Tag: themes

Daniel Barker: Journey to Egypt Themes

Daniel Barker: Journey to Egypt Themes

Peer Pressure

Wanting to feel part of something can put pressure on a teen to act in certain ways. If they’re doing something they wouldn’t normally do, or are not doing something they’d like to do, simply so that they’ll be accepted by the people they hang out with, they’re suffering from peer pressure.

Peer pressure can influence:
* the way someone dresses or wears their hair
* the activities they get involved in the music they listen to
* the decisions made about using drugs and alcohol
* who they date
* who they’re friends with.

The pressure to act in a certain way can be:
1) direct: someone telling the teen what they should be doing
2) indirect: the teen’s group of friends might do certain activities together that they’re unlikely to do outside of that group
3) self-motivated: putting pressure on the teen to fit in with their friendship group, because of certain standards they’ve set or comments they’ve made.
https://au.reachout.com/articles/what-is-peer-pressure

In Daniel Barker: By Power or Blight, peer pressure is a pivotal catalyst for the turn of events in the story. Daniel is a superhero in primary school and the beginning of high school. Things change in Year Eight, and with taunting, bullying and pressure on him, Daniel goes against the rules set down in the Scrivener book. Consequences await him upon disobeying the rules. In Daniel Barker: Journey to Egypt, Daniel reflects on why he is in his predicament and knows it is because of peer pressure and making poor choices. 

Ancient Egypt

The Scrivener book is a present that was given to Daniel’s grandmother by a magus when she was traveling through Egypt. It was then passed down to Daniel’s mother and then to himself.
In Power or Blight there are some references to Egypt with the Mummy’s blight. At the end of the story, Grandma decides that they need to go back to Egypt to stop the blight.

In Journey to Egypt, ancient Egypt comes alive. I did a lot of research about ancient Egypt to ensure the facts I have woven into the story are correct. 

Some fun facts about ancient Egypt:
1) Egyptian men and women wore makeup. It was thought to have healing powers, plus it helped protect their skin from the sun.
2) They used mouldy bread to help with infections.
3) They were one of the first civilizations to invent writing. They also used ink to write and paper called papyrus.
4) The Ancient Egyptians were scientists and mathematicians. They had numerous inventions including ways to build buildings, medicine, cosmetics, the calendar, the plow for farming, musical instruments, and even toothpaste.
5) Ancient Egypt plays a major role in the Bible. The Israelites were held captive there as slaves for many years. Moses helped them escape and led them to the Promised Land.
6) The Pharaoh kept his hair covered. It was not to be seen by regular people.
7) Cats were considered sacred in Ancient Egypt.
https://www.ducksters.com/history/ancient_egypt.

Bullying

As with most of my books, bullying is featured in By Power or Blight. Daniel is called names and taunted, until he explodes. Bullying does not occur in Journey to Egypt, but instead Daniel is befriended by Meryatum, the Pharaoh’s son, Meryatum, quickly becomes friends with Daniel and they share their adventure together. 

Bullying goes hand-in-hand with negative peer pressure.

So what is bullying?

The national definition of bullying for Australian schools says:
Bullying is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power over one or more persons. Bullying can happen in person or online, and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert).

Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders.

Single incidents and conflict or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying.

In the story, Daniel is bullied because he is picked on by many children; some like Ethan and his mate have it in for him. Daniel is physically and verbally picked on. After things start going bad, he becomes isolated from his friends.

https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/WhatIsBullying/DefinitionOfBullying

In By Power or Blight, the school does not action to stop the bullying – this is all part of the Mummy’s Blight. But in reality there are policies and procedures that schools need to follow.

These strategies could include:
• teaching and learning programs to develop students communication, social, assertiveness and coping skills
• changes to the school environment to improve teacher supervision, such as removing visual barriers between teacher and students
• increasing supervision of students at particular times or places
• support from a guidance officer or school counsellor
• changes to technology access at school
• timetable or class changes that may be temporary or permanent to decrease the contact the students have with each other
• class discussions of bullying including underlying issues and possible responses for students
• promoting positive bystander behaviour
• disciplinary action against students who bully others
An action plan may be developed for the child and any other children involved. Strategies for use at home may also be included in a plan.
https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/RespondingToBullying/HowAustralianSchoolsRespond

Single-Parent Family

Daniel Barker lives with his mother, his father having left when he was a baby. Mrs Barker still carries some resentment towards her husband and expresses in the story that she doesn’t want her son to become like him.

Mrs Barker has the help of Daniel’s grandmother, who he is close to. Daniel often rings his grandmother to ask her advice, and they have a good relationship. She helps him many times throughout By Power or Blight. In Journey to Egypt it is Grandma who takes Dan to Egypt. 

