The Girl of Ink and Stars – Planning Overview

Written by Dan

Last updated

An exciting island adventure awaits your students as they embark on a journey through The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave – an intriguing and captivating novel.

Uncovering hidden secrets and times past, this story should thrill, engage, and challenge all readers!

Perfect for classroom discussion or independent reading projects, you can easily integrate this title into your existing lesson plans with our comprehensive overview that offers a variety of fun activities to supplement the text.

Excite their minds as they enter Isabella’s mysterious world, where anything is possible.

Related: For more, check out our planning overview of Twelfth Night by Shakespeare  here.

The Girl of Ink and Stars

The story follows a young girl named Isabella, the daughter of a cartographer who lives on the island of Joya. The island is ruled by an oppressive Queen who has forbidden anyone from travelling beyond the boundary walls.

When a strange disease spreads throughout the island and threatens everyone’s health, Isabella’s father is asked to search for medicine.

Despite the Queen’s orders, Isabella joins his father, and they explore the mystical land beyond Joya’s walls. On their journey, Isabella discovers she has a rare ability to use her drawings to explore and protect her family from danger.

With this newfound power, she is determined to help save the people of Joya from harm, no matter what stands in her path. Along the way, she meets fascinating creatures and has thrilling adventures as she attempts to prevent catastrophe and bring peace back to her beloved island.

Key Themes in The Girl of Ink and Stars


The story is full of escapist elements, with Isabella dreaming of a future where she can explore the world beyond the walls of Joya. She is constantly tempted to rebel to make these dreams a reality.


Isabella faces many obstacles on her journey but remains brave and determined. She never gives up and always finds a way to overcome danger, no matter how hard it is.


Isabella uses her drawing talent as an integral part of her quest, employing it as both a tool and a weapon when overcoming obstacles. Her art is vital to helping her protect herself from harm and save those around her from danger.

Key Characters in The Girl of Ink and Stars


Isabella is the main protagonist of the story. She is an adventurous and brave young girl who dreams of escaping her island home to explore the world beyond Joya’s walls. Despite being forbidden from doing so, she sets out on a journey with her father to save their people from danger.

Queen Sirena

Queen Sirena is the ruler of Joya and a powerful force in the kingdom. She has forbidden anyone from leaving the island, making it difficult for Isabella to explore outside its boundaries.

Papa Henri

Papa Henri is Isabella’s father and a renowned cartographer who has mapped much of Joya. He takes Isabella on his journey to unknown lands to find medicine for their people, showing that family bonds are strong despite difficult circumstances.

Teaching Opportunities From The Girl of Ink and Stars


The story can be used to teach students about the importance of bravery. It shows that it is possible to overcome even the most daunting of obstacles if you have courage and inner strength.


Isabella’s creativity is key to her success in the story, demonstrating how ideas can be powerful tools for problem-solving and achieving goals. Students could use this concept as inspiration for their creative projects.


The story also illustrates the importance of working together to reach success. Papa Henri and Isabella learn that they need each other to find what they want, showing that team effort is essential for accomplishing tasks.

Lesson Plans for The Girl of Ink and Stars

Lesson Plan on Bravery


  • Students will be able to identify when bravery is necessary to achieve success.
  • Students will understand how courage can help them overcome obstacles


The Girl of Ink and Stars story follows Isabella, an adventurous young girl who sets out on a journey with her father. They face many complex challenges, but Isabella’s bravery helps them succeed in their mission. This lesson plan will explore the importance of bravery and how it can be applied to students’ lives.

Main Teaching Points

  • Describe what bravery is and why it is important.
  • Discuss scenarios in which bravery may be necessary and why this courage is essential.
  • Identify specific ways that students can practice being brave in their day-to-day lives.


Students should reflect on the lesson by discussing what they have learned about bravery and how to use it to make positive life changes. They should also consider how courage has helped them overcome challenges in the past.

Key Questions

  • What does bravery mean to you?
  • When do you think it’s appropriate to be brave?
  • How could practising bravery make a difference in your life?

Lesson Plan on Creativity


  • Students will understand what creativity means and why it is important – Students will learn how to apply creative thinking to problem-solving.
  • Students will explore their creative ideas.


This story emphasizes Isabella’s creativity as a critical factor in her success, showing us that fresh ideas are often valuable tools for overcoming challenges. This lesson plan aims to teach students the importance of creativity and how to use this skill in everyday life.

Main Teaching Points

  • Explain what creativity means and its value for problem-solving.
  • Examples of techniques that encourage creative thinking include brainstorming, mind mapping, etc.
  • Showcase real-world situations where creative ideas have been beneficial for finding solutions.


After completing the lesson, students should discuss the concept of creativity further by reflecting on what they’ve learned from the activity. They should also think about potential applications for their creative ideas.

Key Questions

  • What does creativity mean to you?
  • How could you use your imagination to find solutions?
  • Are there any situations where creativity would not be helpful?

Lesson Plan on Teamwork


  • Students will learn the importance of working together towards common goals.
  • Students will understand strategies for successful collaboration.
  • Students will identify ways teamwork can help them reach their goals more efficiently.


  • In The Girl of Ink and Stars, Papa Henri takes Isabella on his journey across Joya, teaching us that effective teamwork leads us closer to our desired outcomes.
  • This lesson plan provides students with tips for successful collaboration and understanding why teams are necessary for specific tasks.

Main Teaching Points

  • Describe what teamwork looks like and its benefits when used correctly.
  • Explain strategies for efficient collaboration, such as breaking up tasks or setting clear objectives.
  • Demonstrate different roles within a team, such as a leader or a delegator.


After completing this activity, students should consider their experiences with teamwork by reflecting on what went well or could have gone better during collaborative activities with peers or family members.

Key Questions

  • What does effective teamwork look like?
  • Are there any tasks that require individuals work rather than group work?
  • How might working together benefit team members collectively?

Website Resources

The Spark Arts website offers an educational pack for The Girl of Ink and Stars, a novel by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. The pack includes activities such as a glossary, discussion points and writing tasks tailored to different age groups, providing teachers with valuable resources when teaching the story to students.

Chicken House Books provides an online resource for educators looking to explore the novels of Kiran Millwood Hargrave in their classrooms. It contains several activities and ideas around the book, The Girl of Ink and Stars, including potential follow-up activities for students to engage in after reading it.

Literacy Shed is a website that offers resources to help promote literacy in the classroom. This page features teaching plans based on The Girl of Ink and Stars, which can be used to facilitate discussions or develop group activities among students as they read through the novel.


Q: What age groups is this book suitable for?

A: The Girl of Ink and Stars is suitable for readers aged 9+ due to some scary themes and mild violence.

Q: Are there any resources available to help me teach this book?

A: Yes! Educators can access an educational pack from The Spark Arts website, which contains activities such as a glossary, discussion points and writing tasks tailored to different age groups. Alternatively, Chicken House Books has an online resource with activities and ideas around the book and additional follow-up activities for students.

Q: What topics does this book cover?

A: This story emphasises bravery, creativity, and teamwork as Isabella sets out on her journey with her father, showing us that these skills are essential to overcoming challenges. As a result, students who read this novel learn important lessons about courage, problem-solving skills and the value of collaboration.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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