I’m thrilled to partner with Disney Book Group to share this Artemis Fowl discussion guide in celebration of the re-release of the series (with stunning new covers!) and the upcoming release of the Artemis Fowl movie on August 9, 2019. Keep reading after the guide for a fantastic giveaway (again, thanks to Disney Book Group for providing the prizes).
Eoin Colfer (pronouced “Owen,” by the way) first landed on my radar way back in 2000, when I read his standalone novel, The Wish List. I was new to the middle grade fiction genre, even though by that point I had been out of the middle grades for nearly 15 years. I kind of skipped the genre in my tween years because I felt like books talked down to me too much.
Colfer, along with a handful of other outstanding writers, found the key to writing brilliant middle-grade fiction: stop treating tweens like babies and recognize that they’re much smarter than we give them credit for being. In Artemis Fowl, Colfer created a character that celebrates tween intelligence and kicks it up to whole new levels. Artemis Fowl isn’t just an incredibly smart kid, he’s a certified genius criminal mastermind!
In case you haven’t heard the news, the complete Artemis Fowl series in re-designed packaging is now available in stores! I am in love with the new covers. Take a peek at all eight! Gorgeous, right?
Don’t get me wrong, I loved the journal-style look of the original cover, but I feel like these new designs appeal more to my son’s generation. If you think about it, 20 years ago (give or take), we judged a book more by the title and spine, since they were all lined up on book shelves. Now, the cover is the first thing kids see as they browse digital shelves.
Along with a vibrant new cover, each book includes a sneak peek of The Fowl Twins, a brand-new spinoff novel following the adventures of Artemis Fowl’s twin brothers.
Another bit of good news for Fowl Fans, the first book is soon to be a major motion picture from The Walt Disney Studios! Take a sneak peek at the teaser trailer: It looks brilliant! I can’t wait to see it with Jacob.
Let’s talk a bit about the series and check out my favorite quotes (which also make great discussion prompts). Then, I’ll give you a chance to win an entire set of Artemis Fowl books and some really fun goodies to go along with them!
Who is Artemis Fowl?
Artemis Fowl is, as I said, a genius criminal mastermind who happens to have the “highest tested IQ in Europe.” Oh, and he’s 12 in the first book. When he discovers an underground world of extremely high-tech fairies (who also happened to be armed and dangerous), he seizes an opportunity to force them to help find his father and restore his family’s fortune. He kidnaps Holly Short, the first female LEPrecon who’s on a mission to prove to her commanding officer that she really did deserve the promotion.
Like many before him, he may have underestimated the fairies’ powers. Is he about to trigger a cross-species war? Read the book and find out!
Is a book about a tween criminal mastermind appropriate for middle graders?
I’ve heard this question quite a few times, so I wanted to quickly address it. Yes, Artemis Fowl is, in fact, a criminal mastermind, and he makes no apologies for it. He was raised by criminals who were raised by criminals…going all the way back to the Battle of Hastings in 1066 (which is the only date I remember from a History of the English Language course I took in college).
Yes, early on, he seems quite cold and calculating, almost cruel at times. However, as we learn more about the character and as he interacts with the other characters, we come to find that deep down he really does have a good heart. The character grows quickly, leaving behind his “in-it-for-myself” attitude and finds ways to use that calculating brilliance to help the world as a whole.
One of the things I love so much about Artemis Fowl – both as a reader and as a parent of a young teen – is the fact that he’s a flawed, yet entirely likeable and relatable character. Even though most tweens aren’t wealthy criminal masterminds with outrageously high IQs, it’s easy to find a bit of themselves in Artemis. Also, while he may seem cold, he deeply loves his family. Much of his criminal activity is inspired by that love. At heart, he’s a kid who wants to get his family back together and will go to great lengths to see it happen.
I recommend reading the series with your tweens. Not only will you love it, but you’ll find plenty of opportunities for open-ended discussion. I love using books, movies, and other forms of entertainment to find out what my son really things and feels about certain topics.
Top 15 Artemis Fowl Quotes
Along with being some of my favorite Artemis Fowl quotes, I also think these lines open up plenty of opportunity for discussion! So think of this as a quote-based discussion guide, if you will.
1. He’s only 12!
“A genius. A criminal mastermind. A millionaire. And he is only twelve years old.”
Discussion question: If you were a millionaire at 12 and controlled all of that money (meaning mom and dad couldn’t tell you what to do with it), what is the first thing you would buy?
I was surprised by my son’s answer. I thought he’d say something like, “a state-of-the-art gaming system,” but he said he’d first use it to help his friends and family pay for their houses. I love that kid!
2. Trust me. I’m a genius.
“Trust me. I’m a genius.
Discussion question: Do you think that intelligence equals trustworthiness? Is someone more reliable just because they are smarter?
3. Confidence is ignorance.
“Confidence is ignorance. If you’re feeling cocky, it’s because there’s something you don’t know.”
Discussion question: Do you agree with this statement? Is there a difference between being confident in your abilities and being cocky about it?
4. Like riding a unicorn
“It’s like learning to ride a unicorn. You never forget.”
Discussion question: Name something that you haven’t done in a long time that you think you could still do very well.
5. The bad kind of history
“Tonight, history was going to be made. And it wasn’t the discovery-of-radium, first-man-on-the-moon happy kind of history. It was the Spanish-Inquisition, here-comes-the-Hindenburg bad kind of history.”
Discussion question: Look up each of these events mentioned and discuss what makes them the good or bad kind of history.
6. The way history is written
“If I win, I’m a prodigy. If I lose, then I’m crazy. That’s the way history is written.”
Discussion question: Talk about famous “winners” throughout history who did something kind of crazy to reach that victory, and discuss whether we would feel the same about them if they lost. Discuss the similar quote, “History is written by the victors.”
7. The textbook answers
“The problem is that I know the textbook answers to any question you care to ask.”
Discussion question: Have you ever felt like you learned all that a text book and a school course had to teach you? Do you think there are times when the “textbook answer” is the wrong answer?
8.All teeth, no heart
“But even though there were plenty of teeth in the grin, there was no heart.”
Discussion question: Tell me about a time when you pretended to be happy even though you weren’t really feeling it. Why did you bother pretending rather than just let your true feelings come out?
9. Can’t we all just get along?
“And if history had taught any lessons it was that humans couldn’t get along with anyone, even themselves.”
Discussion question: do you think there will ever be a time when humans all get along and stop fighting? Why do you think we fight so much?
10. The trick to negotiation.
“The trick to negotiation was to hold all the cards going in and, even if you didn’t, to try to look as though you did.”
Discussion question: If you had to negotiate for a higher allowance, a later bedtime, more screen time, or something else you really wanted, how could you go into it making your parents think that you had the upper hand? (It’s a good question because we want our tweens to start learning how to negotiate and win before they need to do it in the real world).
Artemis Fowl Giveaway
One (1) winner receives:
- Artemis Fowl – the complete series (8 books!)
- Plus limited edition merchandise: backpack, hat, fidget spinner and chocolate.
Winner must have a U.S. mailing address. Prizing provided by Disney Book Group. Enter on the Gleam entry form below. Giveaway ends on January 31st, 2018.
Have you read the Artemis Fowl series? What are some of your favorite scenes and quotes?