This theme was chosen as over the past 20 years single-parent families have become even more common than the so-called “nuclear family” consisting of a mother, father and children. Today we see all sorts of single- parent families: headed by mothers, headed by fathers, headed by a grandparent raising their grandchildren.

Life in a single-parent household — though common — can be quite stressful for the adult and the children. Members may unrealistically expect that the family can function like a two-parent family, and may feel that something is wrong when it can not. The single parent may feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of juggling caring for the children, maintaining a job and keeping up with the bills and household chores. And typically, the family’s finances and resources are drastically reduced following the parents’ breakup.

Single-parent families deal with many other pressures and potential problem areas that the nuclear family does not have to face.

Stressors faced by single parent families include:
* Visitation and custody problems.
• The effects of continuing conflict between the parents.
• Less opportunity for parents and children to spend time together.
• Effects of the breakup on children’s school performance and peer relations.
• Disruptions of extended family relationships.
• Problems caused by the parents’ dating and entering new relationships.
http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/single-parent.aspx

Difference & Diversity

We all want children to grow up in a world free from bias and discrimination, to reach for their dreams and feel that whatever they want to accomplish in life is possible. We want them to feel loved and included and never to experience the pain of rejection or exclusion. But the reality is that we do live in a world in which racism and other forms of bias continue to affect us. Discrimination hurts and leaves scars that can last a lifetime, affecting goals, ambitions, life choices, and feelings of self-worth.
https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/teaching-diversity-place-begin-0/

Even though in Power or Blight, Daniel is a typical boy, as stated in the Introduction, the gift of his Scrivener power changes things. It makes him different. When I wrote the story I thought an equivalent example for today may be a child’s family winning the lottery, or a child acquiring a physical disability – something that had a dramatic change – something that may be accepted for a while, but then not so much.

Having the theme of difference and diversity in the Daniel Barker series encourages discussions. It goes a step towards children thinking about how they can show respect for others who are different from themselves, and the language they speak.

Amy and Phoenix Themes

Amy and Phoenix Themes

Farming & Agriculture

Amy and Phoenix is set on a farm, which has a range of animals. It explores daily life and the realities of farm life.

What children will learn about farming in Amy and Phoenix:

1. Some of the difficulties such as predators attacking the stock e.g. foxes, and survival of the fittest.

2. Where food, such as milk, comes from (it doesn’t come from a milk bottle); also pork comes from pigs etc. In association with reading the story, children can be taught about production chains.

3. About the role of the farmer and the point that anything that is raised or grown on a farm depends on him or her. Many of the activities Mr Pringle does in the story relate to caring for the animals, feeding and watering, cleaning, building and fixing things. The chores the children have on the farm such as collecting the eggs are also highlighted.

4, Animals need food, shelter and proper care to grow healthy and happy. The story shows the role of a vet.

5. The story highlights the life cycles of farm animals. Being on a farm brings the joys of new life and the sadness of lost life.

6. Weather affects farming on a daily basis though farmers have no control over. Rain is extremely important but too much is never good. Extreme heat or extreme cold has it affect on everything and everyone on a farm.

RSPCA/Animal Welfare

In the story, Dad considers sending Phoenix to the RSPCA farm. This can lead to discussions and research on what animal welfare organisations or charities do.

The RSPCA’s mission is to prevent cruelty to animals by actively promoting their care and protection. To achieve this, the RSPCA works to enforce animal cruelty laws and prompt new legislation where required. The RSPCA also operates animal care and adoption facilities, and seeks to raise community awareness regarding the humane treatment of animals. In addition, the RSPCA works with government and industry to establish standards for animal care.

The RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) works closely with the farming sector to make a positive impact on the lives of farm production animals by providing an environment that meets their behavioural and physiological needs.

https://www.rspca.org.au/what-we-do

 

Advocating or Standing Up for Beliefs

In the story Amy is adamant that she is going to save Phoenix from being put down and then once she achieves this she wants to save him from going to the RSPCA farm. With the help of her sister Amy is able to.

Children usually learn how to write a persuasive letter in English, but there are other ways children can advocate or stand up for an issue they are passionate about. The story lends itself to brainstorming methods and even trying some of them out in the real world.

This website link has some great ideas – from acts of kindness towards other children, to visiting the local animal shelter and volunteering, to writing to local politicians about issues they feel passionate about.
https://raisinglifelonglearners.com/advocate-for-others/

This website explains the different types of advocacy:
https://www.thewellproject.org/hiv-information/how-be-advocate-yourself-and-others

 

Friendship with Animals

Amy absolutely loves the animals at the farm. She can even talk to them like Doctor Doolittle. At the beginning of the story Amy has a bond with Kobie the working dog, and she then develops a very special bond with Phoenix, the newborn disabled lamb. Her dad says he doesn’t have pets on the farm which distresses Amy and she works to change this. The story highlights the benefits of children caring for animals or having pets.

