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Author study: Anita Ganeri

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By Helen WattsEditor, Literacy Time PLUS

This on-screen interactive author study kit includes sample pages and covers from Anita Ganeri’s books, a biography, a bibliography and a link to her website.

Author of Scholastic’s Horrible Geography series, Anita Ganeri has written many other books, including titles in Evans Brothers’ Sacred Texts non-fiction series and its Storyteller series, which links to the major faiths.


Shared learning and teaching

Before reading

  • What do the children know about the work of an author? Do authors only work in one genre? Do they know how a text moves from writing a draft to final publication?
  • Have they heard of Anita Ganeri? Look at the book list, at the covers shown in the biography section, or display any of her books you have in school. Discuss their genre types.
  • Explain that you are going to carry out an author study. Elicit the sorts of things they will want to find out in order to study this author well.

Reading and responding

  • Elicit the meaning of ‘biography’. Share-read the biography without clicking on the red words. Discuss the text features. What do we now know about Anita? Has the biography answered some/all of your questions? What else would you like to find out?
  • Return to the paragraph on Anita’s writing about the ‘sacred texts of the world’s main faiths’. Consider what this means. What are these sacred texts? List suggestions, then explain that you are going to read what Anita has written about the Qur’an and Islam. Click to reveal the text. Before reading, ask how this text differs from a biography.
  • If possible, show a range of sacred texts. What do the children know about their contents? How might they help followers to live their lives? Elicit the use of stories. Ask the children to share any stories they know from these texts. Then return to the on-screen resource to read through ‘The Birth of the Buddha’. Why has the fact box been included on the same page as the story?
  • Look back at Anita’s bibliography. Discuss the range of books. Is there a theme? What would the children want to write about if they were an author?

Further reading

Sacred Texts series (Evans Brothers, various ISBNS). Titles include: The Ramayana and other Hindu texts, The Qur’an and Islam, The Guru Granth Sahib and Sikhism and The Tipitaka and other Buddhist texts by Anita Ganeri; The Bible and Christianity by Alan Brown; and The Torah and Judaism by Vivienne Cato. Storyteller series (Evans Brothers, various ISBNS). Titles include: Hindu Stories, Buddhist Stories, Sikh Stories, Islamic Stories, Christian Stories and Jewish Stories by Anita Ganeri. For more information visit

Group and guided work

  • Research the sacred books of the other world faiths, collecting information to write/present a double-page spread in the style of Anita’s The Qur’an and Islam. This could be initially drafted on paper then presented as a multimodal text.
  • Reread the text about the Qur’an then research Islam to find out more about how the sacred text is used. Prepare notes for a class presentation/school assembly.
  • Reread ‘The Birth of the Buddha’. Dramatise it, writing/performing a play script. What dramatic devices could convey the beauty of the garden of Lumbini and the effect of the earthquake on those resting in the garden?
  • Write a comparison of the two different texts.

Independent work

  • Use the activity sheet below to consolidate understanding of ‘The Birth of the Buddha’.
  • Look in the school library for books written by Anita Ganeri. Ask the children to choose a book which best interests them and to write a review. Afterwards, compare the books in a class discussion.
  • Research other authors, making bibliographies of their work.
  • Research another story taken from a world faith. Make notes that would enable the children to tell the story without the use of the book.

Literacy Framework

See the Using this issue chart here to identify the Learning Objectives covered by these activities, to track progression from Year 4 through to Year 7, and to identify links with Year 5 and 6 Planning Units.


  • Perform the dramatisation of ‘The Birth of the Buddha’. Encourage positive feedback.
  • Before asking the children to make their presentations about the Qur’an, agree on success criteria. Carry out the presentations. How well does each group meet the success criteria? What might they to do improve future presentations?
  • Look at the multimodal presentations. Have they included typical features of non-fiction writing in their presentation and writing style?