Challenger Deep

Challenger Deep
Written by Neal Shusterman, Illustrations by Brendan Shusterman

Challenger Deep is an astonishing artistic achievement. In high school student Caden Bosch, Neal Shusterman has created a young hero who finds a way not just to navigate his own schizophrenic breakdown but to ease the struggles of his fellow patients. Poetic, compassionate, and thrillingly inventive, Challenger Deep affirms the power of narrative to describe the indescribable and enlighten us all.

Primary Source Pairing:
In the Author’s Note, Neal Shusterman writes of the collaboration he and his son Brendan created while writing Challenger Deep. Shusterman writes of his son’s artwork: “The sketches and drawings in this book are his, all drawn in the depths.” For this primary source pairing, invite students to use the image of father and son, Neal and Brendan Shusterman to gain insight and connect this work of fiction with its creators.

May this book also be an opportunity to begin a conversation with students about mental health and the perceptions we have as a society of mental illness. Reference and use the extensive list of resources found at the back of the book.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What people and objects are shown?
  • How are they arranged?
  • What is the physical setting?
  • What other details can you see?
  • How does this image support your thinking while reading Challenger Deep?

Book Cover: Follett
Neal and Brendan Shusterman image: National Book Foundation
Summary: National Book Foundation

Fore more information and to see author Neal Shusterman speak, visit the National Book Foundation website and the Horn Book website.