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Jerry Spinelli
Honor - 1998




courage, peer pressure, pigeons, violence


Palmer LaRue is not looking forward to the day he turns 10. His town has an annual Pigeon Day. When a boy turns 10 in this town, they become "wringers" and strangle the pigeons wounded during the annual pigeon shoot. He must either accept this task or find the courage to say no. His buddies soon discover Palmer is hiding a pet pigeon in his room. He finds friendship with Dorothy, the girl across the street. Palmer finds it is hard not to go along with the crowd.

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Author and Book Connections
Jerry Spinelli (1941- )
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Book Information
Book Connection. Read Maniac Magee, the Newbery Medal Book in 1991. Compare the main characters. Read another pigeon book, Gay Neck.
Writing Connection. When Palmer walked through park, he remembered experiences from past pigeon days. Are there places that you like or don't like to go because they bring back certain memories? Palmer was pressured to participate in Pigeon Days. What would you do in his situation? Have you ever had to "take a stand?" Discuss the problems of peer pressure.
Student Project Connection. Explore the Pigeon Inquiry project created by students and teachers with the Miami Museum of Science.
Global Connection. Join the Great Backyard Bird Count.
Cool Classroom Connections
Pigeons. Learn more about the care of pigeons as pets. Make a list of good and bad things about pigeons. Look up information about pigeons and see how many different breeds there are of racing pigeons. Create a bulletin board showing the different breeds of pigeons.
Famous Pigeons. Read about the famous pigeon called Cher Ami. Write a fictional story about one of his missions during World War I.
Problems with Pigeons. Pigeons and people do not always mix well. Learn about some of the problems that urban and rural areas have with pigeons. Many view them as a nuisance and as pests.
Pigeon Days Debate. Hold a classroom debate about the Pigeon Days festival. Should it be continued or not?
Festivals. Many small towns hold festivals. Does your town have a festival? If not, invent one. Pick something unique or interesting in your town. Create a speech discussing why you think your festival should be chosen. As a class, vote on the best festival idea. Send it to the local Chamber of Commerce.
Bird Feeders. Create your own bird feeder.
Birds. Parker loved his pigeon, but there are many bird pets. Choose a bird pet and learn about its care. Create a chart showing the anatomy of a bird. Compare the body of the bird to a human. Learn more about feathers and their importance to birds. How do birds fly? Why don't people fly? What would it be like to have feathers or wings?
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Created by Annette Lamb, 10/99. Updated by Larry Johnson 8/06.

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