Here are some of the benefits:

• Children who grow up in homes with pets have less risk of developing common allergies and asthma.
• Playing with dogs may help lower blood pressure.
• Kids with pets get outside more—to go for walks, run and play—and enjoy all the associated health benefits.
• Pet owners require fewer doctor’s visits.
• Emerging readers often feel more comfortable reading aloud to a pet.
• Nurturing a pet is an acceptable way for boys to “parent play”—to practice being caregivers.
• Feeding and caring for a pet encourages childhood responsibility.
• Children with pets display improved impulse control, social skills and self-esteem.
• Sharing the love and care of a family pet forges an additional common bond among siblings.
• Cuddling a pet reduces stress, loneliness and anxiety.
Read more: http://www.oprah.com/relationships/10-reasons-pets-are-good-for-kids#ixzz5cp3ya0iB

 

Disabled Animals

Like humans, animals can be born with disabilities. They can be born without limbs, or have facial differences, or skin conditions etc. If you google ‘disabled animals’ many photos will pop up. Having a lamb with three legs in the story, can enable discussions on difference, diversity and disabilities in humans as well as in animals.

Amy makes an interesting comment in the story where she says, ‘If I was born with one leg you wouldn’t have killed me.’ Children in the younger age would not need to be taught about what has happened to people with disabilities throughout history, but older students could touch on this topic.

Animals like people can cope with their disabilities and can thrive.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/26830/8-disabled-animals-triumphed-over-adversity

 

Cyber safety

In Amy and Phoenix, Hannah who is Amy’s sister, uploads the video of Phoenix and the other lambs to YouTube, and it goes viral. The media then becomes involved. Having this element in the story allows for discussions on the pros and cons of YouTube. With the older children some discussions could be had on social media, instagram etc. and the positives and negatives of being popular. Discussions about how to remain safe on the internet should also be included when reading the story. There are many great resources on the internet to help.

https://www.esafety.gov.au/

https://kidshelpline.com.au/kids/issues/being-safe-internet

https://au.norton.com/internetsecurity-kids-safety-middle-school-kit-a-broader-world-of-cybersecurity-protection.html

https://usa.kaspersky.com/resource-center/preemptive-safety/top-10-internet-safety-rules-and-what-not-to-do-online

 

Daniel Barker: By Power or Blight Themes

Daniel Barker: By Power or Blight Themes

Peer Pressure

    

Wanting to feel part of something can put pressure on a teen to act in certain ways. If they’re doing something they wouldn’t normally do, or are not doing something they’d like to do, simply so that they’ll be accepted by the people they hang out with, they’re suffering from peer pressure.

Peer pressure can influence:
* the way someone dresses or wears their hair
* the activities they get involved in the music they listen to
* the decisions made about using drugs and alcohol
* who they date
* who they’re friends with.

The pressure to act in a certain way can be:
1) direct: someone telling the teen what they should be doing
2) indirect: the teen’s group of friends might do certain activities together that they’re unlikely to do outside of that group
3) self-motivated: putting pressure on the teen to fit in with their friendship group, because of certain standards they’ve set or comments they’ve made.
https://au.reachout.com/articles/what-is-peer-pressure

In Daniel Barker: By Power or Blight, peer pressure is a pivotal catalyst for the turn of events in the story. Daniel is a superhero in primary school and the beginning of high school. Things change in Year Eight, and with taunting, bullying and pressure on him, Daniel goes against the rules set down in the Scrivener book. Consequences await him upon disobeying the rules.

 

Ancient Egypt

The Scrivener book is a present that was given to Daniel’s grandmother by a magus when she was traveling through Egypt. It was then passed down to Daniel’s mother and then to himself.

In Power or Blight there are some references to Egypt with the Mummy’s curse. At the end of the story, Grandma decides that they need to go back to Egypt to stop the blight. It is in the second book that the pyramids, pharoahs, mummies and the ancient Egyptian world is explored.

