05 February 2009

BOOK CLUB - MAR - Ana's Story by Jenna Bush

She is Ana, and this is her story. It begins the day she is born infected with HIV transmitted from her young mother. Now she barely remembers her mamá, who died when Ana was three. From then on, Ana’s childhood becomes a blur of faint memories and secrets—secrets about her illness and about the abuse she endures. For more information, go to http://www.harperteen-ana.com/.

Taken from the book:

Ana’s prized possession is the photocopy of her mother’s photograph. Why is this so important to her?

Ana’s neighborhood and country are described in various parts of this story. How is Ana’s community similar to or different from yours?

What do you think race, social class, and economic class have to do with some of the issues raised in this story?

Ana’s grandmother warns her not to talk about her illness to anyone, ever. Do you feel that this was for Ana’s own good or for another reason? What might her grandmother’s motives have been?

In what ways do the teachers at Ana’s school violate the rights of those infected with HIV?

What kinds of roles do the adults in Ana’s life play? Why are the adults in her life important?

Ana is afraid of the way she will be treated if anyone knows she has HIV. How does this kind of discrimination make you feel? In what ways do you see exclusion in your school? How as it affected you and how can you help others?

In what ways does Ana use her imagination to distract herself? How do you think her dreams help her?

How do you feel about Abuela’s response when Ana tells her about Ernesto? How do you think Abuela should have responded? Why do you think she reacted the way she did?

How did Papa’s death affect Ana?

What happened after Ana’s wrote about her abuse in a letter to her priest? Do you think that writing the letter was a wise decision? Why or why not?

In what ways does Ana’s relationship with religion and spirituality change throughout her story?

How did Ana’s life change when she was brought to live at the hogar?

What was the hogar like? Do you think it benefited those with HIV/AIDS, or was it just another form of exclusion?

Ana is shocked to find out that her grandmother saved her life when she was a baby. What do you think caused the change in Ana’s relationship with her grandmother throughout her story? Do you think Ana has forgiven or can forgive Abuela? Is forgiveness important?

What are some struggles that Isabel might have that Ana may not have had? What struggles does Ana have that Isabel did not?

Where does Ana feel most at home? Considering her relationships with her family, why do you think that is?

What role does education play in Ana’s life? Have you learned anything from reading her story? What did you learn? Do you think there is enough education and awareness about HIV, sexually transmitted diseases, child abuse, and other childhood hardships?

Why do you think Ana kept her three big secrets? What else could she have done? What do you think you could do?

How did this book affect you? How can teens like you help teens like Ana?

Activity ideas? Snack ideas? Leave a comment!


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