or planned, anonymous or not; it's up to the individual. After the act is performed, the kindness "perpetrator" gives their kindness recipient a "Tag You're It" Card. The recipient must then perform an act of kindness for someone else and pass the card on.

Set up a Facebook page or "Tag You're It" page on your school or library website, so people can tell their stories. (This activity can also be played out at a citywide level, through a public library, as described on www.kindnessgirl.com.) A flyer, poster and school announcement are included to help you advertise your "Tag You're It" game.

Resources


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Active Programs


Printable Copy

Introduction

Although The Truth About Alice is a serious and realistic book about a high school student facing life-changing and even life-threatening challenges, there are many fun and exciting events based on themes in the book that can draw teens into libraries. Plan a "Random Acts" event, a "Girls/Guys Night In" movie night to entertain and educate your patrons, or a "Think Twice, Party Nice" planning session that can segue into an actual party or celebration.

Activity 1: "Random Acts" Event

Introduction

So much of what happens in The Truth About Alice results from teens making cruel choices instead of kind ones. Increase awareness of kindness and the profound impact it can have on the lives of those around us by putting on a "Random Acts" event in your library.

Books to Display

FICTION

    • Kindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman
    • Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde
    • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
    • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
    • Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
    • A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
    • Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
    • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

NON-FICTION

    • The Street or Me: A New York Story by Judith Glynn
    • Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together by Ron Hall
    • Words Wound: Delete Cyberbullying and Make Kindness Go Viral by Justin Patchin and Sameer Hinduja
    • Cool to Be Kind: Random Acts and How to Commit Them by Val Litwin, et al.
    • The Kindness Diaries by Leon Logothetis
    • Practice Random Acts of Kindness: Bring More Peace, Love and Compassion into the World by the editors of Random Acts of Kindness, foreword by Harold Kushner

Supply List

  • The Truth About Alice (1 display copy)
  • The Truth About Alice Booktalks (1 set needed)
  • "Pay It Forward" DVD, (2000) Warner Brothers or "Film Clips for Character Education - Episode 7: Teamwork, Making a Difference, Caring for Others" DVD, Film Clips Spirit of America or "Trevor's Idea" YouTube film clip
  • TV and DVD player, or SmartBoard with a projector and computer with DVD drive
  • "Pay It Forward" Discussion Questions
  • Kindness Charades instructions and cards (1 set needed)
  • Timer or stopwatch
  • Bowl or box to hold charade cards
  • Paper (to keep score on)
  • Bookmarks, pencils, cups, or other small prize for the winning charade team (optional)
  • Kindness Quotes Notes (Need enough copies for all attendees to write several notes. Be sure to cut them apart before the event.)
  • Pens and/or pencils (Enough for Friendship Quotes Notes, Gratitude Journal, and Kindness Challenge stations.)
  • Markers and/or colored pencils (Enough for Friendship Quote Notes and Gratitude Journal stations.)
  • Gratitude Journal Instructions (need several copies)
  • Composition notebooks (1 for each attendee)
  • Scrapbooking paper and/or other decorative materials that can be used to decorate the journal covers (For example, newspapers, magazines, construction paper, wallpaper, duct tape, stickers, ribbon, lace, buttons, die cuts, and any other craft supplies you have on hand.)
  • Glue and/or glue sticks
  • Scissors or decorative scissors (Enough for Gratitude Journal and Friendship Bracelets stations.)
  • Meaning of Colors handout (need several copies)
  • Friendship Bracelet Instructions (need several copies)
  • Hemp or string (enough for every attendee to make at least 1 bracelet)
  • Seed beads of assorted colors (enough for 6 to 8 beads for each attendee)
  • Small gold or silver beads
  • Kindness Challenge Pledge (need several copies)
  • Kindness Challenge Log (need 1 per attendee)
  • Kindness Challenge Certificate (Will be needed after completion of the 21-Day Kindness Challenge. Will need one copy for each Kindness Challenge participant.)
  • Small incentive items such as bookmarks, pencils, or cups for those who complete the 21-Day Kindness Challenge (optional)

