Tag Archives: Picture book

Texts and Human Experiences – Stimulus Text 2

1 Aug

I am clearly on a picture book bender…

Another text that could work well as a stimulus for writing about human experiences is The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers.  This picture book explores grief, shifts in identity and the experience of redefining connections in the face of death.  Students could, with this text, explore how the individual experience of the protagonist is universalised through metaphor to resonate with a broader audience. It could also be used as a springboard to discuss inconsistencies in human behaviour, primarily the decision by the protagonist to isolate herself and her heart despite previously thriving in an environment where connection and interaction were key.

Texts and Human Experiences – Stimulus Text 1

31 Jul

It is trials time, and I have been thinking about the types of texts that could be given to students as stimulus for their writing.

I was recently re-reading Madeline, a childhood favourite, and it occurred to me that extracts from those books could make interesting stimuli for students seeking to engage with human experiences.  The stories engage with notions of identity, morality, friendship, and tensions between conformity and individuality as well as expectation and reality.  The stories also challenge some core assumptions about human interactions.  We often assume, for example, that children are moulded by the adults in their lives.  Yet, in Madeline, Papa is absent and Ms Clavel functions as a safety net (“something is not right”) rather than an active influence on Madeline’s sense of self.

‘Refugee Boy’

12 Mar

I have just finished reading Benjamin Zephaniah’s Refugee Boy.

Despite some initial concerns that Refugee Boy would be simply another variation on Boy Overboard or Girl Underground, I found myself hooked from the outset.  I think my interest was stimulated by the text’s opening – a short outline of a mixed-race family’s experiences in Ethiopia, followed by an almost identical incident, this time in Eritrea.  I found this to be a very effective way of illustrating the complexities of that family’s situation and in illustrating the challenges faced during times of war.

I think this would be an interesting text to study in Years 7 or 8 in a unit with a focus on identity.  Indeed, the text deals with the tensions between self-characterisation and social identification.

It would also be worthy of inclusion in a ‘Coming of Age’ unit as it charts both the protagonist’s growing awareness of his social surrounds as well as his community’s growing awareness of the political and social landscapes in which they exist.

It would also be interesting to study this text in a unit about migration or refugee experiences, perhaps in combination with Boy OverboardGirl UndergroundThe Arrival and/or some newspaper clippings.

Distinctively Visual Related Texts

24 Jan

Below is a list of possible related material for the Standard English Module A elective ‘Distinctively Visual’.

  1. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (novel)
  2. And of Clay We Are Created‘ by Isabel Allende (short story)
  3. Approved For Adoption directed by Laurent Boileau & Jung Henin (film)
  4. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (play)
  5. Because who is perfect?‘ (advertisement)
  6. Ernest and Celestine directed by Benjamin Renner (film)
  7. Grave of the Fireflies (film)
  8. ‘Home’ by Warsan Shire (poem)
  9. Lion directed by Garth Davis (film)
  10. Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport (picture book)
  11. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (novel)
  12. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (film or graphic novel)
  13. Scattered Lives by Sally McKenzie (play)
  14. Terrible Things by Eve Bunting (picture book)
  15. The Arrival by Shaun Tan (picture book)
  16. The Boat by Nam Le (adapted as an SBS interactive) (interactive graphic novel)
  17. The Heart and the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers (picture book)
  18. The Pearl by John Steinbeck (novel)
  19. The Rabbits by Shaun Tan (picture book)
  20. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty directed by Ben Stiller (film)
  21. To This Day by Shane Koyczan (graphic novel or spoken word poem).

‘Mirror’

19 Dec

In The Tempest, discoveries occur when individuals step away from their prejudices and preoccupations.  In other words, the discoveries occur when individuals see the world from perspectives other than their own.

These ideas are echoed in Jeannie Baker’s Mirror, a picture book which compares and contrasts the lives of families in the Western world and the Arab world.  Through reading the text, responders are encouraged to set aside their prejudices and discover commonalities and celebrate difference, rather than demonising a group due to their difference.  In this sense, a parallel can be found between Prospero’s journey of self-discovery in The Tempest and that of the responders in relation to Mirror.

Note too that this text could be used to illuminate ideas in Go Back to Where You Came From.

‘CLICK, CLACK, MOO’

15 Nov

I have been on a picture book buying spree and happened upon an awesome text entitled CLICK, CLACK, MOO – Cows That Type.

The text begins with a group of cows who like to type.  They annoy the farmer by spending all their time at the typewriter.  They then start making requests.  These requests multiply, with the cows typing notes on behalf of their fellow animals.

