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
When his favorite TV star comes to Cedar Valley, Nolan Byrd is the happiest kid/cyber-superhero in Cedar Valley, until a sleazy tabloid reporter starts hounding the celebrity. Can Shredderman reveal this slimy paparazzi photographer for “the mole” he is?
ABOUT THIS AUTHOR
Growing up, Wendelin Van Draanen
was a 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 series?
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 Nolan Byrd?
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 series?
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.
On page 68, Nolan says, “But the fight for truth and justice was bigger than wanting friends. Bigger than being called Nerd. Bigger
than me.” Discuss what Nolan means by this statement. What’s so important about truth and justice?2.
What does Nolan mean when he says, “Inside, my dad’s got the heart of a superhero.” (p. 93)3.
Reread Chapter 15, “Scared Circuitless.” Why does Bubba yell at Miss Newby and then storm out of the room. Why do you think a
tough-guy like Bubba was crying?4.
On page 134, Nolan wonders if he lived with Bubba’s dad, would he get meaner? And if Bubba lived with Mr. Byrd, would he get nicer?
What do you think would happen if Nolan and Bubba switched dads? What do you think is the key to making Bubba a nicer boy?
Nolan Byrd has a colorful way with words. Go back through the book and make a list of similes, metaphors, and other creative ways
Nolan uses to describe people and things. For example, on page 89, Nolan says, “Bullets started shooting out of my sweat glands.” Have students illustrate one expression from the list.2.
Sticky, a kleptomaniac gecko, is the sidekick on Nolan’s favorite television show. Have the class research information on geckos and other radical reptiles.3. The Gecko and Sticky
is shooting an episode in Old Town, the historic district of Cedar Valley. Assign each student a site or event from
your town’s history. Challenge students to come up with creative ways of presenting their research findings to the class.
(p. 14), quarks
(p. 18), literally
(p. 23), hospitality
(p. 28), loitering
(p. 48), gastropod
(p. 54), scurried
(p. 76), ingot
(p. 76), wrangler
(p. 85), fumigate
(p. 121), miffed
(p. 155), and vigilante
ABOUT THIS GUIDE
Prepared by Colleen Carroll, Education Consultant, Curriculum Writer, and Children’s Book Author, Sleepy Hollow, NY. Download a PDF of the Teacher's Guide