Description

The purpose of this event is to accentuate the positive and give teens ideas about how to make their communities better places. At the start of the event, explain that this program was inspired by The Truth About Alice, a book by a Texas author and set in a small town in Texas. Use one of The Truth About Alice booktalks. Then introduce the importance of kindness and empathy. For example you could say: "So much of what happens in The Truth about Alice results from teens making cruel choices instead of kind ones. What if teens choose kindness instead of cruelty? It is possible for all of us to affect the lives of others--for good as well as bad. This idea is explored in the movie, 'Pay It Forward.'" Then show brief clips from the movie. You can use the film clips from the "Film Clips for Character Education" DVD or, if you have the "Pay It Forward" DVD you can select the scene where Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) presents his idea to the class (at approximately 33 minutes into the movie.) A 2:45 minute clip is also available on YouTube. (If using YouTube, make sure your organization allows access to it before the program begins.) Use the Pay It Forward Discussion Questions to lead a short discussion about the "pay it forward" idea and how kindness and empathy figure into it.

After the discussion, divide the group into two teams and play Kindness Charades. Use the Kindness Charades instructions and cards. If you wish, you can award a small prize (bookmarks, pencils, cups, etc.) to the winning team. Then, divide into four groups to visit the four activity stations set up around the library. Note: If time is an issue or if your library is unable to host an event of this size, you can pick and choose which of the stations to set up, or break this into a series of individual events.

Kindness Stations:

Station 1 - Kindness Quotes Notes. Teens will write thank you notes with inspiring quotes about kindness to give to parents, siblings, teachers, friends, service workers, or whoever they choose. Use the Kindness Quotes Notes Handout.

Station 2 - Gratitude Journal. Teens will decorate and start a Gratitude Journal. See the Gratitude Journal instructions for details. A handout is provided.

Station 3 - Colors of Friendship Bracelet. Teens will make a "Colors of Friendship" bracelet. Use the Meaning of Colors Handout and the Friendship Bracelet Instructions.

Station 4 - 21-Day Kindness Challenge. Teens will have a chance to join the 21-Day Kindness Challenge. Teens who decide to participate will sign the Kindness Challenge Pledge and be given a Kindness Challenge log. When they complete the 21-day challenge, they can bring the log back for a Kindness Challenge certificate and/or an incentive reward (optional). Use the Kindness Challenge Pledge, Kindness Challenge Log, and Kindness Challenge Certificate Handouts provided.

Incentives

Optional incentive rewards for the 21-Day Kindness Challenge can include bookmarks, pencils, cups, or other inexpensive items, as well as a participation certificate. Use the pre-made Kindness Challenge Certificate.

Resources

HANDOUTS

WEBSITES

Activity 2: "Girls' Night In" and/or "Guys' Night In" Movie Night

Introduction

Many of the topics The Truth about Alice deals with (bullying, sexual shaming, and sexting) are very sensitive and would best be discussed in a non-threatening setting, without members of the opposite sex present. A "Girls' Night In" and/or separate "Guys' Night In" would encourage teens to open up to others about their feelings and experiences.

Books to Display

FICTION

    • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
    • Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance edited by Rhoda Belleza, et al.
    • Some Boys by Patty Blount
    • Keep Holding On by Susane Colasanti
    • Can't Look Away by Donna Cooner
    • I Swear by Lane Davis
    • Fault Line by Christa Desir
    • Stick and Stones by Beth Goobie
    • In Too Deep by Amanda Grace
    • Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant
    • Brutal by Michael Harmon
    • The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder
    • The Distance between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes
    • Party by Tom Leveen
    • Random by Tom Leveen
    • Watched by C.J. Lyons
    • Tease by Amanda Maciel
    • Get Even by Gretchen McNeil
    • Skank by Teresa McWhirter
    • Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina
    • By the Time You Read This I'll Be Dead by Julie Anne Peters
    • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
    • All the Rage by Courtney Summers
    • Empty by K.M. Walton
    • The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
    • Are You Being Bullied? by Kathleen Winkler

