Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ender's Shadow: Battle School

Bibliographic Information: Card, O. S (Creator), Carey, M (Script) & Fiumara, S. (Illustrator).  (2009).  Ender's Shadow: Battle School.  New York: Marvel Comics. ISBN: 978-0-7851-3596-8

Plot Summary:
Ender's Shadow: Battle School tells the story of Bean, a young abandoned child with a mysterious past who must survive in a war torn Rotterdam amongst the masses of homeless children. In a twist of fate, in which Bean witnesses the death of the beloved street gang leader, Poke, Bean fears for his life and is taken into the care of Sister Carlotta. Bean begins to spike the curiosity of Sister Carlotta who believes him to be special and unusual. Sister Carlotta then finds out how special Bean is when she administers a series of tests that prove his aptitude and mental understanding to be off of the charts. Sister Carlotta works hard to nominate Bean for Battle School, a contingent that is overseen by Colonel Graff. Colonel Graff is not convinced that Bean is special but extends an invitation to his school anyways. Bean is then immersed in Battle School where he carefully watches the world around him, always one step ahead of the rest.

Critical Evaluation: Based on Orson Scott Card's, Ender's Shadow novel, Ender's Shadow: Battle School takes a closer look at the character of Bean. Although Ender's Shadow: Battle School can be read as a stand alone graphic novel, many of the details of this story come from the novels. Sebastian Fiumara, brings this story to life with large multi-frame illustrations of Bean's life
and world. The use of different angles and perspectives allow the reader to fall into Bean's story, giving the book an almost voyeuristic feel. Through Fiumara rich illustrations the reader is also able to witness the development of Bean, as he carefully plots his every move from the beginning of the story until the end. The reader almost forgets that Bean is really a small child ranging in age between 4 and 7 years of age because of his confrontational attitude. Bean is also constantly illustrated in rigid unblinking stances that communicate his lack of fear and his calculating and cool exterior. Fiumara's carefully picked palette of subdued colors really bring a sharp contrast to the characters and hectic quality of the war torn Rotterdam world.

Reader’s Annotation:
The world continues to exist in disrepair forcing children to fight till the death in order to survive another day.
Information About the Author: Orson Scott Card was born in Richland, Washington in 1951 to a devout Mormon family (Card, 2012). Hi great grandfather, Charles Ora Card, was married to Zina Young Card daughter of Brigham Young, a very influential Mormon (Card, 2012). Card spent much of his childhood moving around but eventually ended up in Salt Lake City, Utah where he received a Presidential Scholarship to attend Brigham Young University  where he enrolled as an archeology major (Card, 2012). All throughout his childhood, Card was always interested in theater and eventually decided to change majors to become a theater major (Card, 2012). He ended up leaving his university a few credits short of graduating in order to go on his two year Mormon mission in Brazil (Card, 2012). Card eventually returned, finished his college degree, and proceeded to start a theater company that failed (Card, 2012). Card got married in 1977 to a daughter of a Brigham Young professor, Kristine Allen (Card, 2012). Card and his wife began a family, of which only three survived. 

Card has spent most of his career writing for several different Mormon publications in order to support his family (Card, 2012). He eventually wrote Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow in the 1990's which both slowly amassed a cult following. He currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with his wife and family (Card, 2012).

Science Fiction, Mystery, Horror, and Suspense, Adventure

Dystopian, Alternate Worlds, Militaristic, Space Opera and Galactic Empires
Curriculum Ties: N/A

Booktalking Ideas:

1). Why does Bean tell Poke to kill Achilles?
2). Why doesn't Bean play the computer games each "launchy" has been given?

Reading Level/Interest Age: Grades 10-12 (Karp, 2012)  

Challenge Issues: Includes themes of graphic violence and blood. I would use the following items to defend this book if it was challenged:

1) Refer to Library Bill of Rights, see items: I, II, and III (
2) Refer to San Diego Public Library collection policy - (  Original site: The American Library Association (ALA) Freedom to Read/View Statement (
3) Refer to California School Library Association (CSLA), Model School Library Standards - September 2010 ( PDF: (
4) Refer t0 American Association for School, Librarians Standards for the 21st Century Learner (
5) Contact Office of Intellectual Freedom for any further support, 800-545-2433, ext. 4223 or
6) Refer to legitimate book reviews, such as: School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, Horn Book and others; found on either Academic Search Premier, Follett's TITLEWAVE, or

Why did you include this graphic novel in the titles you selected?:
I picked this graphic novel because it is a great addition to my collection. This graphic novel will interest reluctant readers who love science fiction stories. It may also motivate students to read Orson Scott Card's novels which will help further strengthen reading skills.

Reference Page: 

Karp, J.  (2012).  Booklist reviewRetrieved August 5, 2012 from

Cara, O. S.  (2012).  Who is Orson Scott Card?.  Retrieved August 5, 2012 from

cover art:

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