The book The Island, by Armin Greder (2007), published by Allen & Unwin, is a challenging picture book which depicts the reactions to a stranger coming to a small community. The publisher Allen and Unwin has produced accompanying teacher notes / teaching suggestions, and teacher review pages which, are particularly useful in giving insights into how the pictures have been used by other teachers across Key Stages. These give effective starting points to tackle both community cohesion and acts of extreme violence.
Ideally, these resources need to be used alongside techniques associated with critical literacy which requires the exploration of how both words and visual images enact social meanings (Gilbert 1993, p324). Sumara, Brent and Iftody (2006) suggest that reading literature like this can create the conditions that allow readers to broaden their understanding of social and cultural diversity.
The teacher notes / teaching suggestions facilitate ideas relating to speaking and listening activities and suggest exploration through drama and visual literacies. The activities outlined allow children within Primary English settings to explore aspects of conflict between different groups and the causes of this as well as better solutions. The website Writeaway (see weblinks below) suggests reading themes which could be used together with these resources.
The book itself consists of simple written text but is accompanied by complex visual images, which could make it suitable for a wide age range. The book could also be used in conjunction with other children's literature to explore diversity. For a selection of images from the book that could be used as stimulus, see Google books (hyperlink below).