Study Guide for THE JOURNAL *


Kami Anderson’s school year in Vancouver is off to a fantastic start. The senior soccer team. Birthday bash to celebrate turning 13. This could be the best year ever! But Kami ‘s world crashes when a mysterious letter arrives and her mother decides they must move to Edmonton. Lonely and upset about leaving her friends to move into her grandparents old house in Alberta, Kami discovers a journal from 1929 and begins to read the newspaper clippings she finds glued inside. Before she has any idea what is happening she hurtles back in time to 1929. Here she meets the heroic WWI flying ace, “Wop” May, as he embarks on a dangerous mission to the north. When Kami is unable to reverse the time travel process, she is taken to police magistrate Judge Emily Murphy at the time when the “Famous Five” are fighting to have women recognized as a persons. But the Edmonton of 1929 is not exactly welcoming to persons of Asian heritage, and Kami faces racial prejudice at every turn. To make matters worse, when she does finally make it back home, a shocking family secret adds to the disillusionment already experienced in the past and Kami begins to question everything she values and thought she knew. This is not how she had pictured her year of becoming a teen.

  1. Do you write in a journal or diary? What kinds of things would you (do you) include? What might someone learn about you by reading your personal journal or diary?
  1. If you could travel back in time, which time would you like to visit? Why?
  1. At the beginning of the book, there is a quote by Helen Keller. What do you think Helen Keller meant by this quote? Why you think the author chose this quote for the start of the novel?
  1. What is your definition of a hero?

My To Do List

Activities that can be done for each chapter or instead of the questions for a particular chapter.

  • Record the chapter #
  • List key words and/or new vocabulary
  • Write a brief summary (Synthesis) of the main events, important
  • characters, thoughts/feelings of characters
  • Record questions and thoughts you had about this chapter.
  • Write my prediction, thoughts and questions for the next chapter.
  • Illustrate one important scene from the chapter.
  • Create sentences with new vocabulary.



  1. What do we find out about Kami in the first chapter? Do you and Kami have anything in common? Explain. In which ways is Kami different from you?
  1. How does Kami feel about moving? How would you react to this information?
  1. What is happening on page 23? Why did the room begin spinning?

Write Time

  • What special memories do you have from when you were little? Do you remember sights? Sounds? Smells? Tastes? Write a paragraph of one of these memories from the point of view of the younger you.


  1. Explain what happened to Kami in Chapter 4. Imagine you were just transported back in time almost 100 years. How would you react and how would you feel once you realized you are not in ( current year)?
  1. What would your first reaction be, if everything around you suddenly changed? What would you think? How would you feel? What would you do?
  2. Based on the newspaper excerpt on page 33, why do you think the pilots were called Knights of the Air?


In your own words, explain what the following words mean:

A) diphtheria   B)   predicament   C)   contemplate

Write Time

  • Write about a special celebration. Use all of your senses to describe decorations, clothing, activities, food etc. Write from your perspective, whether you were actively taking part or watching the events from the sidelines. Don’t forget to include the atmosphere and how you felt at the time.


Research information on the Model T car or the biplane. Write a paragraph about either the car or the biplane including the years it was used. Draw a picture to go with your information.


  1. How did you feel when Kami took on the school bully? Do you think she did the right thing? Explain. What would you have done?
  1. Using mature vocabulary and examples, describe how you might feel if you were all of a sudden a new student in a class with extremely strict rules…rules you didn’t know yet.
  1. Make a VENN DIAGRAM to compare Kami’s new class with your class. Did you notice any similarities and/or differences between this school in 1929 and your school?
  1. At the end of Chapter 9, Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell leave Kami in the care of the judge. What do you think is going to happen to Kami now?


  • Find out as much as you can about Emily Murphy.
  • Who was Emily Murphy and what is she known for?
  • What is your opinion of her?
  • Write 5 things you learned about her.


  • Find the definitions of the following words: abruptly, eagerly, reluctantly, exception, exasperating, antagonize. Write one sentence for each to show how to use them properly.

Write Time

  • Write a journal entry about an incident with a bully that happened to you: explain where you were, what happened first, next, etc, How did you deal with the situation? This can be based on a true story or completely fictional.
  • Write about a time when you were away from your family or lost (or imagine yourself in one of those situations.) Include your emotions at the time and what you did to solve the problem.

CHAPTERS 10 – 12

  1. At the beginning of Chapter 10, why does Judge Murphy think Kami is not telling the truth?
  1. What temporary solution did Judge Murphy come up with for Kami? What are Kami’s duties in her new position?
  1. Make a chart comparing a present day pharmacy with Cowell’s drug store.

