Voyage to Arghan
Ernest and I
Joanna Grace and Helen Lanzrein
In her book Sensory Stories, Joanna Grace wrote of two key elements of sensory story sessions: – the importance of sensory stimulation, which is central to cognitive development and the power of narrative, and the storytelling space it can create for those who share a story.
Sensory stories (that include in the telling not only words but also pictures, tastes, smells, sights, sounds and touches) in general are inclusive and can be used for people of all ages.
These two titles are part of a new picture book series by Joanna.
Each begins with an explanatory preface that outlines the sensory story concept, explains how best to share the book with one or more children and provides a resource list of items that need to be to hand before you start.
The introductory notes suggest you share the story hearing first the words, then focusing on the pictures and finally, the sensory element. This pattern lends a natural rhythm to the whole process.
Voyage to Arghan , created particularly for ‘supporting children with their mental wellbeing’, tells of a little girl who as winner of the “First Child in Space” competition, blasts off into space,
destination the distant planet Arghan, in the hope of finding rare Polgrin feathers.
Both her story telling and the suggestions for the sensory elements are a reflection of the author’s creativity while her inclusion of technical terminology demonstrates her academic knowledge of her subject.
Some of the experiences suggested in this story need no extra resources. These include a hug, a lunge, a breathing techinque; and rolling back and raising the feet in the air (you might with their permission, tip backwards the chair of a wheelchair user) to simulate the rocket launching. Other elements need a little preparation but nothing more exacting than the adornment of a shoe-box to create an entire Arghanian world.
Beautiful textured pastel illustrations by Helen Lanzrein provide the visual element of the story and there’s a final ‘voyage log’ offering ideas for discussion.
Parents and educators alike will welcome this book, as they will Ernest and I, created particularly for ‘supporting children to identify with their attachments’.
Its rhyming narrative, essentially a soothing reflective story of childhood memories of a boy and his much loved soft toy penguin, is also beautifully illustrated by Helen Lanzrein.
With more multi-sensory storybooks to follow I as an educator, look forward to seeing them.