The Skylarks War Resources


Craft and activities ideas

Create origami butterflies – consider the idea of metamorphosis and how it fits into the book.

Create postcards and write to other students from different schools or a relative you’ve not seen for a long time.

Research the Imperial War Museum website

Research the role of animals in war

Research what the War was like on the Home Front for girls. How was the experience of a woman/girl different to that of a man.

Research the first women to go to Oxford/Cambridge/Russell group universities – do we now have parity in Further education, are there still courses dominated by one sex? Who were the first female students to go to university in your school or in your family (if relevant)?

Writing was terribly important at this time, hardly anybody had a telephone. Consider who would write to whom? It took 5 days to get information from the Front Line, families wouldn’t even know that their loved one was dead. They lived in fear of receiving a telegram.

Read p113, then discuss how there may have been a difference about what is being written and the reality of life on the front line. Why would soldiers be careful with truth? Locations/secrecy/keeping spirits up?

Discussion questions

Peter, Clarry and Rupert have a great deal of independence, for example they are able to travel to Cornwall by themselves. Was it safer then? Would you like to have their freedom? Why are parents reluctant to let children go off by themselves now?

Why did Peter jump off the train?

Clarry’s father is seen as a distant character, he has no interest in daughter or input in bringing her up as a child. Think about his place in society, we learn that he couldn’t fight as had to stay at home and look after Clarry. Did this inability to fight make  him unmanly? Why was he so distant?

Clarry’s father never hurts her physically but is terribly cruel.Do you regard him as emotionally abusive?

Discuss the role played by other characters in parenting the children. E.g. grandparents, Mrs Morgan, teachers.

Read p59. This tells us about the ‘Rag and bone man,’ a form of recycling at the time – had your students heard of this job? Discuss how recycling has changed – nowadays we have a Scrapmetal man and charities who will remove old furniture. When your parents want to get rid of furniture what do they do – do they use Freecycle/Freegle/Ebay?

P79 talks about women’s position in society at the time.  Mrs Morgan, the housekeeper wanted to be a blacksmith but the forge went to her brother. Are their still expectations about what jobs boys/girls will do? How have expectations changed?

Conversely, P93 discusses the pressure on boys to go to University whether they wanted to or not. Do boys still feel like this?

P87 offers us the moment that Clarry is seen as an individual for the first time. Prior to this she is in somebody else’s shadow – shadow of brother, cousin – what impact does it have on her to be able to have thoughts, opinions and opportunities?

Compare two extracts (for example p23 vs 191). Our perception was that the first was pacier, lighter, more ‘country kitchen’ the other darker, depressing, turgid, sad. Is there something different in the way it was written?

Suggested Further Reading

Frances Hardinge The Lie Tree

Linda Newberry Tilly’s Promise

Sally Nichols (Warning YA) Things a Bright Girl Can Do

Kate Saunders 5 children on the Western Front