Plot elements, events and characters in Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book borrow from stories and history of the ancient Celtic culture in Britain. This lesson includes two illustrated pages on the history of the Celts in Britain and 22 illustrated "role cards" relating to people and things in The Graveyard Book. Young readers will be fascinated to learn about flint knives, the vindictive war goddess, indigo war paint and a god who is a jack-of-all-trades.
The student materials are supplemented by lesson ideas for bulletin boards, a role-playing exercise, a "quiz show" game and collectible rewards for literature circles or individual students who complete assignments. The lessons encourage students to interact with material from the old myths, enriching their understanding of the novel and providing a hands-on opportunity to integrate knowledge and ideas.
This lesson is intended to take place after students have read the second chapter of The Graveyard Book, and is particularly helpful in clarifying and enriching chapters 2, 4 and 7.
This lesson is suitable for grades 6-10. The activity is designed to take place in the classroom, although it could provide a basis for independent research projects. An answer key is provided.
This activity relates to the "Integration of Knowledge and Ideas" standard for reading literature in the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts:
- Compare and contrast a fictional portrayal of a time, place, or character and a historical account of the same period as a means of understanding how authors of fiction use or alter history. [Grade 7 standard]
- Analyze how a modern work of fiction draws on themes, patterns of events, or character types from myths [or] traditional stories... including describing how the material is rendered new. [Grade 8 standard]
by Sara Hathaway
Connecting to Myth and History: The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman by Sara Hathaway is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License