Teen Titans: Raven
Published by: DC Comics
Written by: Kami Garcia
Illustrated by: Gabriel Picolo
If you are a Teen Titans fan, you are going to be very, very happy with DC Comic’s newest middle grade title: Teen Titans: Raven.
While on a car ride with her new foster mom, Raven is asked: “I was thinking you might want to skip school tomorrow . . . . I’m signing the paperwork. Remember?” Having had it with the foster system, Raven does not take her foster mom’s offer too seriously, thinking “The adoption papers. She still wants to go through with it?”
During their conversation, and right on the second and third pages, Raven and her foster mom experience a terrible car crash together. While Raven loses her memory of everything during and before the accident, her soon-to-be foster mom dies. As a result of the accident, Raven is moved from Atlanta to New Orleans to be taken care of and live with her foster mom’s sister, Aunt Natalia. Aunt Natalia also has a daughter named Max. Even though Raven is unable to recall her memories Aunt Natalia and Max offer some much-needed respite, safety, and a support system.
As if that is not enough for a teenager to deal with, starting school is even harder. In purple thought balloons Raven starts to realize that she is an “empath,” a superhero who can sense, feel, and understand the emotions of others. Overwhelming at first, Raven learns to use her empathic super skills to better understand her new life, new frieinds, and new school. At her most overwhelming points, however, Raven knows that she has Max and her newly met boyfriend “Tommy Torres” to help her out.
With forces of good and forces of evil at work in the school there is also a demon (Trigon) chasing Raven and saying: “She is my child. My blood. She belongs to me. . . . Stop this Raven. I am your Father, you belong to me.” A one-eyed masked man also shows up at the school and has a clear relationship with Tommy Torres. What could all of this possibly mean for a young, empathic Raven?
Language Arts Elements of Story
Plot: Raven has just been in an accident that killed her soon-to-be foster mom, and she is sent to live with an Aunt and a cousin from her foster mom’s side of the family in New Orleans. Since Raven cannot remember anything before the accident, Aunt Natalia and Max help her safely transition into her new home life and school. Max even attends Raven’s school and is protective of her new cousin. But when Raven expresses her empathic skills, followed by some odd occurences at school. Max and Aunt Natalia are there to help Raven out, no matter what.
Major Characters: Raven’s foster mom, Raven/Rachel Roth, Natalia Navarro, Viviane Navarro, Alana, Ellie, Tommy Torres, Max, Mrs. Larue, Miss Eliza, Deathstroke, Antoine, David Chang, Lili, Andrew & Tyler, Lola, Ti-bon-age, Millie, army of ghosts, Raven’s father Trigon
Major Settings: Atlanta, GA; street accident; foster home; Raven’s room; high school; Tallulah Saint’s House of Voodoo; cemetery; New Orleans, LA; coffee shop on Chartres Street, prom
Themes: Empathy, Identity, Family, Emotions & Memory, Self esteem, Dark & Light, Spirituality
Lesson Plan Recommendations Using the Common Core Standards for Middle Grade Readers
Engage and orient the reader by establishing a context and point of view and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally and logically.
*The number(s) referenced above corresponds to the number used by the Common Core Standards (www.corestandards.com)
Lesson Idea Plan
Note: I have chosen a writing exercise for this lesson plan because writing is sometimes overlooked, and yet it is such an important skill for middle graders to have before attending high school.
The Writing Prompt Is:
“Write a script with yourself as the narrator of Teen Titans: Raven. You can be any type of narrator you like, but your choice and voice must be grounded in one of the themes listed above.”
Write a sentence or two describing how your narrative voice aligns to the theme of your choice:
1. Write an introduction for youself as the narrator (get creative!).
2. Write an orienting overview of the plot in your narrative voice,
3. Write a few character profile introductions, in your narrative voice, for three of the main characters, including their purpose in the story, strengths, and weaknesses.
4. Finally, and still with your chosen narrative voice, your script needs to address what you see as one of the most significant events in the story, being sure to include the roles and actions of the main characters involved and the resolution that occurs.
If there is extra time, some students can volunteer to read their scripts.