National Library of Australia

Teachers notes: David Griffin’s The Happiness Box

Speaking and Listening

A student:

  • communicates ideas for specific purposes with people in the classroom and the school, e.g. retells stories, gives reports, tells jokes, conducts interviews.
  • recognises that spoken language is used differently for particular times, places, audiences and purposes.
  • has a knowledge of and uses common grammatical structures, e.g. knows about and uses consistent verb tense.
  • talks about ways of communicating, e.g. how to organise, rehearse and modify ideas in group activities.

With nothing but their own ingenuity, prisoners wrote, illustrated, typed and bound a fairytale.


  • Find out how The Happiness Box came to be written: Who wrote it? When was it written? Where was it written? How was it written? Why was it written? Who was it written for? What happened to it after it was written?
  • Tell your classmates what you discover about The Happiness Box.
  • Invent your own story for children.
  • Tell the story to your classmates.
  • What are the differences in communication between telling (a) an imaginary story for children and (b) a real story of events?