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A Bonfire for Jim



A Bonfire for Jim
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.15

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    afarganyu, blue-eyed, bonfire, delectable, drapery, equinox, exuberant, flushed, founder, freshman, incense, matching, purify, rebirth, red-haired, ruse
     content words:    Ahura Mazda, No Ruz, New Year, All Parsis, Since Habib, Maybe Jim, Would Jim


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A Bonfire for Jim
By Colleen Messina
  

1     Habib stared at the flame of his Bunsen burner. It swirled blue and gold and purple like a whirling gypsy skirt. He needed to finish his freshman chemistry experiment, but the shooting shaft of flame made him pause.
 
2     Habib loved fire. It was the symbol of Ahura Mazda, the one god!
 
3     "Does Zoro like the flame?" said Jim with a sneer. Jim and Habib were lab partners. They were opposites in every way. Jim was red-haired and blue-eyed. Habib had matching brown hair and eyes. Jim was exuberant. Habib was shy. Jim often made fun of Habib's religion.
 
4     "Fire is nothing to laugh at," said Habib. "Let's finish our work."
 
5     Later, at home, Habib told his mother that Jim made him feel stupid. Afareen's brown eyes looked thoughtful.
 
6     "Habib, perhaps Jim makes fun of what he does not understand. I think that if he understood something about our faith, he might not laugh at you anymore," Afareen said.
 
7     "No way," said Habib with a frown. "Jim would never listen to me!"
 
8     "Let's remember the Zoroastrian ideal of ‘good thoughts, good words, and good deeds.' What good deed could we do to help Jim understand you better? What if we invited him over for No Ruz?" she said.

Paragraphs 9 to 24:
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