Embrace the Mayhem!

With the help of my niece, Abbey–a Language Arts teacher in Houston, I’ve gathered together activities to help students explore my middle grade fantasy, FROM THE GRAVE. In creating my monster story, I wanted to do more than simply entertain. I wanted my characters to leap off the pages and into the hearts and minds of the readers. Here are some ways to further explore my monsters and their world. Keep checking back for more teacher resources and writing tools.




From The Grave Discussion/Short Answer Questions

  1. What do you think is the toughest challenge that Frank faces in From The Grave? Why do you think this is the hardest challenge for him? How does Frank respond to this challenge? Would you have responded the same way? Why or why not?
  2. What do you think is the toughest challenge that Malcolm faces in From the Grave? Why do you think this is the hardest challenge for him? Does Malcolm try to solve this problem? How? Do you agree with how Malcolm responds to his problems?
  3. Which character do you think faces the most difficult problem in From the Grave and what is that problem? Why would you say that their problem is the most difficult?
  4. Which character in From the Grave do you think handles their problems in the best way? What are their problems and how do they handle them? Would you have handled them the same way?
  5. What are some of the differences between the main settings in From the Grave? (Compare and Contrast Uggarland and Exxillium) Which setting would you rather live in if you were a monster?
  6. Why do Frank and the other monsters travel to Exxillium the first time? How would the story be different if they hadn’t traveled to Exxillium towards the beginning of the novel?
  7. Why does Frank continue to bring up his Granny Bubbie? What purpose does she serve in the story? How would the story be different if Frank never mentioned her?
  8. Why do you think the point of view in the chapters changes off and on between Frank and Malcolm? Would the story be different if it was only told from Frank’s or Malcolm’s perspective? How?
  9. Which character in From the Grave do you connect with the most? Why?
  10. What do you think is the strongest message in the book From the Grave? Which character do you think really understands this message the most?
  11. Choose one of the following lines from From the Grave. Explain what type of figurative language is used and what’s the purpose for the figurative language.

“I rolled my eyes to signal the others to run for it. But they stood motionless, frozen like iced yuckledrops.” (p. 14)

“I swear I heard the tree sigh then. I pressed my forehead against its cold, hard bark. Its chill encased me like a tomb.” (p. 62)

“The green ‘X’ etched on my palm glowed bright in the cellar gloom. The stinging pain from it pulsed from my hand, up my arm, and exploded behind my eyes.” (p.161)



From The Grave Writing Prompts

  1. If you were a monster living in Uggarland, what kind of monster would you be? Describe yourself physically and describe a day in the life of YOU as a monster.
  2. Create a new setting that could be found in the monster world, Uggarland. Write a scene with one or more of the From the Grave characters at this new setting. (examples of setting: Fiendful Fiends Academy, the dungeon, Cemetery Park, Exxillium)
  3. Write a prologue for From the Grave. Remember, a prologue would come BEFORE the 1st chapter in the book. What do you think happened before the events in Chapter 1? Remember to introduce characters, setting, and decide who is going to be telling the story in the prologue.
  4. What kind of conversations do you think Frank and his Granny Bubbie had before she died? Create a conversation that could have happened between them in the past. Remember to use dialogue and to punctuate it correctly.
  5. Think back to the moment Frank and the monsters first experienced seeing Exxillium. If you could write a whole chapter devoted to describing the setting of Exxillium in detail, what would it include? Practice writing the chapter.
  6. What do you think happens to Malcolm at the end of the book From the Grave: Monster or Die? Write a conclusion including what you think happens to Malcolm.
  7. What do you think Frank will do next as the story picks up in Book 2: Into the Shadowlands? Write a scene for the beginning of Book 2.


From the Grave Vocabulary Words

Look up the meaning of these words in the context of the story:

somber (p. 7)

relished (p. 7)

ample (p. 12)

impromptu (p. 14)

precariously (p. 14)

nuisance (p. 14)

triumphant (p. 16)

mutant (p. 18)

tormenting (p. 50)

implode (p. 77)

stigma (p. 90)

exiled (p. 91)

ajar (p. 108)

mausoleum (p. 124)

mayhem (p. 125)

bravado (p. 153)



From The Grave Who Said It? Quiz

  1. “Frankenstein Frightface Gordon, you are a nuisance as well as a misfit. A decidedly undesirable combination.” _________________________
  2. “Next time you see me coming, assume that position, scumbutt. Otherwise, I’m gonna level you. Flatter than a road kill pancake. Understand?” ____________________________
  3. “Don’t be mad at me , Granny! Ghoulbert made me do it!” ______________________________
  4. “Don’t you dare let them make you into what you don’t want to be. You are more than monster enough.” __________________________
  5. “With this latest edict, the older misfits will be the first to go. Fiendish Fiends Academy must achieve a Top Ghoul School Award this year.” _________________________________
  6. “Boogers to all of you! You goons better not mess with me.” _____________________________
  7. “The witches will fly you all to the island. I’ll wait here – until nightfall.” ____________________________
  8. “I’m not cut out to be a real monster. I’m not the right color. I don’t want to scare humans. I don’t want to use my anger to hurt a monster or a human. And I just can’t stand being covered in bat poop…” _______________________________
  9. “He doesn’t have much time left. Most here don’t. Too much fresh air takes its toll. Homesickness. Sunshine. And those blood-thirsty Minotaurs.” _______________________________
  10. “That was Doubledose Tankster, I’m sure. My best friend. We were on the Scare Patrol together.” ___________________________


FTG Crossword Puzzle

FTG Word Search

From the Grave Character Chart

From the Grave Venn Diagram

Monster Diary