Mentor Text Review: The Lost Girl

  • Author: Ambelin Kwaymullina
  • llustrator: Leanne Tobin
  • Publisher: Walker Books Australia

The Lost Girl by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Leanne Tobin tells the story of a young indigenous girl who becomes separated from her family in the bush. Fortunately, she is guided back to her people with a little help from Mother Earth.

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Writing:

IDEAS: Encourage students to make connections to this text as you read it. Have they been in a similar situation? How did they find their way back to their parents/friends/family? Becoming lost somewhere is a universal experience so is one most people can relate to- this can then be used as a basis for student writing.

ORGANISATION: Reread the book several times to look at how the author has provided all the relevant information to the reader- who, what, when, where and how she returned to safety. Students could use this same format for their own writing. How has the author created a resolution for this story? Reread the story and consider pace- where has the author slowed down to spotlight important events? Where has she sped up to move the pace along? What did she do to spotlight an important event? What type of detail did she add?

WORD CHOICE: When it comes to striking words and phrases that help create an image in the reader’s mind discuss this sentence with students, ‘She huddled beneath an overhanging rock, pressing herself into a hollow that had trapped the warm air of the day.’ What has the author done to help you visualise here? 

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Reading:

MAKING CONNECTIONS: Compare and contrast this book with other indigenous texts (such as Bronwyn Bancroft’s book, Coming Home to Country). Are their any common threads of themes evident in these books? How might this knowledge help you with interacting with other texts by Indigenous authors?

INFERRING: Discuss some of the language in this book to help students understand the full meaning of words and phrases: Who is the girl’s ‘mother’? How did she give her water and food and show her the way home? What makes you think this? Why did the people ‘laugh and cry’ when they saw the girl was safe? What situations might make you want to ‘laugh and cry’? Why would they ‘growl at her for her foolishness’? How is this similar or different to how your own family/friends responded when you’ve been lost?