Values: Love, Compassion, Trust, Friendship, Kindness and Integrity.
Grandad's Island is a book oozing with love between Syd and his Grandad. It is a story of adventure, happiness and hope.
Syd and his Grandad embark upon a journey to an exotic desert island and have all sorts of fun together. Grandad then tells Syd he won't be returning home and Syd has to return by himself. It is a story of love and loss in the most sensitive and powerful of ways. Benji Davies tells the tale of loss of a grandparent in such a subtle and gentle way that some of my Year 3 and 4 children struggled to identify this as the theme of the book - instead believing that Grandad would return from his tropical island one day. It is up to your personal and professional judgement whether you feel you would need to explain the deeper meaning of the story or not.
Values run deep through this magical book. Love is a running thread through the words and illustrations, followed by compassion, trust, friendship and integrity. I found the conversations with pupils about how they had felt when a trusted adult passed away or moved away very emotional and showed the depth of their understanding. When other children listened to each other describing their experiences, they all demonstrated kindness and compassion - often offering words of sympathy without any prompting from me.
The children empathised with Syd when he returned to his Grandad's house, now empty. They thought about how Syd might be feeling and the older children used their inference skills to understand that the letter from Grandad at the end was a metaphor for Grandad telling Syd he would be watching over him and looking after him, even though he was no longer there. A book that can be taken at face value or at a deeper emotional level (depending on the children you are reading it to) - this is definitely one to stay on the Values bookshelf.
Find a copy online or in your local bookshop. Benji Davies is a very popular children's picture book author and you will find his work in smaller, local bookshops as well as the larger chains. If you wish to follow him on Twitter, find him @Benji_Davies .
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