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K-12 Evaluated Resource Collection

Fake Blood

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Author/Publisher/Website: Gardner, W.
Copyright: 2018
Evaluation/Record Entry Date: Nov/2019
Submitting suppliers/Website: Not Available
Primary Identifier: 9781481495578
Recommended Grades and Subjects/Courses: 5-7
(View recommended grades and subjects) English Language Arts

Resource Description

AJ gets more attention than he bargained for when his attempt to win over Nia, his vampire-obsessed love interest, ends with his teacher—a vampire in disguise—kidnapping him and capturing his friends. Whitney Gardner’s graphic novel “Fake Blood” is a contemporary fantasy and a spoof of the vampire genre. Using brightly-coloured and engaging illustrations, students in Grade 5–7 will be entertained, whether they are reading the novel as part of a literature circle, independently, or as part of a Writer’s Workshop when exploring the graphic-novel genre.

CURRICULUM FIT

Does the resource support BC curriculum?
Moderately
This product supports the Core Competencies of the BC curriculum:
Communication
Creative Thinking
Critical thinking
Positive Personal and Cultural Identity
Personal Awareness and Responsibility
Comments:
This novel supports the English Language Arts 6–8 Big Ideas: "Exploring stories and other texts helps us understand ourselves and make connections to others and to the world” and “language and text can be a source of creativity and joy." Middle-grade readers are likely to identify with the characters' feelings of inadequacy, and their evolving self-acceptance connects to the Personal and Social Core Competencies. As well, because this is a graphic novel, it supports the Curricular Competency: "Recognize and appreciate how different features, forms, and genres of texts reflect various purposes, audiences, and messages."

SOCIAL CONSIDERATIONS

Violence:
Their teacher is revealed to be a vampire. He kidnaps Hunter, a student, and threatens to kill him and the friends who come to rescue him. Nia identified herself as a vampire slayer and she attempts to kill the teacher, as well as AJ, a student who she mistakenly believes is a vampire.
Ethical:
The children's teacher turns out to be a vampire who kidnaps and threatens his students.
Humour:
Some of the humour in the novel relies on making fun of the accent and some of the stereotypes of people from England. For example, expressions such as "Blimey!” “What a jolly good shirt you have!” and “Why, it's the same cracking colour as my house, by Jove!"
Do the social considerations support, rather than detract from, student learning?
Moderately
Social Considerations Comments:
No actual violence occurs. The campy style of the novel prevents adverse reactions to the threats of violence and the revelation that a teacher is a vampire who kidnaps a student. The references to a British accent are mild comments that are unlikely to cause offense.

GENERAL CONTENT

Content
Is the resource engaging?
Extensively
Is the content current for the intended curriculum and grade?
Moderately
Is the content accurate for the intended curriculum and grade?
Moderately
Is the content timely and important for student broad understandings?
Moderately
Audience:
Is the content appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
Moderately
Does the resource provide opportunities for creative and critical thinking?
Moderately
Can the content be differentiated?
Extensively
Can reading level be adjusted?
Extensively
Is the level of detail appropriate?
Extensively
Is the language use appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
Moderately
Comments:
This novel is engaging and will hold special appeal to fans of graphic novels or the vampire genre, and to readers who are interested in artistic expression. Many students will appreciate the humorous allusions to Harry Potter, Twilight, and the genre of vampire books and films. The illustrations boost comprehension, facilitating access to a broad range of reading levels. Written as a spoof, the novel is entertaining rather than being cognitively challenging, and it provides rich opportunities for creative or critical thinking. It addresses the social and emotional needs of students who are struggling to accept themselves, their maturing bodies, and their changing friendships.

TECHNICAL DESIGN

Does the resource make effective use of the medium?
Extensively
Is the location of illustrations appropriate?
Extensively
Is the resource easy to use?
Extensively
Is the use of font, text size and presentation uniform?
Moderately
Are extraneous elements/illustrations kept to a minimum?
Extensively
Comments:
This graphic novel contains 365 brightly-coloured pages. The use of font and text size is generally kept uniform, except when it is used for emphasis or expression, as is common with graphic novels. The pictures are interesting, detailed, and complement the writing. Some of the images are more detailed than others and depict the scenery of Portland, Oregon.

PRINT NOVEL

Does the text show insight into the complexity of the human condition?
Moderately
Does the text broaden students’ experiences and understanding?
Moderately
To what degree is this text stylistically rich?
Moderately
Plot description:
AJ is returning to school after a rather uneventful summer. He did not have a growth spurt or an exciting summer like his two best friends, Ivy and Hunter. Even though he feels boring, he is determined to make the sixth year interesting. With the help of his friends, he will finally capture the attention of Nia, his vampire-obsessed love interest. AJ's attempts to disguise himself as a vampire to appeal to Nia are disastrous when she reveals herself to be a vampire slayer. Hunter's werewolf impression fools their teacher, a vampire in disguise, who then kidnaps him and captures the children who come to rescue him. Ultimately, the children convince the vampire to forsake human blood.
Related Comments:
This resource is a graphic novel that can also be considered a contemporary fantasy and a spoof of the vampire genre. Some of the literary highlights are the allusions to popular culture as well as the rich characterization, mostly through compelling images, of the characters. This novel can be used to consider points of view, particularly AJ's, Mr. Niles', and Nia's. The visual highlights add substantially to the merit of this novel.
Genre:
Contemporary
Fantasy
Ilustrated Novel
Literary Highlights:
Rich Characterization
Point of view
Type:
Graphic Novel
Visual Highlights:
Graphic Novel

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

Readability:
At intended grade level(s)
Comments:
Awards include the CCBC Choices 2019 award for Fiction for Children; a Kirkus Best Books Middle-Grade, 2018; and NYPL Best Books for Kids, 2018.

SUGGESTED CLASSROOM USAGE

Comments:
This novel would be best suited as a literature circle novel. It would be especially good for ELL and struggling readers. In addition, it could be enjoyed as an independent reading novel. Teachers could use it during a Writer's Workshop to explore the graphic-novel genre and the relationship between literature and art. Lastly, it could be used to address some students' social-emotional needs because of the themes of acceptance and loving yourself as you are.
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