Carrie's War by Nina Bawden: a look at the book through drama
Nina Bawden’s Carrie’s War has delighted both adults and children alike for generations. Set against the backdrop of World War II, and sensitively exploring the topic of evacuation, it is an ideal book to use with KS2 students to launch an investigation into this historic period. The multi-layered story also has strands that touch on bullying, feelings, sibling relationships, friendship, trust, guilt, responsibility and fear. It therefore lends itself brilliantly to provoking work that can be used to deliver elements of PSHE.
This scheme of work uses drama to explore the story and its themes as a whole, so would be best delivered once a classroom reading of the book is complete. Two of the lessons cover the subject of evacuation, so will accompany a study of Britain since 1930 well. Alongside that, the scheme also explores bullying and feelings. As with most drama work, students will be required throughout to use and develop their speaking, group discussion and interaction skills, feeding into the Spoken Language element of the new National Curriculum. Some written work is also included in the scheme, and there are opportunities to expand the study of the book to cover additional areas of the curriculum.
By the end of this scheme the students will:
- Have used a range of dramatic techniques to explore the themes and characters within Carrie’s War
- Have considered the issues around evacuation during World War II from various and varied viewpoints
- Have experience of creating characters through use of body language, facial expression and voice
- Have experience of working in small groups to produce tableaux and short scenes
- Have participated in group discussions
- Have increased confidence and enjoyment of exploring literature through performance.