Contents Introductory Activities for Gangsta Granny Activities for Billionaire Boy About David

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David Walliams Learning Resources (Level 2)

Created by Scottish Book Trust


Introductory Activities

Activities for Gangsta Granny

Activities for Billionaire Boy

About David

Matt Lucas and David Walliams met in 1990 at the National Youth Theatre and were brought together by their shared love of Reeves and Mortimer. Their most high profile project before 'Little Britain' was appearing in two series of 'Rock Profile' as well as various Rock Profile specials, but they have both starred in various other TV and stage productions.

In 2008 David released his first book for children The Boy in the Dress and the follow-up Mr. Stink won the People's Book Prize Award. Both books have since been adapted for stage and cinema. His third book Billionaire Boy was one of the biggest hits of 2010. David's latest book Gangsta Granny was published in March 2012.

About this resource

This resource provides creative learning activities for two of David’s books: Gangsta Granny and Billionaire Boy.

The main aims of this resource are:

  • To help foster children’s enjoyment of David’s books by providing fun and engaging activities

  • To help teachers develop their pupils’ skills in creative literacy

The resource also aims to:

  • Give teachers ideas for whole-school and cross-curricular activities

  • Introduce some innovative approaches using ICT

Although the activities are ordered by chapters in the books, there is no need for a teacher to cover them in this order, and indeed there is also no need to do every single activity! Most of the activities are designed so that they can stand alone if need be.

Introductory Activities

Reading/Technologies Lit 2-14a, Tch 2-03a,Tch 2-03b

Writing is only one of the many ways David spends his time. Ask your pupils to investigate David’s various charity activities by researching the following websites:

You can focus the research by asking pupils particular questions:

  • How far did David Walliams swim down the Thames?

  • Find and save a picture of David finishing the Thames swim.

  • Find another charity supported by David and explain who the charity helps.

  • What were some of the ways in which David prepared for his swim in the English channel in 2006?

After this, you can get pupils to create posters in Microsoft Word about David, to create interest around the school. If you have large display screens in your school, you could ask pupils to create an animated slideshow about David using Animoto (guide here: Your pupils can also bring together any text, pictures or videos they have found onto a class Wallwisher page (guide here:

Reading Eng 2-17a

Get pupils to study the synopses for Gangsta Granny and Billionaire Boy. Then, get them to make a list of all the questions that occur to them as they read the synopses. What background details do they think need explained? What are they looking forward to finding out more about? What do they think might happen?

Gangsta Granny

Chapters 1-5

Writing Eng 2-27a

On page 18 there is a picture of Ben’s granny, labelled with all the features of a ‘textbook granny’. You can conduct a similar exercise to teach pupils about similes.

Tell the pupils you are going to draw a picture of a ‘textbook granny’ on the board. Start off by drawing a circle for the head, and then draw some wisps of hair. Finally, label what you have just drawn ‘hair like cotton wool’.

Pupils should catch on to what you are doing. Ask someone to come out to the board and do the next part: this can be the ears, eyes or any other body part! Then, ask them to label what they have drawn in a similar way to the way you labelled yours. This should generate some interesting similes, and can lead on to a lesson about imagery.

Writing/Listening and Talking Lit 2-28a, Lit 2-02a, Lit 2-05a

Granny’s life is quite lonely and empty (p.51-52). Ask your pupils to put themselves in Ben’s shoes, and get them to come up with a plan to make Granny’s life happier and more fun. This plan could take the form of a calendar or series of diary appointments.

To get some ideas for things Granny could do, you could ask your pupils to conduct interviews with other classes, teachers or their own parents, to find out about things they used to do or still do with their grandparents.

Chapters 9-13

Writing/Expressive Arts (Lit 2-24a, Exa 2-02a)

In Chapters 10 and 12, Ben’s granny tells the story of how she robbed the Davenports. Ask your pupils to produce a comic strip of the robbery. To do this, they will first need to plan by picking out 10-12 key events of the story.

Writing/Talking and Listening Eng 2-27a, Lit 2-02a

“Clearly he’d forgotten how thrilling stories could be.” (p.110)

Hearing about his gran’s exploits leads Ben to realise the joys of storytelling and finding out about family stories. You can encourage pupils to explore interesting stories from their own families by using Scottish Book Trust’s Family Legends teaching resources, available at the following link:

Social Subjects/Technologies Lit 2-28a, Tch 2-03b

Get your pupils to create a map of all the places granny has visited from chapter 13.

First, pupils will need to research the three places (Washington, India and St. Petersburg). The following websites should help:

Country Reports:

Kids’ Capital (the About DC link at bottom left is best):

Travel for Kids:

There are several ways to make the map. You can print out a blank world map here: Photocopy the map onto A3 paper (or larger sizes if need be) and give one copy to each group of pupils. Ask them to produce small (A6) cards giving more information about the places granny has been.

Alternatively you may wish to get pupils to produce their own Google Map. To do this, you will need to create a Google account. Instructions for doing this are here:

Instructions on how to create a Google map are here: (2:00 to 7:05).

Your pupils can create placeholders giving more information about the part of the world that granny has been to.

Chapters 14-18

Writing Lit 2-28a

Mr. Parker, granny’s nosy neighbour, is convinced that something is going on in Granny’s house. However, when he comes in, Ben and his granny fool him into thinking that everything is totally normal!

