Project Description

Discussion Guide

Watch Out for Flying Kids!

How Two Circuses, Two Countries, and Nine Kids Confront Conflict and Build Community

by Cynthia Levinson

Kids accomplish remarkable feats of strength and beauty, as well as work to bring about change in their worlds.

Author Cynthia Levinson explores the world of social circus―a movement that brings kids from different worlds together to perform amazing acts on a professional level. Levinson follows the participants of two specific circuses that also work together periodically: Circus Harmony in St. Louis, whose participants are inner-city and suburban kids, and Circus Galilee in Israel, whose participants are Jews and Arabs. As the kids’ relationships evolve over time, the members learn how to overcome assumptions, animosity, and obstacles both physical and personal.

With Levinson’s combination of in-depth one-on-one interviews and extensive research, this inspiring nonfiction book highlights stories of collaboration, compromise, and overcoming obstacles.

Format: Hardcover
Price: $22.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-821-9
Publication Date: 8/1/2015
Page Count: 224
Size: 8-7/8″ x 9-3/8″
Age Range: 10 – 14
Language: English
AR Level: 6.8
F&P: GRL Z, Gr 7th & up, Genre I
Lexile: 930L
Themes: Class, Circus, Culture, Race, Religion
BISAC 1: JNF039010  JUVENILE NONFICTION / Performing Arts / Circus
BISAC 2: JNF053160  JUVENILE NONFICTION / Social Issues / Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance
BISAC 3: JNF053060  JUVENILE NONFICTION / Social Issues / Friendship


“[Levinson] captures [the youth performers’] infectious enthusiasm for the hard work and fun of building a circus.” ―The Washington Post

“Enchanting indeed―and inspiring as well.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“This inspirational story easily lends itself to classroom use, as it encompasses a broad spectrum of values and subjects.” ―Booklist

“Inspiring.” ―School Library Journal


Sydney Taylor Notable Books for Older Readers ―Association of Jewish Libraries, 2016

Social Justice Literature Award ―Literary and Social Justice Special Interest Group, International Literacy Association, 2016

Top 10 Multicultural Nonfiction for Youth ―Booklist, 2016

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Meet the Author

Cynthia Levinson holds degrees from Wellesley College and Harvard University and also attended the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. A former teacher and educational policy consultant and researcher, she is the author of the award-winning and critically-acclaimed We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March. She has also published articles in Appleseeds, Calliope, Cobblestone, DigFaces, and Odyssey. You can visit her website here.