Talking Story

One Boy, No Water by Lehua Parker transports readers into a world of magical realism set in modern Hawaii. Use these questions to lead your reading group in discussing the book’s themes and characters.

Spoiler Warning: These questions may reveal important details about the story. Be sure to finish the book before reading on.

  1.  In One Boy, No Water, family ties are important. How do the characters show they really care for each other?
  2. Zader’s allergies set him apart from the other characters. What are some of the things Zader does to cope with feeling left out at times?
  3. Uncle Kahana teaches Jay, Char Siu, and Zader that there is no shame in running away from a physical conflict. Do you think it’s better to fight or flee if you can? What if you can’t run away?
  4. Zader, Char Siu, and Jay all want to get a scholarship to Ridgemont Academy, but Zader doesn’t get accepted to the school. Have you ever wanted something badly, but didn’t get it? How did you deal with your feelings and the situation?
  5. In the story there are questions and hints about Niuhi sharks, a man with too many teeth, a shark that’s missing part of his tail fin, Dream Girl, Pua, and Zader’s biological parents. How do you think these things are connected?
  6. Why do you think Zader is allergic to water, rare meat, and seafood? Why does he have strange dreams?
  7. Trouble comes for the characters in One Boy, No Water like ocean waves. What are some of the challenges the characters face? How does the book suggest trouble should be handled?
  8. Have you ever seen someone teased for being different? How do you think that person felt?
  9. Uncle Kahana asks Zader which is more important: what people think about him or what he can do. If Uncle Kahana asked you this question, how would you answer? Would you stay safe in the house or would you wear funny clothes so you could be outside?
  10. If you could change one thing about the story, what would it be? Why?

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When you’re allergic to water,
growing up in Hawaii
isn’t always paradise.

With Niuhi sharks,
even out of the water,
you’re not safe.

Everything you thought you knew
about Zader is a  lie.