Intro to Verse Novels: Sold by Patricia McCormick


A discussion guide for Sold from Patricia McCormick’s website.

Since this whole class is optional, you can choose to participate (or not) whenever you wish.

However, if you choose to participate, we want to make clear our expectations for that participation.

  • Realize that you should have the book read before you read through the comments. Spoilers will likely appear in the conversations, so please do not be surprised or angry if this happens.

  • Bring reader questions and observations about the text. We will throw our own questions and observations out for you to consider,  but your questions and observations are as important and necessary in this as ours.

  • Please abide by the Thumper Rule when interacting with others:

  • Back up what you’re asking or saying with quotes and page numbers so that we can all follow along.

  • Think about and share possible thematic text connections (classics, YA lit, picture books, poetry, non fiction texts, news stories, movies, YouTube videos). This will be especially helpful information for the teachers among  us, but it’s good thinking for all of us.

Some additional housekeeping thoughts:

  • Please try to respond to be careful about responding to comments – keep main threads together, but try not to get where it is so indented that no one can read what you’re posting!
  • Also consider clicking “Notify me of follow-up comments via email.” when you post a comment. This will keep you informed of continued discussion without having to come back at random intervals to see if there is anything new.
  • Consider introducing yourself briefly in your first post and including a link for your blog if you have one.




This entry was posted in Summer 2013, Verse Novel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Intro to Verse Novels: Sold by Patricia McCormick

  1. Sold is heartbreaking, yet the writing is beautiful. One of my students used Sold for his inquiry based research project on domestic abuse. He couldn’t believe this happened. It really prompted him to do some thorough research because he wanted to know more about this subject while also doing a good job informing our class during his presentation.

    • This book prompted one of my 8th grade girls to do research about chile exploitation in the world. We did a unit about the labor movement and child labor and she did a spin-off of that because of what she read in this story.

  2. Jen Eiserman says:

    LOVE THIS BOOK! For some reason, I have a hard time getting students to read it, but once they do, it becomes one of their favorites of the year. It is extremely eye-opening, as many of my students have no idea about sex slaves in other countries (let alone our country). Like you, Sarah, I’ve had students use this book as a jumping off point for research projects – it’s that powerful. The language and craft of the story is beautifully done, which is what makes the book that much more emotionally charged. I am going to try and do a better job book-talking this book this year, because I really want more students to be exposed to the topic as well as the genre of writing.

    • I’d really like to do a better job book-talking this one as well, Jen. What do you think we should do/say to do a better job?

      • Jen S says:

        This is such a powerful story that – like you all said – can lead to further research and social action projects. McCormick has some excellent links on her website to information about child sex trafficking that might work for a booktalk – maybe show a clip from one of the organizations working to stop child trafficking. Or use in conjunction with a round of the game “Would you rather” with video clips? It also reminds me a tiny bit of the movie Taken with Liam Neeson (sp??) which they might have seen that you could connect with.

    • I also want to do a better job of book-talking this one. I think it is such a powerful story and I would like more of my students to read it.

      • Jen Eiserman says:

        I’ve been doing some thinking about how to book talk this better. I think if students understood the topic better they might be more interested in reading it (we all had students inspired to do more digging after reading it, so why not do some front-loading instead). I might find an article or news clip to show as part of the book talk. It would make a great pairing with a nonfiction piece. I might also read passages of it aloud, instead of just giving a synopsis and my recommendation.

  3. BJ Neary says:

    This book is constantly out in our library; we have at least 5 copies. It was also a Reading Olympic book. When the reading classes choose multicultural books; Sold flies off the shelves.It was used in a social studies course Word Civlizations as one of the reading club books. A group of students read the book, blogged about it on Edmodo and finished with a technology project (choose from Animoto, Prezi, Glogster, etc.) The students loved it; the verse aspect of the book and learning about the culture of sex trafficking (abroad and in the US).

  4. Terry says:

    Hi everyone–! I read this book a while ago and I was, as an adult, really disturbed by it. I’m really glad that it is having such a powerful impact on students, especially making them do more research on their own–that, I think, is REALLY powerful. I’m so mad at myself because about six months ago or so I saw a presentation that students did posted based on this book and it was amazing…and somehow I didn’t bookmark it or save it.

    I think one downfall of the book (or, at least the version I read, which I believe was a paperback) was that it just…ends. I know it’s easy to look up discussions/guides/links/etc. to the book on one’s own, but I really wish the author and/or publisher had included some things, especially links for ways to get involved or help.

    I have the same question as I did for October Mourning–has anyone ever encountered complaints from parents about the topic(s) in the book? (Geez, maybe it was just at the high school where I worked…but there were a LOT of issues with parents-not-liking-such-topics-in-their-kids’-literature. Hmm.) And if so, how did you/the school handle them?

    Do any of you ever have any qualms about talking about sex/sexual abuse/exploitation with your students?

    • Jen S says:

      Here’s a link to the discussion guide posted on McCormick’s website. She also provides excellent resources on her site that are direct links to some other websites.

    • Sarah says:

      I’m moving to a different district in the fall, but I haven’t faced any complaints in the past. I’m not sure if it’s because the parents aren’t as involved or if it’s because they’re more open-minded.

      I don’t have any qualms talking about sex/sexual abuse/exploitation with my students. In my YA Lit class we read Looking for Alaska, so we almost always end up discussing the “scene on page 126” as my students refer to it. I try my best to set up a mature discussion because they’re important issues to discuss. Most of the time it goes well, although some students have a hard time staying mature, but I think that has more to do with being uncomfortable than anything else.

  5. Sarah says:

    I don’t know if any of you have heard about this yet; I just heard about it on the news. It’s an article about FBI raids which have rescued 105 children from forced prostitution.

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