DEC Scan Journal : Volume 36 Issue 1
2017 Volume 36, Issue 1 44 A Child of Books Using quality literature springboard English Stage 5. Years 9-10 A Child of Books JEFFERS, Oliver and WINSTON, Sam Walker Books, UK, 2016 ISBN 9781406358315 USER LEVEL: Stage 5 KLA: English SYLLABUS: English K-10 SCIS 1770894 $27.99 Related texts: • The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers • Dictionary Story Book Resources: • ‘A Child of Books’ teachers’ guide, Candlewick Press • Oliver Jeffers & Sam Winston discuss ‘A Child of Books’ part 1, Candlewick Press [video] • Oliver Jeffers & Sam Winston discuss ‘A Child of Books’ part 2, Candlewick Press [video] • Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston’s ‘A Child of Books’ cover reveal and interview, The Guardian, 31 March 2016 Learning and teaching activities in this springboard are centred on outcomes and content from the NSW English K-10 Syllabus and the English Textual Concepts resource. What is it about? ‘A Child of Books’ is a unique picture book experience; a collaborative creation between Oliver Jeffers (well known for his picture books, including ‘The Day the Crayons Quit’ and ‘Once Upon an Alphabet’) and Sam Winston (best known for his typography and ‘A Dictionary Story’). The story revolves around two children, one of whom is timid, the other adventurous and a lover of books and the imagination. She introduces herself in the opening pages, ‘I am a child of BOOKS. I come from a WORLD of stories / and upon my IMAGINation I float.’ She asks the boy to join her and subsequently shows him the way into many different genres, including lullabies, fairy tales and adventure classics. There are over forty intertextual references in total. The imagery uses lines of text from these classics to create seas and mountains, forests and the night sky. At each stage, the characters share experiences and insight into the world through the imagination until the boy is ready to move through the world of literature alone. This text is appropriate for teaching students about Intertextuality, Connotation, Imagery and Symbol, and Theme. It could also be used to teach many of the other concepts such as Literary value, Character, Narrative, Style, Perspective and Point of view. It can be used to address cross curricular priorities and capabilities including Critical and creative thinking, and Literacy. K. Hodkinson Why is this important? Why does it matter? ‘A Child of Books’ is a book which can be read at many levels. It provides an opportunity to discuss and explore the use of Intertextuality and the ways that our own knowledge and social and cultural upbringing influence our readings. The use of canonical texts invites discussion regarding the value of these books and the influences they have on our formation in our youth. The interviews with the creators (see Resources) clearly show the power of books and the importance Jeffers and Winston place on imagination. These interviews could be used in conjunction with the book to understand themes and explore the techniques used to develop them through both plot and imagery. Connotation, Imagery and Symbol can be explored on every page with intertextual references appearing in both words and images symbolically. For example, the written text, ‘Discover treasure in the darkness’, is accompanied by a cave formed by words from ‘Kidnapped’ and ‘Treasure Island’. Some text is clear to read, while other words blend together to create the form of the cave and the darkness which contrasts strongly and symbolically with the children in the light. The colour symbolism throughout the book is also worth considering, especially the changing strength of the colour blue in relation to the protagonist. This picture book also provides the opportunity to explore collaborative works and have students experiment with their own works in a collaboration with peers.
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