Susan Rowan Masters
Author and Playwright

Teaching Guide: Libby Bloom

Grades 3, 4, 5, and 6

Dear Teacher/parent: You may find other ways this book has been helpful to discussion and understanding. If you would like to have some of your own ideas considered for expansion to this guide, please e-mail me with your suggestions.

"With a mixture of farce and affection, Masters tells the story of fourth-grader Libby Bloom, who embarrasses herself and fails and still carries on. Libby gets thrown out of chorus, not only for singing off-key, but also for burping during the star's solo. But when Libby is forced to play in the school band, she gets help from a sympathetic teacher, who encourages her to play the tuba and to make a difference in the school community. Libby practices hard, and, of course, the school concert is the climax of the story, but it's no formula success: even there, Libby fails and plays sour notes -- and then goes on to play the last song perfectly. Beata Szpura's exuberant cartoon illustrations express the comedy without condescension" -- Booklist

Libby Bloom is a humorous beginning chapter book that keeps the reader smiling, even through the serious parts. Among the thought provoking themes students will explore are family, friendship, activism, and self-confidence. This guide offers a variety of interdisciplinary tie-ins.


Tell students that, like Libby, big things get done by people making a difference in a variety of small ways. Leave students with this thoughtful question: Where can they make a difference?

Suggestions submitted by Joan Masters, certified teacher in N-6 Elementary and Special Education.