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by Theodore Taylor  |  Grades: 4-6  |  Ages: 10-12  |  Lexile Level: 860

The Cay by Theodore Taylor Teacher Guide, Lesson Plans, Novel Unit

About The Cay by Theodore Taylor

For fans of Hatchet and Island of the Blue Dolphins comes Theodore Taylor's classic bestseller and Lewis Carroll Shelf Award winner, The Cay. 

When the freighter on which they are traveling is torpedoed by a U-boat, an adolescent white boy, blinded by a blow on the head, and an old black man are stranded on a tiny Caribbean island where the boy acquires a new kind of vision, courage, and love from his old companion

Phillip is excited when the Germans invade the small island of Curaçao. War has always been a game to him, and he's eager to glimpse it firsthand-until the freighter he and his mother are traveling to the United States on is torpedoed. 

When Phillip comes to, he is on a small raft in the middle of the sea. Besides Stew Cat, his only companion is an old West Indian, Timothy. Phillip remembers his mother's warning about black people: "They are different, and they live differently." But by the time the castaways arrive on a small island, Phillip's head injury has made him blind and dependent on Timothy.


"Mr. Taylor has provided an exciting story...The idea that all humanity would benefit from this special form of color blindness permeates the whole book...The result is a story with a high ethical purpose but no sermon."-- New York Times Book Review

 "Fully realized setting...artful, unobtrusive use of dialect...the representation of a hauntingly deep love, the poignancy of which is rarely achieved in children's literature."--School Library Journal, Starred

"Eloquently underscores the intrinsic brotherhood of man."-- Booklist

 "This is one of the best survival stories since Robinson Crusoe."-- The Washington Star


New York Times Best Book of the Year 
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year 
Horn Book Honor Book 
An American Library Association Notable Book 
Publishers Weekly Children's Book to Remember 
A Child Study Association's Pick of Children's Books of the Year 
Jane Addams Book Award 
Lewis Carroll Shelf Award 
Commonwealth Club of California: Literature Award 
Southern California Council on Literature for Children and Young People Award 
Woodward School Annual Book Award 
Friends of the Library Award, University of California at Irvine 

Biographical Note About Theodore Taylor

Theodore Taylor wrote several award-winning books, including The Cay, which won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award and was made into a movie. He began his writing career at the age of thirteen and continued on from there--books, articles, scripts--often several projects at once. He passed away in 2006 surrounded by his family, his books, and years of wonderful memories.

Available Teacher Guides, Lesson Plans, Novel Units, and Activities for The Cay by Theodore Taylor: