Read, Gather, Share: 3 Centuries, Places, Women

Legal Grounds by Ava Aaronson


The perfect little place to raise children: Sunnyside. And when a grad goes missing in the Big City, Jake and Stella are on a mission to find her. Righteous small towns are safe, right?

News of the World by Paulette Jiles


 In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. He also rescues a girl.

Spring Moon by Bette Bao Lord


Epic story of a courageous woman triumphing over times of intrigue, tumult, and transformation. Exotic tale that rings true yet enthralls with mythical quality. Mysterious, culturally rich, and historically panoramic.




Gather, Order/Fix Drinks, Pull up Chairs, Share


1. What was your initial expectation for reading this book? (Setting)

Discuss the setting.

  1. Legal Grounds is in the Midwest, today. Social Realism.
  2. News of the World is mid 1800's Texas.
  3. Spring Moon is mid 1900's China.

Do you have connections to these places, times? 

2. How did you feel during the set-up? (Chapter 1 Opening Scene)

Discuss how the story opener grabbed you, the reader. 

  1. Legal Grounds opens as the coffee shop opens.

  • How does your day begin?
  • What do you know about interns and internships?
  • What is your favorite restaurant? For what occasions?
  • What is your go-to drink? For what time of day?

           2. News of the World

           3. Spring Moon

3. Who are the characters that you followed and felt for? (Characters)

Discuss the characters and what they mean to you.

  1. Legal Grounds: Sunnyside, The Mall, Jake & Stella, Sophia

  • Have you met such people in your community? 
  • How does your community compare with Sunnyside? 
  • How does your work place compare with The Mall? 
  • What do you think about Sophia's situation?

          2. News of the World

          3. Spring Moon

4. What are the concerns of the story? (Goals of characters)

Discuss the goals and aspirations of the main characters.

  1. Legal Grounds is community seeking perfect community.

  • What do you want for your community?
  • How are the various characters contributing to make safe community happen?
  • Where do they run into obstacles of creating a safe community?
  • What actions do they take to overcome?
  • What are their successes and failures?


          2. News of the World

          3. Spring Moon

5. What are the Characters learning? (Character development)

Discuss the development of the main characters.  

  1. Legal Grounds is a small town learning about dangers in the world.

  • What are Stella's arguments for caring about others?
  • How are the various characters showing care for others/
  • What lessons do they learn about the cost of caring, and about what others actually need?
  • What are the events that change the caring climate of Sunnyside?
  • What changes are made in the community and with individuals?

         2. News of the World

        3. Spring Moon 

6. What is a safe community? (Impact of the story)

Discuss what Sunnyside went through and the impact of these events.

  1. Legal Grounds is about a community dealing with their imperfections and ultimately, dangers in their very own space.

  • What were the assumptions in the beginning about Sunnyside as a community?
  • How did these assumptions affect the day-to-day life of the town?
  • Where were they wrong and what were the results?
  • How should trust develop in a community?
  • What are the safeguards needed to protect from real dangers that can be hidden in a lovely community?

         2. News of the World

        3. Spring Moon