Lion of Mars: Book Review and Book Club Ideas

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Lion of Mars is a thoughtful middle school Science Fiction book that’s perfect for your homeschool study this year. With a unique setting and wonderful characters, this book is sure to be a delightful read for your middle school child.

Lion of Mars Book Review for kids and parents

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Lion of Mars by Jennifer L. Holm

Genre: Science Fiction
Length: 272 pages
First Published: 2021

View on Amazon | View on Goodreads

Lion of Mar Publisher’s Description

Bell has spent his whole life – all eleven years of it – on Mars. But he’s still just a regular kid – he loves cats, any kind of cake, and is curious about the secrets the adults in the US colony are keeping. Like, why don’t have contact with anyone on the other Mars colonies? Why are they so isolated? When a virus breaks out and the grown-ups all fall ill, Bell and the other children are the only ones who can help. It’s up to Bell – a regular kid in a very different world – to uncover the truth and save his family … and possibly unite an entire planet.

My Goodreads Review

Bell is an 11-year-old kid who has spent most of his life on Mars. He enjoys his friends and community, but wonders why they must remain so isolated from the other communities on Mars. When a mysterious virus infects all of the adults in Bell’s community, he and the other kids must determine what to do. Will they turn to the other countries for help or follow the direct orders from Earth command?

This book was a completely delightful read. It is a science fiction book that feels very realistic and relatable. The setting on Mars felt realistic despite being completely fictional. I loved the details about life on Earth that continually fascinated the kids on Mars, including information about animals and fashion.

As a middle school book, this one has a lot of great potential for discussion with your tween. It’s an engaging story with some great themes about community and developing relationships outside of your own tribe.

Lion of Mars Book Club Ideas

Decorate with an Outer Space Theme. Hang various planets from the ceiling. Use solar system or constellation fabric for the tablecloth.

– Let everyone try a few seaweed snacks from the Mars algae farm.
– Enjoy a bite of carrot cake.
– Serve popular foods from the countries represented in the book: France, Russia, China, and Finland.

Make Universe Slime using the slime recipe from NASA.

Discussion Questions for Your Homeschool Study

1. Describe life in the colony on Mars. What are some of the difficulties? What are some of the fun aspects of life there? Would you like to live there?

2. Was the title appropriate for this book? How does it connect to the story?

3. Why is it important to have friends outside of your own colony?

Lion of Mars was part of my Semester One online book club for 11-13-year-olds. I shared ideas for a great book discussion, mainly a discussion of theme, on the Celebrate a Book Instagram:

Homeschooling with Books:
Discussion Questions to Get You Started

Grab this set of questions designed to facilitate discussion about any book:

Grab a free copy of discussion questions for any book.

Jennifer L. Holm is a New York Times bestselling author. Three of her books have received the Newberry Honor Award. She writes novels as well as graphic novels. Her graphic novels include the Sunny series, Babymouse series, and Squish series. Learn more about Jennifer on her webpage.

Interviews with Jennifer Holm that focus on Lion of Mars:

Interview with Nerd Daily
Interview with Teaching Books (includes audio)

Middle School Titles for Your Next Homeschool Study

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Boys in the Boat Book Club and discussion ideas.

Other Books by Jennifer L. Holm

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I believe online book clubs for kids can spark a love of literature


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