1. Reflect on why the author did not include a description of Mr. Cruse’s reunion with his family. Write out the scene as you imagine it.
2. Reflect on the cloud cats; why did the injured cloud cat wait so long to rejoin the others? Is it really a vicious species as some of its attacks indicate? How did the cloud cat survive for so long on land when it was built for air? Write about the cloud cat’s life after becoming a member of the flock.
3. Reflect on the pirates’ village. Recall Matt Cruse’s surprise to learn that they had wives and children. What kind of ethical implications does this have? How does it make you feel that the villains are just like you and me? Write about a day in the life of a child from Pirate Village (who may or may not know what his/her father does for a living).
4. Reflect on Kate’s belief throughout the novel that women are not treated fairly. Give specific examples. What real time period of Earth do you suppose this fantasy book mimics? Write about how attitudes toward women have changed (or not) and how you see them appear in this novel.
5. Reflect on the differences of authority displayed in this book, specifically Miss Simpkins, Captain Walken, his first mate, and Szpirglas. Why are they different? How do these differences play out among those who are subject to their authority? Write an advice column for a newspaper about the best way to lead a team and what qualities are most effective in a leader.
6. Reflect on the attitudes surrounding the Air Academy. Who views it as a useful education? Who views it as a waste of time? Why do you think that is? Interview some people of different generations and educational backgrounds. Write, comparing the attitudes toward education (specifically post-secondary education), in Airborn and today’s society.
Final Writing Assignment:
Choose one of the questions on which you reflected and wrote, and expand on those reflections. Write further discussion questions and lead a class using the questions you wrote. Then using your notes from the class and outside research, write an essay developing those ideas.