The Water is Wide -Reader’s Guide

“When Mima’s mother meets a pair of LDS missionaries in the small English town of Wood Box in 1844, Mima prays that the townspeople won’t treat them any differently. But when her mother chooses to be baptized, Mima’s worst fears are recognized. Even her best friend refuses to stand by her. So, when her mother decides to leave for America, Mima is faced with some hard decisions. Should she stay in London with her brother, or face the journey to America with her mother and her strange new religion? Book one of three, The Water Is Wide, begins the beautifully written adventure of a teenage girl who experiences the life of a pioneer as an outsider. A great piece of historical fiction A wonderful, touching story that will appeal to youth and adults” (Amazon summary).

The Water is Wide

Part 1:

    • How does tradition impact decisions?
    • How can you intuitively know when someone wants to talk to you?
    • How is truth enough?
    • If asked to sacrifice all, what would be hardest to let go?
    • What emotions does change dredge up?
    • What choice would you make if you were Mima?
    • How can order provide peace?
    • How did Mima feel leaving Wooden Box?
    • How did the grief impact Mima and her mother? What were the similarities and differences?
    • How does country life differ from city life?
    • What could change the life of street urchins?
    • What delusions did early Saints have of Zion?
    • How does God speak through music?
    • How do tendrils of our dream impact our daylight hours for good and bad?
    • Why do we feel a need to repay service?

Part 2:

  • How would you feel seeing Nauvoo for the first time?
  • Why does music bring such comfort to Mima?
  • How did the weather differ from England?
  • What did Mima and her mother think about leaving?
  • How can dancing bring relief?
  • What dangers do gossip and rumors bring to a community?
  • What new challenges would the frontier hold?
  • What can we do when we do not see the path ahead?
  • Do regrets have value? Why or why not?
  • Why would Mima choose St. Louis?
  • How faith be explained?
  • Was going to Nauvoo a good choice? Why or why not?
  • How did St. Louis compare to Wooden Box? Liverpool?
  • Compare/contrast talent and training.
  • How was St. Louis Zion for Mima?

Part 3:

  • Why did the author skip over three years in the story?
  • Where is home?
  • What rumors accompanied the plague?
  • What does heavenly condemnation look like?
  • How do the body and soul heal the same? Differently?
  • Why would the trip west seem so daunting to Mima?


By Tracy Atkinson

Tracy Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the Midwest with her husband and spirited long-haired miniature dachshunds. She is a teacher, having taught elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education and a master’s in higher education. Her passion is researching, studying and investigating the attributes related to self-directed learners. She has published several titles, including MBTI Learning Styles: A Practical Approach, The Art of Learning Journals, Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Lemosa: The Annals of the Hidden, Book Two, Rachel’s 8 and Securing Your Tent. She is currently working on a non-fiction text exploring the attributes of self-directed learners: The Five Characteristics of Self-directed Learners.

Tracy Harrington-Atkinson

Tracy Harrington-Atkinson, mother of six, lives in the mid-west with her husband. She loved storytelling and sharing her stories with her children. As they grew, she started writing her stories down for them. She is a teacher, having taught from elementary school to higher education, holding degrees in elementary education, masters in higher education and continued on to a PhD in curriculum design. Her husband, Kerry and Tracy breed miniature dachshunds and love to spend time with their growing family. She has published several books including Calais: The Annals of the Hidden, Rachel's 8 and Securing Your Tent.

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