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SEL with ALM: The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

Posted by Anna-Lisa Mackey, PATHS Program CEO on Sep 22, 2022 5:06:54 PM
Anna-Lisa Mackey, PATHS Program CEO

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise is an award-winning book by Dan Gemeinhart. It was a 2019 Parents' Choice Award Gold Medal, Amazon's #1 Best Children's Book of 2019, a 2019 Sybils Award winner for Middle Grade Fiction and a Junior Library Guild Selection. 



This book is about a girl, Coyote Sunrise, and her father, Rodeo. They travel around the country in an old renovated school bus named Yager with a kitten named Ivan. As the story unfolds, we learn that Coyote and Rodeo have experienced a terrible loss and their way of dealing with it is to leave the tragedy behind, in their rearview mirror. This seemed to work for them until Coyote gets some news that changes everything and she needs to return to the scene of the heartbreak. The only question is how to convince Rodeo? Coyote devises a plan and with the help of several travelers that they pick up along the way, helps to bring them home and face their loss and deal with their grief. I don't want to give too much of the story away, as I really loved this book and I think your students will too.

One thing that I will say is that I thought that the author, Dan Gemeinhart's portrayal of Coyote was compelling and likable. He does a wonderful job telling a sensitive story in an interesting and humorous way. The SEL themes to draw out are what is a family, dealing with grief, loneliness, and loss, friendship, knowing yourself and staying true to yourself, love and compassion. My fun fact for this episode is that I love car trips and I've driven across the United States twice and across Canada once. The first trip was with my friend, a corvette, and my little dog. The second trip was with my daughter, a mini cooper, and our 2 little dogs. We had so much fun that we repeated the trip in Canada - mini cooper and 2 dogs.



Socratic Seminar Questions

Chapter 1

Rodeo and Coyote stop at a gas station and Coyote goes in to get a slushy. She sees a boy standing by the slushy machine. He clearly wants one, but tells Coyote that his mom said no. Coyote offers to buy the drink for him, telling him that he might as well take the offer of the drink because he'll probably get in trouble for something at some point in the day, so it might as well be for disobeying his mom about the slushy.

  • Do you agree with Coyote's reasoning?
  • Is it right for her to encourage the boy to disobey his mom? Why or why not?

Later, the boy says that Coyote looks like a boy because she's wearing the same thing that he is - jeans and a t-shirt - and boys and girls shouldn't wear the same thing. Coyote responds " Well, then you better change. 'Cause I ain't." (p4)

  • Who should decide what someone should wear? Should what we wear reflect our gender or our personality? Why or why not?

The boy offers Coyote a kitten. She knows that Rodeo will not allow her to have one, but she feels she MUST have the kitten. She explains, "You see, I'd walked into that gas station alone. And I'd walked out of it alone. Just like I'd walked into and out of gas stations alone every day for, like years. And maybe, right then and there, holding that kitten is when I'd just had enough of all that aloneness." (p7)

  • Describe what feeling alone is like for you. Why do you think that for some people, the feeling of being alone is difficult?
  • Is there a difference between being alone and feeling lonely?
  • Is it wrong for Coyote to sneak the kitten onto Yager? How would you have handled the situation?

Coyote says "I had a kitten. Which definitely meant I had a problem. But, heck. I already had problems. And now, I also had Ivan. And that sure seemed like an improvement either way." (p14)

  • Is it possible for a problem to also be a solution? 

How would you describe Coyote from the information in chapter 1?

Emozi Lesson Connections

Grade 6alm-Coyotesunrise

Unit 1

  • Lesson 2 Understanding and Building Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem
  • Lesson 3 Understanding and Appreciating Character Strengths
  • Lesson 10 Decision-making
  • Lesson 12 Responsibility and Accountability

Unit 2

  • Lesson 3 Grief
  • Lesson 7 Perspective Taking
  • Lesson 9 Making and Maintaining Friendships
  • Lesson 10 Rules

Unit 3

  • Lesson 1 Resilience
  • Lesson 11 Gratitude and Generosity
  • Lesson 12 Perseverance and Hope

Grade 7

Unit 1

  • Lesson 4 Confidence
  • Lesson 5 Flexible Thinking
  • Lesson 6 SMART Goals
  • Lesson 11 Conflict

Unit 2

  • Lesson 7 Overcoming Obstacles
  • Lesson 10 Perspective
  • Lesson 12 Empathy

Unit 3 

  • Lesson 6 Relationships
  • Lesson 7 Resilience
  • Lesson 10 Forgiving

Grade 8

Unit 1 

  • Lesson 2 Identifying Strengths and Interests
  • Lesson 4 Problem Solving
  • Lesson 7 Belonging and Rejection
  • Lesson 10 Ethics and Integrity
  • Lesson 11 Goal Setting
  • Lesson 12 Kindness and Compassion

Unit 2 

  • Lesson 1 Rules for Life
  • Lesson 7 Perspective Taking
  • Lesson 8 Relationships
  • Lesson 9 Conflict
  • Lesson 10 Apologies and Forgiveness
  • Lesson 12 Loss

Unit 3 

  • Lesson 8 Negotiation
  • Lesson 11 Standing Up for Yourself


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