The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

Vocabulary and word list from The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon - Vocabulary is added to our Vocab module

"The Bone Sparrow", a novel by Zana Fraillon, tells the harrowing yet hopeful story of Subhi, a young Rohingya boy born in an Australian permanent detention centre. His world, confined behind the fences, is one few can imagine, yet through his eyes, readers explore themes of hope, friendship, and the human spirit. Subhi's life changes when he meets Jimmie, a scrappy local girl from the other side of the fence, who sneaks into the camp. She brings a notebook written by her late mother, which Subhi reads to her, weaving a bond that transcends the harsh realities of his life.

Fraillon's narrative is crafted with a delicate balance of childlike wonder and the grim realities of a refugee's life, making it a profound read for middle-grade and young adult readers. Her use of language is both poetic and accessible, fostering an environment that supports vocabulary development and comprehension. This book is particularly well-suited for Key Stage 3 students, offering them a lens into the complexities of refugee experiences and human rights through a story that is as engaging as it is educational.

The author, Zana Fraillon, is known for her commitment to social justice, which permeates her writing. "The Bone Sparrow" has been recognised with several awards, including being shortlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize and receiving the Amnesty CILIP Honour. It stands out not only for its literary merits but also for its ability to foster empathy and awareness among readers about the plight of refugees around the world.

In the classroom, "The Bone Sparrow" can facilitate discussions on current global issues such as immigration, human rights, and the refugee crisis. It provides a personal face to the often abstract and distant news stories about refugees, encouraging students to think critically about the world and their role within it. The intersection of Jimmie's and Subhi's stories, from vastly different backgrounds, also offers a platform to explore themes of friendship, resilience, and the power of storytelling.

The relevance of this novel in today’s social climate cannot be overstated. With the ongoing global refugee crises, it offers timely content that connects well with current affairs, making it a poignant addition to any educational curriculum. The story not only broadens perspectives but also instils a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by refugees, fostering a generation of readers who are informed, compassionate, and socially aware.

Overall, Zana Fraillon's "The Bone Sparrow" is an essential book in the landscape of contemporary young adult literature. It challenges readers to question and engage with issues of justice and human dignity, while providing a compelling story that resonates with hope and humanity. The book is an excellent resource for educators looking to enrich their students' understanding of global issues through a powerful and beautifully told story.

See below for ‘The Bone Sparrow’ words. You can also access an editable list here.


Vocabulary Cards

As well as word lists, we also offer free use of our vocabulary cards, which can be downloaded as a PDF for use in class. Complete a short form and we will email you the cards straight away.

Vocabulary cards include:

Image title

Check out our weekly lists every Wednesday! Click here for last week's curation...

The Vocab Module - How it Works

Find out more about our Vocab module. It's simple, online, and each learner has their own username and password. You (the teacher) allocate the word list you'd like your class to work on... and away they go!

Arrange your 20-minute demo at a time to suit you.

We are proud to work with and support: