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Everest - Thursday


'A Pocketful of Stars' by Aisha Bushby tells the story of Safiya, her love for video games and her relationship with her mum . Published by Egmont.



The second extract in this lesson contains themes which some may find distressing. It is appropriate for the age group, but as every child is individual, parents may wish to read ahead first or read with their children if they are concerned by the content outlined.

A Pocketful Of Stars

Safiya loves playing video games. She and her mum do not see eye-to-eye, especially since her parents have split up. When her mum falls into a coma and Safiya sits by her bedside, she finds herself in an alternative world that looks a bit like one of her games.

Watch professional wrestling star Becky Lynch read an extract from A Pocketful Of Stars.

Think about the following:

  • What do we find out about Safiya and her home life?

  • Why does Safiya resent Elle coming around?

  • How is Safiya feeling?

    Extract 1



Elle and Mum walk off, talking about the rest of the play, heads bobbing enthusiastically. I hang back a step or two. They’re both confident, so it makes sense that they get along, that their relationship is easy. I should be glad, but it’s a bit like playing my favourite video game, 'Fairy Hunters', and my team wins even though I didn’t cast a single good spell. I want to be happy, but then I feel like I don’t belong, like I’m not good enough. And the bad feeling just takes over.

I know it’s weird not wanting Elle to come around, because she’s my best friend. But Saturday nights are supposed to be our night. Mum and me.

Ever since Mum and Dad divorced, and I decided to live with Dad, they set up these Saturday visits as part of the custody agreement. Mum and I hang out in the afternoon, and then we have dinner together and a sleepover. Usually Mum cooks, sometimes it’s a takeaway, but it’s always just been the two of us.

Until today.

I can’t but help think that maybe Elle’s the daughter Mum should’ve had, the daughter she would’ve wanted.

But instead she ended up with me.


Now  read the second extract from A Pocketful of Stars.

In the extract, Safiya has received missed calls from her Dad and a number of texts asking her to call him. She has no reception at the tube station, and this is her thought process about why he may be calling her.

Think about the following:

  • How is tension built in the extract?

  • What do we learn about the friendship between Safiya and Elle in this extract?

  • Why does the writer number Safiya’s thoughts?

Extract 2



 Elle holds my hand the whole way down, even as we go through the barriers.

Four stops to King’s Cross. Four stops for me to imagine the worst. Dad must be OK. I don’t have any grandparents, or aunts and uncles, apart from Mum’s sister... Is it Mum?

One. Mum cycles everywhere. Did she get hit by a car? Does she wear a helmet? I can’t remember.

Elle and I don’t speak. She just squeezes my arm every few moments. I don’t cry, but my heart is beating so fast like I can’t breathe.

The Tube is too hot. I might pass out.

Two. Maybe she just tripped and broke a leg, and I’m overthinking it all? Dad’s just ringing to make sure I don’t go straight to her flat. Right?

But why is he telling me to get the next train?

Someone gets up and Elle wrestles me a seat.

Three. And why would he ring Elle too? I bury my head in my hands. Elle is stroking my hair. It helps.

Four. I’m sorry for yelling at you, Mum. I’m sorry, sorry, sorry.


Activity 1

  1. Read extract 1 again. Elle is Safiya's best friend and they have just been to see a play with Safiya’s mum.

  2. Focus on the line I hang back a step or two.

Safiya does this so that she can reflect on what is happening.

  1. Consider the following six statements:
  • Safiya resents Elle.

  • Safiya is jealous of the relationship that Elle has with her mother.

  • Safiya overthinks everything.

  • Safiya is insecure.

  • Mum and Elle have isolated Safiya.

  • Elle is a good friend.

  1. Choose two of the statements to explore and give your opinion on whether you agree or disagree with them.

Use evidence from the extract to support you.

You might want to organise your answer in a table.

Statement Agree Or Disagree? Evidence

Activity 2

  1. Read both extracts again.

The writer explores the friendship between Safiya and Elle in both extracts.

As the reader, we observe this friendship from the perspective of Safiya. Each extract depicts a different angle on their friendship.

  1. Summarise the friendship in each extract.

You might want to record your thoughts in a table.

  Extract 1 Extract 2
Impression or evidence of friendship

Activity 3

  1. Read extract 2 again.

This event unfolds from Safiya’s perspective although the writer gives us lots of detail about Elle’s behaviour and actions.

  1. Make notes on what Elle does in the extract.

  2. Use the the notes to rewrite this scene from Elle’s perspective. Write in the first person (I, me, my).

Top tip!

  • You might add extra information about how Elle is feeling (in the first person).

  • You could also reflect on Safiya’s behaviour and let your reader know what she is doing (you can use some of the text to support you or your own imagination).


Further support

There have been some difficult issues raised in this lesson. If you would like some support for how you are feeling Young Minds and Childline have lots of useful information to help you.



What are fossil fuels?

Much of the world’s energy is produced by burning fossil fuels such as oilcoal and gas. These natural resources are formed from the remains of plants and animals that died millions of years ago. They are used to power everything from planes to gas cookers.

Burning fossil fuels creates carbon dioxide gas, which is damaging to the environment and is making the Earth warmer than it should be. Once fossil fuels are gone they cannot be replaced, so people are now using renewable sources of energy.

Watch the clips below to find out more about fossil fuels and renewable energy.


What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is a natural source of energy that will never run out. Wind, the Sun and water are renewable energy sources that can be used to create electricity.

There are different types of renewable energy:

  • Hydropower - moving water helps create electricity by turning turbines under the sea as the tide moves in and out, or by using water stored in a dam.
  • Solar energy - solar panels collect energy from the Sun to create electricity.
  • Wind energy - wind turns turbines to create electricity.
  • Geothermal energy - volcanic activity can be used for heating water and the steam produced can be used to power generators and create electricity.

These sources of energy are much cleaner to use than fossil fuels because they do not produce harmful gases that cause pollution and climate change.

Wind farms

High levels of wind of the Scottish coast mean it is a good area in which to locate wind farms, a renewable energy source. Wind farms use the power of the wind to turn turbines and generate electricity. Watch this short film to find out how thwy are installed.

Activity 1

Renewable energy word search - Click here! (Page 1 only)

How many of the words listed can you find? If you're not sure what a word means use a search engine to find out more.


Activity 2

Energy and population comprehension - Click here! (Pages 1-3 only)

Read the text and answer the questions on energy and population in this resource.

Download the activity sheet below and print out, write down or type your answers on a piece of paper.

If you  have the task below and sent it to me there is no need  for you to do it again.
Before the break I was busy completing the paper work for your transfer to secondary school but there were some questions I could not answer because they are questions about you guys personally. Obviously, had we been in school I could have just asked you directly but circumstances being what they are that just isn't possible at the moment. I would like you to please open the file here and answer the questions on the sheet. There are only four questions and it shouldn't take you yoo long, but it would be a massive help to me in completing your paper work.