If your mum was a cop and your dad was a criminal who needed your help to commit a crime, would you do it to save him?
Cop and Robber by Tristan Bancks reading group questions.
1. If you were facing the same dilemmas as Nash, what would you do differently?
2. Why does Nash want to believe and trust his dad, and what changes his mind?
3. Mrs Diaz says, ‘A mother bear will do whatever is necessary to protect her cub’? Does this justify Nash’s mum’s choices? What would a court of law or jury say?
4. Writers explore conflict – none of Nash’s relationships are easy. But that reflects real life, too.Think about your own relationships. Have you ever argued with a friend? Have you ever disagreed with a family member or disliked their decisions? How did you resolve the conflict?
5. Nash makes a split second decision to steal a chocolate bar, testing how it makes him feel. What was the result? Have you ever been tempted to steal something? How did you feel?
6. Forgiveness is a key theme of Cop & Robber. Should Nash forgive his father? How about his mother? And should Mrs Diaz allow Nash to stay at the school?
7. Tristan says, ‘My son and I love looking up stories about criminals who are not the smartest crims ever.’ What is the silliest story you’ve seen or read featuring a bumbling crook?
8. Dad idolises bushrangers, and the school has a bushranger themed festival. Why are bushrangers so legendary in Australian history? What do they symbolise to Australians?
9. Often, we play sport purely to win, but there are other reasons and motivations. Why do you play your chosen sport or exercise? How important is winning to you?
10. Tristan Bancks feels the same way about writing that Nash does about running. Writing is the first thing Bancks thinks about when he wakes up: ‘It’s like breathing to me.’ Is there anything that you do purely for the positive feeling it gives you?
We recently caught up with Tristan to learn more about Cop & Robber and the influences that shaped his writing.
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