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The Sacrifice

By Kathleen Benner Duble

Reading Group Guide

    By Kathleen Benner Duble
    In 1692, life changes forever for ten-year-old Abigail and her family. Abigail and her sister are accused of being witches when fear and panic spread from Salem to their hometown of Andover, Massachusetts. They await trial in a prison while their mother desperately searches for some way to obtain their freedom.
    Mothers and daughters; Sisters; Witchcraft; Puritans; Family life
    • What beliefs of Puritan life in 1692 do you think we still hold on to today?
    • Can you think of another situation either now or in the past (such as the McCarthy era), where fear has overcome reason? What were the consequences of this?
    • If you had lived during that time, what entertainment might you have substituted or how might you have expressed yourself artistically to make up for the lack of theater, museums, TV, computers, movies, etc.?
    • Abigail's world was one where conformity to the group was important-and yet she wanted to be an individual. Do you think this is still true today? Why or why not?
    • What situations (such as riots after a sporting event) in today's world reflect a lack of reason and a "mob mentality"? What would you do if you were faced with this situation?
    • Create a dramatic reenactment of the Salem witch trials.
    • Design and create a memorial for the victims of the Salem witch trials. Use the information to find actual names of people involved in the trials.
    • Write a feature article (with a headline) that tells the story of the book as it might be found on the front page of a newspaper in the town where the story takes place. Make sure it is appropriate for the time period.
    This reading group guide is for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.
    Prepared by Barb Bahm
    © William Allen White Children's Book Award
    Please visit for more information about the awards and to see curriculum guides for other master list titles.

About the Author

Kathleen Benner Duble
Photo Credit:

Kathleen Benner Duble

Kathleen Benner Duble is the author of such books as Hearts of Iron, The Sacrifice, Bridging Beyond, and Pilot Mom. She lives in Boxford, Massachusetts with her family.  You can visit her online at