Midnight for Charlie Bone: Children of the Red King Book 1 (Hardcover) by Jenny Nimmo; cover illustrated by Chris Sheeban, New York: Orchard Books, 2002. ISBN: 978-0439474290. pp: 401. Ages: 9-12 Gr. 4-7
Paperback (Egmont Books, 2002) ISBN: 9780749748883



Charlie bone lives at home with his mother, two grandmothers, and Uncle Paton. Charlie has been told that his father died in a car crash when he was young. In the beginning of the story Charlie’s Yewbeam aunts and Grandmother Bone insist that he attend a school called Bloor’s Academy because Charlie can hear voices from photographs. Once he goes to school he joins up with other friends, who also have mysterious powers, to solve the riddle about a hypnotized girl and the secrets of his family from his father’s side.


  1. In what way is Bloor’s Academy similar to your own school? Compare the rules, students, teachers, classrooms, and play areas. Compare Bloor’s Academy to other schools in other books such as Sideways School, Hogwarts, and the school in the Magic School Bus series. Write these similarities and differences in a comparison chart. Be creative.

  2. The author, Jenny Nimmo, attended a boarding school in England. Study her time and experiences there by looking at her biographical page on the Internet. Do you think she got the idea of Bloor’s Academy from her own school? In what ways was her experience similar to Charlie’s and how was it different?

  3. Charlie had the ability to look at photographs and hear the voices of the people in the picture and the photographer. Ask a parent or grandparent for a picture of them as a child and write a story that goes along with the picture. Then, share it with them and ask them to tell you what actually happened. Write down the true story of what happened. See if your story was close to the real story.

  4. Maisie, Charlie’s aunt, made him his favorite meals and treats to eat when he came home for the weekends. Write what your favorite meal is and explain why this is your favorite meal. Also, include who makes it for you or where you purchase it. Ask if you can have your favorite treats and meals again sometime soon and see what they say. Study the nutrition values and discuss what vitamins and minerals your favorite meal provides for you.

  5. Create a timeline of the story’s main events, beginning with the realization of Charlie’s ability. Write down five situations which helped to strengthen Charlie on his quest to solve the mystery of Bloor’s Academy.

  6. Create a drawing, or floor plans, of what Bloor’s Academy looks like based on the descriptions in the book. Focus on outside and indoor appearances making note of key locations in the building. This site can help.

  7. Charlie Bone has the ability to hear people in photos. If you had one special ability what would you hope it would be? Write down a description of the ability and why you would chose to have that ability.

  8. Make a story map outlining the important aspects of Midnight for Charlie Bone. This map should include: main characters, setting, problems the characters face, three important events, and the solution to the problem.

  9. Pretend you are Charlie from the book. Write a short journal entry for each chapter about what you would do in the situations presented and how would you make sure your plans would work.

  10. After you have finished the book write what you think will happen next. What are your predictions for the next book and describe how Charlie will feel if that is what will happen.

  11. Write a newspaper story revealing Charlie’s ability to the world. Include where he lives, what he can do, who his relatives are, what school he attends, and other information needed to tell his story. Also explain his story and adventures while discovering what he can do.

  12. Pretend you are interviewing one of the main characters of the book. Write down their side of the story about their adventures in the format of answers to questions. Provide at least 10 questions and answers for your activity.

About the Author

Related books
The slightly younger or less experienced reader will enjoy beginning the Magician Trilogy by Jenny Nimmo, which opens with 9-year-old Gwyn being told that he may be a magician.

More for the teacher


Midnight for Charlie Bone. Accelerated Reader: Quiz #68471 EN; Book Level 4.8; Points= 10.0
Book Adventure (Sylvan): Quiz Level 5.5
Reading Counts: Reading Level 5.4; Points= 15.0
Lexile Level 630
Guided Reading Level T
Flesch/Kincaid 5

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