Some fun facts about ancient Egypt:

1) Egyptian men and women wore makeup. It was thought to have healing powers, plus it helped protect their skin from the sun.
2) They used mouldy bread to help with infections.
3) They were one of the first civilizations to invent writing. They also used ink to write and paper called papyrus.
4) The Ancient Egyptians were scientists and mathematicians. They had numerous inventions including ways to build buildings, medicine, cosmetics, the calendar, the plow for farming, musical instruments, and even toothpaste.
5) Ancient Egypt plays a major role in the Bible. The Israelites were held captive there as slaves for many years. Moses helped them escape and led them to the Promised Land.
6) The Pharaoh kept his hair covered. It was not to be seen by regular people.
7) Cats were considered sacred in Ancient Egypt.
https://www.ducksters.com/history/ancient_egypt.php

 

Bullying

As with most of my books, bullying is featured in By Power or Blight. Daniel is called names and taunted, until he explodes.

Bullying goes hand-in-hand with negative peer pressure.

So what is bullying?

The national definition of bullying for Australian schools says:
Bullying is an ongoing misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behaviour that causes physical and/or psychological harm. It can involve an individual or a group misusing their power over one or more persons. Bullying can happen in person or online, and it can be obvious (overt) or hidden (covert).

Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved, including bystanders.

Single incidents and conflict or fights between equals, whether in person or online, are not defined as bullying.

In the story, Daniel is bullied because he is picked on by many children; some like Ethan and his mate have it in for him. Daniel is physically and verbally picked on. After things start going bad, he becomes isolated from his friends.

https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/WhatIsBullying/DefinitionOfBullying

In By Power or Blight, the school does not action to stop the bullying – this is all part of the Mummy’s Blight. But in reality there are policies and procedures that schools need to follow.

These strategies could include:
• teaching and learning programs to develop students communication, social, assertiveness and coping skills
• changes to the school environment to improve teacher supervision, such as removing visual barriers between teacher and students
• increasing supervision of students at particular times or places
• support from a guidance officer or school counsellor
• changes to technology access at school
• timetable or class changes that may be temporary or permanent to decrease the contact the students have with each other
• class discussions of bullying including underlying issues and possible responses for students
• promoting positive bystander behaviour
• disciplinary action against students who bully others

An action plan may be developed for the child and any other children involved. Strategies for use at home may also be included in a plan.

https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/RespondingToBullying/HowAustralianSchoolsRespond

 

Single-Parent Family

Daniel Barker lives with his mother, his father having left when he was a baby. Mrs Barker still carries some resentment towards her husband and expresses in the story that she doesn’t want her son to become like him.

Mrs Barker has the help of Daniel’s grandmother, who he is close to. Daniel often rings his grandmother to ask her advice, and they have a good relationship. She helps him many times throughout By Power or Blight.

This theme was chosen as over the past 20 years single-parent families have become even more common than the so-called “nuclear family” consisting of a mother, father and children. Today we see all sorts of single- parent families: headed by mothers, headed by fathers, headed by a grandparent raising their grandchildren.

Life in a single-parent household — though common — can be quite stressful for the adult and the children. Members may unrealistically expect that the family can function like a two-parent family, and may feel that something is wrong when it can not. The single parent may feel overwhelmed by the responsibility of juggling caring for the children, maintaining a job and keeping up with the bills and household chores. And typically, the family’s finances and resources are drastically reduced following the parents’ breakup.

Single-parent families deal with many other pressures and potential problem areas that the nuclear family does not have to face.

Stressors faced by single parent families include:

* Visitation and custody problems.
• The effects of continuing conflict between the parents.
• Less opportunity for parents and children to spend time together.
• Effects of the breakup on children’s school performance and peer relations.
• Disruptions of extended family relationships.
• Problems caused by the parents’ dating and entering new relationships.
http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/single-parent.aspx

 

Difference & Diversity

We all want children to grow up in a world free from bias and discrimination, to reach for their dreams and feel that whatever they want to accomplish in life is possible. We want them to feel loved and included and never to experience the pain of rejection or exclusion. But the reality is that we do live in a world in which racism and other forms of bias continue to affect us. Discrimination hurts and leaves scars that can last a lifetime, affecting goals, ambitions, life choices, and feelings of self-worth.

https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/teaching-content/teaching-diversity-place-begin-0/

Even though in Power or Blight, Daniel is a typical boy, as stated in the Introduction, the gift of his Scrivener power changes things. It makes him different. When I wrote the story I thought an equivalent example for today may be a child’s family winning the lottery, or a child acquiring a physical disability – something that had a dramatic change – something that may be accepted for a while, but then not so much.

Having the theme of difference and diversity in Daniel Barker encourages discussions. It goes a step towards children thinking about how they can show respect for others who are different from themselves, and the language they speak.

Land of Britannica Themes

Land of Britannica Themes

Separation and Divorce

 

Land of Britannica is based around the protagonist, Brittney, who isn’t coping with her parents’ separation. When her father, Jason, introduces the children to his new girlfriend, Brittney and her older brother, Hunter, do not cope well and the realisation that their parents are getting a divorce hits them. This problem and Brittney’s angst, is what plunges Brittney into the Land of Britannica.

