About the Book…
Our school invited author Wesley King to speak to the Grade 7 and 8 students and he was funny, approachable, and humble. All the kids were engaged and mesmerized by the author of The Vindico and his story of aging super villains that recruit teenagers to take their place in the future. So when we were deciding on the next book, many of the girls had read and loved The Vindico and really wanted to discuss it as a book club. As a closet superhero/supervillain geek, I was all for it!
What We Did…
I searched the web for food ideas and mostly came up with superhero birthday party snacks in a red, white, and blue colour scheme. I decided to take my lead from the book’s cover and create a red and black table with ornate candles and lots of super-heroic and super-villainous snacks and drinks. Power-pepperoni and veggie sticks, hero-hummus and lemonade in pink (hero) and green (villain) rounded out the menu.
Since the author, Wesley King, had visited our school earlier in the year, I had the advantage of hearing a bit about how The Vindico came to be. But the book is so new that there isn’t much out there in terms of discussion questions and The Vindico website is a bit light, shall we say, with regard to reading guides and activities.
So I created a few discussion questions (help yourself below) and we had a lively debate on whether we cheered for the hero or villain more often as well as whether anyone can be truly all bad or all good. As children of the 2000’s, the girls didn’t grow up with the the straight villainous character the way we did – they watched Anakin Skywalker turn into Darth Vader slowly and out of heartbreak, not pure evilness. So seeing the human side of villains was easier for them in a way (although finding the human side of some of The Vindico villains was a bit difficult at times!).
I found a lot of activities and lesson plans around heroes on the web, but my favourite (and most applicable) came from www.readwritethink.org. This a great website for classroom resources as well as enrichment activities for teachers and parents. I used a lesson plan called Fantastic Characters: Analyzing and Creating Superheroes and Villains and had the girls create their superhero or supervillain complete with a back story. Giving them a list of sample characteristics helped, but imaginations were running wild and we had everything from invisibility to breathing fire included in the profiles.
The culminating piece of the activity was to design a “calling card”. I showed them samples from the web (Gandalf and Hermione Granger to be exact) and then armed them with a template on card stock and coloured pencils. Everyone really got into it and, as usually happens, I wished I wasn’t so busy coordinating everything so I could have participated too. The final products turned out really nice (photos to come later).
EVERYTHING IN ONE PLACE:
Every member of the Bookworm Bookclub enjoyed The Vindico, including me. The book was fun, even though some of the subject matter was more serious, and it’s the perfect book for an age where kids are starting to realize that grown-ups aren’t always right. After debating who would be the best actors to cast for each part in the movie, we all agreed reading the next book in the series would be the perfect summer read! Let’s hope we can get our hands on Feros (Book #2!) before school ends.