Lion: A Long Way Home’ is the true story of Saroo Brierley, a young man adopted by an Australian couple after he became lost in India at age 5. The story centres on his memories of his early life and his experiences in India when he was lost; his search for home in his twenties; and his return to India to reunite with his biological family. The story is inspiring, both in Saroo’s ability to survive alone as a child, and his determination to find his home using Google Earth and a systematic search pattern which consumed his life for years. Overall, the biography is a great story, reflecting the importance of hope and family.

2 book covers for Lion: A Long Way Home. The original cover and the cover linked to the film

Task 1

Compare and contrast the cover of the original novel, ‘A Long Way Home’, and the cover linked to the film, ‘Lion: A Long Way Home’.

-What do they expect the novel to be about?

-What style of writing do they expect?

-Who will be the main characters?

-How will it start and end?

– Are there different ideas coming from the different covers or do they complement each other? Which one interests you more, and why?

Task 2

What do you know about India? Can you find the
cities of Kolkata and Khandwa on a map?

Task 3

Take a look at the real story

Task 4

Choose one lesson to investigate more and enlarge on it.

LESSON #1: GOOGLE EARTH IS AMAZING— Any newfangled school teacher out there will attest to this lesson.  Google Earth is more than just an online globe.  Layers of virtual mapping, curated images, factual references, and other bottomless pits of searchable information are linked for nearly any coordinates on the planet.  The essential application is literally “the world at your fingertips.”

LESSON #2: EDUCATE YOURSELF ON CHILD ORPHAN STATISTICS— “Lion” will inspire you to look up unfathomable facts and figures.  Saroo Brierley was but one lucky needle in a haystack made of as many as 20 million orphaned children in India, approximately 4% of its total population.  On average annually, less than 5,000 of those 20 million ever get adopted.  Let that sink in.

LESSON #3: THE DRAW OF ONE’S CHILDHOOD HOME— Saroo may have adapted and made a life for himself in Tasmania and Australia, but his childhood memories and unanswered questions were unshakeable.  He still remembers streets, faces, and landscapes.  Saroo was drawn to find out if his mother and brother were still alive and still looking for him.  He admirably and exhaustively pushed himself towards that draw to discover those answers.

LESSON #4: ORPHANS HAVE PREVIOUS LIVES— Adoptive parents take on the care and guardianship of children not of their own in hopes of imbuing them into their homes and family histories.  They might change their names along with their destinies.  The tricky thing is many children, especially older adoptees, carry memories, stories, emotions, connections, and their own histories which were likely severed in traumatic fashion.  That can be a hard slate to wipe clean.

Thinking and Writing

-Can you write down your thoughts and feelings about Lion? Explain what struck you the most about Saroo? How do you feel at the end of his story?

-Imagine if you were lost and couldn’t find your family. What would you do?

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