Through this ten-part literature course, discover the incredible ‘Refugee Boy’ by Benjamin Zephaniah, which tells the story of fourteen year old who, due to a raging war and the decisions of a desperate parent, finds himself alone in a new country. Refugee Boy is one of the most powerful novels I have had the pleasure to read and to t each. I have explored it with students in Years 7, 8 and 9, who have all gained enormously from the experience. It is a rich and compelling story and a strong platform for exploring themes such as war, conflict, prejudice, racial identity, as well as the power of community, kindness and courage.
In this resource pack you will find a guide to take you through all twenty-seven chapters of the novel, as well as two related poems and some non-fiction exploration. Comprehension questions to build skills such as recall, inference, skimming and scanning and close text analysis are included, along with creative writing prompts and literature essay guides. This is more than an English scheme of work, though; I hope to encourage readers to explore the story in more depth and breadth and have the opportunity to be creative and enjoy open-ended activities.
Are there sensitive topics in this novel or resource pack?
Yes, there are difficult themes as mentioned above. There are also one or two swear words and allusions to potentially sensitive topics, including violence, bereavement, the foster and care system, bullying and neglect. Please read the book ahead if any of these themes might be difficult and pre-watch any videos. You can, of course, feel free to skip or adapt sections to make them more suitable.
What age is this suitable for?
This resource pack is for students in KS3 and 4. It is not a GCSE-specific resource but the skills of literary analysis and writing for a range of purposes will be relevant. Writing frames for some activities are included for those who would like them but if your child would like more of a challenge these could be done without.
Can it be completed independently?
The resource pack can be completed independently but there are some invitations to take part in role play and discussion tasks where support would be helpful.
How long should it take to work through this resource pack?
There are ten sections. They can be completed in as long or short a time frame as you like but it will approximately last a UK school term if completed alongside other activities.
Each section consists of four activities.
Discover: an invitation to deepen understanding of the social, geographical or political context of the novel, perhaps through watching a video or researching a topic.
Read: this guides you through reading a chapter or more of the novel or a related text. There are discussion prompts and comprehension questions.
Write: create a piece of writing inspired by the story. This could be a non-fiction essay, a story or poem.
Create: enjoy making or designing something, for example art, food or music.