Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan

Shaun Tan grew up in Perth and works as an artist, writer and film-maker in Melbourne. He is best known for illustrated books that deal with social and historical subjects through dream-like imagery, widely translated throughout the world and enjoyed by readers of all ages. Shaun is the recipient of an Academy Award for the short animated film The Lost Thing, the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in Sweden and the Kate Greenaway Medal in the UK.

‘Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds’

Book Week, August 21-27, 2021

Plant The Seed - Unpack Your Thinking


This week at The Global Write we are going to be critically creative in our Writer’s Notebook using an idea from Amy Burvall and Dan Ryder’s book – INTENTION Critical Creativity in the Classroom.


Phrankenwords are when you created a brand new word by mashing up two or more vocabulary terms. Then you provide a definition and use that new word to tell a story. 


Here some examples of a Phrankenword.

  1. Explore the books that Shaun Tan has written 
  2. Choose one of the books from the page. Look at the images and read about the book. 

1. Create as many Phankenwords you can for your book choice and write your words in your Writer’s Notebook.


2. Choose one of your Phrankenwords


3. Explain the thinking behind your Phrankenword. Use that word to tell your thoughts and thinking or your own version of the story. It is perfectly OK to be messy in this thinking. 


Modelled Thinking

Here is my Phankenword, UNPUBLISEEN – Bronwyn Joyce The Global Write Creator

Let's Write

Prompt 1

The Arrival by Shaun Tan (2007) / Australia / Wordless book

Central themes are displacement, migration, tolerance, pluralism, and multiculturalism. For Shaun Tan he encourages the reader to look beyond the ‘ordinariness’ of our own circumstance and consider different perspectives – to walk in another’s shoes.

Watch The Arrival here:

Write a story that represents the book The Arrival. Make it your own using the images to prompt your thinking and ideas. Publish your story and share it on The Global Write Wakelet

Prompt 2

Cicada is the story of an insect working in an office, and all the people who don’t love him. It’s a very simple 32-page picture book about the unspoken horrors of corporate white-collar enslavement… or is it? You never can tell what a bug is thinking.


Listen to the story Cicada by Shaun Tan

You are the Cicada what was the bug really thinking? Put yourself in the shoes of the Cicada and tell your version of the story. Make a Microsoft FLIP as if you are the voice of the Cicada telling his story.

Prompt 3

Shaun Tan Blog Post      Old New World       

March 13, 2021       

I was invited late last year to create the poster and other visual materials for Children’s Book Week 2021, on the theme ‘Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds’. The resulting oil painting references The Arrival, my own experiences of fatherhood and also to some extent the feeling of coming out of a tough lockdown in 2020 Melbourne. I wanted to somehow collapse ideas of the past, present and future into a single image that also suggests alternate history.

  1. Create your own drawing, painting, sketch that represents ‘Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds’
  2. Take a photo and share your drawing with us on The Global Write Wakelet

Shaun Tan and the SDGs

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