Unit Suitable For AC: Year 6 (NSW Stage 3)
Duration This unit is intended to take 6 - 10 weeks to complete. The timeline includes preliminary study so the teacher can familiarise students with the themes of the book. Students can complete the reading of the book through a mixture of shared, modelled and guided reading sessions with the teacher or through independent reading.
Find a summary table for Australian Curriculum: English content descriptions and NSW syllabus outcomes for this unit.
Anzac Day, Australian Children's Laureates, friendship, History, human spirit, resilience, war
Critical and Creative Thinking, Ethical Understanding, Literacy
'This discussion explores the role that storytelling and stories might have in leading children towards an awareness of uncertainty and ambiguity in relation to Holocaust representation. It focuses on Morris Gleitzman’s Once (2006), its sequel Then (2008), and John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (2006) to consider the narrative techniques used to draw young readers into an understanding of the Holocaust. In particular, the discussion examines the role of silence within these narratives to suggest that a meaningful dialogue with silence is a crucial aspect in communicating the fractured nature of Holocaust history. Literature aimed at a young audience engages explicitly with the oft-cited injunction not to forget the Holocaust by setting out to inform a new generation of readers about the horrors of the Nazi genocide. In my analysis of these texts, however, I want to consider whether we should assume that such works do necessarily perform a progressive educative role. The article argues that the blunt didacticism of Boyne’s text might close down possibilities for the child reader’s imaginative engagement with the ungraspable nature of the Holocaust. In contrast, Gleitzman’s novels confront the child reader with a complex set of ideas about the relationship between narrative and subjectivity.'