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Bad Island

Bad IslandBad Island
Written and illustrated by: Doug TenNapel
Publisher: Scholastic
Format:
Hardcover/Softcover, 6 x 9, 224 pages, Full Color, $24.99/$10.99
ISBN:
HC: 978-0-54531-479-4/SC: 978-0-54531-480-0

The title of Doug TenNapel's latest graphic novel is poetically ironic. Mr. TenNapel is right; Bad Island is indeed a very bad island. The themes and lessons that emerge from reading Bad Island, however, are plentiful, good, and rich for classroom and family discussion. 

With friends who are six months younger than him and trusted to stay home alone, Reese demands that his parents respect the fact that he is grown up too. But he's barking up the wrong tree. Just as determined and stubborn as Reese, Reese's dad Lyle is set on a much-needed family vacation. And he's not afraid to tell Reese his bottom line: "Reese, I don't trust you. There I said it. You happy now?"

Reese is not happy. His sister and his mom are not happy either. No one seems to want to go on this family vacation. Claiming that they need family time away from distractions, Lyle is alone in his vote for this family vacation. In Reese's mind, this stupid boat trip is the distraction.

Lyle and Reese are both right, for this family boat trip ends up being exactly that, a distraction. Yet it's not the distraction that either Reese or Lyle perceived it would be. Altered by a raging storm at sea, the family is thrown into a whirlwind distraction. Marooned on an island, the family must work together to not only to survive, but also to solve an ancient secret the island seems to want to keep all to itself.

With only their solidarity to keep them alive, will Reese prove to be trustworthy? Will Lyle be able to bring his family together? And who will win? Island or man? Is this really one bad island? With great secrets to conceal and adventures to be had, I recommend this graphic novel to all ages, teachers, and families. Classroom and family friendly, TenNapel's Bad Island has a lesson for every single reader who dares to question its title. 

English Language Arts Elements of Story

Plot: Despite Reese's pleas to stay home, his father insists he go on the family vacation. But neither Reese nor his father thought their vacation would end up this adventurous.

Setting: Reese's family home, their boat, and Bad Island

Characters: Reese, Janie, Lyle, Karen, the island itself (Bad Island), Pickles, Johnny, Arnikites, monsters, the King and his son the Prince, the Guardians, the giant

Themes: Family, Relationships, Time, Community, Duty, Coming of Age, Good and Evil

Traditional Literature Pairing Suggestions: Jeff Smith's Bone series, Kazu Kibuishi's Amulet series, Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huck Finn and/or The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Homer's The Odyssey, Chaim Potok's The Chosen, Lois Lowry's The Giver, J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Richard Wright's Native Son

Some Teaching Recommendations For Middle School & High School Readers

Suggested Alignment to the IRA /NCTE Standard(s):*

- standard #s correspond to the numbers used by IRA/NCTE

1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works. 

2. Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.

3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate and appreciate texts.

4. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

Suggested Guided Reading Lesson Plan for Middle School or High School Teachers and Librarians: 

•Before Reading

To begin ask students to think about one or more of the themes found in this graphic novel.  On the board and on their own notebook paper, ask students to keep a list of what they Know and Wonder about each theme: Family, Relationships, Time, Community, Duty, Coming of Age, Good and Evil.

 

 

Know

Wonder

Family

 

 

Relationships

 

 

Time

 

 

Community

 

 

Duty

 

 

Coming of Age

 

 

Good and Evil

 

 


•During Reading

As students read Bad Island, ask them to add to their notes by writing down what they Learn about each theme and its relationship to Bad Island

Note: If they want, students should feel free to add a theme not previously on the list.

 

 

Know

Wonder

Learn

Family

 

 

 

Relationships

 

 

 

Time

 

 

 

Community

 

 

 

Duty

 

 

 

Coming of Age

 

 

 

Good and Evil

 

 

 

Other: ___________

 

 

 


•After Reading

When students are done reading Bad Island, ask them to review their Know, Wonder, Learn charts.  Based upon this review, ask them to complete the following writing activity.

"Directions: After you review your Know-Wonder-Learn charts, decide upon what you think is the most important theme from the story.  Based on that decision and the evidence you wrote down on your KWL chart, write a persuasive essay to convince your classmates that the theme of your choice is indeed the most important theme from the story."

Finally, teachers and librarians can put students in small groups, depending upon the themes of their choice, and stage mini-debates or discussion groups. 

Katie Monnin, PhD, is an assistant professor of literacy at the University of North Florida and author of Teaching Graphic Novels: Practical Strategies for the Secondary ELA Classroom (2010) from Maupin House. To learn more about Teaching Graphic Novels or Katie Monnin, please go to this link: http://www.maupinhouse.com/monnin.php.