Saving Zasha Discussion Questions

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

''Saving Zasha'' is a children's novel about a boy and a dog set in post-World War II Russia. These questions can help facilitate a class discussion on the book's plot, structure, and themes.

Saving Zasha

Saving Zasha is a fictional story by author Randi Barrow, which follows a young boy in Russia as he finds and harbors an outlawed breed, a German shepherd named Zasha. This work of children's historical fiction takes place in post-World War II Russia, which may give students a perspective they are not often exposed to. The following questions are designed for upper-elementary or middle school students, as that is the suggested reading level for the story. However, the questions can be easily adapted to other grades if desired.

Questions About Characters and Plot

  • In your own words, what would you say Saving Zasha is about? How would you describe this book to somebody who has never read it?
  • Who is the main (human) protagonist in Saving Zasha? How are we introduced to Mikhail? What are the first things we learn about him? What do we learn about Mikhail throughout the story? How would you describe this character? What are his personality traits?
  • Who is Zasha? How are we introduced to Zasha? Does Zasha have a personality in this book? What is Zasha's personality like? Where do we see this in the book?
  • What is the central conflict in Saving Zasha? How is this conflict established? What are the main plot points in the story that add tension and escalate this conflict? What is the climax of this story?
  • Who are the other main characters in this story? Describe each of them and their personalities? Who do you think is the main antagonist? How is this established? What role does each character play in the plot? How do they help or hinder Mikhail?
  • How is the conflict in this story resolved? How do the characters change by the end of the book? Did you like the ending of the story? Why or why not?

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