Grade Level: 
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Character Development
Civil Society
Fiction Literature
Philanthropic Literature
Book Title: Peak / Author: Roland Smith This literature guide was written by teens for teens to accompany the reading of this "resilience literature." The guide below provides before, during, and after-reading discussion questions to guide reading comprehension and promote dialogue about issues of resilience, trust, independence, family, and community. This guide was written as an assignment in Mrs. Gresham's 11th grade literature class, and includes suggestions for community engagement.

Reading Level: Ages 12-17

This literature guide was created as part of an 11th grade project at Castle Park High School in Indiana. The students chose the book to read, produced a video book talk (link below) and wrote the following questions and project ideas to stimulate thought and action about real issues.

Book Talk for Peak



  1. Have you ever had to go somewhere for a trip that you really didn’t want to go on and it ended up being a great time in your life?
  2.  If you were in a very bad situation, what parent or other family member would you choose to help you through it?
  3. How long is too long not seeing your own family?
  4. Could you put someone else above yourself in life if it meant not gaining fame and fortune, but letting them have it?


Mount Everest is the tallest and deadliest mountain to climb in the world. Just recently 16 people died on this mountain. Sherpas are the native climbers of the mountain and act as guides for the new comers wanting to climb the mountain. These Sherpas know how to climb and are very excellent at the work they do on the mountain. The Sherpas are great at telling the weather on the mountain and know good days when to climb. All 16 people that died a few weeks ago on this mountain were Sherpas. Imagine what new comers think about this.

During Reading


1.     What was Peaks motive behind climbing the skyscraper? What do you think he got out of it?

2.     How would you describe Peak’s relationship with his parents?

3.     Do you agree that the courts should hold Peak responsible for the death of the other teen who tried to climb a skyscraper? Why or why not?

4.     What do you think helps Peak get through being in the juvenile detention center locked up?

5.     What do you think influences Peak to climb the way he does? Why would he risk his life just to tag a building?

6.     How do you think Peak felt finding out he was going to have to move in with a father who hasn’t been around for him his whole life? How would you feel?

7.     Why do you think Josh is having his son climb Mount Everest?

8.     As a 14 year old, how would you react if you found out your dad was using you to help make him money? Explain your thoughts.

9.     On a mountain like Everest can you afford to be lacking trust in the people leading you? Explain.

10. What do you think is Zopa’s real motivation for being on the mountain as long as he has?

11.  What do you think will happen with Sun-Jo and Peak’s friendship, now that we know Sun-Jo is Zopa’s grandson? Why do you think they’ve kept it a secret?

12. How do you think Zopa knows the mountain as well as he does?

13. Put yourself into Peak’s shoes. If you were told you wouldn’t be able to climb the mountain you’ve been training weeks and weeks for, would you have reacted the same or differently than Peak?

14. Why did Peak help Sun-Jo summit and then not summit himself? Would you have done the same?

15. What was the main idea or concept behind the book? Support your answer with details from the book. 


  1. Just recently an accident happened on Everest killing multiple Sherpa’s. This shows that you have to be very careful on this mountain and that it is very dangerous, showing you have to have some guts to climb. (pg. 164)
  2. I think one connection you can make throughout the whole book is that you can never give up. Even when you think you’re done or that you don’t have any more left you can always go that little bit more and you have to push yourself to do it. 
  3. A few weeks back a person climbed the new twin tower in New York. Just like Peak does in the book I’m sure he gets the same rush and same great feeling after he finished something he set out to accomplish. When you set goals for yourself and try to accomplish them then things become easier in almost any aspect of life. (pg. 3)
  4. The book talks about prayer flags and how when you get to the top you put your prayer flag on the summit. These people all have something or someone they believe in, and you need that, you need something to look to for guidance when you’re struggling or need an extra little push. You have to have faith to help you get through any difficult task. (pg. 246)

After Reading


  1. Who do you think was the second most important character?

  • Options could be Zopa, Sun-Jo, or Josh Wood. They all play very imperative roles in the story line. They all effect Peak in a major way, but who affects his the most?

  1. What was the underlying theme of the whole book?

  2. How has Peak changed and matured throughout the book?

  3. What do you think might happen next if the book had not stopped?

  • An idea could be that Peak goes back to New York and finishes school, or maybe goes back to travel with Josh. Will Peak be known worldwide for what he did?

  1. What factors would you change if you were the author of the book?

  • Were there aspects of the book that did not quite make sense? Even characters could be changed in the story line. Changing a situation or character could also spur any new outcome.



  1. The book is full of suspense and twists that come much unexpected. Peak can be related to The Summit by Gordon Korman. It is about four boys chasing their dreams and attempting to be the youngest to reach Mount Everest’s summit. Until a big storm hits and extreme scarcity sets in. Both books contain suspense and chilling surprise.

  2. When you think about climbing stuff, you don’t think about getting in trouble with the law. Peak faced a hefty fine and even could have been sent to prison for what he did. Organizations like the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, help seek out and aid young adults. Maybe someone committed a crime, but was it so awful that they need to be severely punished or fined?


Develop an accurate timeline for the events in the book. Put the information into a timeline on a PowerPoint or a Prezi presentation.

List five words that describe Peak. From there, define each word and go around to different students in the school and interview them on the words. (Example: Determination. I believe determination is a mindset all competitors have to have and…etc.) After the interviews, write an essay over the words.

Organize a charitable climbing day at a local climbing facility. Donate proceeds to a service organization like Peak Potential, a climbing program for children with disabilities, or the YMCA for their girls mentoring program called Girls Rock.