Mentor Text Review: Day Break

Australia day mentor text
  • Author: Amy McQuire
  • Illustrator: Matt Chun
  • Publisher: Little Hare Books

Day Break by Amy McQuire with Matt Chun is a book that explores different ways Australians commemorate January 26th– currently referred to as ‘Australia Day’. The author challenges the community ‘celebration’ of white settlement on this date and provides insight as to why the date and celebrations are problematic to Australia’s First Peoples.

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Writing:

IDEAS: This book provides an excellent example of a topic that has come from an area of passion for the writer. They’ve found something that bugs them in the world- something they’d like to change- and they’ve used the power of the written word to help bring about change.

ORGANISATION: Even though the story is written in a narrative format, it is a persuasive piece of writing (and an effective one at that). The author cleverly provides strong arguments in an accessible format for their intended audience. (A 3-paragraph essay would not have worked for this content).

VOICE: The voice in this piece comes through the author’s clear background knowledge and experience with the topic. The tone is such that we want to lean in and learn more from the narrator.

SENTENCE FLUENCY: Repetition of sentence starts has been used effectively in this piece to drive a key message home.

CONVENTIONS: You could use this text to discuss the capitilisation of word ‘Country.’ Why is this capitalised? What does this mean?

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Reading:

This text would be great for a compare and contrast of different books explaining and/or referring to Australia Day. Whose perspective is each book sharing? How are the perspectives similar or different? When were the books written? How might this impact the perspectives being presented?

QUESTIONING: How does your Australian history learning match the experience of the girl in the book?  

This book could form part of a persuasive unit on the celebration of Australia Day on January 26.

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