University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children
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Title and Author: An Angel for Solomon Singer by Cynthia Rylant

Field of Philosophy: Ethics; Metaphysics

Plot Summary: A man lives in a men’s hotel in New York City. He discovers the Westway Café, “where all your dreams come true.” He returns to try to recapture some of his boyhood memories from a childhood in Indiana. The server – known as Angel -- helps him see how he might find some of the beauty of Iowa right in the middle of the city. He learns a new way to see his surroundings, and to understand the meaning of home.

Some discussion questions:

What is a home? Do we define it more by location or by the people we share it with (or something else)?
Could one really make a home of a hotel? If not, why not?
What changes something from a house (or apartment) to a home?
Can a home change? When we move, is our “home” still where we were born or raised, or can it shift to our new location?
Can a person have multiple homes?
What does it mean to be homeless?
People often speak of being “homesick” – what does that mean?
Why do people get “homesick”?
Are our memories of a place or a time sometimes not fully accurate?
Do we idealize the past? Why would we do that?