The Guerrilla Season Book Blog

Join 8th grade American History students at South Valley Jr High in Liberty, Missouri as they read Guerrilla Season by Pat Hughes. For more information contact Eric Langhorst at

Monday, October 30, 2006

Week 2 - Pat Asks You - Violence and Language in the Book

The author of "Guerrilla Season", Pat Hughes, wants to ask you a question about the book:

One criticism I've heard about "GS" is that there's too much violence and too much swearing in a book for young adults. Do you agree?

Please answer this question by posting a comment to this blog entry by clicking on the "comments" link below this post. Please remember to use either your first name only or no name. Any comments with full names will not be posted. Thanks.

Week 2 - Discussion Question 2 - The Role of Women

On page 115 of "Guerrilla Season", Matt's mom says that she always opens the door first when there are visitors on their place because "they wouldn't kill a woman - neither side would. That remained the only civilized part of this whole mess."

What did she mean by that statement? Why would neither side hurt a woman?

To post a comment about this question please click on the "comments" link directly below this post. Remember to either use your first name only or no name when posting.

Week 2 - Discussion Question 1 - The Importance of Mail

On page 89 Matt's family discusses the important news from Pennsylvania which comes in the form of a letter. Matt's mom even comments on the speed with which the mail arrived to Missouri from the east coast: "A bit less than two weeks in transit. That seems quick, for these times."

Mail in the mid 1800's was a big event. Today we often find junk mail and flyers on a daily basis but for the time period described in the book, each piece of mail was treasured. Have you ever waited for a letter or a package to come to your house by mail? What is the most anticipated letter or package you have ever recieved?

Please leave your answer below by click on the "comments" link and then responding. Please remember to not include your first and last name. You may use only your first name or comment with no name.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Week 2 Welcome

Hello and welcome to Week #2 of the Guerrilla Season Book Blog project. This week, October 30th until November 5th, we will be covering Chapters 10 through 17 (pages 77 through 155). This week will include some new discussion questions, links to learn more and a podcast with author Pat Hughes.

Last week we had over 480 visitors to this site from all over the world - including 22 different countries. Educational blogger Will Richardson commented on his blog "weblogg-ed". Will did the original book blog project with his class in 2002 with "The Secret Life of Bees".

Please let us know if you have a comment or question. If you would like to join us please drop in, we are only starting week 2 of a 4 week project. Send any comments to

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Quick Note About Posting

Thanks to all those who have started posting. Pat and I are reading the comments and publishing them as they come in to the site. One note - Please make sure that you are hitting the comment button at the end of the post - this way your comment will be posted to the correct place. For example - If you want to ask Pat a question find the blog post that talks about aski Pat a question and then hit the "comment" button below that post. This way the comments will match with the topic. Sorry for the confusion. Thanks and keep posting.

Monday, October 23, 2006

A Note from the Author - Pat Hughes

Dear bloggers,

Just a few words to say hi, welcome, and thanks – to Eric Langhorst for all the time and effort he’s put into this project, to Sprint Communications forgiving him the cash to carry it off ... and, of course, to all of you who are reading “Guerrilla Season.”

To me, Civil War Missouri is one of the most interesting facets of American history. You don’t have to be from Liberty or Missouri to appreciate that; I’m from Connecticut, and I live near Philadelphia now. So I hope the Californians and Louisianans will be as strong a presence as the Missourians, and I think it’s neat that we have schools representing Northern, Southern and Border states! I’m also pleased that parents and other adults will be reading along. “Guerrilla Season” isn’t strictly a book for kids just because the main characters are kids, and I’ll be interested to hear the adults’ point of view, too.The Civil War was one of our greatest national tragedies; 140 years later,it’s still causing controversy, anger and sadness.

I’m looking forward to getting some really good discussions going. Don’t think every comment has to be positive; if you don’t like something, say so. And don’t be afraid to ask hard questions and bring up tough subjects! All opinions will be respected,as long as they are expressed respectfully.

