She Came in a Shoebox

story by Jane Jolly , illustrated by Anna Bron

Learning intention:

I am learning to connect ideas to my own experiences so that I can justify a point of view.


Success criteria:

  • I can clarify understanding of content as it unfolds by asking specific questions.
  • I can review ideas expressed and connect them to my own experiences.
  • I can justify my point of view of a text based on my own perspective.


Essential knowledge:               

  • More information about perspective can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Perspective.


Note: This story and learning resource touches on war and connects to students’ experiences. There may be some circumstances where it is not appropriate for individual students to relive past experiences connected to war.


Read the title of the story and display the first illustration, which is on page 23. Ask students to predict what the story will be about. Students might recognise the helicopters and people fleeing as a battle or war. Ask what experiences allowed them to recognise this, such as movies.


Read the subheading and the first sentence. Ask students if they have any clarifying questions. Sample questions:

  • Where is Saigon? (Use classroom atlases or Google Maps to find the answer)
  • What was the Vietnam War?
  • What are communists?

(Follow up questions: Why and when did Saigon’s name change to Ho Chi Minh City?)

Information on the Vietnam War can be found on Britannica Kids.


Once students have a better understanding of the setting, continuing reading up until

The war was marching closer and closer to Saigon.

Ask students what parts of the extract they can connect their experiences to, and what parts they can’t. Encourage further clarifying questions (such as What is a matron?). Students might connect the thud of explosions to fireworks, but not be able to describe the smell of gunpowder. Ask students why they as readers can connect to Rosie (because she is from Australia).


Read up to:

frightened calls of the women.

Ask students what experiences they can connect with in this extract. Students with younger siblings might know about holding a baby. Some students will have seen and heard helicopters before or been on a bus before.


Read the rest of She Came in a Shoebox. Students should make notes during the reading on what experiences they can connect to (Teacher explicitly model). After the reading, invite students to share their answers with the class. Again, encourage students to ask clarifying questions.


Ask students to write down what they thought about the text, and how their experiences helped shape their point of view. For example, a student might say the story made them feel sad because they love their family and couldn’t imagine having to be separated from them. Another student might write how they couldn’t connect with the text because they had to look up a lot of the vocabulary and it took them out of the emotional beats of the story.


Invite students with varying reactions to the text to share their answers. Explain to the class that everyone has different perspectives, so everyone will have their own point of view on texts. Remind them that it’s okay to not like a text, as long as they can explain why.