In Home, a young Sudeten German girl and her family are expelled from their home and forced to give up their belongings and their freedom, until they eventually find a safe passage across the seas to Australia. This poignant, uplifting and hopeful story by Karen Hendriks, combined with the hauntingly evocative illustrations by Alisa Knatko, provide readers a plethora of opportunities to meaningful discussions and learning experiences. Here are just a few ideas to follow your reading of Home…
Discussion and Activities
Before Reading Questions –
Look at the cover of ‘Home‘. What do you see? What does it make you wonder about?
How do you think the girl is feeling? How do you know?
What does the title and the background in the illustrations tell you about this story? What do you think it might be about?
Read the blurb on the back of the book. Discuss the family’s situation. How do you think they might feel? How does it make you feel?
After Reading Questions –
Why were the Sudeten Germans forced to flee their homes? In what period / years did this happen? What do you know about World War 2?
Have you heard of this happening in our times today? Where? What is happening? Why?
What is the significance of the girl’s heart locket? Why is it an important part of her survival in this story? How do you think her heart locket might help her in the future (in her new home)?
Can you tell how the little girl is feeling at different parts of the story? What emotion words can you use to describe her ’emotional’ journey? What about her parents’ feelings? How did her father help her to stay brave and strong?
Why was singing songs together an important thing to do?
What did the little girl realise about where ‘home’ is? Can ‘home’ be a feeling? Can you have more than one home?
How are the words, ‘change’ and ‘freedom’ meaningful to this story? What other words has the author used that are powerful?
5 – 12 years
Homes Around the World
Not all homes look the same around the world.
Discuss with students the kinds of homes or houses that they can think of. For example, single-level house, double storey, apartment block, units, treehouse, castle, etc. A comprehensive list of types of homes can be found at Types of Houses: 35+ Different Types of Houses around the World – Love English.
- Students draw a ‘street view’ on a large piece of paper of their own home, their street and community.
2. Find images showing homes from all over the world. Where might you find those particular homes? In what kinds of climates? In what kinds of social class communities? Can students mark some of these homes on a world map?
3. Write a narrative or information text about what it might be like to live in one of these houses.
Read the passage on pages 34 – 35 of Home and look at the map of displaced persons in Europe. Answer the following questions:
- After World War II, the Czech President, Edvard Benes issued laws to remove all ethnic Germans from the country. What does ‘ethnic’ mean?
- What did the ethnic Germans and Hungarians lose during this time?
- In what year/s were the Sudeten Germans expelled from their country?
- Complete the sentence, ‘This area was known as Sudetenland, its name was derived from the Sudeten __________.’
- What does the map of Europe show?
- What does the term ‘displaced’ mean?
Home is Within the Heart
Foundation to Year 2 English – Language variation and change (ACELA1426), Responding to literature (ACELT1582), Creating literature (ACELT1833), Texts in context (ACELY1655), Creating texts (ACELY1651)(ACELY1661 )
Year 3 / 4 English – Responding to literature (ACELT1596), Interpreting, analysing, evaluating (ACELY1680)(ACELY1692), Language variation and change (ACELA1475), Examining literature (ACELT1599), Creating literature (ACELT1601)
Use the heart locket template below (or create your own) to write and draw a home-related topic of your choice. Here are some ideas:
- Write and draw about your favourite part of your home.
- Write your favourite ‘home-related’ quote. For example, ‘Home is within’, ‘Home is where the heart is’, ‘Home sweet home’, etc. Draw a picture on the other side of the locket to match.
- Write about what ‘home’ means to you. Is it a safe place to belong, where you spend time with your family, a place you make the most loving memories, etc. Draw a picture to match.
- Write the word ‘home‘ in as many different languages from the around the world you can find.
- Write and draw about your ultimate dream home! Be as imaginative as you like!
Paint a Picture of Home
Study the beautiful technique that Alisa Knatko has used for her illustrations in Home. What media can you see? What colours have been used to represent the mood? What style has been adopted to represent the cultural place and era?
Paint your own ‘home’ landscape with buildings, landmarks or any other identifying features that make this place special to you. Experiment with the use of watercolours in various shades of the same hue. Use pencil lines to add detail.
Please follow Karen Hendriks at her website: karenhendriks.com (coming soon)
Alisa Knatko’s website: Alisa Knatko – Mixed media illustrator (wordpress.com)
A #BookGiveaway we call HOME
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