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Codex Black: A Fire Among Clouds Teaching Guide 

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Explore Mesoamerican history, myth, and legend through historical fiction using Pop Culture Classroom’s teaching guide for IDW Publishing’s new graphic novel, Codex Black: A Fire Among Clouds. 

Codex Black: A Fire Among Clouds by Camilo Moncada Lozano  is a historical fiction graphic novel for middle-grade readers, telling an epic tale within  a fictionalized version of 15th century Mesoamerica. Its story is shaped by myth and legend, and is set against the backdrop of the era’s history and politics. 

The free downloadable teaching guide — aligned to 6th – 8th grade Literature and History/Social Studies Common Core Standards — is a great classroom resource for teachers, librarians, and other educators, with ready-to-use: 

  • Pre-reading activities, 
  • Discussion questions, 
  • Project ideas, and 
  • Media pairings. 

The graphic novel follows Donaji, a 15-year-old girl on a journey to find her missing father, and Itzcacalotl, a teenage boy with crow-like wings in search of purpose and belonging. On their journeys, the two characters join forces and encounter monsters, kings, and gods that challenge as they learn and grow. 

Students will be drawn in by action and mystery as they unravel the questions surrounding Donaji’s father’s identity and whereabouts, and the evil forces brewing in the background. 

With Pop Culture Classroom’s Codex Black: A Fire Among Clouds teaching guide — prepared in collaboration with the team at IDW Publishing — students can learn about themes and topics like: 

  • Mesoamerican History, Myth, and Legend: The story of Codex Black is fictional, but it is fundamentally intertwined with real-life history, myth, and legend from 15th century Mesoamerica.   
  • Lost and Found: During their journeys, Codex Black’s main protagonists lose companions, money, and even their sense of worth. However, as the story progresses, they find new fulfillment through friends and family, community, and purpose. 
  • Purpose, Belonging, and Acceptance: The story’s main protagonists are motivated by a need for purpose, belonging, and acceptance throughout the story. Ultimately, each is found in unexpected places. 
  • Family and Loyalty: Bonds are tested during the tumultuous times of Codex Black’s story. 
  • Guilt, and Imposter Syndrome: Donaji’s imposter syndrome drives her to prove her worth and strength, often causing her to act impulsively.

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