Anyone who has dreamed of what they wanted to be or compared themselves with their talented peers would see themselves in Daizy, an eleven year old working out who she wants to be.
Daizy searches for her star quality while living with her colorful family that includes a sister who is a goth, father who is a try hard organic farmer and a range of pets including a mischievous goat. She sets her hopes on becoming the first pre teen super model as her Year six class present a fashion show using recycled materials. Her focus on her own dreams of stardom are overshadowed by the revelation of her father’s dream to move to a remote island off the coast of Scotland. A friend’s sadness over the move of her grandmother into the Twilight Years Rest Home moves Daizy’s preoccupation with her own concerns to the needs of her friend. Daizy, with the support of her close friends, leads a significant visit from her school to the Rest Home and begins new relationships between community members and students.
Strike a Pose, Daisy Star is a humorous read, full of warmth and the difficulty of family relationships. The striking differences in family members and the different directions they are moving could easily pull them apart. Yet the bonds that hold them together remind us all that amidst their differences families can be a robust and resilient resource.
Themes of recycling and sustainable living provide a wonderful leap into classroom conversations and learning activites. Amidst the reading, as a teacher, I could not stop imagining the recycled fashion show substituting the faces and names of students in my own class.
Perhaps more than the emphasis on the environment I enjoyed the encouraging message of empowerment underpinning the novel. Despite being motivated initially by her own need for recognition, Daizy is transformed by the needs of others around her. She refuses to simply comfort the distress of her good friend but decides to actively engage in the issues raised. Her own transformation becomes the catalyst to transforming the Twilight Years Rest Home and the community in which she lives.
Strike a Pose, Daisy Star is a text that would be enjoyed particularly by girls in Years 3, 4 and 5. Used in the context of a Literature Circle it would enable many of the themes to be explored explicitly. As many schools are using Student Action Teams to empower student reflection and action within their communities the text might start or enhance their investigations.