Josh leaves Denver to live with an uncle he has never met on a New Zealand sheep farm. New Zealand looks pretty ordinary, but he soon faces cultural differences that aren't so obvious. Josh sees problems in his school and sets out to fix them, but first he has to see a different side to life than he has ever seen before. This humorous book for kids aged 9-13 explores differences in culture and personality and encourages the reader to look at life from a different point of view.
Discussion Questions for Two Sides to Everything:
1. Have you ever visited a place very different from your normal home life? Was it
fun or scary? What did you learn about life while you were there?
2. If you have read Peanut Butter Friends in a Chop Suey World, contrast that book
with this one. How were Josh McKay's original home and Amy Kramer's alike and
different? How were their new homes alike and different? Why do you think the
author made Josh to be from a big city and Amy to be from a small town?
3. When you think of a church on a mission field, what do you picture? Think about
the missionaries you know. Who works with poor people? Who works with people
like middle class Americans? Which missionaries work only in English? Which
missionaries work in other languages? What are they?
4. Do you have someone at your school like Neville who calls all the shots, someone
whom no one dares to stand up to? Why do you think people always do what that
person says to do?
5. Think of someone at your school who isn't very popular. Why do you think others
don't like him? What are some good things about him? Have you ever tried to be his
6. Think of a person you don't like very much. What could you learn from her?
7. Discuss how Josh became like Neville in the math exam incident. When someone
says something mean to you, how can you avoid responding the same way?
8. On page 123 Carlton talks about dogs being like people. If you were a dog, what
kind would you want to be? What kind of dog are you most like?
9. What are some ways Josh changed by the end of the book? What do you think
made him change?
10. How is a New Zealand sheep farm and country school different from your home
and school? How would this story have been different if it had been set in a big city?
11. What main idea do you think the author was trying to get across in this book? Did
you learn anything from the book?
12. Think of something that happened in your family in the last month. How do you
think your various family members thought about it? How would the same thing seem
different to your mom or your dad or your sister?