Ask your pupils to write Mr. Parker’s report of the ‘incident’. You can introduce your pupils to the formal language of report writing with the following resources:

Change informal language to formal:

Formal vs. Informal language (you will need to create a TES login, which is very quick and easy, to access this resource):

To generate the content of the report, you can ask pupils to create a mind map with Who, What, Where, When, Why written around it. Then, get them to write in the details. For example: who was involved; what was seen; where the incident occurred, etc.

Social Subjects/Writing/Reading/Talking and Listening/Expressive Arts/Technologies Tch 2-03a,Tch 2-03b, Lit 2-14a, Eng 2-27a, Lit 2-28a, Lit 2-02a

On page 151 onwards, we see Ben planning his school week around the planned theft of the Crown Jewels.

Ask your pupils to imagine that the Crown Jewels have been stolen, and have been stashed by a gang of jewel thieves in one of the following locations:

The Great Pyramids at Giza

The top of the Eiffel Tower


Machu Picchu

Tell your pupils to imagine that Ben has been asked by the Queen to go and rescue the Crown Jewels. They now have to plan the rescue in a similar fashion to Ben’s cross-curricular planning in the book!

This can involve the following cross-curricular activities:

  • Social subjects – plan the journey from Britain to the location.

  • Social subjects/Reading – to pass himself off as a local, Ben will need to learn about the local culture of the location. Ask your pupils to research/investigate local cuisine, traditions and customs, clothing, etc.

  • Maths/Numeracy – Ask your pupils to work out the total cost of the trip, including materials needed, travel, accommodation, tools, etc. You can also ask them to work out how much foreign currency is needed, and plan a daily budget.

  • Expressive Arts – ask your pupils to draw a diagram of the location (if appropriate: some of the above may be too difficult!) and plan the rescue by labelling key points of entry and exit, distances to be scaled, etc.

  • Writing – ask your pupils to imagine that they are Ben and are keeping a diary of the rescue. Get them to write the diary over a few days, using some of the information they have found out above.

  • Technologies – you can expand on the above activity by asking pupils to write a blog instead of a diary. First of all, to find out more about blogging and how to set up a class blog, visit the following link:

Billionaire Boy

Chapters 1-5

Reading/Talking and Listening Lit 2-14a, Lit 2-02a, Lit 2-05a

Joe gets £100,000 a week pocket money, but it turns out that he already has all the materials things he could ever want, and actually just wants a friend. Ask your pupils to put themselves in Joe’s shoes, and try to put the money to better use.

Ask the pupils to go and find one charity for each of the following issues:

  • Homelessness

  • Cancer

  • Alzheimer’s

  • Mental health

Ask the pupils to choose their favourite charity out of the four they have found, and create a presentation for other pupils about their chosen charity.

If you want to extend this activity across the whole school, you could send pupils round the school to interview other pupils and staff about charities they are interested in.

Talking and Listening Lit 2-02a, Lit 2-05a

Joe has a huge list of possessions which don’t seem to bring him a lot of pleasure. Ask pupils to imagine that they have been asked to do without all their possessions bar one item. Ask them to bring in a photograph of the item (or the item itself). In pairs, pupils can present their items to each other and explain why they would choose to keep the item above everything else they own. After this, ask pupils to report back to the class about each other’s possessions and the reasons for their choices.

Chapters 6-10

Writing Lit 2-28a

Mrs. Trafe’s menus are truly disgusting! Challenge your pupils to come up with their own horrible menus for the school cafeteria.

Writing Lit 2-28a

Miss Spite seems to enjoy handing out punishments for tiny offences. Get your pupils to write her ‘incident book’, with a report of each offence and punishment over a week in the school term.

Chapters 15-20

Writing Eng 2-30a

In a fit of anger, Joe tells Bob that he only became friends with him because he felt sorry for him. Ask pupils to do a personal piece of writing entitled I Wish I Hadn’t...

In the piece of writing, ask them to remember a time where they said or did something they regretted later. Ask them to structure the writing using the following questions as a guide:

  • What happened?

  • How did the other person react?

  • Did you immediately regret it?

  • Did you eventually get things sorted out?

  • Why do you think it happened?

  • What do you think you might do the next time you feel like that?

Chapters 20-27

Reading/Writing/Social Studies Soc 2-10a, Lit 2-28a, Lit 2-29a, Tch 2-03a

It turns out that Joe and his dad are happier with much less money. For another example of a story which explores this concept, see Funny Money by Alison Prince (part of Scottish Book Trust’s On the Money collection of stories) at the following link:

After reading this story, ask your pupils to get together in groups and come up with ideas for fun things to do which don’t cost money. You can choose to limit them to activities which can take place in their local area, or further afield in Scotland.

This activity gives pupils a real opportunity to showcase their work. You can ask them to produce a wiki on GLOW which other schools can contribute their ideas/activities to. The following GLOW cookbook explains how to set up a wiki and collaborate with other schools:

If you don’t have access to GLOW, there is a wealth of information about setting up an external wiki here:

You could also create an e-brochure with your pupils featuring their suggestions, including images if you can get them. You will find a guide video to producing an e-brochure here: Why not approach your local authority to see if they would like to publish your pupils’ work?

If you want to extend this work, see Scottish Book Trust’s learning resources for the My Favourite Place campaign, which encourages pupils to write about their favourite place in Scotland:

Activities for the whole book

Reading/Expressive Arts Eng 2-19a, Lit 2-14a. Exa 2-02a, 2-03a

Ask pupils to think of a part of the book for each of the following headings:

  • Most memorable part

  • Bob’s most embarrassing moment

  • Saddest part

  • Most exciting part

  • Funniest moment

Then, ask pupils to choose one event from all of these and depict it either in a poster, drama performance (in groups) or comic strip.

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