The Cay is the story of Phillip, a boy living on the island of Curacao off the island of Venezuela during World War II. As he and his mother are trying to escape the war and head back to their home in Virginia, the ship they are riding on sinks. Phillip survives the boat accident only to be trapped on an island along with a black man and a cat. The accident leaves Phillip blind. Not only does he have to learn to adjust to his blindness, but he must learn to survive on the barren island in the Caribbean Sea. Phillip is also faced with other challenges including a hurricane. This book is an exciting story about survival.

Theodore Taylor
1. Find out about the author who wrote The Cay. Use this worksheet to record your answers.

Site Location:

a. When and where was he born?
b. During what historical time period did he grow up in during his childhood?
c. Where did he live as a child?
d. How old was he when he received his first writing job?
e. How and where did he get the idea to write The Cay?
f. What were some of his life experiences that played a part in his writing of The Cay?
g. Where did Theodore Taylor get the idea to write these books?
h. How long did it take for him to write The Cay?
i. What are two of his hobbies?
j. Where does Theodore Taylor live now? What is his address?

1. 2.  3.  4.  5.

2.When you have read the book, compare the different covers above, that have been used on the different editions of the novel. Which cover do you think is the best one, and you would pick for the next edition of the book. Explain your reasons. For example. You could argue that one cover picture is better than the others, because it gives a more accurate picture of the events and characters in the novel. Or you could design and colour a new cover and explain in writing, why you think your design would be a good choice for the new cover.

Mapping the Caribbean

The Cay is set in the Caribbean during World War II. 
3. Complete this mapping activity on the location of Curacao.

4. Label the following information on your blank outline maps of Curacao and the Caribbean. Use the sites below to help you label your map. Print the outline maps of and paste them in your book.

These maps of Curacao and the Caribbean will help you.


    Label your map of Curacao with the following cities and bodies of water. Add a title, and compass rose. Neatly colour your map using standard map colours for water, land, etc

    Santa Catarina,
    Caribbean Sea,
    Bullen Bay,
    St. Joris Bay

    Label your map of the Caribbean with the following cities, countries and bodies of water. Add a title, and compass rose. Neatly colour your map using standard map colours for water, land, etc.

    Gulf of Mexico,
    Atlantic Ocean, |
    Caribbean Sea,
    The Bahamas
    Miami, Florida,

    The Fort.

One of the main characters, Phillip, lives on the island of Curacao. Use these sites to learn about Curacao.

6. a) List in your book the things on the following web site, that were also mentioned in the novel.
b) Use Microsoft ExpressionWeb to create a web page, or Microsoft Word or Publisher to create a travel poster containing pictures and 10 interesting facts about Curacao.

Quick Curacao Facts: Fact sheet and map



History of Curacao:

Vocabulary Activity
7. Complete this activity to see how well you know some vocabulary terms from The Cay. Record your score in your book.
                           Vocabulary Worksheet

8. a) Think about this theme that comes through the novel. Prejudice is pre-judging someone before you really get to know them. For example judging them by the colour of their skin. Also it happens when someone believes in a stereotype about certain people, for example like Phillip's mother in the novel. She believed and told Phillip that all black people are ignorant and stupid. Make up or find, and then write in your book, a definition for prejudice and stereotypes. (Try:

b) Timothy saved Phillip from drowning, and looked after him when he became blind. Phillip learned that indeed Timothy was a kind and just man, regardless of the colour of his skin.
Find and write out in your book any passages that show firstly, what Phillip's mother and Phillip first thought about black people in the beginning of the story; and secondly, any passages that show the change in Phillip's attitude toward Timothy, to that of friendship and respect for each other.

c) Discuss the following sentence in class: "It wasn't until he was blind did Phillip truly see." Then explain it in writing in your book with supporting quotes from the novel.

9. Although this book was set in the early 1940s during WW11, the author, Theodore Taylor was very aware of and was trying to make a comment about black and white relations today. He was making a comment about how black people should be treated fairly without prejudice or racist attitudes by white people in society today. 

The problems with how black people were treated in white society, was brought to the attention of the American people by Martin Luther King, in what became known as the Civil Rights Movement.

a) Go to the following site and listen to and watch the short animated movie that overviews the Civil Rights Movement.
b) Do the short multiple choice (pop) quiz and then list in point form notes in your book the  main information and facts this quiz covers.

Coral Reefs
10. a) Learn about the animals and types of coral found in coral reefs by reading and answering the questions at this site.
As you read through the extract, play the online multiple choice question quiz, and record your final score in your book.

                       Moray Eels

   b) Pretend you are Phillip, and your sight has been restored. In your book write a recount of about two or three paragraphs long, about  the time you went diving in the rock pool. Start your recount with these words: "I can remember the time I went diving for lobster, and was attacked by what must have been a Moray Eel...."

( This site will remind you of what a recount is and has an example: )

Sharks are amazing fish that have been around since long before the dinosaurs existed. They live in waters all over the world, in every ocean, and even in some rivers and lakes. There are many different breeds of sharks in the world. 
11. Choose one of the sharks on this web page to research:

Then create a mind map about the shark you have chosen. Include the following information. 
       (Type: mind map in a Google images search, to see some examples.)

      1. Title, picture of the shark and your name
      2. description of the shark
      3. what its teeth look like
      4. its size
      5. what it eats
      6. its habitat
      7. is it know to attack people
      8. in what parts of the world is it found
        (Print off the mind map and paste it in your book.)

Boats, Tankers and Schooners
During WWII many boats in the Caribbean were sunk by German U Boats. 

12. a) Click on different links to see some of the boats mentioned in the story.
Then draw and colour a German U Boat. Also do a Google image search to see some other pictures.

   German U Boats
Site Location:
Site Location:


  Oil Tankers.    b) List in your book the different types of oil tankers mentioned in the book.
                           c) Why was it so important that the the oil tankers could continue to sail to England and America during the war?


13. a) Find a good web site for each of the following topics: I. Schooner Man or Schooner or a Tall Ship (for example ); II. Destroyers (WW2 Battleships) And record the web sites in your book.
      b) Draw or print out, and paste in your book a picture of each of these two types of ships.

14. Print off this worksheet and fill in the blanks. Then paste the sheet in your book.