Page 78. " I could at least see that the forced laborer's handwriting was more like my father's than the murderer's. "

Creative Commons AttributionHandwriting - Credit: Feodora Umarov
Handwriting analysis is known as graphology.  It is used in criminal investigations to attribute handwriting to a particular person, and it is also used to investigate character traits.

Guides to interpreting your own handwriting.

Page 82. " His apartment was like a zoo "

Public DomainMenagerie - Credit: William Henry Brooke

Page 86. " I got incredibly heavy boots about how relatively insignificant life is "

My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is, and why it exists at all.

              -  Stephen Hawking

Page 86. " So the Sahara is a vast desert "

Sahara Dunes
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeSahara Dunes - Credit: Luca Galuzzi
The Sahara stretches across North Africa and is the world's largest desert (excluding ice deserts like Antartica).

Page 88. " I took a step forward, and it was my first time in Queens "
Queensboro Bridge
Creative Commons AttributionQueensboro Bridge - Credit: Global Jet, Flickr

Queensboro Bridge, otherwise known as the 59th Street Bridge, crosses the East River between Manhattan and Queens.  It was completed in 1909 and is a cantilever design.  

Google Map
Page 90. " I wondered if Edna Saint Vincent Millay was a man or a woman "
Edna Millay
Public DomainEdna Millay - Credit: United States Library of Congress

  Edna Vincent Millay (1892-1950) was not only a woman but also the first one ever to win a Pullitzer prize for her poetry. Born in Maine, she was raised by her mother, the independent and literature-loving nurse Cora Lounella. Lounella divorced Edna's father on grounds of financial irresponsibility when Edna was a young girl, and the family moved from town to town. Millay attained great respect and fame for her poems at a young age, and also some notoriety for her unconventional love life.


Afternoon on the Hill

I will be the gladdest thing/ Under the sun!/ I will touch a hundred flowers/ And not pick one.

I will look at cliffs and clouds/ With quiet eyes,/ Watch the wind blow down the grass,/ And the grass rise.

And when the lights begin to show/ Up from the town, /  I will mark which must be mine/ And then start down!

Page 94. " She's been making recordings of the calls "


Elephant with Eyelashes
Creative Commons AttributionElephant with Eyelashes - Credit: Doug Wheller

The researcher Oskar refers to here is Katy Payne, who published her findings on the infrasonic communications between elephants in her book Silent Thunder. You can listen to her talk about the research on this link.

The Elephant Listening Project


Elephants do indeed shed tears, but it is not yet known if they do so only to remove irritants or as an expression of emotion. Another theory is that their lachrymal glands produce salty water in order to balance sodium levels in the body. 


This is a recipe for great vegan beanburgers.

Here's how you can be an origamist too:

And these are the words of another pacifist Oskar would look up to:

I am not only a pacifist but a militant pacifist. I am willing to fight for peace. Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.

                   -  Albert Einstein