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"More and more I see fantasy worlds - as in The Arrival - as a way of tapping into the real world, of trying to understand reality better through a speculative lens. Shaun Tan"
I often start off reading this quote before having my students read Shaun Tan's graphic novel, The Arrival. I even wear a special pair of glasses while I read the quote. After each chapter, I put the glasses back on and ask the class what has happened in the story and what does it tell us about the real world.
Sometimes I get simple answers like:
"It was crowed when the people got off the boat and it was also crowded in the immigration office on Ellis Island."
Sometimes I get more complex answers like:
"The man in the hat had trouble keeping a job because he could not speak the language. He did better in the factory. In the real world, people who can't speak the language do better in jobs like factories, because there are less instructions to translate."
At the end of the book, I give them this worksheet to get a more formal written response to this question.
For more resources and podcasts about making and teaching visual narratives visit http://makingvisualnarratives.com