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3 reading and writing activities from Skin Taker by Michelle Paver Head of Zeus
Oxford University Press Courses
Bestselling author Michelle Paver returns to the Stone Age with three new books in the beloved Wolf Brother series.
Skin Taker is out now and can be read on its own or as a continuation of the series that has captured the imaginations of millions of readers and featured on the National Curriculum.
In the Dark Time of midwinter, disaster strikes the Forest. Chaos rules. Bears woken from their dens prowl the shadowy valleys. Desperate clans battle for survival. Only demons thrive.
With their world in turmoil, Torak, Renn and Wolf are tested as never before. And as a new evil haunts the devastated land, Torak must risk his sanity, his life and even his souls to save everything he loves.
Themes of natural disaster and survival, empathy and belief systems, community and leadership make Skin Taker a highly relevant book to read with students aged 9-12.
Below are three easy reading and writing exercises along with an exclusive extract featuring the first 5 chapters.
‘The Forest was everything. It gave shelter and fire, bark for rope-making and nets, nuts and berries for medicine and food. Hunters and prey depended on it to survive, and it never let them down.’
Skin Taker is set 6,000 years ago, during the Stone Age, or the Mesolithic period, in what we call prehistoric times. The characters in Skin Taker are hunter-gatherers. What did hunter-gatherers need to survive? How would your life be different without things like electricity, writing, metals or the wheel?
Record a diary entry describing a day in your life supposing that these things don’t exist. Which other resources would you need to use instead?
‘The earth had ceased its terrible shaking, there hadn’t been a landslide for a while, but the valley still rang with the crash of falling trees. Through the bitter grey haze Torak made out the red glimmer of fires dotting the slopes. To the south the sky glowed a dreadful crimson. Above it an immense cloud of black smoke was spreading like a gigantic hand.’
Imagine yourself in the aftermath of a natural disaster, such as a volcanic explosion or earthquake. What might you see, smell or hear? What would you know about what has happened? Who is with you?
Take a modern environmental disaster or an effect of climate change, such as the burning or deforestation of the Amazon. Write a persuasive letter to the world’s leaders about why natural resources need to be protected. You will need to do some research to back up your arguments.
‘Wolf’s flank still hurt when he sneezed, and he was sneezing a lot, because of all the ash. Wrinkling his muzzle, he watched Tall Tailless smash the Bright Hard Cold with a rock, the pack-sister kneel to fill her deerskin with Wet.’
Skin Taker is written from many different points of view. How does the author differentiate a wolf ’s point of view from a human’s? One way is to use a large number of ‘sensory’ descriptive names for things, such as ‘Bright Soft Cold’ for snow and ‘Fast Wet’ for a river.
Can you make up your own wolf-speak for modern objects? Create a mini dictionary of things you have seen or used today. If you’re in a classroom you may wish to do this in groups.
Download an exclusive extract of the first five chapters, as well as the full teaching resource pack, here.
Buy the book here or at any good retailer.
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