NOTE TO TEACHERS
Nolan Byrd is a great kid who feels “invisible.”
With no friends and a bully named Bubba
constantly hounding him, school isn’t an easy
place to be. It’s a good thing that Nolan has
terrific parents who support him, and a cool
teacher who inspires him. Fed up with Bubba
and his bullying ways, Nolan creates a Web site
for his alter ego, cyber-superhero Shredderman.
As Shredderman, Nolan exposes Bubba the
bully, and along the way, discovers that the
fight for truth and justice is bigger and more
important than his own problems.
ABOUT THIS BOOK
Someone is spray-painting dumb baby faces all over Cedar Valley, and some people
think Shredderman is responsible! It’s up to Nolan to expose the tagger’s true identity
and clear Shredderman’s good name.
ABOUT THIS AUTHOR
Growing up,Wendelin Van
tomboy who loved
to be outside chasing
down adventure. She
did not decide that
she wanted to be an
author until she was
an adult. When she
tried her hand at writing a screenplay about a family
tragedy, she found the process quite cathartic, and
from that experience, turned to writing novels for adults.
She soon stumbled upon the joys of writing for children.
Van Draanen lives with her husband and two sons in
California.Q. What inspired you to write the Shredderman
A confluence of several things: having been
bullied as a child; seeing my oldest son ostracized at
school; being a computer science teacher; and observing
that kids find ways to bully other kids.
I wanted to create something fun, fast-paced,
and substantive that would help spark a love
of reading.Q. What do you like best about your character
That he’s a champion of the underdog. He’s undaunted,
creative, enthusiastic, and is such
a sweet kid.Q. What has been the best compliment you’ve ever
received from a child about the Shredderman
The most touching comment came from a shy fourthgrade
boy who approached me after a school visit and
whispered, “I wish Shredderman went to our school.”
I leaned forward and whispered back, “He does.”
Then I tapped him on the chest and said, “He’s right
inside. You just have to let him out.”
DISCUSSION AND WRITING1.
What is vandalism? Why is writing
graffiti on public structures a
form of vandalism? Why do taggers—
people who paint graffiti—
deface property when they know it’s
a crime? What are more positive
ways to creatively express yourself?2.
On pages 55 and 56, Nolan
recounts how his feelings were hurt
by kids who wrote cruel comments
in his fourth-grade yearbook. Discuss
this passage and have students
respond to Nolan’s questions, “Why
did they have to be mean like that?
Did they really think it was funny?”3.
Sometimes Nolan feels like
he’s invisible. Reread the last
paragraph on page 91 and
continue through the first three
lines on page 92. Ask students to
discuss situations in which they have
felt invisible. Challenge students to
befriend someone they don’t know,
invite a student who is eating lunch
alone to join their table, or include a
new student in a game during recess.
Shredderman is on a quest for
truth and justice. Brainstorm with
your class about some societal
problems of concern to students.
Examples might be homelessness,
the environment, or the excess stray
animal population. As a class, choose
one issue as a “class cause.” Help
students devise ways in which they
can help out, such as conducting
a clothing drive, organizing a neighborhood
clean-up day, or sponsoring
a pet-adoption event with your local
Keith Haring was a former tagger
who became a well-known painter.
His graffiti-inspired style became
popular in the 1980s, and his work
hangs in museums all over the world.
Partner with the school art teacher to
introduce students to the work of
Keith Haring. Have students create
their own art work inspired by the
late artist’s unique style.3.
Invite a local police officer to
speak to students about vandalism
in the community. Have students
prepare questions for the speaker
in advance of the visit.
(p. 22), scour
(p. 26), anonymous
(p. 28), tweaked
(p. 31), invincible
(p. 33), indignant
(p. 94), mortal
(p. 98), schizophrenic
(p. 106), Fahrenheit
(p. 119), erratic
(p. 126). Download a PDF of the Teacher's Guide