Stay where you are and leave


wordle-wwiWhat do these words make you think of?

Grief, loss, dread, struggle, besieged city, falling projectiles, flying bullets, displaced, turmoil, plight, refugee

Look them up in the dictionary if you do not know their meaning.

Look at the following images now. How are they linked to the words above? Jot down some notes so that in class you can discuss in your team.

children of war  oil blood war_machine

When you hear the word “WAR”, what do you feel? What are the images that cross your mind?
How does WAR affect a child’s world? How is a child’s life besieged by a WAR?

kids_at_war children_and_war___fadi_abou_hassanWatch the book trailer. Who is the narrator? What period of time is he referring to? What are the key words?

So we are going to read “Stay where you are and leave”, a novel that will make us reflect upon the experience of a young boy in a war-torn country, of a boy whose father enlist to fight WW1, of a boy whose father cannot flee the horrors of the war thus causing suffering in his family and friends.

Listen to the author Boyne introducing the novel. What extra information does he give us?

The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield’s father promised he wouldn’t go away to fight – but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn’t know where his father might be. Then, while shining shoes at King’s Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his father’s name – on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. Alfie becomes determined to find out the truth behind his father’s disappearance…

Where do you think his father is? Did the authorities inform Alfie’s family? If so, who? Why is Alfie’s dad kept away from them? Why wasn’t Alfie informed?

Which bookcover do you like better? Why?

stay where you are and leave cover stay where you are and leave

You can meet the author in person. He will be at Pordenone Legge and you can listen to him and ask him questions if you wish: SUNDAY 20th September at 11.30 at Biblioteca Civica, Chiostro. I will be there, can’t possibly miss this chance.

john boyne

If you wish to deepen your knowledge of the writer John Boyne and who he writes for, you should listen to him in this video.

Who does he write for?
Who does he think of when he writes? Why?
What character is always present in his books? Why?
Why do some critics think he is a historical writer? What is his reaction to this remark? Why are his novels about the First World War so relevant to our time? According to the writer when you write about history who are you responsible to? Why?
What does he do before starting writing?
In what way is he different from other contemporary Irish writers?

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4 risposte a Stay where you are and leave

  1. laura de franceschi scrive:

    I find most appealing the third cover and this is also the cover that catches my attention because is representing the three characters on top of the mountain of trash that is also the main topic of the story. I liked a lot the phrase written on the cover because represents life of three boys: they don’t know what they’ll find when they’re looking for something and also in their life they don’t know what will happen to them.

  2. Enrico Zonta scrive:

    John Boyne says that he doesn’t write for either young or adult readers. If he did so, he would tend to exclude some possible readers, and this is not his goal. In fact when he writes, he tries to produce a novel as good and interesting as he can and that passes the message he had set out to spread. In his novels there is always a character aged between eight and ten because, according to him, it’s the best age to write about since children still own a peculiar innocence and natural curiosity which makes them interesting protagonists. Another recurring aspect of his novels is the past setting: the author considers himself a only a writer who writes stories set in the past and not a historical writer although all his novels are set in the past. He even reported that writing about the past is the best way to have a connection with present happenings. When you set a novel in the past, in fact, you are responsible for the accurate validity of the characters, and you have to try to create a character who fits well with the society and the époque your novel is set in. As a matter of fact, he does a lot of research and he stops only when ha has found truthful and believable aspects of the story.
    In the end, he says that, despite of the fact that many Irish novelists are bound to launch novels set in Ireland, he doesn’t have a particular need to set his stories in his country, he likes to set the story where he thinks it can be fulfilled better.

  3. Martina Fadel scrive:

    After reading the book I’m more aware about life during and after WW1. This war and all wars have a terrible effect on the soldiers and the families too. An example of this is when Alfie perceives and then discovers that his mum hides the truth from him (probably to protect him). Deep down he knows his father is alive and so he does his part to help out in a heoric way.
    Through the eyes and the actions of this boy we learn important lessons of loyalty, courage, conviction and last but not least pure love. But Alfie isn’t the only strong character in this story. In fact, Joe Patience symbolizes the concept of peace and non-violence because he objects to participating in the war. As a Conchie he was put on trial and jailed for cowardice. Many women saw him and others as failing to do their duty and so dishonoring themselves and their families.
    All strangers were seen as spies and this resulted in further alienation of innocent people. Many were rounded up, treated like criminals and sent to prison camps.
    There was a dreadful change in society that caused a lot of heart-break and pain. However, it is necessary to add that there was a change of a different kind after the war where women’s role became almost equal to that of men.
    For me this war emancipated women giving them more rights and opportunities.

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