Solomon's Adventures

Solomon lives in our neighborhood

Solomon Debate Preparation

The purpose of Solomon Debate Preparation is to speed up your ability to converse with others. We will also increase your public speaking and reading skills. This will be done by mastering the art of debating. The book, Solomon's Adventures: An American Tale, will be the source used to accomplish our goals. But first, see if you can answer the following questions: 

 A. What is a debate?

 B. Who can debate?

 C. How many can participate?


Track 1 - Lesson 1:  The Story Begins

Listen to and read Solomon's Adventures from page 4 to page 8, paragraph 5. On your CD, click "The Story Begins."


Group Discussion

A. What kind of young man is Solomon?

B. Is there someone who reminds you of Solomon on your block or in your family?

C. Do you think Solomon was wrong to speak to his friend as he did?


Track 2 - Lesson 2:  Solomon Confronts His Parents.

                Listen and read Solomons Adventures page 8, paragrapgh 6 to page 15. On your CD, click "Solomon Confronts His Parents.


A. Do you think Solomon's parents and Grandpa are too protective of him?

Give reasons for your answer.


B. What is wrong with Solomon having a little fun with older boys and going to the club?


C. Do you think Solomon's parents were being selfish because they wanted to go out and spend time with each other and not take time out to fully deal with Solomon's problem? 




Put a Check next to the item you would like to have. If you answer the questions correctly, you will win your selection.

  • Pepsi ___ 
  • Snickers ___
  • Coke ___
  • Health Bar ___


 You must get 8 out of 10 questions correct to receive your selection.


1. Solomon is a little boy who lives in

A. A fantasy world.

B. Brooklyn.

C. The inner city.

D. A back alley.


2. Solomon does not want

A. A fine car.

B. A fancy apartment.

C. To be a thug.


3. Gwen is a petite woman with strains of

A. Greek and Spanish heritage.

B. Jamaican heratige.

C. African-American and American Indian heritage.


4. Solomon got his money

A. Carrying packages to the local church.

B. Carrying packages for a drug dealer.

C. Carrying packages for Madame Z.


5. Solomon wants to go to

A. A movie.

B. A club.

C. Play dice with his firends.


6. Solomon wants Grandpa to give him a dollar for

A. Candy.

B. A bag of chips.

C. A Now and Later candy bar. 


7. Solomon is always dreaming about

A. The New York Mets.

B. Going out in New York City.

C. The New York Knicks. 

D. Going out at night in New York City.


8. Solomon is angry at his parents because

A. They will not let him make extra money carrying groceries for Madame Z.

B. Grandpa won't give him a dollar anymore.

C. They want to have fun with each other but are leaving him out.


9. Solomon likes to read

A. Comic books.

B. Mad Magazine.

C. Books about people and places.


10. Solomon rejects Grandpa's view about

A. Harlem.

B. Brooklyn.

C. Queens.

D."The "real" city. 


Thank you for being a part of the Fact Check Contest your score is ___. 


Track 3 - Lesson 3: Solomon Runs Away 

Listen and read Solomons Adventures pages 16 to 18. On your CD, click Track 3: Solomon Runs Away.  Click on your CD to Track 3: Solomon Runs Away.

 Short Discussion

Why do you think Solomon ran away? 


 Dreams from My Father*

A lot of people run away for many different reasons. In Barack Obama’s book, Dreams from My Father, the President’s grandmother tells him how his father, Barack Sr., ran away. When Barack Sr. was nine years old, he and his older sister Sarah ran away to find their mother, Akumu. Akumu had left the children and returned to her hometown, Kendu, after being beaten by Barack Sr.’s father, Onyango. Read the following passage from Dreams from My Father, and answer the questions at the end.


              Neither he [Onyango] nor I knew of Akumu’s last visit to Sarah. But Sarah had remembered her mother’s instructions, and only a few weeks passed before she woke up Barack [Barack Sr.] in the middle of the night, just as her mother had done to her. She told Barack to be quiet, helped him get dressed, and together they began to walk down the road to Kendu. I still wonder that they both survived. They were gone for almost two weeks, walking many miles each day, hiding from those who passed them on the road, sleeping in fields and begging for food. Not far from Kendu, they became lost, and a woman finally saw them and took pity on them, for they were filthy and almost starved. The woman took them in and fed them, and asked them their names; and when she realized who they were she sent for your grandfather. And when Onyango came to get them, and saw how badly they looked, this is the only time that anyone ever saw him cry.

The children never tried to run away again, But I don’t think they ever forgot this journey they made. . . .

As you might expect, Onyango was very strict with his children. He worked them hard, and would not allow them to play outside the compound, because he said other children were filthy and ill- mannered. . . .

