Rocket Boys Study Guide
Rocket Boys: Study Guide
I. Major events and themes:
a. The development of Auk I -XXXI
List each numbered rocket and the end result of launching it.
b. Write a paragraph explaining the relationship Sonny had with Homer Sr.
c. Write a paragraph explaining the importance of Sonny’s mother and his teachers .
II. Characters: Identify in detail each item/character listed below.
a. Homer Hickam
b. Sonny Hickam
c. Elsie Hickam
d. Roy Lee, O’dell, Sherman, and Quentin
e. Great Six
g. Big Store
i. Dr. von Braun
j. Mr. Bykovski
III. Chapter 1-7
a. Describe Coalwood. Explain the mine’s influence on the town.
b. Describe Sonny’s family life, especially his relationship with his father as seen in the beginning chapters.
c. What was the town’s reaction to Sputniks one and two? Sonny’s?
d. Describe Sonny’s first rocket attempt. What was his parents’ reaction?
e. Explain Elsie’s feelings about the mine. What did she want for Sonny?
f. Sonny becomes friendly with Quentin, a boy not very popular. Explain.
g. Explain the contrast Emily Sue sees between Sonny and his brother, Jim.
h. What help did Mr. Bykovski give Sonny and how did it affect Mr. B.?
IV. Chapter 8-15
a. Explain how Sonny managed to get materials for the blockhouse.
b. Describe the help Jake Mosby gave Sonny.
c. What effect did the football suspension have on the rocket boys?
d. Explain Sonny’s father’s motivation in taking him to the mill. What was the result?
e. “I had a clear vision of my future in space, but the life I led in Coalwood sometimes seemed to blur.” Explain
f. What was Rocket Candy?
g. How did the boys’ work on rockets change their work in school?
h. What was ironic in Sonny’s success in getting a calculus class in the high school?
V. Chapters 16-22
a. Why does Quentin think Sonny is the key to college for him and the other rocket boys?
b. What are Sonny’s feelings for his father now?
c. “You and all the children of Coalwood belong to all the people. It’s an unwritten law, but that’s the way everybody feels.” Explain.
d. “Coalwood is no place to be weak, but if you are, keep it to yourself and get the hell out of here as soon as you can!” Explain.
e. Describe Sonny’s reaction to the mine accident.
f. Who was Mr. Fuller? How did the town manage to oppose him?
g. Describe the effect of the strike on Sonny and his family.
h. Describe the science fairs the boys won and explain the effect on the town.
i. What finally happened to each of the rocket boys?