Thursday, 17 August 2017

Children's Literature about Refugees : A Catalyst in the Classroom



Those who have read Mary Hoffman's The Colour of Home, illustrated by Karin Littlewood, may recognise the above image. It comes from a double page spread showing the terrifying night when soldiers arrive at young Hassan's house to take his uncle away and the family decide to flee. Any child who has read this book will probably remember Hassan being distraught at having to leave his cat Musa behind... as well as much else.

In her recently published Children's Literature about Refugees: A Catalyst in the Classroom, Dr Julia Hope explores ways in which teachers can engage children with profoundly important questions about refugees.  Her book is based on doctoral research which included observing The Colour of Home being shared in classrooms with 6-9 year olds and The Other Side of Truth  being shared with 10 year olds (the younger end of where the book is often read in schools).

As well as observing lessons, Julia spent time talking with children in small groups, analysing what they wrote, drew and dramatised. She interviewed their teachers and considered their planning. She also organised an author visit for me to speak with the Year 5 children and give them the opportunity to question me. The younger children spoke with Mary Hoffman via Skype. To research how the books came about, Julia separately interviewed Mary, Karen (also illustrator of Baba's Gift ) and myself.

It's obviously fascinating for me as a writer to gain insights into how my book is received.  Many years ago, I conducted doctoral research into white UK teenagers reading novels that challenged perceptions around 'race' and racism, which I published as Through Whose Eyes. Although my conclusions were sobering, I still believe that literature can make a difference and I continued to write fiction. I am my first reader and there is no better way for me to explore pressing matters in our world than to imagine myself as a young person caught up in the thick of things.

Children's Literature about Refugees highlights the importance of listening to children's voices in response to what they are reading. It highlights the importance of the teacher's role in creating the spaces that enable young people to respond, explore perspectives and deepen understanding of a global issue in which ordinary people's lives are disrupted in extraordinary ways. I admired examples of the teachers' ingenuity in incorporating national literacy objectives (often constricting) while engaging the children in creative responses and critical thinking.

By a happy coincidence, the biography of  Harry Rée - my professor of education at the University of York in the mid 1960s - has just been published by the same Institute of Education Press. Entitled Educator Most Extraordinary: The life and achievements of Harry Rée, 1914 - 1991, it's the dedicated work of Jonathan Daube who must have contacted at least a couple of hundred people whose lives were touched by this extraordinary educator. 




Harry, who fought with the French Resistance in the Second World War, was a humanitarian with deep respect for the importance of literature. I think that he would have thought highly of the approaches described by Julia Hope in Children's Literature about Refugees. 

1 Comments:

Blogger WAYNE CHARLOTTE said...

Teach Your Child to Read Today!

Reading is one of the most important skills one must master to succeed in life. It helps your child succeed in school, helps them build self-confidence, and helps to motivate your child. Being able to read will help your child learn more about the world, understand directions on signs and warnings on labels, allow them to discover reading as an entertainment, and help them gather information.

Learning to read is very different from learning to speak, and it does not happen all at once. There is a steady progression in the development of reading ability over time. The best time for children to start learning to read is at a young age - even before they enter pre-school. Once a child is able to speak, they can begin developing basic reading skills. Very young children have a natural curiosity to learn about everything. They are naturally intrigued by the printed texts they see, and are eager to learn about the sounds made by those letters. You will likely notice that your young child likes to look at books and thoroughly enjoys being read to. They will even pretend to behave like a reader by holding books and pretend to read them.

At what age can you start teaching a child to read? When they're babies? At 2 years old, 3, 4, or 5 years old, or wait until they're in school?

If you delay your child's reading skill development until he or she enters school, you are putting your child at risk...

Did you know that 67% of all Grade 4 students cannot read at a proficient level! According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, of those 67%, 33% read at just the BASIC level, and 34% CANNOT even achieve reading abilities of the lowest basic level!

There is a super simple and extremely effective system that will even teach 2 and 3 year old children to read.

This is a unique reading program developed by two amazing parents and reading teachers, Jim and Elena, who successfully taught their four children to read before turning 3 years old. The reading system they developed is so effective that by the time their daughter was just 4 years 2 months old, she was already reading at a grade 3 level. They have videos to prove it.

>> Click here to watch the videos and learn more.

Their reading system is called Children Learning Reading, and it is nothing like the infomercials you see on TV, showing babies appearing to read, but who have only learned to memorize a few word shapes. This is a program that will teach your child to effectively decode and read phonetically. It will give your child a big head start, and allow you to teach your child to read and help your child develop reading skills years ahead of similar aged children.

This is not a quick fix solution where you put your child in front of the TV or computer for hours and hope that your child learns to "read"... somehow...

This is a reading program that requires you, the parent, to be involved. But the results are absolutely amazing. Thousands of parents have used the Children Learning Reading program to successfully teach their children to read.

All it takes is 10 to 15 minutes a day.

>> Click here to get started right now. How to Teach a 2 or 3 Year Old to Read.

20 April 2018 at 13:53  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home