Teacher Notes – Papa Sky

Author: Jane Jolly Illustrator: Sally Heinrich


Jane Jolly is a Primary School teacher of 40 years experience. She has taught in Aboriginal schools, Area schools and Primary schools. In 1983 she worked as a governess on Commonwealth Hill Station. She now works part time as teacher/librarian at Eastern Fleurieu School, in South Australia, teaching creative writing and literature appreciation.

Jane has had seven picture books published. Tea and Sugar Christmas was an Honour Book in CBCA Book of the Year 2015 and One Step at a Time, illustrated by Sally Heinrich, was an Honour Book in CBCA Book of the Year 2016.

Outside of teaching and writing her interests include organic gardening, cooking, and the plight of refugees.



Sally Heinrich has illustrated more than forty books as well as writing and illustrating her own picture books, non-fiction information and activity books and novels. Besides publishers, her clients include advertising and environmental agencies, design studios and Government departments. Her commissioned artwork ranges in scale from wine labels to a mural for the Singapore Zoo, to one-off pieces for celebrations such as weddings and birthdays. She also regularly runs workshops in creative writing and illustration for both children and adults.

Her work has been recognised through fellowships from the Asialink Foundation, The May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust, Varuna-the Writer’s Centre and Arts SA, and her original artwork and lino-prints have been exhibited in Australia and Asia.

Having previously lived in Darwin, Sydney, Singapore and Malaysia, Sally is currently based in Adelaide.




The story is set in a fictitious cloud forest, which could be one of many in the world. The endpapers of the book indicate, with little clouds, where cloud forests are situated in the world.


  1. Using a map of the world, identify the nearest cloud forest to where you live.
  2. Use latitude and longitude to describe where it is.
  3. What is it that makes a cloud forest a cloud forest?
  4. Explain why most cloud forests are close to the equator.
  5. Why are the creatures of the cloud forest dependent on the clouds?
  6. What are the important functions of cloud forests?
  7. What are the important functions of the fauna living in the cloud forests?
  8. Choose one animal from the story Papa Sky and research in more detail. What would happen if this animal became extinct?
  9. What is global warming?
  10. What are some ways in which global warming is affecting the planet?
  11. What are some ways in which you and your family can help to limit the affects of global warming?
  12. Research the Golden Toad (Bufo periglenes). It is cited as one of the first documented cases of extinction due to climate change.


  1. How are clouds formed?
  2. What are the different types of clouds?
  3. Why are clouds important to the environment?
  4. Spend some time outside and see if you can identify the different cloud types. Watch the skies over a few days to see how the cloud types change. Take some photos and publish the changes.
  5. Draw a diagram to represent the formation of a cloud. Label it clearly.
  6. Go to this Youtube website to make a cloud in a jar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44GH2gs8avo


  1. How does the author set the scene at the beginning of the story?
  2. Jane Jolly hasn’t used any similes in the text, and yet she has painted beautiful images. How did she achieve this?
  3. Can you find the examples of alliteration in the story? Try writing some sentences of your own, which use alliteration.
  4. The story does a circle and the last scene is similar to the first. Can you write a story, which moves in a circular way and ends up at the beginning?
  5. Write a What Am I? for one of the creatures from the text. Give three clues about the creature.
  6. It has been said that there are only seven stories in the world. 1.Overcoming the Monster 2. Rags to Riches 3.The Quest 4.Voyage and Return 5.Comedy 6.Tragedy 7.Rebirth Which plot do you think this story fits?
  7. Write an ode to a cloud. An ode is a lyric poem addressed to one particular subject usually praising it.
  8. Write a cloud song.
  9. Write a poem in the shape of a cloud.
  10. Would the story be the same if it was Mama Sky? If not how would it be different? Can you write a story using Mama or Papa linked with one of the elements? Eg Mama Fire?


  1. Watch the skies and then draw some of the clouds you see.
  2. Now draw some clouds, which look like animals.
  3. Draw some clouds which have animals hidden in them.
  4. The sky is blue. But how many different blues can you make?
  5. When Papa Sky looks down past his toes he has a ‘bird’s eye view’. Try some drawings using a ‘bird’s eye view’.
  6. Draw some creatures hiding in a landscape. Just give a few small clues as to which creature they are. See if someone can identify them.
  7. Design a flip book which is cut in half so that you can mix and match different creatures eg the head of a bear on to the body of a monkey


  1. Design a way of getting Papa Sky back to the top of the mountain. Use the Research, Design, Make, Evaluate process. Think about some different limitations eg the quickest way up, the most comfortable way up for Papa Sky, the way using the least amount of equipment, the most direct way etc
  2. Design a trap to catch one of the animals in the story Papa Sky. It has to be designed so the animal is not hurt and can be released afterwards.


Sally Heinrich’s illustrations have been done using watercolour paints and graphite pencils.

For Papa Sky she began with a storyboard.

  1. What is a storyboard? Why are they useful?
  2. Design your own storyboard for a story you have written or one you have heard.
  3. Think about close ups, distance illustrations and middle distance. Match the text with the illustration.
  4. Would the book have worked as well if she had used a different medium? What other styles or mediums may have worked? Would it change the story? How does the choice of illustration medium and style affect the way you read/understand/interpret a story?
  5. Some of the pages don’t have any words. What would the story be if you took the pictures away? Or the words? Look at how the words and pictures work together in picture books to tell the story.
  6. Try writing a story without any words.



There are many different jobs involved in publishing a book apart from the author and illustrator.

Find out what these people do:

  1. Editor
  2. Designer
  3. Publisher
  4. Distributor
  5. Literary agent
  6. Printer
  7. Bookseller

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