Spark by Adam Wallace

Spark by Adam Wallace is a captivating tale of a spark building into a consuming fire. It has been brilliantly illustrated by Andrew Plant, making the reader feel that they are moving with the fire on it’s destructive journey.
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Throughout the story, vibrant adjectives and verbs leap out of the page along with personification at every turn – it really feels like the spark is alive

The wind was meant to be my friend but it just laughed and dragged me on.

As I read through the story I felt a relationship grow between myself and the spark  – I wanted to follow it and find out what it became and where it went . As it built up into a raging fire, it expresses how it feels and how things around it feel – giving life to everything it touches.

The story moves at a fast pace, leaving the reader burnt out and deflated towards the end but with one last page there is hope – and the knowledge that fire can bring about new life.

So how does this link to sustainability and the environment?

SUSTAINABILITY

Do we need bushfires? forest fires? any type of fire in a natural landscape?

Investigate which types of plants and animals rely on fire for their life cycle.

Investigate bushfires of the last 5 years in one particular area. How have they been started? What have they destroyed? Has the land regenerated?

How much of the air pollution in the world is caused by burning trees?

Investigate slash and burn methods in some developing countries – how does this effect the soil quality? air quality and livelihood of the people?

  • All life forms, including human life, are connected through ecosystems on which they depend for their wellbeing and survival.
  • Sustainable patterns of living rely on the interdependence of healthy social, economic and ecological systems.
  • Designing action for sustainability requires an evaluation of past practices, the assessment of scientific and technological developments, and balanced judgements based on projected future economic, social and environmental impacts
  • World views that recognise the dependence of living things on healthy ecosystems, and value diversity and social justice, are essential for achieving sustainability.

LITERACY

Personification – explore the use of personification throughout this story. ( Just  a few to start you – tickled trees, wind whispered, chased animals, skipping and sprinting together, breathing in the bush, hauled through the undergrowth, thrown high, fear surged ). How does personification change the feelings you have towards bush fires? Choose something that is in the Australian bush and personify it! Allow children to investigate different trees or flowers , animals or insects.

Point of View – Could this story be written from the wind’s point of view? Why does writing it from the fire’s point of view change how we feel towards a bush fire?

The end page – How does this change how you feel towards the story? How would you feel without it? Create your own story where the view of the story is changed on the last page.

Thinking – How did the Spark begin? Use knowledge from the story to work this out and create a earlier chapter to the story. How would a spark start in 2016? 1916? 1616? 20000BC? 50000BC?

Visual literacy – why are some pages without words – how do these set the mood? How has the style of the illustrations affected the mood of the story? Which page do you like the best – how does it make you feel?

ACELT1611:Understand, interpret and experiment with sound devices and imagery, including simile, metaphor and personification, in narratives, shape poetry, songs, anthems and odes
(ACELY1670)(ACELA1483)

GEOGRAPHY

Australian has a lot of bushfires, mostly throughout summer. What is a bushfire? Do other countries have bush fires?

Do we need bushfires? Investigate the history of bushfires throughout white history but also if the Indigenous people used fire to help the land.

Who helps out in bushfires? Investigate the rural fire service, fire fighters and volunteers in Australia who help out when it comes to bush fires.

The influence of the environment on the human characteristics of a place (ACHGK028)The impact of bushfires or floods on environments and communities, and how people can respond (ACHGK030).

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