The Last Snake Runner by Kimberley Griffiths Little
1. If you study the jacket art what culture do you think this story will tell about?
2. What do you suppose a snake runner does?
3. Read the prologue. Why do you think the author begins the story describing this ritual?
4. “Perhaps he has traveled to a place where time stands still,” said the older man. What could this statement foreshadow?
1. Will Kendall’s dreams come true? Why or why not? What makes you think so?
2. What time could be, “A time when fear was real.”
3. Will Kendall teach Juanita about history through his perspective?
4. After his Dad and Juanita’s big announcement, will Kendall be able to accept this? Why or why not.
5. Who captured Kendall?
6. What will Akish do to Kendall?
7. What will Jeneum do? Who will she help? What clues do you have to think so?
8. Will Kendall be able to outrun the shiny warriors?
9. Will the shiny soldiers return? What makes you think so?
10. Tubaloth doesn’t reveal Kendall’s true identity. Why?
11. Will Kendall stay in this ancient Acoma city?
12. Will Akish ever figure out who Kendall is?
13. Will Kendall be able to perform in the ancient ceremonies though he has never been taught?
14. What do you think the braiding of each other’s hair must mean?
15. Will it rain, or fail because Kendall does not know the ways of the ancient tribe?
16. Will the metal soldiers leave the Acoma alone? How do you know?
17. Akish predicts that, “Someday they will want more than just cornmeal.” Will Kendall tell him what he knows?
18. Will the warriors leave them alone, or come back fortified to fight?
Chapters 14- 17
19. What will the Acoma decide? to fight? or make a truce?
20. Will the sacred oath be acted upon? Why or why not?
21. The Spaniards say that they only want the men who killed the other soldiers. Do you believe them?
22. Will the Acoma sacrifice some men to satisfy the Spanish warriors?
23. Will the men escape the kiva?
24. Will Kendall be able to run free? Does he run to the mesa and go home?
25. Can he free Akish and Jeneum?
26. Will Akish survive?
27. Will Akish ever run again?
28. Will the Acoma survive as a tribe in the future?
29. Do you think Jeneum will come back to her people?
30. What will Kendall’s father do when he sees him?
31. How will Kendall be different than he was before?
The Last Snake Runner by Kimberley Griffiths Little
Comprehension Guide/ Quiz Questions
1. List the major characters in the first three chapters, and define their role in the narrative.
2. Why is Kendall having such a hard time accepting Juanita?
1. Describe, in your own words, how Kendall comes to be in ancient Sky City.
2. Outline the conflict with the Spanish throughout the story.
1. Find at least five websites that give authentic historical information about the Acoma people.
2. What types of research do you think the author did to authenticate the details in this story?
1. How do you think the Spanish (in this case it was Spanish, later it would be soldiers riding under the American flag) justified the massacre and enslavement of the Acoma people?
2. Which view is more often depicted in historical texts? Why do you think this is so?
1. If this were your cultural heritage, how would you feel about the novel?
2. How would you feel if you were the last of your family’s name or line?
1. What happens to Kendall when he gets home?
2. How do the Acoma people rebuild their life and culture?
Multiple Intelligence Projects
for The Last Snake Runner by Kimberley Griffiths Little
Read Native American poet, Joy Harjo’s poem “I Give You Back” (which is widely anthologized). How does this poem relate to the events in The Last Snake Runner? Which characters from the novel would you most likely hear repeating this poem? Write a journal response to the poem and the novel.
Logical/ Mathematical (also Historical)
Write a timeline of the Americas. Make sure that the periods are given equal space. Compare the length of time between traditional cultures and the changes made by Europeans on it.
Pottery and baskets remain an important part of the Native American tradition. How are the colors, textures, and design different from those made with European or Asian traditions? Pulling from your own cultural heritage, sculpt a useful object for your own home and use designs that reflect your own family history.
Endurance is your body’s ability to perform over an extended period of time. Obviously, Kendall is in peak performance to be able to run such great distances. Choose an activity of your choice (swimming, biking, running, etc.) and work to build on your own endurance. Fill out the chart below of your progress, and be amazed at how your strength can grow exponentially! Write a short journal on the back about the results.
Activity: Time: Distance:
Check out the website listed above to hear Native music played. Then write a brief reaction to it. Also, explore your own musical heritage. Find a link to a site which features music your family likes. Compare the two by rhythm, instrumentation and beat.
Cooperative Learning Project:
Many people have heard of the Cherokee, and the Sioux tribes. Few have ever studied the Acoma, and the many other tribes of North America. Research a list of other tribes and then research aspects of their life in a group of no more than five. Find out about their music, architecture, traditional foods, art, and if possible, their religious beliefs. Be sure that sources come from Native Americans themselves so they are authentic. [Check out www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/NativeThemes.htm for lists of books that depict Native peoples accurately]. Then, report your findings to your classmates.
The Last Snake Runner deals with a particularly grim period in the Americas. When you learn the truth about the atrocities that man has committed against each other (whether ancient, or more recent) how do you deal with the emotions it evokes? Write a journal on this topic.