Coraline and the Graveyard Book


Coralineand the Graveyard Book

TheGraveyard Book and Coraline are Nail Gaiman’s masterpiece eant forchildren and young adults. The two books cover wide-ranging subjectsand themes in a gripping style to help readers understand the novels.This paper will exemplify the elements that make the Graveyard andcoralline a good book for middle-grade students. Major themes in bothnovels will be explored, the style and craft of the author and thehow tutors can develop literacy using the book across content areas.The last part will explore the transactional theory and ramificationsof its conceptual framework on these books into a middle andsecondary classroom.

Styleand craft of this author

NailGaiman’s gripping writing style is one of the key distinctiveelements that make the Graveyard Book a compelling read. Thebrilliant illustrations offer a wonderful visual insight into thenature and attribute of Bod’s new home in the graveyard. The mostconspicuous and perhaps the most memorable is the first chapter,where Nail employs visual representation to the extent that almostevery element, and events that transpired is captured (Wiersema,2013).

Thedepiction of the ghosts and all the other living creatures that Bodstumbles upon are brilliantly imagined, with a blend of fear, humorand empathy. Nail’s flamboyant, poignant writing style is one ofthe main attributes that makes Graveyard Book an excellent novel formiddle and secondary school students (Wiersema, 2013).

Itis evident that there are few authors who have mastered the art ofshifting as dexterously from humor to melancholy within a singlesentence as Nail. There are very few contemporary authors who canrival Nail’s ability to put across a sense of human and placeemotion through writing. Indeed, it is the description and vividnarration that makes the graveyard appear like a physical place. Forexample Hail’s premise is dark, from the first page the readersmade aware of the death of the Bods family but it is the perfectamount of eeriness for secondary school and middle-grade students.

Coralineis another epic piece authored by Nail Gaiman. The book has memorablecharacters, an artistic plot and a very reminiscent illustration thatmakes it a modern classic for middle-grade learners literature.Coraline is also magnificently illustrated with the inconceivable artthat exhibit a vivid journey into the fantasy world (Shmoop EditorialTeam, 2008). The white and black illustration gives a dauntingatmosphere -but not too terrifying- that accents the narrative in allthe right places.

Thegirl’s courage, ingenuity, and cleverness, particularly in theevent where she outsmarts her other mother in a theatrical butpetrifying fashion, is a magnificent read. Even tough the images andthe concepts in the novel are scary, Nail manages to maintain abalance everything very astutely (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008). Theshocking concepts are balanced with quick delivery and thoughts ofthe main character.

Themesin the Books


TheGraveyard accords the reader a satisfying spell of the supernaturalpowers. The ghosts are the center of the story, and they play acrucial role in imparting pertinent lie skills to Bod for theduration he lives at the graveyard (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008). Wesee all forms of cool powers being used by the author, for good andsometimes not-so-good events. Bod has numerous supernatural powerssuch as ability to Fade, Dreamwalk, and fade.

Strengthand skill

Fromthe moment, the ghosts take him into the graveyard Bod worksextremely hard to learn the ways of his teachers. He strives tounderstand and learn the skills from all the individual within hisenvironment. The Graveyard Book is definitely a story about theimportance of hard work, courage, and studying hard to master theproficiency needed to succeed in life. Bod acquires extracurricularlessons on mystical skills. In this process, he also acquiresimportant virtues such as kindness and bravery that are thefoundation of a budding hero (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).

Braveryand Courage

Courageand bravery are a key theme in Coraline. First we see corallinetelling the small cat about her father’s definition of bravery asthe cross into the world of the other mother to rescue her family.She succinctly indicates that bravery is not the absence of fear, butdoing what is necessary despite the fear (Moje, 2014). She alsostates that courage and bravery are not a feature that is acquiredimmediately but a value that one must repeatedly seek through acreepy situation (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).


InGraveyard, Bod is the only person on can walk between the boundary oflife and death. He has the ability to see, talk and learn from thedead who are represented by the ghosts. The book exemplifies theafterlife where people exist as ghosts in the graveyard (ShmoopEditorial Team, 2008). The most important thing is that the ghosts donot haunt the graveyard, and they make death look like a nice thing,even though one can easily see that they attach immense value tolife.

Useof Book in Classroom and why the Author is Important to Middle-GradeStudents

Eventhough Graveyard book can be a source of entertainment for people ofall ages, it is particularly a tale for children and young adults.Nail’s extraordinary burial ground is a place that young girls andboys would want to visit. Children would definitely want to look atSilas in the chapel, perhaps go down if they muster courage, to theancient burial chamber, or perhaps if they are brave and reckless asBod look for the Ghoul gate. Middle-grade learners would certainlyappreciate the courage exhibited by Bod, his bad manners, andoccasional mistakes, and perhaps relish his marvelous and great acts.Without a doubt, the humor in the story and the language employed arerelatively sophisticated but Nail respects his readers and trust thatthey are going to understand (Shmoop Editorial Team, 2008).

Developingliteracy across the content areas


Thereare numerous ways through which the Graveyard and Coraline can beused to develop literacy across content areas. One of the mosteffective ways is the use of literacy circle. Literature circle aregroups of students designed to help students discuss numerous aspectsof a novel with their classmates (Katherine, 2004). Most notablyevery student is allowed to choose the role that they are morecomfortable and that is interesting to them, create a way for everystudent to understand the book in a method they do extremely well in(Katherine, 2004). Even though an illustrator may not be necessarywhile reading the book using a literature circle, the other rolessharpen literal skills, fluency and aptitude of every student.Discussions are particularly vital because it creates a suitableground from where every student can build their understanding of theunderlying facts. It offers learners a chance to clarify meaning andbuild comprehension. Literature circles shows students how and whattheir classmates are reasoning and thinking, and this can play a hugerole in making information releant to their own lives (Katherine,2004).


Thistheory places immense emphasis on the role of the reader. Sincemeaning rests in the enactment by the reader, and not on the text,then a teacher should consider the mind of the reader when teachingliterature. Primary responses are very important because it is one ofthe main was that the teacher will know the readers understanding ofthe text and the meaning that is derived from the novel (Probst,2001). In this light, students should be encouraged to examine andrespect their reactions memories, emotions, ideas and associations.Students will create their understanding out of these elements.Teaching literature guided by transaction theory, therefore, becomesa matter of encouraging readers to articulate reactions, inspecttheir origins in the novel and in other experiences, reflect uponthem. Then this should be analyzed in the light of other reading andinformation acquired from literature (Probst, 2001).

Theteacher should create a conducive atmosphere such that the classroomshould be cooperative and not combative. Therefore, group discussionsshould encourage the readers not to win but to redefine and getclarification of the text (Probst, 2001). The student will get agreater knowledge of self, text and peers in the discussion group orclass. Even though the capacity and ability to read astutely, toreflect on different features of language, to derive inferences aboutthe texts, to express decisive conclusion, and all the otherobjectives, the classroom remains important. Rosenblatt’stransaction theory indicates that literature may help middle-gradestudents have a better understanding of self and society (Probst,2001).

Modificationfor ELL Readers

Theultimate objective of reading is to develop language fluency, developcomprehension and understanding of the text. This is not a gargantuantask when the reader has a mastered reading and comprehension skills(Fraley, 2012). ELL and struggling readers should be helped todevelop these skills through various strategies depending on theirlevel of education, whether English is their first language or not.One of the most effective way to encourage and support middle-gradestudents is their use of art in literature (Fraley, 2012). Inliterary, art can be employed as a tool to communicate and elongatethe understanding of a student’s knowledge about the Graveyard andCoraline novels. As the ELL and struggling readers draw a response tothe graveyard and Coraline story, the teacher should be keen so as toobserve their comprehension of the stories and show them why and howthe response can be refined to fit the intended meaning of theauthor. Using art, students are given an opportunity to make theirreading and thinking processes observable, and this offers pricelessinformation about their echelon of understanding.


Fraley,M.R. (2012). UsingKid Pix to Help ELL Students Respond to Literature.Hilliard City School District, Hilliard, Ohio

Gaiman,N., &amp McKean, D. (2008). Thegraveyard book.New York, New York: HarperCollins Publishers.

KatherineL. (2004). Overview of Literature Circle. LiteratureCircles Resource Center.Available at:

m,S.D. (2014). Coraline:A Guided Reading Power Point.Retrieved July 15, 2015 from:

Probst,R. E. (2001). TransactionalTheory in the Teaching of Literature.Available:

ShmoopEditorial Team. (2008) . Coraline Themes. Retrieved July 15, 2015from

ShmoopEditorial Team. (2008). TheGraveyard Book Themes.Retrieved July 15, 2015 from

Wiersema,R.J. (2013). This novel is why your geeky friends rave about NeilGaiman. TheGlobe and Mail.Retrieved July 15, 2015 from: