When the BFG carries Sophie out of her orphanage window, she is transported to a magical world where she learns that the BFG is the only giant who doesn’t eat humans. Together, Sophie and the BFG enact a plan to save people around the world from the other giants.
Below are some reading passages that we have hand picked to supplement this book. Be sure to read the passage summaries and our suggestions for instructional use.
In “Kayvan the Brave,” Elizabeth Laird retells an Iranian short story about a weaver’s apprentice who becomes a well-known warrior through a series of misunderstandings.
Read this short story after “The BFG” chapter to have students analyze characters’ perspectives. In this chapter, the BFG reveals himself to be a friendly giant, despite his terrifying appearance. Have students discuss what they have learned about the BFG so far. Then, have students discuss what the captain and soldiers think about Kayvan. Have students analyze the different perspectives held by various characters in The BFG and “Kayvan the Brave.” Ask, “How is Sophie’s perception of the BFG different from who he actually is? How are the captain’s and soldiers’ perception of Kayvan different from who he actually is? How do the misunderstandings between the characters affect them?” Students may give examples of the ways the BFG’s and Kayvan’s words and actions cause fear and confusion.
In Shel Silverstein’s poem “Underface,” a speaker describes the face they show to the world and the one that hides underneath.
Read this poem after “The Marvellous Ears” chapter to have students analyze character traits. In this chapter, Sophie learns more about the BFG’s personality and his job as a dream-catcher. Have students discuss the BFG’s feelings and actions in this chapter. Then, have students discuss the theme of “Underface.” Have students consider the difference between outer appearance and true self. Ask, “What did Sophie think about the BFG when he first took her to his cave? How would you describe the difference between the BFG’s ‘outside face’ and his ‘underface?’” Students may contrast the BFG’s deep emotions and gentleness to his scary appearance.
In Tony Medina’s poem “Poetry Means the World to Me,” Medina speaks from Langston Hughes’ point of view to explore his love for poetry.
Read this poem after the “Snozzcumbers” chapter to have students think about the theme of communication. In this chapter, Sophie tells the BFG, whose words are jumbled and nonsensical, that he speaks beautifully. Have students discuss the BFG’s reaction to Sophie’s compliment. Then, have students discuss what the speaker says about words in “Poetry Means the World to Me.” Have students analyze the theme of communication in both texts. Ask, “Why is the BFG so grateful to Sophie when she compliments his speech? How is the BFG’s use of language similar to the description in ‘Poetry Means the World to Me?’” Students may describe the importance of using specific words to describe exactly what you think and feel.
In this well-known fairy tale, a young boy secures a fortune through bold fearlessness and risk-taking.
Read this classic fairytale before starting the chapter titled “A Trogglehumper for the Fleshlumpeater” to build students’ background knowledge and discuss characters’ perspectives. In this chapter, the giants discuss Jack, the “famous giant-killer” who owns a beanstalk. Have students discuss why the giants are scared of Jack. Then, have students discuss what Jack thinks about the ogres in “Jack and the Beanstalk.” Have students compare and contrast the characters’ perspectives. Ask, “What are the similarities and differences between how Jack and the giants view each other in the two stories?” Students should give examples of the various characters’ thoughts and feelings to support their thinking.
In “Little Yin and the Moon,” a little girl works to repair nature in order to help her family.
Read this folktale after finishing the chapter “The Queen” to have students analyze character motivation. In this chapter, Sophie and the BFG enact their plan to talk to the Queen about the missing children. Have students discuss the steps Sophie takes to meet the queen. Then, have students discuss the steps Yin takes to help her family in “Little Yin and the Moon.” Have students compare the characters’ motivations. Ask, “Why is Sophie determined to talk to the queen? Why is Yin determined to reach the moon? How are the characters’ feelings and actions similar?” Students may draw on themes of bravery, cleverness, and justice.
In the informational text “Granuaile,” Fiona Waters discusses a female leader and pirate in Ireland who lived during the 16th century.
Read this biography after finishing The BFG to have students analyze the themes of bravery and social conventions. Have students discuss how the BFG grew and changed over the course of the novel. Then, have students discuss how Granuaile became a powerful pirate and leader. Have students compare the BFG and Granuaile. Ask, “How did the BFG and Granuaile reject others’ expectations of them? Why were their actions brave?” Students may give examples of the ways the BFG and Granuaile refused to act how others thought they should and therefore found happiness and success.