Little Jack Harker: Vampire Hunter

story by Kevin Christopher Snipes , illustrated by Dante Hookey

Learning Intention:


I am learning to identify similarities in literary texts on similar topics so that I can reflect on my own perspectives.


Success Criteria:


  • I can identify the reasons why a character has formed a particular perspective
  • I can consider the factors that cause a character to change their perspective
  • I can identify similarities in the way two texts tackle perspective
  • I can reflect on my own perspectives
  • I can create a poster to demonstrate my opinions on how perspectives are formed


Focus question:


How do our own experiences allow us to connect with characters?


Essential knowledge:


View the video Perspective from the English Textual Concepts. Ensure students note the following:

  • Perspective shapes what readers see in a text and the way they see it
  • Perspective can be influenced by readers’ experiences, their attitudes, values and beliefs
  • Authors have their own perspectives
  • Authors’ perspectives are revealed through ways such as the language they choose to use, what they have included or left out of a text, and how they structure a text.


Oral language and communication:


Prior to reading Little Jack Harker: Vampire Hunter, read the first four pages of Skin Deep (pages 28 to 31), also found in this issue of Touchdown. If you have a digital subscription, you can also listen to the audio file.

Discuss the following questions as a class:

  • What is Thandi’s perspective of her mother initially? (She loves her, and she has never questioned her mother’s appearance before)
  • What changes her perspective? (The reactions of her friends to her mother’s appearance)


Place students in small groups and instruct them to discuss the following topic:

  • Does the change in perspective have positive or negative results? (It has a negative result, as it changes Thandi’s perspective of her mother’s appearance, so she thinks of the way her mother looks as awful and frightening)

Instruct students to read to the end of Skin Deep in their groups and then discuss the same question as above, to see if their perspective changes. This time, students might identify that although Thandi’s change of perspective initially causes her to view her mother’s appearance negatively, her reaction results in her mother revealing the heroic action that caused her to be burnt. This causes Thandi to have a new respect for her mother which is a positive outcome.

Discuss responses, emphasising the way Thandi’s perspective changes in light of each new piece of information.


Understanding text:


Read Little Jack Harker: Vampire Hunter or listen to the audio version if you have a digital subscription. Discuss the following questions:

  • What initially influences Jack’s perspective of vampires? (The ideas he gathers from a book)
  • What does this cause him to believe about vampires? (That they are terrible creatures)
  • What does he decide to do? (To dedicate the rest of his life to hunting vampires)
  • When he discovers a vampire in the abandoned mansion (page 22), what does he prepare to do? (To drive his wooden stake through its heart to kill it)
  • What surprises him about the vampire? (That he is smartly dressed and well kept)
  • How does this make Jack feel? (He feels self-conscious, as by comparison, he has soot on his face and his clothes are ripped)
  • When Jack and Vlad speak, what does Jack discover? (They have lots in common, they are both vegetarians, they are both lonely, they are both into books, Vlad has been watching Jack as he wants to be friends)
  • What happens to Jack and Vlad? (They become friends)


Instruct students to compare how Thandi and Jack’s perspectives are influenced by external factors, using a table. Sample responses have been provided:

Thandi Jack
What influences the character's perspective? What her friends said about her mother's appearance. Ideas he read in a book.


Was the influence positive or negative? Negative Negative
What causes them to change their perspective? When Thandi speaks directly with her mother she discovers why her mother's appearance is different from her teachers and the other mothers Through meeting a vampire, Vlad, and getting to know him.
What do the character and the reader learn through the experience? You shouldn't let others influence your perspective. Instead, you should speak directly to the person involved.

Don't rely on our source of information when forming a perspective.

You need to encounter a variety of sources before forming a conclusion.

You should consider real-life experience when forming a perspective.

Keep an open mind.

Instruct students to discuss their findings with their group. They can use the following sentence stems to guide their responses:

  • The portrayal of perspective in both texts is similar because___ (The characters in both texts have their perspectives influenced by others, Thandi by her friends, Jack by a book, both stories show the characters’ perspectives changing through their experiences)
  • What do the characters in both stories learn__ (Not to form your perspective based on what others say/write, to seek out multiple sources of information before forming a perspective)

Discuss whether students identify with the characters’ experiences and instruct students to share examples from their own lives.

Sample responses include:

  • I have been negatively influenced by my friend’s perspective when I listened to them about not playing with another student. Once I got to know that student, I realised we have lots in common and we are now friends
  • I refer to books to form my perspective.


Discuss the focus question:

  • How do our own experiences allow us to connect with characters? (They allow us to relate to characters, seeing our experiences reflected in texts allows us to view our experiences in a new light)


Creating text:


Discuss ways our perspective can be influenced and note these on the board. Answers include:

  • What other people say
  • What we read in books
  • Personal experiences
  • The experiences of those close to us
  • What we see in the media
  • Our beliefs
  • Education
  • Family values
  • Our age


Place students in pairs. Inform students that they will be creating a poster to represent their views on perspective and how it can be influenced by external factors.

Provide the following prompt question for students to consider:

  • What influences your perspectives?
  • Have you ever questioned this?
  • Do the experiences of Thandi and Jack make you reflect on your own perspectives?

Emphasise that there are no right or wrong answers here.

Instruct students to create a poster that demonstrates how perspectives might be influenced by positive factors, either positively or negatively. Discuss examples, such as:

  • Sometimes your perspective can be influenced by your friends. It’s important to speak directly to the person involved and to keep an open mind
  • Your parents have more experience of life, so sometimes it is useful to listen to them when forming your perspective.

Provide students with paper and coloured pencils/textas for creating their posters. Students may also use digital programs such as Microsoft Paint. Tell students to include a message that sums up their opinion of perspective, and an illustration that supports their idea. Instruct students to make the posters as eye-catching as they can. Allow time for students to create their posters.


Assessment for/as learning:


Display students’ posters around the classroom. Conduct a gallery walk, instructing students to examine the work of their peers. Tell students to select one of the posters where the idea it represents resonates with them. Instruct them to respond to the following questions in their workbooks, based on the poster they have chosen:

  • The poster I have chosen displays the idea that__
  • This resonates with me because__
  • It makes me think__


Finally, refer students back to the focus question and instruct them to respond to it, in their workbooks, as an exit ticket:

What are some of the elements that shape our perspectives?

  • How does knowing how other peoples’ perspectives are shaped impact our responses to them?