Teaching Children's Literature

“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.” ~C.S. Lewis

The Cay

The Cay by Theodore Taylor. Avon, c. 1969.

Reading Level: 860L

Synopsis: The Cay is a historical fiction novel set during World War II. The story follows a young boy named Phillip living in the Caribbean with his family. After many ships are sunk by Japanese submarines, Phillip’s mother decides to take Phillip back to Virginia for safety. Unfortunately that proves to be a bad idea when their ship is hit by a torpedo and sunk. Phillip ends up on a raft with an African-American man named Timothy and a cat. As a young Caucasian boy, Phillip had been taught many things about African-Americans by his mother, including the fact that they are not the same as white people. Phillip and Timothy eventually become stranded on a deserted island and must learn to survive. Through his journey, he learns about life, responsibility, and that things aren’t always what they seem.

Rationale for Use: Well-developed characters; clear moral that is cleverly articulated.

Content Area Connections: History, Race, World War II

Possible Problems or Concerns: Some offensive language, racist language used


~Ashley Jacot


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This entry was posted on November 23, 2012 by in Uncategorized.

NCSU Teaching KidLit

The Horn Book

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