Animating Shaun Tan’s The Red Tree at Mountainside Secondary.

An extension of the Inside Out Project Own Your Journey  at Mountainside Secondary 2014-2015, the animation portion- spearheaded by my colleague and dear friend, Ian Powell- engaged students in a deep and meaningful way.  Ian chose The Red Tree by Shaun Tan as the vehicle to help students address social and emotional intelligence, self-reflection and empowerment as well as project planning and passion-based learning.  Students worked individually or in small groups to interpret and animate each page of the dark and remarkable book:

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Image source

The Red Tree is a story without any particular narrative; a series of distinct imaginary worlds as self-contained images which invite readers to draw their own meaning in the absence of any written explanation. As a concept, the book is inspired by the impulse of children and adults alike to describe feelings using metaphor – monsters, storms, sunshine, rainbows and so on. Moving beyond cliché, I sought painted images that might further explore the expressive possibilities of this kind of shared imagination, which could be at once strange and familiar. A nameless young girl appears in every picture, a stand-in for ourselves; she passes helplessly through many dark moments, yet ultimately finds something hopeful at the end of her journey. Shaun Tan – source

 Congratulations to all who worked on the piece. Your interpretations are breathtaking and your dedication to the project an inspiration!

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Shaun Tan’s The Red Tree, Mountainside Secondary School 2015:

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