In 2015, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that 48,517 divorces were granted in Australia – an increase from the previous year. This means many children are being affected. One statistic I read said, 1 in 5 children under the age of 20 years, are affected. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3310.0

A marriage breakdown affects children in a variety of ways. Some cope but others can be adversely affected.

Parental separation is said to be more important in children’s lives than the legal divorce. The breakdown of the marriage and subsequent adjustments such as custody and future step-parents

How children adjust in the short and medium term to their parents’ separation is linked to several aspects of their psychological wellbeing. Self-esteem has been associated with family dynamics and family type in the period after separation (Ochiltree 1990), and may be associated with more positive approaches to educational and occupational endeavour. The emotional state of the child, whether depressed or cheerful, anxious or calm, may also be associated with their wellbeing and future achievement. Collectively, indices such as these may provide a glimpse of how well children will adapt to life after their parents’ divorce.

The level of income in a household before parents separate appears to have significant and long-lasting effects on some aspects of children’s lives. Higher household income appears to be associated with higher self-esteem in children and a better relationship between siblings. https://aifs.gov.au/publications/family-matters/issue-30/divorce-change-and-children

Children’s psychological reactions to their parents’ divorce vary in degree dependent on three factors:

(1) the quality of their relationship with each of their parents before the separation,
(2) the intensity and duration of the parental conflict, and
(3) the parents’ ability to focus on the needs of children in their divorce.

Behaviours that are displayed are caused by the child trying to feel secure. Some typical reactions of children are:

a) Denial
b) Abandonment
c) Preoccupation with information
d) Anger and hostility
e) Depression
f) Immaturity/Hypermaturity
g) Preoccupation with reconciliation
h) Self-blame and guilt
i) Acting out

In Land of Britannica, we see Brittney experiencing a few of these reactions. She is in denial, she is angry, and wants her parents to get back together and she blames her own behaviour for the separation of her parents, even though she knew Dad left because he hurt Mum.

Some signs of stress in children affected by family breakdowns are:

1) Infants and toddlers:
A. Regression in terms of sleeping, toilet training or eating; slowing down in the mastery of new skills
B. Sleep disturbances (difficulty going to sleep; frequent waking)
C. Difficulty leaving parent; climginess
D. General crankiness, temper tantrums, crying

2) 3-5 Years
A. Regression; returning to security blankets and discarded toys, lapses in toilet training, thumb sucking
B. Immature grasp of what has happened; bewildered; making up fantasy stories
C. Blaming themselves and feeling guilty
D. Bedtime anxiety; fitful/fretful sleep; frequent waking
E. Fear of being abandoned by both parents; clinginess
F Greater irritability, aggression, temper tantrums

3) 6 – 8 Years
A. Pervasive sadness; feeling abandoned and rejected
B. Crying and sobbing
C. Afraid of their worst fears coming true
D. Reconciliation fantasies
E. Loyalty conflicts; feeling physically torn apart
F. Problems with impulse control; disorganised behaviour.

4) 9 – 12 Years
A. Able to see family disruption clearly; try to bring order to situation
B. Fear of loneliness
C. Intense anger at the parent they blame for causing the divorce
D. Physical complaints; headaches and stomach aches
E. May become overactive to avoid thinking about the divorce
F/ Feel ashamed of what’s happening in their family; feel they are different from other children

5) Adolescents
A. Fear of being isolated and lonely
B. Experience parents as leaving them; feel parents are not available to them
C. Feel hurried to achieve independence
D. Feel in competition with parents
E. Worry about their own future loves and marriage; preoccupied with the survival of relationships
F. Discomfort with a parent’s dating and sexuality
G. Chronic fatigue; difficulty concentrating
H. Mourn the loss of the family of their childhood

Kathleen O’Connell Corcoran
https://www.mediate.com/articles/psych.cfm

 

Emotional Health & the Grief Cycle

Children who are in the midst of a separation and an impeding divorce will often go through a cycle of grief or mourning. It is much like a death in the family. Each child will experience the grief in their own way. There are five steps in the grief cycle. Sometimes the steps are steep, sometimes steps are repeated, and sometimes a child may take longer on one step than others.