This was not easy, especially with Barack [Sr.]. That boy was so mischievous! In Onyango’s presence, he appeared well-mannered and obedient, and never answered back when his father told him to do something. But behind the old man’s back, Barack did as he pleased. When Onyango was away on business, Barack would take off his proper clothes and go off with other boys to wrestle or swim in the river, to steal the fruit from the neighbors’ trees or ride their cows.

Group Discussion

A.   What happened in President Obama’s father’s life that is similar to Solomon’s?  

B.   What parallels can you draw from Barack Sr. and Solomon?

C.   Who is Onyango?

D.   Who is telling the story? 


II. Quincy Jones: Musician, Composer, Producer **

Many of you may know Quincy Jones as the producer of the phenomenal Michael Jackson album, Thriller. But did you know that Quincy is also a renowned jazz musician who has composed the score for several Hollywood movies?  And what do you know about Quincy's childhood? Read the following passage from the book, Quincy Jones: Musician, Composer, Producer, by Lee Hill Kavanaugh. As you read, look for similarities between Quincy and Solomon.

Quincy Jones, Jr., recalled his childhood in inner-city Chicago: “We used to watch teachers getting killed and policemen shooting black teenagers in the back. Every street was a territory and every territory was run by a gang, and everybody used to carry a switchblade.”

Quincy Jones’s mother, whom he remembers as flying into angry rages, suffered from a mental illness. When he was five, his mother smashed his birthday cake and ruined his birthday party. When Quincy was eight, tragedy struck. His mother had to be placed in a state mental institution. Ten years would pass before Quincy saw her again. Sadly, years later he discovered that his mother’s illness may have been treatable. “It turned out what she really needed was only a lot of vitamin B,” he told movie critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times. Today he has forgiven her, but the pain of those memories lives fresh in his mind. “I never really knew what it was like to have a mother,” says Jones. “There’s no question that pushed me into a fantasy world. I used to sit for hours in my closet and just dream.”

Inside the walls of the Jones’s tiny Chicago apartment, Quincy’s dreams took him away from the realities of life. It was here that he first heard the delicate tinkling of piano keys played by a next-door neighbor named Lucy. The sounds drifted in through the open windows and the thin plaster walls. This was the first time he was aware that a human being could make music. In those days there were no boom boxes or CD players or even television. It was the simple melodies from a piano that began his love of music, a love that would someday take him out of poverty.

Although it seems that he now lives the lifestyle of the rich and famous, Jones knew poverty well. To this day he tells the story of one of the best meals he ever ate--a fried rat that his grandmother cooked for him.

His grandmother lived in Louisville, Kentucky, in a wooden shack that had a bent nail for a lock and kerosene lamps for light. When Quincy was a child, he and his younger brother, Lloyd, spent three summers with her. She often sent Quincy and Lloyd down to the Ohio River to catch a rat.


Group Discussion

A.   Can you name a quality that young Quincy Jones and Solomon both share? 

B.   Do you think a person who daydreams like Solomon and young Quincy will ever be able to face reality? 

C.   If you were to compare Barack Obama’s father, Quincy Jones, and Solomon, who would you say had a more difficult time during his youth? 

D.  Does the fact that Quincy Jones and Barack Obama’s father had more difficult lives mean that Solomon’s problems are not real?  


Lesson 4: Practice Debate Questions

Click on the "How Debate Teams Work" link in the menu bar, and take a few minutes to read about how a debate team works.  When you're done, return to this screen to prepare questions for debate. The following are practice debate questions; however, your teacher may assign different questions or topics: 

A. Is Solomon or Quincy Jones' daydreaming a good thing or a bad thing? 

B. Are Solomon's problems real or imaginary? 

Research the questions using the Internet, books or stories you may have read, personal experience, etc. Compile a list of positive and negative answers for each question. Use your research to support your answers. 

Remember: Even if your team is assigned to argue the negative side of a question or proposition, it's useful to research the positive side also, so that you can anticipate the opposing team's answers and effectively rebut them.


Lesson 5: The Class Debate

Now you will take everything you've learned so far and use it in your first debate.

May the best teams win!!! 


Lesson 6: Constructing your Arguments

As you learned when you began this program, a debate is a contest of arguments. But not the knock down drag-out kind of argument where you attack your opponent with your fists or a club. In a debate you attack your opponent with your ideas, your reasoning, and you back up your argument with evidence. Debating in a very (superheated???) and civilized way of arguing in which you and your opponents will represent the opposite sides of a statement or proposition. To argue strongly without loosing your cool you have to organize your ideas, or construct your arguments. Your teacher will explain how this is done.


Volcabulary for this lesson:

Proposition: A statement that people can examine in order to decide wether it is true or false.

Issues: The points or ideas that have to be analyzed in order to support or reject the proposition.

Reasoning: The reasons why an issue is correct or incorrect.

Evidence: The proof that supports reasoning.