NON-FICTION

    • Bullied Kids Speak Out: We Survived—How You Can Too by Jodee Blanco
    • Bullying: Replies, Rebuttals, Confessions, and Catharsis: An International and Multicultural Anthology edited by Magdalena Gomez and Maria Luisa Arroyo
    • Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones
    • Bullying under Attack: True Stories Written by Teen Victims, Bullies + Bystanders edited by Stephenie Meyer, et al.
    • Positive: Surviving My Bullies, Finding Hope, and Living to Change the World by Paige Rawl
    • Vicious: True Stories by Teens about Bullying by Hope Vanderberg

Supply List

Description

This event can involve a Girls Night In and/or a separate Guys Night In. If you choose to host both, please plan them for separate evenings or set them up in separate venues. The script will remain basically the same for both, but there are two different bingo cards for the Girls Night In and the Guys Night In. Different movies will also probably be selected. Please consult the Movie Suggestions Handout for recommendations. You might also consider requiring teens to have a signed permission form allowing them to watch the selected movie. Library staff should consult administration and/or the organization's legal department before using the sample permission form included with these programming materials.

Begin the event with the The Truth About Alice Bingo game as an icebreaker, which will introduce the teens to each other and, encourage them to feel comfortable as a group. Use The Truth About Alice Bingo card handout, which includes the instructions. (Note that there are different bingo cards for the girls and guys movie nights. Also, although this is not a real bingo game, please feel free to rename or omit this activity if your library prohibits bingo-related activities. For example, you might simply call it The Truth About Alice Icebreaker.) At the end of the game, reward the winner with a small prize, if desired. A bookmark, pencil, book, cup, or a piece of candy can be used as a prize.

Explain the inspiration for this program. For example, you could say, "The inspiration for this movie night is a book called The Truth About Alice, which is written by a Texas author and set in a small Texas town. Its purpose is to promote awareness of and sensitivity to bullying, especially a type of bullying that is directed at girls--sexual shaming." Use one of The Truth About Alice booktalks (see the Book Talk Handout), and/or read a short passage from the book. See the Book Excerpt Handout for suggested passages.

Next, play The Gossip Game which is a variation of the Telephone Game many children play in elementary school. Use the Gossip Game Handout to explain the rules and play the game. At the end of the game, use the following questions from the The Truth About Alice Discussion Questions Handout to discuss gossip: Why do people gossip? How does gossip ruin peoples' lives? How fast do rumors and gossip spread? What role does gossip play in bullying and sexual shaming?

After the discussion, explain that the group will watch a movie with themes of gossip, bullying, and/or sexual shaming. (Tailor your theme choice to the movie you've selected.) Serve movie snacks like popcorn, sodas or water, etc., if desired. At the end of the movie, open up a discussion using questions from the Discussion Questions Handout.

Resources

HANDOUTS

WEBSITES

Activity 3: "Think Twice, Party Nice" Planning Event

Introduction

Teen alcohol consumption is an important factor in several of the crucial events in The Truth About Alice. If the teens hadn't been drinking at Elaine's party, perhaps none of the rumors about Alice Franklin would have started. If Brandon and Josh hadn't been driving drunk, Brandon would not have been killed. This event will increase teens' awareness of alternatives to drinking parties. It could easily be held in conjunction with a school or community "Shattered Dreams" program or in April, which is "Alcohol Awareness Month."

Books to Display

FICTION

    • Lucy in the Sky by Anonymous
    • Identical by Ellen Hopkins
    • Party by Tom Leveen
    • Inexcusable by Chris Lynch
    • Recovery Road by Blake Nelson
    • Clean by Amy Reed
    • Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz
    • Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott
    • Freefall by Mindi Scott
    • Wasted by Brent Sherrard
    • Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler
    • Burnout by Adrienne Maria Vrettos

NON-FICTION

    • I've Got This Friend Who--: Advice for Teens and Their Friends on Alcohol, Drugs, Eating Disorders, Risky Behavior, and More by America's teens and the experts at KidsPeace
    • Facing Addiction: Three True Stories by Beth Johnson
    • Crazy Enough: A Memoir by Storm Large
    • We All Fall Down: Living with Addiction by Nic Sheff

