Discussion Packet

Library of Souls – Discussion Guide

Discussion Guide:

Chapter 1:

  1. Have you ever experienced feelings that were just too big or too much?
    Caregiver note: Jacob and Emma, with the help of Addison, escape from the hollow and wights onto the train to find their friends. Addison reveals that when his loop was raided, Fiona fell off the cliff and is presumed dead. Emma is obviously devastated, but feels like she has to bottle up everything so she can keep on. Jacob mentions that Emma has a huge heart but can’t feel everything at once or she will break. Neither Jacob nor Emma has had time to process the trauma they’ve experienced over the last two books (much less all the trauma to come!). They both are understandably overwhelmed. Your child may have had similar experiences of being overwhelmed by feelings. Talk about how this feels and help them identify some ways to cope with these feelings.

Chapter 2:

  1. Do you think Sharon is trustworthy? Why or why not?
    Caregiver note: Jacob, Emma, and Addison meet Sharon, who ferries them into the Devil’s Acre loop. Because Jacob and the others have met so many people who have betrayed them or turned out to be wights at this point, they are hesitant to trust Sharon. Experiencing trauma makes it difficult for us to determine what is safe and may make it difficult for us to decide who we should and shouldn’t trust. Your child may have trouble deciding who they can trust. Have an open, safe discussion about what makes someone trustworthy!

Chapter 3:

  1. Have you ever struggled with confidence in your abilities?
    Caregiver note: Jacob struggles to control the hollow in the bridge. He doesn’t have the same connection with the bridge hollow as he did with the previous one. He is exhausted and has been through a lot, and can’t summon the strength to make a connection with this hollow. When we are exhausted, either physically or mentally, it is difficult to perform even the most basic activities. Dealing with trauma takes up a lot of energy and anxiety may also interfere with our abilities to do things we’ve done before. If your child has experienced lack of confidence in doing something they have been able to do before, talk about some reasons this might be, and some ways to care for yourself if you are feeling too exhausted.

Chapter 4:

  1. If you have siblings, do you feel like you know them well?
    Caregiver note: In this chapter, we meet Mr. Bentham, who is Caul and Miss Peregrine’s brother. Mr. Bentham reveals that he was betrayed by Caul because he failed to realize Caul’s obsession with Abaton (i.e., the Library of Souls) before it was too late. He says that he thought he and his brother were close until Caul betrayed him. Healthy relationships with family members are important, and it’s normal to have some secrets, but openness and honesty is important. Talk about your child’s relationship with their siblings (or, if they have no siblings, other family members). Talking about their current relationships and what they want the relationship to be like can help them build open and honest relationships while still maintaining boundaries.

Chapter 5:

  1. Are you surprised that Jacob’s plan to take the hollow worked? Why or why not?
    Caregiver note: In order to power the Panloopticon, Jacob and the others need to obtain a hollow. Jacob devises a plan to pretend to cage fight the hollow and “kill” it by controlling it using Hollowspeak. This plan somehow works and they are able to take the hollow back to Mr. Bentham’s house. It seems like a really outlandish and unrealistic plan. It can be fun to speculate about what would have happened if the plan didn’t go as expected or try to come up with other ways they could have gotten the hollow.

Chapter 6:

  1. Have you ever done something you regretted even though you had good intentions?
    Caregiver note: Mr. Bentham reveals that he took part of Abe’s (Jacob’s grandfather) second soul (which is what makes him peculiar) as part of an experiment to make all the peculiars able to see the hollows and thus fight against them. The experiment failed and Abe was greatly weakened, which caused Abe to go to America to start a “normal” family and eventually cut off contact with the peculiar world. Mr. Bentham was supposed to be Abe’s friend and has been wanting to apologize to him for years. We all make mistakes, and usually have good intentions when we do. It can damage relationships with friends and with family. Talk with your child about how apologizing and owning up to mistakes can help strengthen relationships. (Note: we find out later in the book that Mr. Bentham lied and actually saved Abe’s second soul and uses it in the battle against Caul in the Library)

