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Nanberry: Black Brother White by Jackie French

The novel Nanberry was awarded an Honour book in the 2012 Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year for Younger Readers awards and is aimed at an audience of independent readers ten years and over, according to the publisher. The period of time that this historical novel covers is one that is studied in Year 4 in the Australian Curriculum: History. Students will be able to explore the past with this historical narrative, with sensitive mediation by their teacher. You should read the novel first so as to be familiar with the storyline and aspects that may be challenging to your students.

The primary intention of using Nanberry is for students to listen to and engage with this text for enjoyment. Read the novel aloud to the class, but also suggest that students read it themselves outside of class.

During reading

The class could create a word bank of historical vocabulary, which can be drawn upon for their own future writing. They could also identify words that are used in Australian English that have been derived from Aboriginal languages. ACELA1487

A simple chart on the classroom wall or a Web 2.0 tool such as Padlet (formerly Wallwisher) (see the Example page on the Wallwisher/Padlet website) could be used.

After reading

This unit suggests ways students can use the text to explore and examine complex language features. It provides opportunities for students to further develop their understanding of different elements of language, literacy and literature. The class should also reflect on how the novel addresses the question: Was life the same for everyone in 1788?

Find further teacher notes (.pdf 367 kB) on Nanberry.