Supply List

  • The Truth About Alice (1 display copy)
  • The Truth About Alice Booktalks (1 copy needed)
  • Anti-drinking and driving video (See the Anti-Drinking Video Suggestions Handout for Internet and DVD options)
  • TV and DVD player, or SmartBoard with a projector and computer with DVD drive and internet access
  • Underage Drinking Statistics (1 copy needed)
  • Safe Party Guide (1 copy per attendee)
  • Paper
  • Pens and pencils
  • Books or resources to use in planning the party food and games and activities (See the Resources section below for suggestions.)
  • Computers with access to the internet (optional but nice)
  • Party Decorations Instructions (Print enough copies to have several copies of the instructions at each station, and 1 of the "Don't be a sucker" strips for each attendee.)
  • Tissue paper (1 sheet for every flower)
  • Pipe cleaners (1 for every flower)
  • Construction paper
  • Inexpensive, wrapped lollipops (for example, Dum-Dums) (1 for each attendee)
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Stapler and staples

Description

Teens will plan and prepare for a drug and alcohol-free party. Begin by explaining the inspiration for this program. For example, you can say, "The inspiration for this event is a book called The Truth About Alice, which is written by a Texas author and set in a small Texas town." Use one of the The Truth About Alice Booktalks. Discuss how teen alcohol consumption is an important factor in several of the crucial events in The Truth About Alice. If the teens hadn't been drinking at Elaine's party, perhaps none of the rumors about Alice Franklin would have started. If Brandon and Josh hadn't been driving drunk, Brandon would not have been killed.

This event is designed to increase teens' awareness of alternatives to drinking parties. If the event is held in conjunction with "Shattered Dreams" or a similar program, show the event DVD. If not, show an anti-drinking and driving video. There are several suggested videos on the Anti-Drinking Video Suggestions Handout, some in DVD format and some that are accessible online. Use the Underage Drinking Statistics Handout to point out how deadly DUI is, especially to teens. If desired, an outside expert can be invited to give a short presentation. (Contact MADD, TABC's 2 Young 2 Drink program, your local law enforcement agencies, or your local Victim's Assistance office to request a speaker.) After the video and presentation, teens will plan an alcohol-free celebration. Divide the group into three committees. Each committee will write down their ideas on paper.

The Hospitality Committee will use cookbooks, party planning books (suggestions are listed in the Resources below), and/or computers with Internet access to plan simple refreshments for the anti-drinking party.

The Playlist Committee will put together a playlist of music for the party. They may use their electronic devices or computers with Internet access to find music selections that complement the party theme.

The Fun and Games Committee will use party planning books, games books, and/or the Internet to plan activities for the party.

Committees will have a 15 to 30 minute planning period after which all the committees will re-assemble to share their ideas with the group. Teens will then make simple decorations for the party. These will include a paper chain honoring DUI victims and survivors, tissue paper flowers, and "Don't be a sucker. Don't drink and drive" lollipops to be given out as party favors. Instructions are included on the Party Decorations and Party Favors Handout. Depending on how formal you want to be, you can either keep teens in their committee groups or let them move freely between the tables.

If desired, the library can host an actual "Think Twice, Party Nice" party on another night, if your library allows such an activity. If you decide not to have a party, allow teens to take home the party decorations and lollipop favors. You might wish to keep the construction paper chain to display in the library, especially if you have set up an anti-drinking and driving display such as the one described in The Truth About Alice passive programs. You can also have teens attach the tissue paper flowers to the chain if you choose. Give each attendee a copy of the "Safe Party Guide" Handout before they leave.

Resources

HANDOUTS

BOOKS

    • Perfect Party Games by Stephen Curtis
    • Tiny Food Party!: Bite-Size Recipes for Miniature Meals by Teri Lyn Fisher and Jenny Park
    • Perfect Party Food Made Simple by Bridget Jones
    • The Perfect Party Planner: Hints, Tips, Advice and Recipes to Guarantee Success at Every Event—from Birthday Parties and Buffets to Weddings and Special Celebrations by Bridget Jones
    • Perfect Party Food: All the Recipes and Tips You'll Ever Need for Stress-Free Entertaining by Diane Phillips
    • Party Games and Amusements for Young and Old: Including Round Games, Card Games, Parlour Tricks, Puzzles that Puzzle, Charades, Thought-Reading, Conundrums, etc. by Hesperides Press
    • The Everything Big Book of Party Games: Over 125 Creative and Fun Games for All Ages by Carrie Sever
    • Party Food: Delicious Recipes to Get the Party Started by Sterling Epicure

WEBSITES


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Passive Program 

Printable Copy

Introduction

Highlighting The Truth about Alice in libraries is a great opportunity to educate teens about topics such as kindness, the dangers of teen drinking and driving, and bullying. These programs are easy to initiate, take up little space, and are attention-grabbers. They can be implemented in conjunction with Anti-Bullying Month (October), Alcohol-Awareness Month (April), or any other time of year that seems appropriate.

