73 pages 2 hours read

Diana Wynne Jones

Howl’s Moving Castle

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 1986

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Teacher Introduction

Howl's Moving Castle

  • Genre: Fiction; fantasy; young adult
  • Originally Published: 1986
  • Reading Level/Interest: Lexile 800L; grades 6-9
  • Structure/Length: 21 chapters; 448 pages; approximately 8 hours and 34 minutes on audiobook
  • Protagonist/Central Conflict: The novel revolves around Sophie Hatter, a young woman cursed by a witch to live in the body of an old woman. She becomes the housekeeper for the Wizard Howl and lives in his moving castle, seeking to break her curse. The central conflict emerges as Sophie navigates the magical world, faces the Witch of the Waste, and uncovers Howl's secrets.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Fantasy violence; magic and witchcraft; mild romantic elements

Diana Wynne Jones, Author

  • Bio: Born 1934; died 2011; British author known for her work in fantasy novels for children and adults; studied at St Anne's College, Oxford; wrote over 40 books; recognized as a significant figure in the development of modern fantasy literature.
  • Other Works: Charmed Life (1977); Archer's Goon (1984); The Lives of Christopher Chant (1988); The Dark Lord of Derkholm (1998)
  • Awards: Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor Book (1986); Phoenix Award (2006)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Guide:

  • Age and Moral Growth
  • Compensation and Exploitation
  • Identity

STUDY OBJECTIVES: In accomplishing the components of this Guide, students will:

  • Explore background information on the conventions of fantasy—subverting these conventions—and intertextuality to increase their engagement with and understanding of Howl’s Moving Castle.