Coraline by Neil Gaiman Activities

Coraline by Neil Gaiman Activities

If you’re looking for a thrilling adventure filled with magic, mystery, and danger, then Neil Gaiman’s Coraline is the perfect book for you. This award-winning novel follows the story of a young girl named Coraline. She moves to a new house with her family. Soon afterward, Coraline discovers a secret door that leads to a parallel world where everything seems perfect. But as Coraline soon discovers, there are sinister forces at work in this other world. She must use all her wit and courage to find her way back home and save her family from a terrifying fate.

With its engaging plot, unforgettable characters, and eerie atmosphere, Coraline is a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat. So come along with Coraline on this unforgettable journey, and discover the magic and terror that awaits you on the other side of the door.

Coraline Teaching Activities

Book Unit Samples

Coraline  Novel Study Samples

Check out this novel study sample for Chapter 1. This sample includes vocabulary practice, comprehension questions, and a constructed response question on the setting.

Teaching Idea #1  – Symbolism

Coraline Teaching Activities

Overall, the symbols In Coraline help to reinforce the themes of identity, free will, and the dangers of temptation and deception that run throughout the book.

The use of mirrors:

Mirrors are a recurring motif throughout the book. Coraline’s reflection in the mirror represents her true self. When the Other Mother looks at her reflection, it is distorted, representing her deceptive nature.

The button eyes:

The Other Mother sews button eyes onto her victims. This represents their loss of identity and free will. It also symbolizes the danger of giving up one’s individuality and blindly following others.


The cat:

The cat in the story serves as a symbol of mystery and power. It is able to move between worlds and has a deep understanding of the dangers Coraline faces.

The ghost children:

The ghost children that Coraline meets represent the victims of the Other Mother’s deception. They are trapped in the Other World and unable to escape. They represent the danger of becoming trapped in a false reality.


Teaching Idea #2  – Playlist

Coraline Teaching Activities

Have students create a playlist of songs that represent scenes or characters in the novel Coraline. Here are some examples to get you started:

  • “Creep” by Radiohead – This song could represent the character of the Other Mother. It illustrates how she initially presents herself as kind and caring but is actually manipulative and dangerous.

  • “Blackbird” by The Beatles – This song could represent the theme of bravery and the idea of taking flight.

  • “Behind Blue Eyes” by The Who – This song could represent the character of the Cat. The Cat is mysterious but helpful to Coraline.

  • “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac – This song could represent the theme of change and growth that Coraline goes through over the course of the book.

  • “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor – This song could represent the theme of determination that Coraline displays as she faces the challenges in the Other World.

  • “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel – This song could represent the eerie and quiet nature of the Other World, where things are not as they seem.

  • “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey – This song could represent the idea of holding on to hope and b

Teaching Idea #3 – Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is a British author. He was born on November 10, 1960, in Portchester, England. Gaiman has written novels, short stories, comics, and screenplays, and is known for his work in the genres of fantasy, horror, and science fiction.

Gaiman has written many novels and short stories. Some of his most well-known novels include Stardust, Neverwhere, and Coraline. He has also written several children’s books, including The Graveyard Book and Fortunately, the Milk.

Gaiman’s writing style is often characterized by his use of mythological and fairy tale elements. He uses a  lot of vivid imagery. His stories often have a dark and eerie tone but are also filled with humor and whimsy. He is known for his ability to create fully-realized, fantastical worlds that are both imaginative and believable.

Gaiman has been widely praised for his work. He has won numerous awards for his writing, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker Awards.


Teaching Idea #4 – The Movie Trailer

If you don’t have time to watch the full movie, students can compare the movie trailer to the book. 

The movie adaptation of Coraline remains faithful to the book’s themes. Some of the biggest differences between the book and the movie include  the following:

  • Some scenes and characters from the book are either shortened or omitted entirely in the movie.
  • In the movie, the Other Mother is more menacing and scary.
  • The movie adds the character Wybie to play the role of Coraline’s friend and ally.

Teaching Idea #5  – Coraline The Play

This short two-minute video highlights the play presented by the San Francisco Playhouse. Use it as a hook for the book. Ask students questions after they have watched the clip to pique interest in the book.

  • The music sets the mood. What does it tell the listener about the story? How does the music make you feel? 
  • What is going on with the buttons over the characters’ eyes?
  • What does the lady mean when she says she is Coraline’s other mother?
  • The actresses say Coraline is in terrible danger. What could this danger be?

Teaching Idea #6 – On the Web


Have students use this Coraline coloring page for a book cover for printables for the unit. 

PowerPoint going over “The Language of Film” The PowerPoint goes over the sequence, symbolism, setting, and more using still images from the film.

See the product that inspired this post.

Coraline Novel Study

Coraline Novel Study includes vocabulary practice, comprehension questions, constructed response writing, and skill practice.  

Gay Miller

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