Peace Like a River Discussion Questions

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'Peace Like a River' is a 2001 young adult novel by Leif Enger about an 11-year-old boy on a journey to find his brother, who committed murder. This asset contains student discussion questions about this novel.

Peace Like a River

Leif Enger's Peace Like a River is a novel about family and faith. The protagonist is a young boy named Reuben who believes his father performs miracles. After Reuben's brother, Davy, escapes from prison for killing some bullies, the family goes on a journey to find him. The following are student discussion questions related to this novel.


  • What is the narration style of this novel. Do you think the narrator is reliable? Explain your answer.
  • What adjectives would you use to describe Reuben? Describe Reuben's relationship with his family. How is Reuben's family like yours? How are they different?
  • What has Reuben learned from his father? What are some of the miracles Jeremiah has performed? Do you believe in miracles? Justify your answer.
  • Who are Tommy Basca and Israel Finch? What do you think motivates their behavior? What would you do if you knew someone like Basca or Finch?
  • Why does Davy kill Basca and Finch? What sentence do you think would be fair for his crime? Why do you think he receives such a harsh sentence?

On the Run

  • What do you think of the plans to break Davy out of jail? Why does the plan fail? What does this tell you about the Land family?
  • Why does the Land family decide to travel across the Badlands in an Airstream? What are some miracles that occur along the way? If one of your siblings or other close family member disappeared, how would you know where to look for him or her?
  • Who is Andreesen? How do the family members work together to dodge Andreesen? What skills do you have that could contribute to your survival if you were a member of the Land family?
  • Who is Roxanna Cawley? How does Roxanna help the Land family? Why does Roxanna make such a strong impression on the Land's?

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