The Outsmarters

The Outsmarters

Written by: Ellis, Deborah
ages 10 and up / grades 5 and up

Kate opens a Philosophy Booth (“Get answers to life’s big and little questions — $2 a question”) and ends up asking some tough questions of her own.

Suspended from school and prone to rages, twelve-year-old Kate finds her own way to get on with her life, despite the messed-up adults around her. Her gran, for one, is stubborn and aloof — not unlike Kate herself, who has no friends, and who’s been expelled for “behavioral issues,” like the meltdowns she has had ever since her mom dumped her with her grandmother three years ago. Kate dreams that one day her mother will return for her. When that happens, they’ll need money, so Kate sets out to make some.

Gran nixes her idea to sell psychiatric advice like Lucy in Peanuts (“You’re not a psychiatrist. You’ll get sued.”), so Kate decides to open a philosophy booth to provide answers to life’s big and small questions. She soon learns that adults have plenty of problems and secrets of their own, including Gran. When she finds that her grandmother has been lying to her about her mother, the two have a huge fight, and Gran says she can’t wait for Kate to finish high school so she’ll be rid of her at last. Kate decides to take matters into her own hands and discovers that to get what she wants, she may have to reach out to some unexpected people, and find a way to lay down her own anger.

Key Text Features


quotations

dialogue

literary references

signs


Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.2
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.5
Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.

Kate opens a Philosophy Booth (“Get answers to life’s big and little questions — $2 a question”) and ends up asking some tough questions of her own.

Suspended from school and prone to rages, twelve-year-old Kate finds her own way to get on with her life, despite the messed-up adults around her. Her gran, for one, is stubborn and aloof — not unlike Kate herself, who has no friends, and who’s been expelled for “behavioral issues,” like the meltdowns she has had ever since her mom dumped her with her grandmother three years ago. Kate dreams that one day her mother will return for her. When that happens, they’ll need money, so Kate sets out to make some.

Gran nixes her idea to sell psychiatric advice like Lucy in Peanuts (“You’re not a psychiatrist. You’ll get sued.”), so Kate decides to open a philosophy booth to provide answers to life’s big and small questions. She soon learns that adults have plenty of problems and secrets of their own, including Gran. When she finds that her grandmother has been lying to her about her mother, the two have a huge fight, and Gran says she can’t wait for Kate to finish high school so she’ll be rid of her at last. Kate decides to take matters into her own hands and discovers that to get what she wants, she may have to reach out to some unexpected people, and find a way to lay down her own anger.

Key Text Features


quotations

dialogue

literary references

signs


Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.2
Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.5
Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — Aug 6, 2024
Specifications 224 pages | 5 in x 7.5 in
Written By

DEBORAH ELLIS is the author of the international bestseller The Breadwinner, which has been published in twenty-five languages. She has won the Governor General’s Award, the Middle East Book Award, the Peter Pan Prize, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award. A recipient of the Order of Canada, Deborah has donated $2 million in royalties to organizations such as Women for Women in Afghanistan, UNICEF and Street Kids International. She lives in Simcoe, Ontario.

Written By

DEBORAH ELLIS is the author of the international bestseller The Breadwinner, which has been published in twenty-five languages. She has won the Governor General’s Award, the Middle East Book Award, the Peter Pan Prize, the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award and the Vicky Metcalf Award. A recipient of the Order of Canada, Deborah has donated $2 million in royalties to organizations such as Women for Women in Afghanistan, UNICEF and Street Kids International. She lives in Simcoe, Ontario.

Audience ages 10 and up / grades 5 and up
Key Text Features

quotations; dialogue; literary references; signs

Common Core CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.2
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.6.5