Step One: Shock and Denial Stage
The children have a family life that to them is normal, even if there is conflict. As the family moves from ormal functioning through divorce or separation the children first move into a shock and denial stage. They have to work to understand the divorce and what is gong to happen as a result of the divorce. Parents can help by explaining the reality of the divorce and emphasising that some things will not change – such as the love for their child and that the parent will be there for the child

Step Two: Anger Stage
Next the children move into a stage of anger. In this stage parents need to provide support and be there for the children, but understand that thi is just part of the grief cycle. Children need time to work through their anger and guilt. They will sometimes pick one parent to be mad at and not at the other parent This is normal. Let them know that the parent understands they are angry and continue letting the child know they are loved.

Step Three: Depression Stage
As the children sense that their life is falling apart, they may withdraw and feel sad and detached from their family and friends. The parent needs to differentiate between sadness and depression. If the parent is concerned that the child is truggling they may need to seek professional help.

Step Four: Dialogue & Bargaining Stage
As the children move into the dialogue and bargaining phase, they will try to get the family back together. They will fantasise bout reconciliation and will promise to be good if they parents will just reconsider. They may even devise ways to get their parents together such as being sick or getting into trouble at school. This is thier way of working through the guilt of feeling that they were the reason for the divorce or separation. The parent needs to remind them that they did not break up the family, and it is not likely that they can get the familly back together. This too is part of accepting the permanence of the situation.

Step Five: Acceptance Stage
Reaching the acceptance stage means that the child has adjusted to the reality and permanence of the divorce and separation. It may also mean, especially for older children, they are ready to take a chance on love. The entire grief process is one of dealing with loss and requires that children overcome the sense of rejection, humiliation, feeling unloved, and powerlessness that they feel.

During this process the parents need to encourage the child to maintain their normal schedule and activities.
Gail Brand
http://parentsavvy.com/articles-and-blog/145/

In the story, Brittney is plunged into the fantasy world, Land of Britannica. It is in this world that she travels through the grief cycle. Each of the characters she rescue, and then the acceptance parcel, are representative of each stage:
• Shock and Denial – Mr Wolf
• Anger – Terry
• Depression – Billy Goat
• Bargaining – The guards at the wall
• Acceptance – The acceptance parcel

Friendship

The philosopher Aristotle said, “In poverty and other misfortunes of life, true friends are a sure refuge. They keep the young out of mischief; they comfort and aid the old in their weakness, and they incite those in the prime of life to noble deeds.”

For children, making friends is a vital part of growing up and an essential part of their social and emotional development. Attributes such as social competence, altruism, self-esteem and self-confidence have all been found to be positively correlated to having friends. Studies have found that friendships enable children to learn more about themselves and develop their own identity. And, as children mature, friends are able to help reduce stress and navigate challenging developmental experiences, especially during teenage years. 

Friendships develop life skills that will increase a child’s wisdom, confidence and self-esteem.
A good friend is someone who has your best interests at heart and they have their friend’s back. A friend provides someone to communicate concerns, dreams and fears with. This allows a child to feel less alone and isolated.

The opportunity to develop leadership skills can increase as children play with other children. They are also provided with opportunities to make decisions. Imagination skills are developed.

Having a variety of friends enables a child to know how other families operate and this will help them to cope with changes in their situation, particularly if one of their friends has experienced this.
 https://www.mentalhelp.net/blogs/why-it-is-important-for-our-children-to-have-friends/

In Land of Britannica, Brittney has a best friend Kallie. We learn throughout the story that Kallie lives in a divorced family, which Brittney is faced with the reality of. Brittney knows that Kallie understands what she is going through. Brittney is also excited about going to her best friend’s thirteenth birthday party which they have planned together. When her father says she can’t go, Brittney is devastated and tries hard to change his mind. She is ecstatic where at the end of the chapter, he changes his mind. The book starts and finishes with Brittney texts Kallie.

When Brittney enters the Land of Britannica she is met by Marmalade, the clone of her pet cat also named Marmalade. In the Land of Britannica, Marmalade is a fur friend. He becomes Brittney’s constant companion and gives her advice and comfort, he encourages her to keep on going and she uses him as her confidante. Marmalade is with Kallie for the majority of the journey. They become separated right at the end then are reunited. Carly-Anna is the first person Brittney meets in the Land of Britannica. She is a representation of Kallie, and comes and goes throughout the story. Carly-Anna provides comfort, wisdom and direction for Brittney.

 

Courage

Courage is an essential ingredient in growing up. It’s what propels us to each new milestones – from learning to walk to learning maths – even though the effort seems hard or painful. Courage can be physical, like jumping from a diving board, or moral, like doing the right thing in the face of possible ridicule.

