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Text HarperCollins Publishers Limited 2006
Maps Tim Stevens 2006
Extracts from Alone on a Wide Wide Sea Michael Morpurgo
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Author: Lucy English
Introducing the novel
Lesson 1: Questioning the world 6
OHT 1: Chapter 1 title
OHT 2: Opening paragraph Lesson 2: Hook that reader! 11
Worksheet 3: Narrative hooks
Worksheet 4: Opening lines Lesson 3: What’s in a name? 14
OHT 16: I want to change your mind… Lesson 11: Why does it work? 43
OHT 17: Why the novel works for me
Worksheet 12: Why the novel works for me Lesson 12: Assessment writing 46
Worksheet 13: Assessment sheet F
urther teaching suggestions 48
Alone on a Wide Wide Sea
agerly anticipated by his many fans, Alone on a Wide Wide Sea is multi-award winning author Michael Morpurgo’s latest novel for young readers. A lyrical and life-affirming story incorporating a number of challenging themes, it was described by Kate Kellaway in The Observer as ‘his best book in years’.
The novel first tells the story of Arthur Hobhouse, shipped to Australia after WWII. Having lost his sister, his country and everything he knows, Arthur endures mistreatment, neglect and forced labour in the Australian outback before finding a home. Throughout his life, he is saved again and again by his love of the sea, and when he meets and marries a nurse whose father owns a boat building business, all the pieces of his fractured life come together. The second half of the novel tells the story of Arthur’s daughter Allie, whose love of the sea is as strong and vital as her father’s. She embarks on an epic solo voyage across the world’s roughest seas, in search of her father’s long-lost sister. Both moving and original, the novel is interwoven with Coleridge’s ‘Rime of the Ancient Mariner’, and tackles a number of challenging and difficult themes with gentleness and humanity.
The teaching suggestions below are designed for Year 7 students – however, the novel may be suitable for older classes as well. Students do not need to have any specific background knowledge before reading Alone on a Wide Wide Sea, but will need to be made familiar with ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ during their study of the book, as well as the history of child migrants.
Michael Morpurgo has written over 90 books and has an unparalleled reputation in the world of children's fiction. His works have been adapted for the cinema, TV and theatre and he has won numerous awards including the Blue Peter Book Award, the Whitbread Children's Book Award and the Smarties Prize. In 2003, he was appointed the third Children's Laureate.
Michael Morpurgo is, in his own words, “oldish, married with three children, and a grandfather six times over.” After attending schools in London, Sussex and Canterbury, he went on to London University to study English and French, followed by a job in a primary school in Kent. It was there that he discovered what he wanted to do.
“We had to read the children a story every day and my lot were bored by the book I was reading. I decided I had to do something and told them the kind of story I used to tell my kids - it was like a soap opera, and they focussed on it. I could see there was magic in it for them, and realised there was magic in it for me.”