‘Who do the Polar regions belong to?’
In Year 5, our Global Citizenship question is ‘Who do the Polar regions belong to?’, so in English, we are reading Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone, which is a fantasy novel set in a fictional environment inspired by the Arctic. As a part of our pre-reading activities, we have explored the concept of ‘world-building’ in fantasy literature. We read and listened to fairytale voiceovers that form the prologue in a number of well-known films and stories, and discussed how this section of a text can be used to build a picture of the world of a story, so that we, as readers, are able to access the content of the plot. We found out that Abi Elphinstone takes inspiration for her fantasy novels by drawing on real people and real places. Sky Song tells the story of three tribes whose discord and distrust has allowed a villain to take control of their kingdom. In order to make her descriptions of people living in a frozen environment, Abi Elphinstone went on her own adventures to visit people indigenous to the Arctic: the Inuit. She also learnt about the Kazakh Eagle Hunters, who are a group from Mongolia who use eagles to help them hunt, including the first female eagle huntress – Aisholpan Nurgaiv – who was the inspiration for the main character in the book, Eska, who has a special bond with a golden eagle. We used research questions to help us to discover more about Inuit culture and the Kazakh Eagle Hunters. We then recorded this information and chose how to publish it, so that we could present and share it with others. We have really enjoyed finding out about the inspiration behind the story of Sky Song, and discovering how authors build a story using real people and real places. We also enjoyed practising our research and presenting skills!
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