Ruby on the Outside

Ruby on the Outside

For Ages: 8 - 12
  • 8
Ruby’s mom is in prison, and to tell anyone the truth is to risk true friendship in this novel that accurately and sensitively addresses a subject too often overlooked—from the author of The Summer Before Boys.

Eleven-year-old Ruby Danes is about to start middle school, and only her aunt knows her deepest, darkest, secret: her mother is in prison.

Then Margalit Tipps moves into Ruby’s condo complex, and the two immediately hit it off. Ruby thinks she’s found her first true-blue friend—but can she tell Margalit the truth about her mom? Maybe not. Because it turns out that Margalit’s family history seems closely connected to the very event that put her mother in prison, and if Ruby comes clean, she could lose everything she cares about most.
  • Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 176 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781442485044 | 
  • June 2016 | 
  • Grades 3 - 7 | 
  • Lexile ® 720L
List Price $7.99 (price may vary by retailer)
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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide for

Ruby on the Outside

By Nora Raleigh Baskin


Discussion Questions

1. What did you learn in the first paragraph of the acknowledgments that helped you think about how real world experiences shape the fictional world that Ruby inhabits?

2. The cover art for this book reflects the title and Ruby’s life circumstances. Think about the cover art. Why are there silhouettes of two children holding hands and walking a dog? What did the little dog symbol make you think about when you came to each new chapter in the book?

3. Nora Raleigh Baskin has done a lot of careful and caring research for this book. She presents many details about being a visitor to the prison. What kinds of controls are exerted in the prison for visitors? What are the procedures for gaining admittance to the prison? How do you think you would feel if you were visiting a prison? What would it be like to have so many logistics—so many steps that have to be taken before you could see your family member or friend?

4. There is no privacy in prison. What impact does the lack of privacy have on the prisoners? How would you feel if you lost all ability to have private moments? How does the treatment of visitors and prisoners dehumanize them?

5. If you were a relative of a child in need of a home, could you—or would you—be willing and able to take that child in? Could you o see more


More Books from this Author

Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story
The Summer Before Boys
Anything But Typical

About the Author

Nora Raleigh Baskin
Photograph by Lisa Bevis

Nora Raleigh Baskin

Nora Raleigh Baskin is the ALA Schneider Family Book Award–winning author of Anything But Typical. She was chosen as a Publishers Weekly Flying Start for her novel What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows, and has since written a number of novels for middle graders and teens, including The Truth About My Bat Mitzvah, The Summer Before Boys, and Ruby on the Outside. Nora lives with her family in Connecticut. Visit her at