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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1.  What part of “Sing for Your Life” affected you the most?
     
  2. What did you learn about the world of the opera performer?
     
  3. Who are the people who had the biggest impact on Ryan Green’s life for better or worse?
     
  4. What is the significance of the letters and haikus that Ryan wrote and sent to his teacher, Mrs. Hughes?
     
  5. Do you think that Patrick Summers is interested in helping Ryan achieve success in the weeks leading up to Ryan’s concert?  Or, do you think that Summers is trying to discourage Ryan?
     
  6. Is it possible for a white author to write an authentic biography of an African American?
     
  7. What aspects of our culture shaped Ryan Green’s childhood?
     
  8. Emerging research supports the idea that violent juvenile offenders can be rehabilitated because their brains were not fully developed when they committed their crimes.  There is support for the idea of giving these offenders a chance at a normal life no matter how serious their childhood crimes.  How do you feel about this theory?
     
  9. How does the concept of “nature vs nurture” play out in this book?
     
  10. Is the story unfinished?  What else would you like to know about Ryan Speedo Green?
     
  11. An Unflattering yet vaguely sympathetic portrait of Green’s mother, Valerie, is painted in this story.  Are you surprised that Valerie evidently cooperated with providing interviews for this book?
     
  12. Ryan Green was willing to share his vulnerabilities and ask for help in the pursuit of his dream.  How did this personal strength contribute to his eventual success as an opera singer?