Courage can be built by:
• self-confidence
• overcoming fear
• facing the unknown
• doing the right thing

Having courage means that children will be brave as they meet new experiences, difficult situation and/or dangerous encounters. Also courage may involve being firm because of strong moral convictions In either case, there may be feelings of fear, anxiety or apprehension that must be dealt with.

http://www.beliefnet.com/love-family/family-values-toolkit/family-values-courage.aspx#bk721AVcejyLJtBB.99

As Brittney travels through the Land of Britannica she continually shows courage to face obstacles. Sometimes these obstacles are animals, the queen’s guards, Storm Queen herself, and at other times she shows courage in the face of problems that she must solve to be able to rescue the Odinarians and Terry.

When Brittney enters the Land of Britannica and begins her travels, she is very scared and apprehensive. As she overcomes more and more obstacles, her symptoms of stress (feeling sick, sweats, shivers up and down her spine, shaking etc) lessen and at the end of the story Brittney is self-confident, strong and sure of herself. She is able to face the unknown and due to her courage she saves the land and its people. 

 

Superhero

In the Land of Britannica, Brittney is transformed into a superhero. Carly-Anna initially dresses her in black leggings, a long sleeved green top with a silver crown motif, and a silver studded belt with a silver satin bag attached to it, and black boots. Her hair flew up into a bun. Along her journey, Brittney acquires a range of items which give her extra powers to fight her enemies. These are:

• Sword of strength
• Shield to protect the heart
• Fire Torch to light the way
• Crown of power
• Bag of capture powder
• Cloak of invisibility

With Brittney’s inner-strength and determination to save the cracked heart from falling out of the sky, combined with her added powers, she is able to fulfil her desti

Ride High Pineapple Themes

Ride High Pineapple Reviews

Facial Differences

   

Have you ever compared people’s faces? Some people have big noses, some people have small chins, some people have straight eyebrows, some people have thin lips, and some people have freckles. What do you have? All of these differences help you to be recognised by friends, family and other people who meet you.

What if you were born with a face that was considered different in the eyes of the world? Maybe you were born with a large red mark on your face, or you weren’t born with ears, or half of your face didn’t move.

In Ride High Pineapple, the main character, Issy Burgess, was born with a different face. The bones in her skull and face stopped growing too early when she was in her mother’s womb. This made them small, so her eyes were very bulgy. This was not her fault. It was something that just happened, just like some people have asthma, or are allergic to peanuts. But having something that most other people do not have, can be difficult.

People stare at people who are different.

Whether it is a very short person, a person in a wheelchair, or someone who talks to himself, people tend to look, maybe because they are curious, or maybe because they haven’t seen someone like that before. Unfortunately though, some people can be very mean and cruel to people who are different. This happens in Ride High Pineapple as Issy is bullied by The Beast, Tia, a girl in her class.

in the story Issy uses her English assessment to tell the class why she looks the way she is, and also to show that she is more than a face – she has talents. Issy is great at writing poetry, drawing Anime and skateboarding. She is also a loyal friend and a loved daughter.

You may be wondering, why I gave Issy a different face? Well, because I was born with a different face, and two of my children were also born with a different face. We all have the syndrome that Issy has. Issy’s character is based on myself and my daughter. Issy’s feelings were my own when I was growing up. The speech that Issy gave, was the speech that my daughter gave to her Year 8 English class, just changed to match Issy. My daughter loves drawing Anime and was into skateboarding. She also experiences anxiety. The hospitals, Captain Starlight, and plastic surgeon are all from our personal experience.

If you see or meet someone with a facial difference, choose kind. Be nice, smile and say hello. Remember that even though their face may not look like everyone else’s, they still have feelings, and they have talents. They want to have friends and be liked. Maybe they can do something that you can’t do.

For more information on facial differences see:

http://www.ccakids.org/
http://www.aboutface.ca/facial-differences/
http://www.friendlyfaces.org/medical.html
http://www.aboutface.ca/

Bullying & Friendships

There is a bully in the story; Tia, or The Beast, is her name. She continually calls Issy names, she hurts Issy, and she spreads rumours about her.

The difference between a mean girl and a bully, is that the situation occurs more than once. Issy has been picked on by Tia since Tia arrived in Year Eight.

There are many strategies to cope with bullies. It is extremely important that you do not put up with it. No one has the right to be mean to you.

So what can you do? You can stand up for yourself, and say like Issy did, ‘Stop it, I don’t like it.’ If that doesn’t work you can say something funny or walk away. You can tell a teacher. You can tell your parents. You can tell your friends.

Issy kept the bullying a secret and tried to deal with Tia on her own. This only made Issy very angry because nothing was working. It was only when Issy told her best friend Tilly what was going on, and Sarah her skateboarding coach, that she was able to stop Tia. Don’t keep bullying a secret.

