Stephanie Golightly Lowden

    Author, Teacher

Study Guide for Time of the Eagle


Reading and Comprehension—Understanding Time of the Eagle, chapter by chapter


Chapter One:

1. What time of year is it when the story begins?

2. Why do Autumn Dawn and Coyote Boy have to leave their home?

3. Why does she think Eagle will be her protector?

4. What does she find when she gets to her aunt’s home?


Chapter Two:

1. What does eagle help Autumn Dawn find?

2. How does Autumn Dawn make a fire?

3. How does she know that winter has come?

4. Who are the enemies Autumn Dawn fears?

5. How do they plan to find food?


Chapter Three:

1. What important decision does Autumn Dawn make in this chapter?

2. How does Coyote Boy help?


Chapter Four:

1. What happens to Autumn Dawn that frightens her?

2. Why does Coyote Boy not want to eat?

3. What is Autumn Dawn’s special skill?

4. According to the story Autumn tells, why is Wenabozho more than a trickster?

5. What does Autumn hear at the end of the chapter that makes her worry?


Chapter Five:

1. Why does Coyote Boy think it is his fault they lost the deer tracks?

2. What happens in Autumn Dawn’s first dream that frightens her? What happens in the second dream that gives her hope?

3. What does she decide to do because of the second dream?


Chapter Six:

1. Why are Autumn Dawn and Coyote Boy so weak?

2. What scares the deer?

3. Why will the deer not live through the winter?

4. What does Autumn Dawn do right after killing the deer?


Chapter Seven:

1. After killing the deer, what decision does Autumn Dawn make?

2. What are the cattail mats used for?

3. What is the wigwam covered with?

4. Why does the appearance of the eagle make Autumn uneasy?

5. What wakes Autumn in the middle of the night?

6. What decision does Autumn make at the end of the chapter?


Chapter Eight:

1. Why does Autumn decide not to move?

2. What language do the traders speak?

3. Why does Autumn think they are her enemies?

4. What decision does she make at the end of this chapter?


Chapter Nine:

1. The eagle travels northwest. What enemy lives in that direction?

2. Autumn does not want to encounter any more white men. Why?

3. How does Coyote Boy get injured?


Chapter Ten:

1. What is a poultice? What does Autumn Dawn use to make a poultice?

2. How does she make a cast for Coyote Boy’s leg?

3. What does Autumn decide she will do if the eagle shows up again?


Chapter Eleven:

1. Why is Autumn Dawn angry when she sees the eagle?

2. How does she convince Coyote Boy to ride on the sledge?

3. What story, about her great grandfather, did her father tell her?

4. What does Autumn decide at the end of the chapter?


Chapter Twelve:

1. How does Autumn Dawn make the snow cave?

2. She cannot fit into the cave. How will she keep warm?

3. Why does she frighten the coyote away?

4. What does Autumn do to try and stay awake?


Chapter Thirteen:

1. What happens in Autumn Dawn’s dream?

2. Why are the people in camp grieving?

3. Why does Autumn think it was her fault that Little Wolf’s father and uncle were killed?

4. Why does Little Wolf say that Autumn saved him?


Discussion questions (higher level thinking skills)


1. How is Autumn Dawn’s life changed by her journey? Does the journey cause her to question herself along the way? How?

2. How does Coyote Boy’s presence influence her decisions? Do you think she would have made different choices if she’d been alone? If yes, give an example.

3. The eagle is a character in this novel. How does he influence Autumn and the choices she makes?

4. Do you think the setting (winter weather and woods) could be considered a character? Why or why not?


Setting and Theme:

1. How does the author establish a sense of place in this book? Do you feel as if you can see, hear and smell the woods? Why or why not?

2. How does the weather affect the decisions Autumn must make?

3. Autumn decides to hunt a deer. Why do you think this is such a challenge?

4. How does Coyote Boy’s injury affect their journey?

5. Why do you think the eagle wants them to keep moving to the northwest?

6. At the end of the novel, why does Autumn tell Coyote Boy that they are home? What do you think will happen next? Write the next chapter of Autumn’s story and send it to the author.


Literary Style:

1. Whose point of view is this story in? Why do you think the author chose this point of view?

2. Discuss the use of the eagle and visions in this story. Do the dreams and visions help or hurt your understanding of the story? What is the purpose of the eagle in this book? Why do you think the author chose an eagle rather than some other animal?

3. Autumn tells or sings several traditional stories. Why? How does she use them?

4. A journey, or quest, is at the heart of many stories, this one included. Can you think of other stories or books you have read (or films you have seen) in which there was a quest or journey? Have you ever found yourself on an important journey? Do you think you ever will, or is that something people only do in books?


Social Studies

1. Divide class into small groups. Assign each group a particular type of journey. They are only allowed to take five things with them on this journey. What would they take? Examples:

· Plane trip to Grandma’s (present day)

· Train trip from the east coast to Wisconsin in the late 1800’s. Research and find out what would be available to take along in the 1800’s.

· An ocean voyage from Europe to America in the late 1800’s.

· On foot in the 1700’s. You are a Native American engaged in the fur trade. You are traveling to the nearest fur trade post, which could be many miles away. You will have to spend at least two nights in the woods. What five things would you take? Keep in mind what is available.

2. Autumn Dawn’s journey can be tied in with a study of Lewis and Clark’s journey. They traveled with help from Native Americans. Autumn Dawn had skills as well as the resources of the natural environment.

3. Native American Culture

· Investigate the significance of the eagle and other animals in native cultures.

· Read other books by Native Americans. See resource guide.

· Below are the Ojibwe names for months of the year. Scramble them, then have students try to match them with the months of our calendar.

à        January—Great Spirit Moon

à        February—Sucker Fish Moon

à        March—Crust on the Snow Moon

à        April—Boiling of Maple Sap Moon

à        May—Flowering Moon

à        June—Strawberry Moon

à        July—Midsummer Moon

à        August—Blueberry Moon

à        September—Wild Rice Moon

à        October—Falling Leaves Moon

à        November—Freezing Moon

à        December—Spirit Moon

· Study the fur trade:

à        See author visits for information on a fur trade program for your classroom presented by the author

à        Visit the Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison WI – the author has been giving tours there since 1986.



Develop an orienteering lesson. Children will learn to use a compass. This can be done in a school forest, playground or even a parking lot.



Study the natural substances people have used to cure illness and injury. What chemical in the substance enhances healing? For example: salicylic acid found in willow bark is the same chemical that is used in aspirin.

Astronomy: Study the stars and how they can help you find your way.


Field trips to Native American sites:

Wa-swa-goning, a recreated Ojibwe village on the Lac du Flambeau reservation. Tipis are available for overnight group stays, May-September: 715-588-2615

Forest County Potawatomi Cultural Center and Museum in Crandon, WI. 800-960-5479

Oneida Nation Museum, Oneida WI. 920-869-2768

George W. Brown, Jr. Ojibwe Museum & Cultural Center, Lac du Flambeau, WI 715-588-3333

Invite a Native American to your classroom. Native American college students are often eager to do these kinds of visits. Check American Indian student services on the UW campuses web sites for a location near you.