Serafina and the Black Cloak

Teachers Guide


Serafina and the Black Cloak and Serafina and the Twisted Staff are taught in over a thousand classrooms nationwide. Students love the books’ mystery, fast-paced action, and characters (Serafina and Braeden in particular) who they can relate to. Teachers love the historical elements, descriptive writing, engaging themes, and rich vocabulary. Here are some photos and videos of Serafina in the classroom.

I wrote Serafina Series to be an engaging and educational story for my three daughters and their classroom friends. I wanted to tell them the story of an unusual, but heroic girl who must face not only many dangers, but the mystery of her own developing identity. With its combination of Gilded Age / Turn-of-the-Century history, the Biltmore Estate setting, and its fast-paced fantasy action, Serafina and the Black Cloak is an excellent novel to engage young readers in the rewards of historical fiction. Teachers will find it to be well suited for ELA and history curriculum from 4th to 10th grade. The book and its educational materials are Common Core compatible. Although Serafina and the Black Cloak is a work of fiction, it is historically  accurate in its depiction of Biltmore Estate, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and other historical details. Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and the Historical Novel Society have all given Serafina extremely strong praise.

We have also found that Serafina has been highly effective for engaging reluctant readers, autistic readers, and dyslexic readers, especially when the book trailer is watched first. The book trailer really helps pull readers in.


The links below provide PDF files to the educational materials for Serafina and the Black Cloak. Designed for easy printing and photocopying, these documents are meant to provide a variety of resources for you to pick and choose from as you see fit.






“A mystery set at a sumptuous estate, featuring a courageous female protagonist entangled in a hair-raising adventure.”

“The story drips with suspense, wrapping readers into the narrative just as easily as the man in the black cloak binds his young victims. Serafina’s friendship with Braeden is heartfelt and believable.”

“Mystery fans will enjoy this book.”

VERDICT A creepy, suspenseful read that’s not quite as dark as the works of Neil Gaiman or Adam Gidwitz.


“Beatty spins an enchanting mystery through lonely Serafina’s golden eyes.”

“Each new clue adds another brush stroke to this keenly perceptive portrait of a young girl searching for answers about herself and the world around her.”

“The book leaves readers satisfied with the plot but hungry for more about its unusual heroine.”

“Adults and children will eagerly follow Serafina from the basement into a world of self-discovery, justice, and new friendships.”




Serafina and the Black Cloak is a fast-paced middle grade novel full of magic and mystery. With as many twists and turns in the story as the historic Biltmore Estate in which it is set, Robert Beatty’s book will appeal to those familiar with Biltmore’s rich history as well as readers who aren’t. I found myself rooting for Serafina, a quirky and unusual heroine, throughout the book. I’m looking forward to adding the book to my school’s library collection.” —Kirsten LeClerc, Media Coordinator, Vance Elementary School

“Great read! As a school principal, I would definitely recommend the librarians purchase Seraphina and the Black Cloak to have available for all students to enjoy.” —From

“Fast-paced, suspenseful, and written with beautiful imagery – sure to be a hit with my students!” —From

“A fantastical thriller that takes place in the early days of the gorgeous Biltmore Estate? Count me in! … The way real details of the house and estate have been woven into this remarkable story about Serafina and her pursuit of the Black Cloak is inspired. … I love that this book can appeal to so many audiences – fans of historical fiction, thrillers, mysteries, ghost stories, fantasy, the supernatural, friendship stories, tales of growing up, and even those who are just interested in Biltmore. I personally will be buying this for my school’s library the second my funds for the new year come in!” —Kayla Edwards on

“I teach 6th grade English Language Arts and CAN’T WAIT to do a novel study with this book! I read it in a matter of days …murder, mystery, magic …this book has it all. I especially love the lessons to be learned …facing your fears, overcoming insecurities (so common in middle school), and unconditional love from parents AND friends. Outstanding and unique storyline.” —Kimberly Adams on


Carolina Day School – Serafina Class

Serafina in the Classroom – Photos & Videos

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty published by Disney Hyperion. © 2017 Site by Robert Beatty BILTMORE ESTATE® images used with permission Voted #1 Best Middle Grade Books for 2015