Happy reading,

Pat Hughes

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Week 1 Welcome - Let's Get Started

Welcome to the official start of the Guerrilla Season Book Blog Project. We have been working on this project since last spring and we are very glad it if off and running. During this four week adventure there will be roughly 300 eighth grade students at South Valley Jr High in Liberty, Missouri reading Guerrilla Season by Pat Hughes along with teachers, parents and community members along with participating schools from California and Louisiana. If you are joining us please drop us a line at so that we can give you a shout out!

Week 1 will take place from October 23 until October 29. The reading assignment for that week if you would like to keep pace with the other participants is the first 9 chapters - pages 1 through 76. We will be reading about 80 pages a week during the 4 week project.

There will be several questions posted each week in the form of blog posts. Some are general questions and some deal with a specific part of the novel. Pat Hughes will also be asking her own questions for you to answer throughout the project. Each week there is also a blog entry named Ask Pat. This is your opportunity to ask the author of the book a question and she will answer it! If you think of a great question about the novel you would like others to respond to just send us an e-mail at and we'll put it up for you online.

We would like to ask you to keep in mind two things when posting a comment to the blog: 1) Use the best grammar possible. This blog is accessible to anyone in the world with Internet access so please use correct grammar in your comment. We understand that people will make mistakes and we'll make our fair share but we want to put our best foot forward. 2) When you post a comment please list yourself as "anonymous" or use your first name only. Your opinion is what matters the most and we don't mind if you post as anonymous. All comments are first screened and moderated by Mr. Langhorst and Pat Hughes. Any comment with a large number of errors in grammar, unappropriate or listing a first and last name will not be posted on the blog.

Each week we will have other special features to help you discover more about the novel. We will have links to people and places mentioned in the reading so that you can learn more. There will be audio clips from interviews with author Pat Hughes to give you a "behind the cover" look at Guerrilla Season. This project is intended to be an interactive experience. If you think of something that would help the project let us know at

Enough said. Let's go.........

Guerrilla Season Podcast - How do you research a historical novel?

Take a listen to Guerrilla Season author Pat Hughes describe how see did the research for this historical novel. It isnt' as easy as just sitting down and writing - she used e-Bay, riding lessons and the Internet to make this novel historically correct. This audio file is a mini-podcast that you can listen to through the internet but clicking on the link below or you can right click on the link below and then save it to your computer and move it over to a portable MP3 player. This file is 10:35 minutes long.

Let us know what you think in the comments below or e-mail us at

Direct link to listen to Pat Hughes describe the process of researching a historical novel - MP3 file - 10:35 minutes in length

Week 1 - Ask Author Pat Hughes a Question

How often do you get the chance to ask the author of the book you are reading a question? Well, during this project you have access to the author of Guerrilla Season - Pat Hughes. She will answer any question you may have about the novel, questions specific to being a writer, anything. Just leave a comment to this blog post and she will respond to your question with a post in the same comments list. Just remember to use correct grammar and list yourself as "anonymous" or use your first name only.

Go ahead, ask her a question....

Week 1 Links - Find out More Online

During the reading assignment for Week #1 there were many references to historical events and famous famous. I have found some interesting links to help you discover more about some of these events and people with the page number of the book where it appears.

If you come across any other links that you would like to share with the other participants please include them in a comment to this blog post. Just remember to comment under "anonymous" or with a first name only.

Week 1 - Question #1 - Choosing Sides

In the beginning of the novel we discover quickly that life in Missouri in 1863 was uneasy. When someone came to your door you didn't know what you should say if they asked whether you supported the Federal troops or the guerillas with Quantrill. The wrong answer could get the men of the house killed and your place burned to the ground. Matt and his family really tried to walk a fine line between the two sides and not support either in public.

Have you ever had a time in your life when you had to be careful not to take sides - when making a stand in public or with your friends for one side or the other of an issue may get you in trouble so you just sort of tried to avoid the issue? Give an example of a time you had to not say which side you may or may not support.

Please remember to use correct grammar when making a comment and post only using "anonymous" or by using your first name only.

