Grandad's Island: Benji Davies
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My mum looked at me, with tears in her eyes, then nodded with determination and, thankfully, seamlessly carried on reading to the children, while I turned away and dried my eyes.
I was reading to the class and had reached the part of the story where Grandad tells Syd that he is thinking of staying on the island. Up until this point, I have to admit that my reading of the book had been rather superficial, reminding me even now that revisiting a story, re-reading it and allowing ourselves time to slowly pore over the illustrations is vital and time well spend.Reading Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies allowed my inquiring Year 2 class to explore a fascinating new world and prompted me to remember two very special men… To read the artist’s picture is to mobilise our memories and our experience of the visible world and to test his image through tentative projections…It is not the ‘innocent eye’, however, that can achieve this match but only the inquiring mind that knows how to probe the ambiguities of vision.” (Gombrich, 1962: 264 cited in Arizpe and Styles, 2003, 2015) They were impressed too with Grandad’s painting and expressed their own longing to visit the island and play in the tumbling, cascading waterfalls with Syd.
A few months ago, I was completing a series of lessons with my Year 2 class on Benji Davies’ wonderfully moving picture book Grandad’s Island. I was completely stumped. Why was I crying? I felt embarrassed, flustered, hot and like I had lost control.How to assess and analyse ways in which pupils respond to stories, poems and plays’ by Michael Rosen Benji’s books can been read in over forty languages and have sold many millions of copies around the world.