October Sky Discussion Questions
Please answer these questions before you come to class on the day the reading is due.
You will need to keep your notes on a separate sheet of paper. Always try to be specific
in your answers and use your own words.
October Sky Discussion Questions, Chapter 1
What kind of place is Coalwood? Describe it. Would you like to live in a place like
Why is Sonny proud to live in Coalwood?
What games did he play with his childhood friends? How are they similar or different
from the games you used to play as a child?
4. On page 11, the writer says, “Shift changes in Coalwood were daily major events.”
5. What books does Sonny like to read?
6. Describe Sonny’s father and mother. What is his attitude toward each of them?
7. How does Sonny’s mother, Elsie, feel about living in Coalwood?
8. How does she feel about her husband, Homer Hickam?
October Sky Discussion Questions, Chapter 2
1. What is Sputnik? Why was it a significant event?
2. Describe the reaction of the various characters to Sputnik.
3. What kind of person is Jim?
4. How do the other boys in Coalwood treat Sonny? Why?
5. Describe Sonny’s daily bus ride to school. Include specific details about the bus and
the road. List all the places Sonny passes through on the way to high school.
6. How do people in Coalwood feel about football? What is the role of football in this
7. How does Sonny’s father feel about Sonny’s joining the band? Why? How does his
mother feel about it? How about Jim? What does Sonny think about it?
8. How has Sonny’s life changed after October 5, 1957?
October Sky Discussion Questions, Chapter 3
1. What does Sonny mean when he says that his mom is “a master at delivering creative
2. In this chapter, you learn more about Homer Hickam’s attitude towards his younger
son. Describe this attitude and feelings and give specific examples from this chapter to
support your answer.
3. Does Sonny have a good reason to believe that his Dad doesn’t like him?
4. How is news passed around in Coalwood? What are the advantages of this system?
5. Why does Sonny’s mom want him to get out of Coalwood?
6. Why is going to college “the only way out”?
October Sky Discussion Questions, Chapter 4
1. After the first rocket blows up, Sonny has to endure harassment by other students and
people in Coalwood. Describe the ways in which he is harassed:
a) on the bus
b) at home
c) at the Big Store
2. How does Sonny handle it?
3. Why do Sonny’s friends say that they are not going to help him build rockets? What is
4. What is the cause of the big controversy about football? Why is Jim so upset? What
does his dad think about it?
5. What does Sonny’s mother want to say when she quotes the Bible: “And if the blind
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