SCHOLASTIC TEACHER NOTES

SCHOLASTIC TEACHER NOTES This is My Song1Copyright 2017 Scholastic Australia Pty Limited.This is My Song is the multigenerational story of a father, his daughter and herson, who each have very different challenges to face and who strive to come toterms with their world. The story starts and ends with Rafael Ullman, a youngCzech boy living with his family in Prague in the 1930s. As Rafael grows towardsadulthood, Europe crumbles and falls and the Holocaust overwhelms him and allhe knows. This is the story of Rafael, who loses his family and his love of music inthe Holocaust. It is the story of Annie, growing up in a silent cabin on theCanadian prairie, of her bond with a wild goshawk and of her love of music. It isthe story of Joe, who can sing with technical perfection, but struggles to imbue hisart with feeling until he finds a mysterious musical score amongst his grandfatherRafaels effects and finds himself able to give voice to a song of hope and love.RECOMMENDED READING LEVEL: Mid SecondaryThis is My SongAuthorRichard YaxleySCHOLASTIC TEACHER NOTES This is My Song2Copyright 2017 Scholastic Australia Pty Limited.TEACHER NOTES Discuss the Holocaust. When did it occur and who were its victims? Why do youthink more people didnt speak out against the horror? What can we, asindividuals and as a society, do and say to ensure that this sort of thing doesnthappen? Write a short piece outlining your conclusions from the discussion. For Rafael, music was a wonder and a solace to him as a child, but as an adult herefused to allow music into his house or life. What changed his attitude to music and why? Identify at least three segments of text from the narrative that provideevidence for your answer. All three of the main characters are in their teens at the time when their storyceases to be told directly, yet Rafael appears as an adult in the tale of Annieschildhood and Annie and Rafael are both present in Joes story. Why do you thinkthe author chose to present their stories in this fashion? What is the effect on theflow of the novel of having only their adolescent years explored in any detail andhow does it affect our understanding of their characters as adults? What impactwould it have had on the novel if all the details of their lives had been included? What roles do the twin emotions of hope and despair play in the lives of Rafaeland his family? How do his daughter and grandsons experiences of hope anddespair differ from his? Research the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke either online or in the library andchoose one of his poems (in translation) to share with the class. Write a brief paragraph discussing why you chose this particular poem to share, and yourunderstanding of the verses.

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