Eleven-year-old Zach has magical powers, just like everyone in his family, but he’s having trouble harnessing his abilities.
To help his powers manifest and to help him appreciate his natural gifts, Zach’s parents decide that he needs to be around ‘real’ people more. No more homeschooling – it’s time for Zach to enter the scary world of secondary school!
Teaching Ideas and Resources:
- Create a story about yourself with the title ‘My Magical Life’.
- Write a biography of the author.
- Use the first line of the story (“Just one more try, please?”) as the first line of your own story.
- Mr. King has a magical wristwatch that can turn back time. Use this object as part of a new story. What might happen if it was lost or stolen? What would you do if you found it?
- Write a newspaper article about the discovery of a magical family living in a nearby farmhouse.
- Write Zach’s diary entry at different points in the story. These could include:
- After he overhears his parents talking about the possibility that his magical powers have been ‘skipped’,
- After his first day at school,
- After he discovers the magical caps,
- After Zach and Aaron get their revenge on Tricia.
- Chapter 4 ends with the phrase, ‘What could possibly go wrong?’ Could you use this as a cliffhanger moment in your own writing?
- Write an article for a school newspaper about the time when Zach got trapped inside a vending machine.
- Some of the words in the book are written using American English. Can you make a list of spelling differences between American and British English?
- Create a persuasive advert to encourage people to buy the amazing magical snapbacks.
- Write a persuasive letter from Zach to his parents encouraging them to let him stay at school after they find out about his magical powers.
- What happens to Zach and his friends after this book ends? Could you write a sequel?
- ‘The Amazing Zach’ uses twenty bottles of carbonated soda (under pressure) to fly through the air. Describe the forces that take place when the pressure is released.
- Aaron edits the video of Zach falling into the vending machine. Can you record and edit your own ‘magic’ video? Could you add titles, transitions, sounds effects and music to enhance the performance?
- The video of Zach gets posted online. Discuss online safety rules and think about how you can keep your own images and personal information private.
- Design a website to promote your own magical YouTube channel.
- Make a stop-motion animation that retells part of this story (or shows one of the magic tricks).
- This book has an augmented reality companion app (see the video below). Could you plan / design some some AR experiences for one of your favourite books?
- Look at the character profiles at the front of the book. Could you create similar profiles about yourself, your friends and your family members?
- Choose your favourite part of the story and create a new illustration or comic strip to accompany it. Could you use a similar style to the pictures in the book?
- The author has created a ‘Draw My Life’ video (see below). Could you create your own ‘Draw My Life’ comic strip or video?
- Compose a soundtrack for an animated version of the book.
- Imagine that you had magical powers. What would you use them for?
- Tricia is a bully. Discuss what this means and how it affects the people involved. Plan a range of activities that discourage children from bullying each other, and help those who are involved.
- Zach says that “you don’t have to be cruel to be cool.” What does this mean? Could you use this as a slogan on posters?
- When Rachel discovers Zach’s secret, she promises not to tell anyone else. What is a ‘promise’? Have you ever kept a promise to somebody else?