Write Time

  • Imagine you are Kami and have just finished your conversation with Judge Murphy about what type of jobs you will be allowed to do in your lifetime because you are part Japanese in 1929. Do you feel this is fair/unfair? Your task today, “Kami”, is to write a journal entry retelling your conversation with Judge Murphy as well as your reaction, thoughts and feelings about what she told you. The purpose is to write a journal entry from Kami’s point of view. Try to capture Kami’s “voice” and personality.


Dear Diary/Journal,

Paragraph one: explain what happened to you.

Paragraph two: explain how you felt/thought/reacted to it.

Paragraph three: describe what you are going to do about it.

Sign it: “Kami” (also known as your name)


  • Describe a situation where you needed to think and act quickly. How did acting quickly help to solve the problem?
  • What goals/dreams do you have for your future? Describe what you envision to be your perfect career/lifestyle fifteen years from now.

CHAPTERS 13 – 15

  1. Why did Kami feel that she had played a small part in the success of the pilots? How did she feel about that?
  1. Kami didn’t like the jobs she had to do in the Murphy household. List the jobs that were part of her duties. Which do you think was her least favourite job? Why?
  1. What do you think allowed the portal to open so that Kami could get back home? If you were going to write a time travel story, what would you use for a portal? Describe how it would work.
  1. Make a list of everything you learned about Drew from Chapter 15.

Write Time

  • Write a newspaper article about the pilot’s homecoming event. Include all five senses as you describe the anticipation, the mood of the crowd, the reaction and a quote (real or imagined) from the pilots.
  • Write about a time that you did something nice for someone. Include the reaction of the person involved and how you felt about what you did.

CHAPTERS 16 – 19

  1. Have you ever had to start at a new school? How did you feel or how would you feel about being the newcomer at school? Make a pros/cons chart.
  1. Were you surprised Kami decided to return to 1929? Why or Why not? Would you have made that decision? Explain.
  1. What did Kami and Helen do to get ready for the guests to arrive? What do you and your family do to prepare for guests?
  1. What does Kami think about the Famous Five? Has she changed her mind from earlier in the story? How do you think she will answer her teacher’s question about the Famous Five being heroes? Explain.
  1. In Chapter 19, Kami asked Helen if she could write a message in her journal. Imagine you are Kami and write Helen a message in her journal. Remember Kami is writing a message that she hopes will last over time and that she is writing to her friend, who is also her great grandmother.

Write Time

  • Research information about one of your ancestors or family members. Write a paragraph about the person, including as much detail as possible regarding their background, vocation, hobbies, personality etc.
  • Write a paragraph answering the question “Should the Famous Five be considered heroes?”

CHAPTERS 20 – 23

  1. Why do you think Kami is doing homework at the library on her birthday?
  1. What are all the emotions that Kami experiences in Chapter 21? Give an example from the chapter for each different emotion you find.
  1. What did you learn in Chapter 22 about the misunderstanding between Kami and her father? Sometimes things are not what we think they are. Has this ever happened to you or someone you know? Describe what happened.
  1. Why do you think the author titled the final chapter The Beginning?

Write Time

  • Write about your favourite or least favourite birthday celebration. Describe the event, who participated and don’t forget to include your emotions during the celebration. What made this event memorable?


  1. What does it take to be a hero? Who in your life would you consider to be a hero and why? Give at least three supporting reasons why that person should be considered a hero.
  1. If your great-granddaughter (son) travelled back to today from the future, how would she describe you? What would she like best about you?
  1. Has Kami changed her ideas, way of thinking from the beginning of the story to the end? Use specific examples from the novel to defend your answer.
  1. Project The Famous Five: Ms. Williams challenge
  • Include:
  • Which Famous Five person you have chosen
  • Information about her background, achievements, what she is known for.
  • Does my Famous Five person deserve the title “Heroine”? Put all of the pros/cons in a T chart (Why she should be considered a heroine/Why she should not be considered a heroine)
  • Following the above research, decide your opinion on the above question.
  • Write an opinion piece defending your opinion.
  1. Debate Hold a debate about whether or not the Famous Five should be granted hero status. After researching the above project, plan an argument for AND against the Famous Five being granted the status of heroines. Speakers for each side should be chosen randomly.
  1. Write a letter to the author:
  • What questions do you still have? What did you like best about this novel? What is one thing you would change?

*Additional historical notes available for novel study with the purchase of 5 copies of The Journal for your classroom or library. Contact Lois Donovan for details.