The First Rule of Punk 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.

'The First Rule of Punk' is a children's novel by Celia C. Perez about a 12-year-old Hispanic girl who survives a move to a new school. The questions in this resource may be used for classroom discussions about this novel.

The First Rule of Punk

Celia C. Perez's The First Rule of Punk is a fiction novel for pre-teens that guides students to consider their own identity and relationship to their culture. The protagonist, Malu, is a 12-year-old Mexican-American girl, whose change in surroundings after a family move challenge her to embrace her uniqueness. The following questions support upper elementary and middle school teachers as they lead classroom discussions about this novel.


In this section, students will be introduced to the main characters, setting, author's choices, and conflict.

  • What is the narration style of this novel? How might this story change if a different narration style were used?
  • What adjectives would you use to describe Maria Luisa O'Neill-Morales? What are some things you have in common with Malu? If you met Malu, do you think you would be friends? Explain your answer.
  • Describe Malu's family. What are some things Malu has learned from her mother? Compare Malu's mother to her father. Which of her parents is Malu most similar to? Which of your relatives do you have the most in common with? Explain your answer.
  • How does Malu respond when she learns that she will be moving? Compare the Gainesville, Florida setting to the Chicago, Illinois setting in this novel. How would you respond if you found out your family was moving?


This section provides students with a deeper understanding of the internal and external conflicts Malu faces and how she copes with some of these challenges.

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