It goes like this – a boy lives with his family in a house by the sea. It’s summer and the sea is sparkling. The boy and his friend play on the only two swings that are left, there used to be four. He runs an errand for his mother. He visits his grandfather’s gravestone.
All the while the bright summer day is contrasted with the deep dark mine under the sea in which his father works as a coal miner, like his grandfather had done before him and in which, the boy understands he will work too.
In this town, that’s the way it goes.
This book is perfectly described by the New York Times as “quietly devastating.” It raises questions around themes of destiny, free will and determinism and the ethics of work.
published in the UK by Walker books
Why does the boy think he will become a miner?
Does he have a choice?
Does everyone have the same opportunities in life?
Are we all born equal?
Should people ever have to risk their life to earn a wage?
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A girl named Curly is in a bad mood and happens to come across a stick which has randomly fallen to the ground. The stick comes in handy for poking her little brother and happily also relieves her of her bad mood – which has been now passed to her mum. The bad mood is passed on further and so is the stick the stick finds an unlikely home in an ice cream parlour window whose owner keeps it there because it makes him happy.
Where do moods come from?
What are emotions?
What is the difference between a mood and an emotion?
Is a mood a thing that can be transferred/ passed along like a ball?
Is weather a good metaphor for moods?
Do we need our emotions to make reasoned judgements?
Why does the stick make the man happy?
How we respond to objects and incidents via emotions seems to shape what happens next, if we are not in charge of our responses – are we really making decisions for ourselves?
What place do random events have in life? Is the path of our life determined by prior events and experiences rather than by us making reasoned decisions?
Can bad actions have good effects?
If a bad action results in a good outcome – was it still a bad thing to do? How do we determine what is good and what is bad?
if everything that happens to us is a result of some event that happened before – what would be the first cause?
What is a coincidence?
What does it mean when the illustrations are described as art – are illustrations art? Can art be something that is mechanically reproduced?
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