Educational Resource: While You Are Sleeping

While You Are Sleeping
By Melinda Szymanik and Greg Straight

About the Author
Melinda Szymanik writes picture books, short stories and novels for children of all ages. Her picture books include The Were-Nana, winner of Children’s Choice at the 2009 NZ Post Children’s Awards, 2010 Sakura Medal finalist, and a Storylines Notable Book (2010). Her short stories have appeared in School Journals and anthologies. Her most recent books are the children’s novel, A Winter’s Day in 1939, and the picture book While You Are Sleeping.
What the Author Says:
It is easy to think that the rest of the world is also going to sleep when we get in to bed at night and close our eyes. Or that the only things awake at night are scary and monstrous. In While You Are Sleeping I wanted to show that in reality when we are asleep other parts of the world are experiencing their daytime, and even in the dark of night-time a lot of interesting, good and ordinary things are happening.

About the Illustrator
Greg Straight is an illustrator and graphic designer. He has worked in the field of visual arts for well over a decade and has created signature illustrations for clients such as Westpac, Microsoft, Air New Zealand, Whitcoulls, NZ Tourism, Chelsea, Auckland Museum and Huffer. His limited edition prints are available nationwide and While You Are Sleeping is his first picture book.

What the Illustrator says:
What does happen in the world While you are Sleeping? Well quite a lot! I love the concept behind Melinda's book and was stoked when I was asked to illustrate it. I began by drawing all the elements for each page with a pencil, then pen, then scanned them in and arranged and coloured them in Illustrator. I use a lot of New Zealand inspired imagery in my artwork and wanted to show this in the book.

1.       Name three different types of birds shown in the illustrations
2.       What country is the sun coming up in on pages 3-4? How do you know?
3.       What nursery rhyme does the book mention in a roundabout way? How is it different from the original nursery rhyme?
4.       What time are the bakers getting up? How do you know?
5.       The story is also a poem. What qualities show that it is a poem?
6.       What do fish do when they sleep?
7.       The story says "While you are sleeping night creatures wake and eat breakfast in the dark." Why do you think some animals eat at night rather than during the day?
8.       Trains, planes and mighty trucks 'dash through the inky blackness.' What other kinds of vehicles travel at night? Name one kind that appear in the book and one kind that doesn't.

Oral Language
1.       Act out the story as a play with students playing the animals, farmers, and bakers etc…
2.       Discuss what other sorts of jobs besides baking, milking and driving are performed at night. Which jobs are done at night only? And which are done both at night and during the day?
3.       Perform the story as a song. Create dance actions for the song to show what is happening in the story.

Written Language
1.       Make a list of other things that happen every night while we are asleep.
2.       List five animals that are awake at night and asleep during the day.
3.       Write the words about another night time job you have identified, to fit in with the story.
4.       Write your own poems about night time.

Visual Language
1.       Draw a picture of a night-time (nocturnal) animal not already shown in the book.
2.       Draw a double page spread to go with the words written for number 3 in the written language section.
3.       Draw a double page spread to show daytime in another country across the world from New Zealand. What things will you need/use to identify the country your picture shows?

Answers to Reading Questions
1. Owl, Pukeko, Tui, Kiwi, Kea
2. France, because the words shown are in French, several of the people are shown with typically French items such as berets and baguettes, and colours of the French flag are shown on the awning and the umbrella.
3. Hey Diddle Diddle. In the original the 'cow jumps over the moon'. Here the moon jumps over the cows.
4. About quarter to 5 in the morning (4.45am). The baker in the top bunk is reaching to turn off his alarm clock which shows the time.
5. The rhythm. The rhyming of some words, "blow' and "go", "dough" and "grow", and "grow' and "know". The repetition of the line - "While you are sleeping".
6. Fish do sleep. Some stay fairly still, some only move their fins while sleeping to keep themselves in the right position, some keep swimming all the time whether asleep or awake.
7. Some animals might eat at night as that is when their food is available. Some eat at night as it is safer. Some eat at night as it is too hot to be awake during the day.
8. Cars drive at night, including taxis - these are shown in the book. As is a tractor. Many boats also sail at night but these are not shown in the book.

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