Mentor Text Review: Finding Our Heart

  • Author: Thomas Mayor
  • Illustrator: Blak Douglas
  • Publisher: Hardie Grant Explore

Finding Our Heart by Thomas Mayor and Blak Douglas tells the story of Australia’s Uluru Statement. This statement (and the story behind it) provides a path forward towards true reconciliation. In this book Thomas Mayor suggests we need to find Australia’s true heart (which can only be found in its people and their voices).

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Writing:

ORGANISATION: This non-fiction text is organised is a logical structure, it recaps Australia’s long history in chronological order and brings the reader up to the current time. It begins with a strong lead and ends with a sense of resolution (which is almost like the crescendo of a good piece of music).

VOICE: The tone of this piece sets the example for reconciliation talks. The writer makes their purpose for writing clear and their point of view is appropriate. They are convincing without coming across as one sided. The writer certainly speaks in a way that makes the reader want to listen.

WORD CHOICE: Thomas Mayor has done a great job of ‘showing not telling’ throughout this book. (e.g., the heart of the nation did not come with ships, it did not grow on farms). This leaves space for the reader to use their background knowledge to infer the meaning.

PRESENTATION: Blak Douglas’s illustrations are a real strength in this book- discussing the layout of the texts and the illustrations would help writers when publishing their own texts.

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Reading:

This is a text that requires background knowledge to gain the full understanding. It would be a great book to pull apart and discuss as a class or a small group (even as a close reading style activity).

MAKING CONNECTIONS: Students could make connections to prior knowledge.

QUESTIONING: Good non-fiction texts encourage the reader to go on and do more research after reading. After reading this, readers are likely to want more information on the topic of the statement, its creation and its progress. There are numerous websites available with this information.

Special mention to the back of the book where it gives readers specific actions they can take to help make a difference towards true reconciliation. There are some great ideas in here!

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