I love this book!

I think it would be great as an introduction to Animal Farm as it explores ideas about agency.  For this same reason, it would be an interesting introduction to units exploring activism and identity.

‘Have I Got a Book For You!’

14 Nov

I recently happened upon an awesome picture book entitled Have I Got a Book For You!  I hope to use this book as an introduction to a unit about persuasion and marketing.  In particular, I want students to test drive some of the strategies and evaluate the effectiveness of each.

Picture book mix and match

2 Aug

I love studying picture books with my students.  Next time I engage with picture books I want my students to think critically about the relationship between language and images in the text.  To do this, I hope to provide students laminated images from the text and laminated strips of texts.  Students are to work in small groups to (a) match each line of text to the relevant image and (b) to order the narrative correctly.  At the end of this activity, students will discuss their choices with the class.

Civil Rights

13 Jul

I recently watched an episode of Foreign Correspondent about the Black Lives Matter movement.  It was really interesting to learn about the movement and to see it framed as an extension of the Civil Rights movement.

I think it would be interesting to study this episode alongside other texts spanning from the Civil Rights movement to today.  In particular, it would be interesting for students to make comparisons with Martin’s Big Words (a picture book), ‘Diallo’ (spoken word poem), ‘Even if it gets to 104 degrees’ (poem), and ‘I Have a Dream’ (speech).  Students could also source newspaper articles and documentaries of their own.

AOS Journeys

8 Jul

A number of schools are looking to revitalise their Year 10 and Year 11 courses by introducing Areas of Studies that better prepare their students for AOS Discovery in Year 12.  A popular choice seems to be AOS Journeys.  With this in mind, I have compiled a list of texts which could be used as related material for a unit with ‘Journeys’ as the conceptual focus.  The list is not arranged in any particular order, and I will continue adding to it over time.

  1. Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey (novel)
  2. The Ultimate Safari by Nadine Gordimer (short story)
  3. Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta (novel)
  4. Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You by Hanna Jansen (biography)
  5. ‘I am an African’ by Thabo Mbeki (speech)
  6. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (novel)
  7. ‘I Have a Dream’ by Martin Luther King Jnr (speech)
  8. ‘The Manhunt’ by Simon Armitage (poem)
  9. ‘Refugee Blues’ by W.H. Auden (poem)
  10. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (autobiography)
  11. ‘Caged Bird’ by Maya Angelou (poem)
  12. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer (novel) (or the film adaptation)
  13. September, directed by Peter Carstairs (film)
  14. Selected The Gods of Wheat Street episodes (television drama)
  15. The Secret Life of Walter Mittydirected by Ben Stiller (film)
  16. Cartography for Beginners‘ by Emily Hasler (poem)
  17. ‘Journey to the Interior’ by Margaret Atwood (poem)
  18. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (novel)
  19. ‘And of Clay We Are Created’ by Isabel Allende (short story)
  20. Cool Runnings, directed by Jon Turteltaub (film)
  21. For Colored Girls, directed by Tyler Perry (film)
  22. The Second Bakery Attack‘ by Haruki Murakami (short story)
  23. Americannah by Chimmamanda Ngozi Adichie (novel)
  24. All That I Am by Anna Funder (novel)
  25. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (novel) (or the film aedaptation)
  26. Grave of the Fireflies, directed by Isao Takahata (film)
  27. A Mighty Heart, directed by Michael Winterbottom (film)
  28. Girl Rising, directed by Richard E. Robbins (film)
  29. The Tempest by William Shakespeare (play)
  30. Hamlet by William Shakespeare (play)
  31. Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (novel)
  32. Anzac Girls (television series)
  33. Time’s Arrow by Martin Amis (novel)
  34. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (novel)
  35. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (novel)
  36. The Color Purple by Alice Walker (novel)
  37. Meet the Patels, directed by Ravi and Geeta Patel (film)
  38. Inside Out, directed by Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen (film)
  39. The Testimony, directed by Vanessa Block (documentary)
  40. The Lie‘ by T. Coraghessan Boyle (short story)
  41. Lion, directed by Garth Davis (film)
  42. A Sheltered Woman‘ by Yiyun Li (short story)
  43. Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey (novel)
  44. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba (memoir)
  45. A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah (memoir)
  46. ‘Home’ by Warsan Shire (poem)
  47. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (film or graphic novel)
  48. Life of Pi by Yann Martel (novel)
  49. Freedom Writers, directed by Richard LaGravenese (film)
  50. The African Doctor, directed by Julien Rambaldi (film)