Activity 1: Positive Comments Only Wall

Introduction

In The Truth about Alice, the rumor war against Alice Franklin is taken to a new level when her best friend Kelsie starts a "slut wall" in the girls' bathroom dedicated to posting derogatory and degrading comments about Alice. This activity will help students see that the written word has power to build, as well as to destroy.

Books to Display

FICTION

    • Kindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman
    • Pay It Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde
    • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
    • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
    • A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
    • Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
    • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

NON-FICTION

    • The Street or Me: A New York Story by Judith Glynn
    • Cool to Be Kind: Random Acts and How to Commit Them by Val Litwin, et al.
    • The Kindness Diaries by Leon Logothetis
    • Words Wound: Delete Cyberbullying and Make Kindness Go Viral by Justin Patchin and Sameer Hinduja
    • Practice Random Acts of Kindness: Bring More Peace, Love and Compassion into the World by the editors of Random Acts of Kindness, foreword by Harold Kushner

Supply List

Description

Instead of the "slut wall" created in The Truth About Alice, create a "Positive Comments Only" Wall. Put up butcher paper on a wall or a door in the library, in the foyer of your building, or in another prominent place. At the top of the butcher paper, tape a "Positive Comments Only" banner. Somewhere on the butcher paper post the "Positive Comments" flyer. You can also post flyers around the library or school to advertise the "Positive Comments Only" wall.

Next to the wall, lay out post-it notes, pens, pencils, markers, colored pencils, or other creative supplies. Allow teens and adults to write only kind comments on the wall. These comments can be about other teens, adults, school, libraries, and businesses in the community, just to name a few. Start things off by adding a few positive comments yourself. Monitor and remove anything negative that might be posted. If you are at a school, a sample announcement is included to inform your school about the "Positive Comments Only" Wall.

Incentives

Keep a bowl of candy for teens who participate, if desired. Cheap freebies like pencils or elastic bracelets can also be given to participants. If desired, you can also keep track of teens who participate and enter them into a drawing for a giveaway. Consider asking for donations from the PTA or local merchants.

Resources

HANDOUTS

WEBSITES

Activity 2: Drinking and Driving Kills Display

Introduction

In The Truth About Alice, Brandon Fitzsimmons is killed in a drinking and driving-related accident. Teens need to be made aware of the serious consequences of drinking and driving. This would be a good activity for April, which is Alcohol Awareness Month, or any time of the year when teens are tempted to drink and drive (homecoming, prom, graduation, etc.) It could also be used in conjunction with a program such as "Shattered Dreams."

Books to Display

  • Lucy in the Sky by Anonymous
  • Leaving Paradise by Simone Elkeles
  • Return to Paradise by Simone Elkeles
  • Second Impact by David Klass
  • Party by Tom Leveen
  • Inexcusable by Chris Lynch
  • Last Night I Sang to the Monster by Benjamin Alire Saenz
  • Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott
  • Shadows of Guilt by Anne E. Schraff
  • Wasted by Brent Sherrard
  • Where It Began by Ann Redisch Stampler
  • I've Got This Friend Who--: Advice for Teens and Their Friends on Alcohol, Drugs, Eating Disorders, Risky Behavior, and More edited by Anna Radev

Supply List

Description

Prepare a bulletin board or other display on the dangers of drinking and driving. Print out and post any or all of the following handouts on the display: Drinking and Driving Kills Banner, Drinking and Driving News Articles, Drinking and Driving Information Sheet, Underage Drinking Statistics, and Safe Party Guide. Contact the local DARE office, MADD, or the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission's 2 Young 2 Drink program to request free drinking and driving materials to give to teens. Provide sobriety contracts at the display for students to sign. If desired, all teens who turn in a sobriety contract can be given a small incentive or entered in a drawing for a donated prize.

