‘The Arrival’ by Shaun Tan

I’m teaching one of my favourite texts with my Year 9 class at the moment – The Arrival by Shaun Tan. It might seem strange to be studying an entirely wordless graphic novel in an English classroom, but I find that it lends itself to a sophisticated level of very close ‘reading’ of each image, and I love the collaborative nature of this as students point things out to each other and explore what they think is going on, with so much left to the reader’s imagination. There’s a wonderful essay on Shaun Tan’s website called Picturebooks: Who are they for? which outlines this process really well. We’re also using The Arrival as a stimulus for creative writing too, learning to apply some of the visual techniques Tan uses, such as zooming out and showing not telling, to our own writing. I’m really looking forward to seeing the graphic novels and stories my students will have produced by the end of the unit.

2 thoughts on “‘The Arrival’ by Shaun Tan

  1. Anne Dickinson says:

    One of my favourites. And wonderful to bury the myth that graphic novels inhibit creative writing. A medium that addresses all ages and abilities.


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