In Ride High Pineapple, Issy had known Tilly since she was young. She felt she didn’t need any other friends, and was jealous of other girls trying to join the group. Over time Issy realised that sometimes she needed more than one friend.

Friends are important. We laugh, play, hang out and share our dreams and secrets with them. Friends accept us for who we are and like us the way we are. Sometimes we do fight with our friends but that is okay, as long as we say sorry and get over it

It is important that friends don’t stand by and let bullying happen. Friends who stand with you, are the best type of friends to have. In the story it is Tilly and Tilly’s friends who stand up to Tia. Eventually Issy expands her friendship group to include these girls.

Why did I put a bully in Ride High Pineapple? Because I was bullied all the way through school. I was called horrible names about my face. My friends did stand up for me and my brothers tried to protect me. But it still happened. In those days bullying was more accepted than it is today. Thankfully times have changed and you don’t have to put up with it.

For more information on bullying see:

https://kidshelpline.com.au/
https://bullyingnoway.gov.au/
https://www.stopbullying.gov/

Skateboarding

Issy’s favourite sport is skateboarding. Do you like skateboarding? It takes good balance, something I don’t have.

I had to do a lot of research on skateboarding to learn the names of the tricks and the difficulty level of them. I watched many YouTube videos. Do you know what an ollie is?

I also had to research skate parks to learn the names of the equipment such as a funbox.

Skateboarding is a fun sport for boys and girls. It is a great way to exercise. If you haven’t tried it, give it a go.

For more information see:

http://skateaustralia.org.au/
http://skateboardingaustralia.com.au/
http://www.girlsskatenetwork.com/

Anxiety

In the story Ride High Pineapple, Issy says she has something called anxiety. She gets sweaty palms, she has butterflies in her tummy, she has a pounding heart, she can’t sleep and is tired, she feels angry and sometimes she even vomits. Maybe you’ve felt this way when something has scared you, or you’ve had to do a talk at school in front of your classmates.

Everyone does feel nervous. That is very normal. But sometimes a person’s nervousness becomes so severe, that it makes them sick and stops them from doing things. Sometimes a person with anxiety avoid thing or going places because they are feeling so bad inside.

Anxiety affects a lot of young people.

When I was deciding on Issy’s character, why did I give her anxiety? That’s easy. Because myself and my daughter both have severe anxiety. And there have been children who I have taught who had anxiety.

Anxiety can be hard to cope with. It is difficult to make yourself do something when your body and your mind are telling you not to. For example, Issy didn’t swim in the swimming carnival because of her fear of swimming in front of the school.

Towards the middle of the story Issy tells her skateboarding coach about her anxiety and explains that it is stopping her from enjoying her life, and particularly from going further with her sport. Sarah teaches Issy the analogy of a pineapple. This works.

Sometimes children and teenagers are told by a doctor that they have an anxiety disorder and they will need some extra help to cope. They may see someone called a psychologist who will talk to them and design specific strategies for them to use.

There are many strategies for anyone who is coping with nerves or anxiety. Drawing, colouring in, journaling, going for a walk or playing sport, listening to music, smelling something nice, or cuddling your favourite toy or pet are all great things to do. Or you too can imagine you are a pineapple – stand tall, be tough on the outside, sweet on the inside, and wear a crown.

For more information on anxiety see:

https://headspace.org.au/
https://kidshelpline.com.au/
https://www.youthbeyondblue.com/understand-what%27s-going-on/anxiety?sekw=34445758021
http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/anxiety-disorders.html#

Secrets

There is another theme of the book – secrets. On page one of her journal, Issy talks about different types of secrets.

Do you think there are different types of secrets? Are there good and bad ones?

Yes there are different types of secrets. Most secrets are harmless or fun, but some aren’t. How do you know the difference?

This is the rule:

* If a secret can’t hurt someone or something you can keep the secret. For example, writing a surprise birthday card.

* If a secret can hurt someone or something you need to tell someone. For example, someone forces you to steal.

* And if you’re not sure whether it will hurt someone or something, it is best to tell.

Remember that problems should not be secrets. Issy had a problem – Tia wouldn’t stop bullying her. She should have told her parents and Tilly much sooner. Later on in the story Issy finds Sofia’s bracelet and she wants to keep it. This is also a problem. It shouldn’t have been kept as a secret.

If someone tells you to keep a secret and it is about you or someone else being hurt, you must tell. Do not keep it a secret.

For more information on secrets see:

http://www.kidpower.org/library/article/safe-unsafe-secrets/
http://www.ncpc.org/topics/by-audience/parents/secrets/
http://www.childsafety.org.au/documents/Worksheet3.2Yrs5-6.pdf
https://kidshelpline.com.au/