I am Still Anna

story by Simon Cooke , illustrated by Greg Holfeld

Learning Intention:  

I am learning to identify and analyse authorial choices in a text so that I can read for deeper understanding and enjoyment. 

Success Criteria:  

  • I can explain aspects of plot and character 
  • I can identify examples of a range of language features in a text 
  • I can discuss the impact of selected language features to enhance meaning 
  • I can explain the message sent to readers through the story.


1st Reading:


Read up to ‘Anna’s worried you might not want to be her friend if you saw hers.’ (p. 28)


What do we know about Anna after reading this first part of the story? She has a strong friendship with Mia, her parents design and make clothes, she wears the necklace and it makes her a ‘human girl.’


What clues are given that tell readers that there is more to know about Anna? The necklace is introduced straight away, Anna’s clothes are made from a different fabric, Mia has never met Anna’s parents and has never been to her house.



Continue reading up until ‘Then finish your homework. (p. 29)


What do we now know about Anna? Anna lives in a barn in the middle of the forest, that if Anna’s family is discovered by humans they would have to leave and they might be attacked.


Do we have all the details about her true identity? We still do not know.

Continue reading until the end of the story.


What do we know about Anna and her family? We now know that Anna’s family are weavers, they spin and weave the fabric for clothing. They need to hide from humans because they are misunderstood. They are spiders.


How did Mia feel when she first found out Anna’s secret? She was terrified and ran away. She felt like that was the end of her friendship with Anna.


How does Mia feel about Anna at the end of the story? Once Mia has heard more about weavers from Anna and has met Anna’s family, she accepts Anna’s differences and wishes to continue the friendship. She even says she feels jealous of Anna.


2nd Reading:

Identify and highlight three examples of ‘spider imagery’ from the story. Examples include:

  • her hair as white and light as cobwebs (p. 28)
  • Anna swallowed the fear that quivered inside her like a fly in a web. (p. 30)
  • We weave secrecy around ourselves like a web. (p. 31)


Discuss: What is the purpose of using this technique in the story? This story is given cohesion through the use of spider related imagery throughout. Anna never uses the word ‘spider’ to describe herself and her family. Readers need to piece together the spider imagery given to help them understand that weavers take the form of large spiders.


Take a closer look at the following passage on page 29.

‘Mia reached the forest she had to climb a fence and follow a winding path. The air was dry and still. The forest was dark and silent. The only sound was, now and then, Anna practising the song they were learning for choir.’


The author has created suspense through pairing aspects of Mia’s experience in sets of two. Locate the pairs in the above passage.

  • climb a fence and follow a winding path
  • air was dry and still
  • forest was dark and silent
  • now and then


Discuss why this pattern of pairing words might create suspense?

The sets of pairs, especially when read aloud, create a rhythm. The words chosen create a spooky or suspenseful mood – dry, still, dark, silent could be considered spooky. Listing words like this draws attention to those aspects of the scene. Notice also that they are all words with just one syllable. The choice of short one syllable words adds weight and emphasis to those words.


Read the following passage from page 31.

‘What … who are you?’ asked Mia. ‘A weaver,’ said Anna. ‘That is what we are and what we do. My family has lived in many places. Humans don’t understand or accept us, so we hide. We do no harm. We work hard. We weave secrecy around ourselves like a web.’ She touched the necklace around her neck. A blue gem on a silver chain. ‘This lets one of us move around the human world unnoticed.’


Locate and list all the things that weavers are, according to Anna.

  • Weavers
  • We hide
  • Do no harm
  • Work hard
  • Weave secrecy around themselves


What is the impact of repeating the word ‘we’ in Anna’s dialogue?

Anna is speaking for all weavers, not just about herself as an individual. She is emphasizing the truth about weavers and appealing for Mia’s understanding.


Identify the simile in the passage, and discuss why it is used.

We weave secrecy around ourselves like a web. This creates a visual image for the readers of the weavers hiding away behind their webs. It also reminds and reinforces that the weavers take on the form of spiders.  It also emphasizes the reason why Anna kept her family secret from her best friend.


3rd Reading:


What is the message about friendship that is conveyed in the story? The story shows that supporting friends is important and that people should value friendship over differences. Anna’s experience could also suggest that people should not hide who they really are, because true friends will not be judgmental. Anna says ‘best friends shouldn’t hide things from each other.’


If you were asked to place this story in a particular genre, which genre would you choose? Is it a blend of more than one genre?

This story is a mystery. Clues are given throughout the story and readers are invited to piece together pieces of the mystery before it is all revealed in the end. The author has created an atmosphere of suspense which is suited to the mystery genre.


This story is also a fantasy as it includes fantasy creatures – the weavers. Another aspect suggesting this story should be placed in the fantasy genre is the inclusion of a character who can switch forms from weaver to human with the use of a magical necklace.