Loss is an inescapable reality of war, as each character in Burning Sky experienced.
1. Examine the different types of loss the characters suffered. Do you identify with one character’s loss more than others? In what way?
2. Neil’s injury-induced dyslexia is crippling to his desire to become a noted botanist, yet God doesn’t take away that desire. Looking back on the story, is God’s strengthening hand upon Neil as he steps out in faith visible? In what ways? In times of testing, from where do you draw your strength?
3. Willa suffers tremendous loss, including her identity—twice. Much of her journey centers on discovering who she is after these losses. Is she successful in this? Have you ever been forced to redefine yourself after a significant loss?
4. Joseph enters this story nursing a hope, but is eventually forced to relinquish it. Have you had to give up a dream or a hope when it was clearly not part of God’s plan for you? What did that teach you about trust, or God’s nature?
Home and family, and how one defines them, is another theme of Burning Sky.
1. After losing two families, Willa fought hard against accepting Neil and the children into her heart. What is the turning point for her regarding each of them? Can you find a specific scene or moment?
2. Many impediments stood in the way of Joseph’s heart’s desire, including the traditions of his Iroquois clan and family. Have you had to choose between a cultural or family tradition and pursuing a personal desire?