Compare/Contrast Essay for Golden Sowers

Write an essay comparing and contrasting two books that have been nominated for the Golden Sower Award. Compare means, “to point out similarities.”  Contrast means, “to point out differences.”  Make sure that the two that you have chosen have at least one thing in common.


Compare and contrast at least two of these elements of literature in your two books:



point of view




Start out with a Venn diagram, which pictures the comparison/contrast visually.   The outside circle show the differences, whereas the inside congruence shows the things that are similar.
























Following is an example of a compare/contrast essay.


Teacher’s Name

Golden Sower Compare/Contrast Essay

Eighth Grade English


Spirit Guides, Friend or Foe?


            Two books nominated for the Golden Sower Award Grade 4-6 feature internal guides for their main characters.  These guides lead the main characters as they overcome horrific problems, but are these guides’ directions good or bad? In Skeleton Man written by Joseph Gruchas and Zach’s Lie by Roland Smith, young adults struggle with this issue.

              Molly is the strong female in Skeleton Man, whereas, Zach Granger is a more passive male character in Zach’s Lie.  Their internal voices also reflect this difference in temperament.  Molly is only a sixth-grader who dreams of a rabbit spirit guide, who helps her to overcome or out run the Skeleton Man of her Mohawk tribe’s folklore and her uncle in her real life.  Zach’s guide is an imaginary friend he has named Commander IF who holds him back from what he really needs to do to become a hero. 

            Both Molly and Zach find themselves in difficult circumstances and cannot rely on their families to help them out.  Molly’s parents have disappeared and a creepy uncle whom she has never seen before steps up to claim her. Zach’s father is in jail and what is left of his family is forced to flee as a part of the Witness Security Program.  Molly’s spirit guide as well as a teacher in her life urge her toward bravery and show her the way.

“ ‘You must keep running,’ the rabbit says.  It points with its left paw toward a direction that I somehow know to be the direction of the sunrise.”(page 75) In this dream Molly’s spirit guide shows her the way to defeat her “uncle” in real life.

Zach’s Commander IF gives him bad advice all along.  As a part of his new life, Zach wants to meet a cute girl named Catalin Cristobal, but the Commander advises, “No…. Too ambitious.  Start small and work your way up.”(page 85)  As a result of this, Zach aims too low and gets into a fight with those who are at the bottom.

In the end, however, Zach is able to overcome this internal guide, and as the villain lies unconscious on the floor, “Commander IF was lying next to him.” (page 206)  Not literally but figuratively, Zach has defeated the enemy without and the enemy within.

Both of the main characters overcome their problems and their families are reunited as a result of their action.  Molly is the stronger character, as she is able to bring about this resolution with just the help of her internal guide, the rabbit.  Zach on the other hand, has the help of a not totally believable character of a former KGB spy and janitor named Sam.  But he does defeat the drug dealers and his poor self-esteem in the form of his imaginary friend, Commander IF.

In Skeleton Man and Zach’s Lie, the inner voice of each main character serves as a guide.  In one case the guide is a beneficial friend as the rabbit shows Molly the way to defeat her uncle; whereas, Zach must wrestle and defeat his foe, the voice that tells him he cannot be the person he needs to be.     


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Last Updated 1-6-04