Textual Linage

As I was curating my holidays reading list, I was transported back to a P.D that I attended at the end of last year where the presenter introduced me to the notion of ‘textual linage.’ This includes the texts that have had the greatest impact on an individual during the various stages of their life and have been significant in shaping their identities. Below is my textual linage:


Early Primary School:

-Billy the Punk by Jessica Carroll

-The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

-The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch


Middle to Late Primary School:

-The Tintin series by Herge

-The Asterix and Obelix series by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo

-The Adventurous Four series by Enid Blyton

-The Un Collection by Paul Jennings

-The Rowan of Rin series by Emily Rodda

-The Deltora Quest series by Emily Rodda

-The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling


Secondary School:

-The Hobbit by J.R. R. Tolkien

-The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

-To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

-Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell


As a Young Adult:

-Othello by William Shakespeare

-V for Vendetta by Alan Moore and David Lloyd

-Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

-The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

-Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind

-The Reader by Bernhard Schlink

-Just Kids by Patti Smith

-Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

-Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

-Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

-Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

-The Crucible by Arthur Miller

-Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

-1Q84 (and anything else by Haruki Murakami)

-The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

-The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

-His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman


In the Last Few Years:

-The Rabbits by John Marsden and Shaun Tan (and everything by Shaun Tan)

-The Island by Armin Greder

-Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

-Heat and Light by Ellen van Neerven

-The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood

-All the Birds Singing by Evie Wyld

-Mateship with Birds by Carrie Tiffany

-Maus by Art Spiegelman

-Like a House on Fire by Cate Kennedy

-The MaddAddam Trilogy by Margaret Atwood

-The Passion by Jeanette Winterson


I was amazed to see how much joy this activity brought to everyone in the room as we relived some of our fondest memories and how much conversation this activity sparked. Everyone was genuinely engaged and interested in hearing other peoples’ experiences. It also reminded me just how instrumental books can be in shaping an individual. The presenter then asked us how many of us had shared these with our students. Besides giving recommendations to students, I had never done so and reflected that this idea of textual linage has the potential to be such a meaningful way to start a dialogue around reading with our classes.

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