Just this morning, I’ve published the initial version of the discussion guide I’ve put together for Can I See Your I.D.? True Stories of False Identities, my YA nonfiction title coming this spring from Dial Books for Young Readers.

Below is a bit of what you’ll find in there. There’s also an excerpt from the first chapter, a set of discussion questions, and a Q&A about the book’s origins, the research I did for it, my use of a second-person narrator, etc.

I’d love it if you’d take a look and let me know what you think. Like I said, it’s an initial version — so much of what there is to discuss about this book hinges on the actual discussions that actual readers will have, so I plan to revise and update the discussion guide in the months ahead.

Dear Reader,

What would make you pretend to be someone else?

For my subjects in Can I See Your I.D.? True Stories of False Identities, the
reasons were many: They wanted to make it in Hollywood. They didn’t want
to be killed by Nazis. They wanted to escape from slavery. They didn’t want
to go broke. They really wanted to drive a subway train. And so on.

This is a book about identities both false and true, because all of these
people pretending to be someone else were, at the same time, truly
themselves on the inside. I believe that’s a theme that a lot of readers can
relate to, but especially young adults.

During adolescence, “Who am I?” is neither an idle nor an uncommon
question. I hoped that my researching and telling these ten stories would
help both me and my readers understand the reasons a person would assume
a false identity, the specifics involved in pulling off such fakery, and the
psychic toll taken by that kind of deception.

And to give you, the reader, a feel for that experience, I wrote Can I See
Your I.D.?
in a way that puts you in each subject’s shoes – that gives you, for
a few pages, a new identity.

I hope you’re up for that, and that this book gives you lots to think about, and
lots to discuss. Most of all, I hope you enjoy it.

Yours (truly!),