Activity Resources Provided

HANDOUTS

WEBSITES

Activity 3: Anti-Bullying Display

Introduction

It is estimated that about one-third of teens have been involved in a bullying situation, either as a victim or a bully. Bullying can frequently leave students feeling helpless, isolated and alone, defeated by the conviction that they are the only ones who have ever dealt with this kind of abuse. This display will give teens information about who to contact if they or someone they know is being bullied, and ideas about how to respond to bullies. It allows them to read the stories of others who have been bullied and also gives them a chance to share their experiences anonymously. This will better prepare them emotionally to react positively if they face a bullying or cyberbullying situation.

Books to Display

FICTION

    • Cornered: 14 Stories of Bullying and Defiance edited by Rhoda Belleza
    • Can't Look Away by Donna Cooner
    • Sticks and Stones by Beth Goobie
    • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
    • Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
    • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

NON-FICTION

    • Bullied Kids Speak Out: We Survived—How You Can, Too by Jodee Blanco
    • Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories edited by Megan Kelley Hall and Carrie Jones
    • Bullying under Attack: True Stories Written by Teen Victims, Bullies + Bystanders edited by Stephenie H. Meyer, et al.
    • Positive: Surviving My Bullies, Finding Hope, and Living to Change the World by Paige Rawl
    • Vicious: True Stories by Teens about Bullying by Hope Vanderberg

Supply List

Description

Create a bulletin board or other display about bullying. Print out and post the Bullying Banner, Bullying News Articles, Bullying Facts and Signs handout, the Anti-Bullying Resource List, and the Effective Bully Responses sheet. You can also print out the Bully Role Playing Problem Cards and Bully Role Playing Solution Cards, cut them apart and attach them randomly to your display. In addition to the News Articles handouts, if you desire, you can post more bullying incidents collected from students and teachers, accounts from celebrities, and stories in the news.

If your school or community has a bullying hotline or bullying action plan in place, be sure to let know students how to access these important resources. Contact anti-bullying organizations (see Resources below) for give away stickers or buttons. Place them in a bowl or box near the display for teens to take. If desired, have library staff and/or teachers give out small prizes (pencils, candy, etc.) to teens seen wearing the stickers or buttons. Set up a laptop or computer near the display with a document open so that teens can enter their own anonymous stories of bullying. These experiences can then be shared on the library's social media sites and webpage.


Resources

HANDOUTS

WEBSITES

 

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Resources

Academic Program

Bully Role Playing Problem Cards

Bully Role Playing Solution Cards

Bully Role Playing Think about It

Effective Bully Responses Handout

Fan Fiction Writing Activity Handout

Point of View Writing Handout

Tag You're It Announcement

Tag You're It Cards

Tag You're It Flyer

Tag You're It Poster

Active Program

Anti-Drinking Video Suggestions Handout

Friendship Bracelet Instructions

Gratitude Journal Instructions

Kindness Challenge Certificate

Kindness Challenge Log

Kindness Challenge Pledge

Kindness Charades Instructions and Cards

Kindness Quotes Notes

Meaning of Colors Handout

Movie Suggestions Handout

Party Decorations Instructions

Pay It Forward Discussion Questions

Permission Slip

Safe Party Guide

The Gossip Game Instructions

The Truth about Alice Bingo Cards – Girls

The Truth about Alice Bingo Cards – Guys

The Truth about Alice Book Excerpts

The Truth about Alice Book Talks

Underage Drinking Statistics

Annotated Bibliography

Book Discussion Questions

Passive Program

Anti-Bullying Resource List

Bullying Banner

Bullying Facts and Signs

Bullying News Articles

Bully Role Playing Problem Cards

Bully Role Playing Solution Cards

Drinking and Driving Information Sheet

Drinking and Driving Kills Banner

Drinking and Driving News Articles

Effective Bully Responses

Positive Comments Announcement

Positive Comments Banner

Positive Comments Flyer

Safe Party Guide

Sobriety Contract

Underage Drinking Statistics

Read-A-Likes


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Created on Apr 3, 2015 | Last updated July 15, 2015