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Check out this inspiring art project inspired by Under the Great Plum Tree!

Buy Under the Great Plum Tree

Under the Great Plum Tree is based on an Indian folk tale

Fantastic Head of Libraries, Jonathan Guy, was kind enough to share his experiences of using Under the Great Plum Tree as part of an inspiring whole school art project recently. We were blown away by the beautiful mural put together by the pupils at North London Collegiate School, all the way in Singapore! We can’t wait to see the final piece in all its glory before Christmas!

Fantastic educator, Jonathan Guy

Read more about Jonathan’s terrific project below.

We have been using Under the Great Plum Tree as the basis for an ongoing weekly extra-curricular class that incorporates pupils aged 5 – 10.  The book works on so many levels and always generates discussion around so many themes, be it the idea of kindness and friendship that underlies the story; or the lush, vibrant and vivid illustrations with their use of colour and repeating patterns; to the relevance of folktales in the present day.

In an international school such as ours it is always interesting to find out about similar tales based on the similar themes from other countries.  That idea of the global migration of stories is so rewarding for the children.

One class adding wise elephant Dame Hati to their mural!
Children explored Reza’s use of intricate patterns

Our sessions start with a read-aloud reading of the book, an exploration of the illustrations, and then a 30 minute art activity based around the story and these illustrations.  The children all create small pieces of art that we add to an expanding mural of a jungle scene similar to that they have seen in the book.  The younger children focus on using colour to express their art; the older groups are encouraged to further explore texture, textiles and collage as well.  The emphasis is on enjoyment – both of the story and creating their pictures however they wish.  Because this is an ongoing project over several weeks it has been wonderful for the children to see the mural grow; for them to add their own experiences and art to an ever-growing picture and to really see the mural blossom, bloom, and come to life in the same vivid hues as the book.

I have also introduced my Grade 10 (16 year old) tutor group to the project – we have used the same lesson plan of reading aloud and doing the art but also using it more as a process of well-being and mindfulness for this age group.  They really enjoyed the tutor time we spent doing the project!  And both they and the younger children have relished seeing their art amalgamated together!

Children explored the tale’s bright illustrations

The final mural will be finished just before the Christmas holidays when we hope to display it for everyone to see.

Each child added their own unique interpretation of the story

The beauty of independent publishers such as Tiny Owl creating and producing books such as Under the Great Plum Tree with such great cultural diversity and identity produces so many rewards for our pupils.  They really help the pupils to understand the world around them; they encourage pupils to ask questions and explore and research these cultures; they are such a joy to read aloud and share; and they offer such an array of opportunities for cross-curricular links.

I always love linking our extra-curricular library activities to art anyway and this project is proving to be a wonderful, affirming and rewarding project to run and share.

My thanks to Sufiya Ahmed, Reza Delvand, and Tiny Owl for producing such an exquisite book.

  • Read more: Yippee! Under the Great Plum Tree is nominated for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2021!
  • Read moreUnder the Great Plum Tree longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021!
  • The Sunday Times says Under the Great Plum Tree is One to Watch!
  • BookTrust love Under the Great Plum Tree!
  • Read more: An interview with author Sufiya Ahmed

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