Between Monsters & Marvels Teacher Resource Guide

Between Monsters and Marvels is a fantastic choice for lit circles, book clubs,  novel study, and parent-child reading clubs, and for exploring issues around truth, history, humanity’s relationship (and domination over) to nature, and issues around power and social control.

Use this guide to deepen reader engagement through discussion questions, self-to-text, and text-to-text connections. There are compare and contrast exercises, art activities, and writing prompts. This guide has been aligned with curriculum standards and can be applied in fourth through seventh-grade classrooms.

Looking for more MARVELous Fun?

Try this  Monstrous word search 

And this exercise with your readers:


In BETWEEN MONSTERS AND MARVELS, the beasts have frightening, monstrous aspects and terrifying defenses. But they also have gifts, the attributes that make them marvels.

Ask your students to write (or draw if you and they prefer) a monster. Their creation can be frightening, or if the students prefer, comical. But they must showcase what it is that makes the creature a monster — is it their claws, or their ability to spit poison? Can they crawl inside you and control your brain? Let the students’ imaginations run wild with what and how a creature can be a monster.

Once the students have described their creations, now ask them to reconsider the beasts. How might those defenses, those very things that make the creatures so frightening, be reimagined as gifts? What biases or stories did they bring to the creation of the monsters that, when looked at through a different lens, might illuminate them in a different light? Fear is highly subjective, so ask the students to consider how and why their creations either make them feel frightened, or feel powerful?

This exercise is designed to encourage students to look at problems from different angles and examine how they to reframe biases.

Download PDF

The Verdigris Pawn Curriculum Guide

The Verdigris Pawn is a great choice for middle school literature circles, book groups, chess clubs, parent-student book clubs, and for exploring issues around empathy, personal empowerment, and social justice.

Use this guide to facilitate meaningful conversations and deepen reader’s engagement around the issues or power, politics, social structure, and class structure. The questions and extension activities are designed to prompt middle school readers to explore the world of the book as well as their own lives experiences, as well as delve into thought-provoking writing prompts.

This guide is aligned with the Common Core Standards for 6th grade but can be applied for grades 4-7. This guide includes essential questions and activities that can be used before, during, and/or after reading, with questions related to social justice denoted by the pawn symbol. This guide also includes extension activities that incorporate creative writing, research, critical thinking.

Download PDF

Compare and Contrast Literature Circle: The Verdigris Pawn/Rea and The Blood of the Nectar

Rea and the Blood of the Nectar and The Verdigris Pawn are stories about friendship, overcoming obstacles, and fighting power-hungry rulers. This makes both books perfect for a Compare and Contrast exercise that will have your students riveted!

Both novels are a perfect choice for a classroom read-aloud, whole-class/school text, literature club, book club, or summer reading list.

The guide is aligned with Common Core Standards for 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th grades. In these easily printable greyscale pages, you will find activities, discussion starters, passage picker, and literature circle questions.

Download PDF