This novel can be used to study themes such as:
Theme 1: Continuity and change (culture, pride, heroism, inspiration)
How did past explorers actions influence development of the modern world?
In part 1 of this novel, Emily, the main character uses the World Museum to support her study of past civilisations. The importance of museums as collectors and protectors of artefacts from thousands of years to the present is captured in the image of the breath taking gigantic hall they step into when they get to the museum. Her thoughts on and description of objects from different times and cultures enable us to appreciate the awe she holds for past achievements. Her admiration for past Benin soldiers is unparalleled.
Do we need to know about the past? Why?
What is the role of museums in enabling this?
Who are our heroes (past and present) and how do we decide who these are?
Theme 2: Exploration (3) Deforestation (discovery, patriotism, courage, responsibility, consequences)
In part 2, Emily's new friend Sam who is 14 years old has left his home in England to serve officers on an expedition in Africa. He has not been to school having spent his entire life working on his parents farm back home. When Emily takes out her mobile phone he thinks it is a hand grenade and raises the alarm. Emily travels through the dense pristine forest with the troops but soon, the men are destroying animal habitats and cutting down tress to make shelter for their camp. What Emily was not aware of was that she was accompanying the troops to capture a king whose culture it was to protect the rain-forest and its inhabitants. The destruction she witnesses was just the beginning of the troubles ahead for both plants and animals of the rainforests. Today in rainforests across the world plants are destroyed by excessive logging and many animals are threatened with extinction because their homes have been destroyed and they have no food to live on.
Does development necessarily have to lead to destruction of the natural world?
What actions can we take to protect the rainforests of the world?
Which parts of the world still use child labour and how can they be helped?
The novel could also be used for the study of other themes like interdependence, challenge, compromise etc .