Friday, June 5, 2015

Short Stories for the classroom

Flying Free by Adrienne M. Frater (Atawhai Press)

When the author asked if I would review this book I have to confess I wasn't enthused with the idea of a self-published book with only one author's short stories including pages saying why she wrote those stories.  I was very pleasantly surprised when the book arrived in the post, however. From the professionally designed cover with a child's drawing of a bird kite with blue-green water colour wash background, to the child-like fonts, good quality paper,  and children's drawings scattered throughout, it's a beautiful book.  The short stories are all entertaining and pitched exactly right for the intended audience. Most have been published before in anthologies and the School Journal, or read aloud on the Radio. And from a teacher's perspective I could see a lot of use for the introduction before each story where Adrienne explains where she got the idea for the story. Kids love to know a back story. See below for how I would use this section in the classroom.

Flying Free contains 25 short stories ranging from a technology cat, a drought, a dance rehearsal, a boy who hates the fuss at birthday parties, rescuing stranded whales, kite flying, and ghostly friends. They'll thoroughly enjoy reading this collection of stories. There's something for everyone ... funny stories, spooky stories, sporty stories, stories about friendship, and stories about succeeding in spite of problems etc. Recommended for home and school libraries!

Teachers could use this book when teaching how to write short stories. The students could be inspired to write a story with Adrienne's prompts. For example:

  • a child who doesn't like birthdays
  • a sailing trip
  • a cat who's fascinated with technology
  • helping rescued stranded whales float
  • having to move to another town
  • a vivid memory of an event
  • things that make one person happy but make another feel the opposite
If you read Adrienne's stories before the students write you'd have to stress that you don't want them to write that story - you want them to write their own unique story using things that have happened to them as prompts but also changing it as much as their imagination wants to. Students could also look closely at the techniques Adrienne has used in the story and use some of those in their stories.

ISBN: 9780473319144  
  • Published: April 2015
  • Pages: 216
  • RRP $24.50
  • Buy here.

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