Chapter 7:

  1. Why do you think Caul has such hatred towards women?
    Caregiver note: Caul was raised in the shadow of Miss Peregrine and is extremely envious of her and the other ymbrynes. We don’t know much about Caul’s childhood, but based on what we have learned, it seems that his needs were not being met as a child because he was overshadowed by his powerful sister. Now, Caul seems to hate all women, but especially ymbrynes, even refusing to speak to Emma. The relational trauma Caul experienced as a child has colored his perception and he uses this to justify his hatred of women. This chapter can be a starting point for discussing with your child how our past experiences can affect how we perceive people, and how we can be aware of this. It is important to be clear that while all emotions are valid, behaving in a prejudicial manner towards a group of people because of trauma is not OK.

Chapter 8:

  1. Were you surprised by Bentham’s betrayal? Why do you think he did it? Do you think it was justified? Do you think Miss Peregrine should have forgiven him?
    Caregiver note: After Mr. Bentham helps them in the battle against the wights, he then switches to side with Caul. This happens after Miss Peregrine refuses to forgive him for creating the hollows, assisting Caul, and stealing Abe’s second soul. He says that he initially chose to help Miss Peregrine and the others with the hope that Miss Peregrine would forgive him (and end his banishment). Mr. Bentham is an opportunist who chooses the side that benefits him most. Talking about Bentham’s motivations can help develop emotional intelligence and empathy. This can also be a great time to talk about forgiveness, especially in family relationships.

Chapter 9:

  1. Have you ever had to do something hard to protect someone you love?
    Caregiver note: Miss Peregrine ends up trapping both Caul and Bentham in the loop in order to save the peculiar children. This is a very difficult decision for her because Caul and Bentham are her brothers, but she also has a great deal of love for her wards, the peculiar children. Sometimes, ending a relationship that is toxic is one of the hardest things to do. It’s even harder when that relationship is with a family member. Your child may have experienced this with their own relationships.

Chapter 10:

  1. Why do you think the little boy decided not to beat up one of the wights that tortured him?
    Caregiver note: After the final battle, many of Caul’s research subjects are rescued from the wights’ fortress. Among the rescued are three brothers. Enoch offers to leave one of the captured wights with the brothers to “talk”. Initially, the youngest of the three brothers looks like he wants to attack the wight, but decides not to. Though these boys were clearly tortured by the wights, the little boy chooses to break the cycle and not engage in violence against the ones who hurt him. This is something that is extremely challenging for many people, especially those who have experienced relational trauma. Talk with your child about why it is important to sometimes take the high road in situations like these.

Chapter 11:

  1. Were you surprised that Miss Peregrine and the others showed up again in Florida? What do you think will happen next?
    Caregiver note: Jacob initially returns to Florida and tries to pretend that nothing happened, but his parents find letters from Emma and believe that he is delusional. Miss Peregrine and the other children show up just as Jacob is about to be taken away to a hospital. Initially, this was supposed to be the last book in the series, but now there are several more! Have fun with this question before you read the next book!

About the Reviewer:

Julie is a Central Virginia native who currently resides in Rochester, New York. She received her Masters of Arts Degree in Psychology from the College of William and Mary in 2012 and is currently a PhD candidate in Epidemiology at the University of Rochester. Julie has worked in various mental health research positions since 2012 and is passionate about researching how physical health, mental health, and trauma experiences interact. When not working, Julie enjoys reading, cooking, spending time with her cats, and watching videos about otters (her favorite animal).

**Transfiguring Adoption is a nonprofit organization seeking to nurture growth in foster and adoptive families by giving a HOOT about their families. Transfiguring Adoption does not intend for its reviewers nor its review to be professional, medical or legal advice. These reviews and discussion guides are intended to help parents to better be able to connect and understand their children who come from traumatic backgrounds.

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