1. Get together in a small group and talk about forgiveness. Is there anyone you can't forgive? Why? What was the hardest thing you've ever had to forgive someone for? What was the worst thing you've been forgiven for? Would you have forgiven Zeke Dexter if you were Kate?
Kate doesn't think it's possible to forgive Zeke for what he did, but eventually she realizes that blaming herself for the argument with her mother is what's keeping her from being able to forgive him.
2. Research drunk driving laws in your state and make posters for your classroom and school about the dangers of drinking and driving.
In the story, Zeke remembers drinking, but he doesn't remember the accident. Jesse asks him to promise never to drink again and Zeke says he can't do that, but he can promise he'll never drink and drive again. Students can research drunk driving statistics at the library or on the Internet.
3. Blizzard's Wake is based on a real event, the Red River Valley Blizzard of 1941. Find some old newspapers from your community and find an event from long ago to use as the basis for a story you write. Combine historical happenings with fictional creations.
Students can use library and Internet resources to research local events. Historical fiction combines some true events with imagined details. The blizzard works well as a historical fiction framework because it provides the author with a dramatic event that affects all of her characters. Zeke and the Sterling family are put into unusual circumstances to which they must respond. Ask for volunteers to share their completed stories with the rest of the class.
Other Books by This Author
How I Came to Be a Writer, Aladdin, 2001
Jade Green: A Ghost Story, Atheneum, 2000
Reluctantly Alice, Aladdin, 2000
Sang Spell, Aladdin, 2000
Shiloh, Aladdin, 2000
Walker's Crossing, Aladdin, 2001