Week 1 - Question #2 - Pat Asks You - The Civil War

The author of Guerrilla Season, Pat Hughes, will ask the readers of the novel questions throughout the book blog project and comment on the answers.

Her first question focuses on the historical aspect of the novel. She asks: "Do you know what role (if any) any of your ancestors or members of your family had in the Civil War?"

Please describe any background your family may have had in the Civil War in the comments to this blog post. Please remember to use correct grammar and post only as "anonymous" or by using your first name only.

Week 1 - Question #3 - Who Is Watching?

On the last page of the reading assignment for week 1 - page 76 - Matt senses something. The last night of Chapter 9 reads: "Walking down the lane, he had the unsettling notion that he was being watched."

Who do you think is watching Matt? Please leave your guess and why they would be watching him as a comment to this blog post. Remember to use correct grammar and comment only with either "anonymous" or your first name only.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Introduction to the Guerrilla Season Book Blog Project

Hello and welcome to the Guerrilla Season book blog project. In this post I will try to address some of the frequently asked questions about the project. If your question is not answered here please feel free to send us an e-mail at

We invite anyone - teachers, students, community members, parents, etc to join us in this exciting project. It should be a very exciting opportunity to share an experience in reading a great novel and hearing comments from other readers and the author.

We were able to secure a Sprint Achievement Grant for $5000 to purchase a copy of Guerrilla Season for each student at South Valley Jr High as well as several parents and members of the community.

When does the Guerrilla Season book blog project take place?
  • The project officially starts on October 23, 2006 and will conclude on November 19, 2006. The blog can still be accessed after this time period but some of the discussions will not be active.

Who is moderating this book blog project?
  • Eric Langhorst, an 8th grade American History teacher at South Valley Jr High in Liberty, Missouri will be moderating this blog with the help of author Pat Hughes and fellow SVJH 8th grade American History teacher Erin Garvey.

How do we know what pages to read over a certain time period?
  • Each week on Sunday night there will be a suggested number of pages to read for the week. Typically it will be around 80 pages a week.

What discussion questions will be included with the project?
  • Each week there will be several different discussion questions posted on the blog. Readers can add their reaction to the discussion questions through posting a comment on the blog entry. Readers will be able to each others comments and can discuss the questions through the use of comments.

Is posting comments on the blog safe for students and member of the general public?
  • When you add a comment and hit submit your comment is first sent via e-mail to Eric Langhorst and Pat Hughes. We will read the comment and then decide if it should be posted to the Internet for everyone to see. Everyone commenting should either comment as "anonymous" or using a first name only. Any comment that contains a first and last name, inapproriate comments or a vast number of errors will not be posted to the Internet.

Will the author be involved in the discussion?
  • Yes, that is one of the best things about this project. Pat is very excited about participating in this project and will be commenting on reader questions and providing feedback on the themes of the novel.

What other items will be included in the blog with the discussion questions?
  • The blog will also contain pictures, links to sites that relate to the novel, audio from author Pat Hughes about the novel and projects the students will be working on at South Valley Jr High.

What will students be doing with this project in addition to reading this novel?
  • Everyone 8th grade student at South Valley Jr High - about 300 in total - will be reading Guerrilla Season during the project. Students at SVJH will be reading the novel as part of a graded activity. SVJH students will be required to post at least two blog comments during the duration of the project and complete one project based on the novel. (Details of the possible student projects will be added in a later blog entry.) Students around the country participating in this project can follow the lead of SVJH or their teacher can adjust the project to their situation.

What is Guerrilla Season about?
  • I don't want to give away too much about this book but it is a historical novel about Missouri in 1863 as the Civil War is brewing. Two teenage boys, Matt and Jesse, belong to families caught in the middle of the turmoil. It tells the story of the Civil War in Missouri, which is most likely very different than the Civil War you studied in school. Here in Missouri it was much harder to know who the enemy was and the terror of uncertainly was a way of life.

If you have any questions about this project that were not answered above or you would like to join us please send us an e-mail at