Highfill Crew Summer Book Club 2011

No Passengers Beyond this Point

by Gennifer Choldenko

click here to see the video
and website

Just a month ago, our 4th and 5th graders were fortunate to have Gennifer Choldenko visit our school. We loved hearing all about her latest book, which is also our first book club selection. I invite you now to post your opinions, questions, and ideas about the book in the comment section below. You can also respond to each others comments.

I look forward to seeing you at the first book club meeting ~

Round Table Pizza
530 Main Street
Monday, June 20th

Discussion Questions for

No Passengers Beyond This Point

1. Why do you think this story has multiple narrators? What did you learn about the characters and the plot because of this?

2. Is Bing real or imaginary? Provide reasons for your answer using examples from the story. How and why is Bing important to the story?

3. On page 87, Mouse relates that Bing has said: “It will be hard for India to leave Falling Bird,” Why do Mouse and Bing believe this? If you ended up in Falling Bird, would it be difficult for you to leave? Why or why not?

4. What do the houses and what’s in them say about each character? What is important to each character when they come to Falling Bird? Does that change by the end of the novel? If so, how?

5. How would you describe India and Mouse’s relationship? Why does it transform over the course of the story? How is it similar to and different from the relationships of siblings you know or have read about? Have those relationships changed over time? Why or why not?

6. After India loses her house on page 108, she says: “What I don’t get is why this is happening? I don’t mean science why, but why why?” What does she mean by this? Does every event in a person’s life have a reason or cause? Explain your answer.

7. In this novel, there are parallels between what happens in the real world and what happens in the Falling Bird world; for example, the children lose a dog and the children find a dog. List a few other parallels like this one.

8. What does home mean to each of the story’s characters? How do their definitions of home change because of the events they live through? What does home mean to you and why?

9. Do you believe parts of this story were symbolic for what was going on in their lives? What connections did you see with the events in Falling Bird and the characters lives?


  1. No Passengers Beyond This Point was a difficult book to understand. You had to think about all the variables that they were dreaming about and apply that to them crashing their plane in the tree.


  2. I like No Passengers Beyond this Point because its an exiting story. I ts kind of confusing like i thought Falling Bird was a place in Denver so it hurry into the book more that's the only problem I had with this book other then I loved it!! -Meena

  3. What a great meeting last night! There was so much to talk about, you all didn't stop for the entire hour and a half! I loved the excitement and thinking that was going on in our discussion, a lot of "ohhhh now I get it".
    This is a great book to reread, now that you know the ending, a lot of the pieces fit together. Try rereading at least parts- you will be amazed at the new ways you comprehend the story. But...I have to say, I still have unanswered questions. I hope you will post some of your questions, maybe someone else has an answer...like at the meeting, or maybe Mrs. Choldenko will read this herself and join our conversation!

    Happy Reading ~ Mrs. Highfill

  4. That was SUCH a great meeting yesterday! I LOVED that book!!!!! (even though it was a bit confusing) :)

    I found the characters a bit hard to understand at first, and the fact that they were in Purgatory. However, after I read it a second time, it made SO much more sense. I thought that Mrs. Choldenko chose an interesting way to write this story, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a surprising change from a lot of the other books I have read.

  5. Finally finished writing this!

    First thing to say: I have absolutely no idea how Gennifer Choldenko could have found the idea for this book. Next: When I found the chapter
    told from the view of Mrs. Bean, it showed that Falling Bird could only be the land of the dead or a figment of the trio's imagination. I mean,
    if Falling Bird was located in the United States, like it appears to be at first, it would have to follow U.S. law, but Chuck is 12 and can drive. And some of the people who are there are actually trying to tell them that they're dead or almost dead. Chuck dropped a bigger hint than
    anyone else, though. Honestly? 'I've been twelve longer than you have?' Some people might suspect that, but Mouse saying 'His birthday must be
    soon. Yours is in October. That's why he's been twelve longer than you have, Finn, right Mr. Chuck?' would probably throw them off. And Sparky was kind of leading towards that this is unreal because the heart factor never really happens. Life never works that way - thus, it's not life.
    Which leads to more inquiries: Before when Mouse, Finn, and India see the man with the green socks and his clock saying 00:00, it doesn't make too much sense - If he died in the plane crash, he would be in Falling Bird, like he appears to be. But is he not really there or is that only a physical body? So are the people spirits or physical beings? And if someone dies with the clock at 00:00 and refusing to become a citizen, what happens?

    Another thing: If birds pecked India when she was lying unconscious in the tree, could birds in front of the pilot's window have caused the
    crash? And if that happened, they were FALLING because of BIRDs. Stupid name coincidence? I think not.

    All in all, this was a pretty good book. I'd rate it 4.9/5. Looking forward to more books by this author! (By the way, yesterday's meeting was awesome. Now that I've put Crash and Love, Aubrey on hold from the library, I expect nothing less of this group next time. I also expect a bigger group.)

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  6. Sorry that my comment was formatted incorrectly.

    1. Woww, I don't have anything to say about this book. Mrs. Highfill I'm so sorry I could not come back to your classroom to see you but I keep reading the books that you choose and I love the books. Its kinda weird at the end because of the Ms. Bean... Benjamin Yang:P

    2. sorry Mrs. Highfill... :(

  7. I loved the pizza party I met so many new people. I got alot of info about the book it was kind of confusing but it worked out fine. I cant wait in till the party - Meena

  8. sorry about the spelling errors - Meena

  9. I thought the book was very hard to understand. Mostly the last chapter. I didn't understand who Ms.Bean was and what they meant. Also some of the pictures for the chapter pages were confusing because they didn't match.
    I liked having book clubs because I found out more about the book like that Falling Bird was kind of like heaven, the time on the watch was how much time you had to live, and most important: the whole book was just about a plane crash.

  10. Sorry I missed the meeting, I was sooooooo tired after a day of swimming and volleyball camp. Anyways, I really liked No Passengers Beyond This Point because it was very hard to understand, and made your brain think very hard to try and get everything. I still don't get the story, I hope you guys can fill me in during the next meeting for Crash and/or Love, Aubrey.
    (I read Crash)

  11. I been realy busy so I havent gotten time to read more about Love aubry Im tring my best, lots of summer ation. -Meena

  12. The Pizza party was amazing I read Love Aubrey and my favorite part was when she mad her final dision and that is when she disides to stay with her mother or not - meena

  13. I liked no passengers beyond this point because it was interesting when Finn, Mouse, and India got their very own dream houses, but just for a day.