Like The Jungle Book, The Graveyard Book uses an episodic structure, jumping from year to year and depicting Bod’s various experiences growing up. Some of the episodes are merely entertaining, while others contribute to important themes, character growth, or conflict resolution. Have students use storyboards to identify important episodes in Bod’s life. Below each episode, ask them to explain its significance. Simplify or expand this activity by using anywhere from 1-5 storyboard cells.
Scarlett is the first living friend that Bod makes. Their friendship begins when they are five and is redeveloped when they are young teens. Scarlett's friendship is significant because it drives Bod toward maturity. Through Scarlett, he discovers the secret of his past. Her safety also motivates him to successfully fight the Jacks of all Trade. Finally, the experience of her friendship leads him to desire life outside the graveyard.
Being captured by ghouls teaches Bod an important lesson. Suddenly, Bod comes to respect Mrs. Lupescu and the training she gave him. His narrow escape from the ghouls teaches him to trust the adults who guide and protect him. It also opens his eyes to the dangers that surround him.
Fighting Mo and Nick reveals Bod's kind heart and sense of justice. He sets out to haunt them in order to put an end to their bullying. At the same time, his interactions with them convince him that he cannot truly enjoy life in the real world as long as he is still a marked man. By interacting with them, he finally gets noticed by the outside world, jeopardizing his safety.
Bod's early interactions with Liza reflect his goodness and his willingness to think for himself. Although he is told not to venture into Liza's disreputable section of the graveyard, Bod judges that Liza is no threat. Instead, he goes out of his way to get her a gravestone and bring some happiness to her melancholy existence.
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Grade Level 6-8
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual, Partner, or GroupCommon Core Standards