Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

A Grain of Hope

Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

A Grain of Hope

Article excerpt

Title: A Grain of Hope

Author: Nicola Philp

Illustrator: Aldy Aguirre

Publisher: Publishink Press

A Grain of Hope is a beautiful picture book by Nicola Philp and Aldy Aguirre which parallels the lives of a dog named Dok and a little girl named Hanan.

Dok and Hanan are both born into loving homes and their early lives are filled with love and happiness. As time passes however, both Dok and Hanan begin to experience pain, danger and sadness. Dok's owner treats her cruelly; she is abused and abandoned. Hanan, as war and conflict increase in her home town, begins to lose loved ones and experiences heartbreak and fear.

But for both characters there is a grain of hope: Dok is rescued by animal protection and Hanan and her mother begin a long and dangerous journey in search of a safer place to live. Whilst Dok's story ends happily, in the arms of a new and loving family, Hanan's conclusion is uncertain: will she ever see what life is like beyond the bars and fences of her new home?

This book encourages students to think about animal and human rights--and consider the often-devastating consequences when these rights are removed. The parallel stories will help younger readers to empathise with Hanan's plight, whereas older students will be able to make comparisons between the lives and experiences of the two protagonists. Philp's language is emotive and descriptive and Arguirre's images are powerful and provocative, with colour used effectively to express the events and the characters' emotional responses. …

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