This is our catalog of courses. We will occasionally adjust the course listing to reflect the addition of new courses and the retirement of others. 

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Heroic Animals: Fantasy Literature for Middle School

Join this course for an immersive journey into the captivating realms of ‘Redwall’ and ‘Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.’ Explore courageous animal protagonists, epic adventures, and thought-provoking themes as we unravel two enchanting tales that have excited readers for years.

Total classes: 12

Prerequisite: None

Suggested grade level: 6th to 8th grade 

Suggested credit: One full semester of Literature or Modern Literature. Follow in the spring semester with Of Mountains, Monsters, and Men: Tales That Influenced Tolkien and Lewis for a full year credit. 

Special notes: This is the first of a two-course series. For a full year of literature, register also for Of Mountains, Monsters, and Men: Tales That Influenced Tolkien and Lewis offered in the Spring semester.


Get excited about reading as we embark on a thrilling literary adventure. Together we will delve into the enchanting worlds of ‘Redwall’ and ‘The Rats of NIMH.’ Students will explore the rich tapestry of Brian Jacques’ animal kingdom in ‘Redwall,’ where valiant mice, stoic badgers, and cunning rats engage in epic quests and battles. In contrast, we will unravel the mysterious and thought-provoking narrative of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, navigating the complexities of courage, friendship, and the impact of scientific experimentation on the animal kingdom.


Class 1 September 3rd: Introduction to the world of Redwall

Class 2 September 10th: Redwall Book I chapters 1-10

Class 3 September 17th: Redwall Book I chapters 11-20

Class 4 September 24th: Redwall Book II chapters 1-13

Class 5 October 1st: Redwall Book II chapters 14-23

Class 6 October 15th: Redwall Book III chapters 1-15

Class 7 October 22nd: Introducing Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Class 8 October 29th: Mrs. Frisby pp. 1-64

Class 9 November 5th: Mrs. Frisby pp. 65-116

Class 10 November 12th: Mrs. Frisby pp. 117-175

Class 11 November 19th: Mrs. Frisby pp. 176-231

Class 12 December 3rd: Final projects and reflections

Materials and Homework

Materials: Redwall (1986) by Brian Jacques and Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of NIMH (1971) by Robert C. O’Brien. Any unabridged editions or audiobooks will do.

Homework: The only homework before the first class is to obtain a copy of the books. Thereafter, students should plan on approximately one to two hours of homework each week outside of the classroom. This includes 50-75 pages of reading, comprehension quizzes before each class, and participating in a weekly discussion board. There is also a Final Project. Students will choose their hands-on project idea at the beginning of the course for instructor approval. This may include, but is not limited to, a PowerPoint presentation, a storyboard quest, fan fiction, heroic ballad, or other musical presentation. Be prepared to have fun!

Important Dates

Class dates: Tuesdays, September 3 to December 3, 2024. (No class Oct. 8th & Nov. 26th)

Starting time: 11:30 AM Eastern (10:30 Central, 9:30 Mountain, 8:30 Pacific)

Duration: 45 minutes

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