Exploring the 2020 CBCA Short List: Picture Books

Gilr on seat under a window on cover of Tilly

Author: Jane Godwin  Illustrator: Anna Walker

Publisher: Scholastic

Themes: Childhood memories, treasures.

Years: Australian Curriculum: English, Years 2 and 3. NSW Stage 1 and Stage2

From the publisher’s synopsis: Tilly has found the perfect hiding place to keep her special treasures. No one knows about it, not even her big brothers and sister, who know everything. But one day, something happens that Tilly could never have imagined. Jane Godwin and Anna Walker have created a wistful, enchanting and timeless story about an old house, a young girl, and how the small things we hold dear stay with us always.

Unit writer: Jennifer Asha 

Building field knowledge

  • Share your childhood treasures, memories or special places with your students. Talk about what they represented to you then and now and list your emotions. Introduce the idea that people attach memories and feelings to objects. ACELY1666 ACELY1792 EN1-1A EN2-1A
  • Create a word web to explore the connotative meanings of the word ‘treasure’. Consider its meaning as a verb and a noun. Expand your word investigation to include words such as memory, memories, remember. ACELA1472 ACELA1827 EN1-5A EN2-5A

Exploring the context of the text

  • After reading, return to your list of emotions and add to it as your students retell the story and speculate on Tilly's feelings and those of other characters. 
  • Create a library of books with emotions as themes to allow students to explore during independent reading. You might like to include titles such as Mr Huff by Anna Walker, What do you wish for by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker or Go Go and the silver shoes by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker. Have a whole class discussion about why emotions play such an important part in these stories and many like them. Help students to consider the role of literature in helping readers process their own emotions. ACELY1670 ACELY1680 EN1-4A EN2-4A EN1-12E EN2-12E

Responding to the text

  • Locate some paint samples from a hardware shop. Look at the names of the colours and compare them to the paint names in the book. Think about the way these names conjure up sensory and emotional responses. Why would paint makers want this to occur? Use the paint names in Tilly to inspire artworks in various mediums. ACELT1590 EN1-8B EN2-8B
  • Keeping to the colour theme, use the paint names or colours in the illustrations to inspire poetry writing that draws on figurative language to elicit sensory and emotion responses from the reader. For example: Whisper White, Shining moonlight, Piercing dark night, Blanketing quiet. Or, paint your own scene that exemplifies ‘Holiday Red’, ‘Deep Bamboo’, ‘Sea Elephant’ or ‘Corn Silk’ and create a soundscape to accompany.  ACELY1671 ACELY1682 EN1-2A EN2-2A

Exploring plot character and setting

  • Hypothesise what each of Tilly’s treasures remind her of and why she considers them to be treasures. Compare to Wilfred Gordon Macdonald Partridge by Mem Fox in terms of the way that different objects represent memories for both Wilfred Gordon and Miss Nancy. Ask students to explore their interpretation of the character of Tilly by comparing her to Wilfred Gordon. How are each of the child characters similar and different? ACELT1591 ACELT1589 EN1-7B EN2-7B

Creating texts

  • Create a treasure box, decorate it and explain your choices of objects and their reason for inclusion. Write descriptions for each item describing them in a similar manner used by Jane Godwin, with a pre and post modifier. See the Examining Grammar activity on pre- and post modifiers for more suggestions on how to prepare students for writing descriptions in this way.  ACELY1671 ACELY1682 EN1-2A EN2-2A EN1-9B EN2-9B

Examining text structure and organisation

  • Create a diagrammatic representation of the narrative structure of the story and plot Tilly's feelings along it to show how the ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ of her emotions match parts of the story structure. Ask students to reflect on times when they have felt like Tilly. Use sentences starters to prompt reflection, discussion and encourage vocabulary use; I felt disappointed when ... I was frustrated at ... I had a feeling of being unsure of what to do when ... I was comforted by ... I found help when ... It was a relief to ... After talking, construct imaginative narratives or factual recounts that focus on the people and actions we can use to help us through strong emotions. ACELT1833 ACELT1791 EN1-2A EN2-2A EN1-10C EN2-10C

Examining grammar

  • Preposition hunt. up high, down low, in dark corners.  Describe a hiding place using a range of prepositions, to direct someone to a treasure/object you have hidden in the classroom.
  • Jan Godwin has used noun groups to describe Tilly’s treasures, for example special book of lists, best drawing of a bird. Explain pre- and post modifiers in noun groups using examples from the story. Compare the description of the treasures prior to and after they were trapped under the carpet. Compose poems using pre and post modifiers to describe your own treasured items or memories. ACELA1468 EN1-9B EN2-9B

Examining visual and multimodal features

  • Anna Walker has depicted Tilly in a way that means she could represent any child. Look through the pictures for aspects that students connect with. They might not live in a two story house, but their kitchen might be busy during meal preparations like Tilly’s. They might not have as many siblings as Tilly, but their family might have records of important parts of their lives like the photographs on the walls in Tilly’s house. After modelling this type of talk that highlights differences and similarities, ask students to have a go in small groups. Wrap up the discussion by ‘thinking aloud’ about what Jane Godwin is saying about families and childhood, people and their emotions and how Anna Walker’s soft, gentle pictures add meaning and reinforce these values. ACELA1469 ACELT1596 ACELT1587 EN1-4A EN2-4A

Additional and related resources and links to other texts: Collect titles with emotions as themes to allow students to explore during independent reading such as Mr Huff by Anna Walker, What do you wish for by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker or Go Go and the silver shoes by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker.

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