Ambleside Online Year 5 – Reading Kim by Rudyard Kipling

Kim is scheduled for Literature in Term 3 of Ambleside Online Year 5. I started listing vocabulary that I thought may need some explanation and research but then I came across this very helpful chapter by chapter resource at the Kipling Society website. I think it covers just about everything that could possibly be problematic, plus some!
To get some background on India culturally and historically, I got together the following maps, websites, books and images that I thought were (or could be) helpful:


For a general background on India, these books by Bobbie Kalman are well done:


‘The major world religions and their beliefs about God. Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, and New Age…’

Fairly simple explanation of various religious beliefs with a little graphic to describe each one. I read through some of this with Moozle prior to her starting Kim.
The notes on the Kipling Society web pages I linked to above define the various religious beliefs/cultures as they come up in the story, but I liked the graphics at this website which helped explain things more clearly.

Kim was published in 1901 and the setting was India under British rule. In 1947, Colonial India was divided into two separate states: India and Pakistan (the Partition of India). The map below shows India prior to Partition.



There is some history here and maps to show the changes which occurred as a result of Partition.


India after Partition – Lahore, where Kim begins, is now in Pakistan:

 Lahore Museum (the ‘wonder house’ Ch 1))

 Zam-Zammah, Kim’s gun.
He sat, in defiance of municipal orders, astride the gun Zam Zammah on her brick platform opposite the old Ajaib–Gher — the Wonder House, as the natives call the Lahore Museum. 
(Kim: Ch 1)
The Grand Trunk Road – map and photos
‘Look! Brahmins and chumars, bankers and tinkers, barbers and bunnias, pilgrims and potters — all the world going and coming. It is to me as a river from which I am withdrawn like a log after a flood.’
And truly the Grand Trunk Road is a wonderful spectacle. It runs straight, bearing without crowding India’s traffic for fifteen hundred miles — such a river of life as nowhere else exists in the world.
(Kim, Chapter 3)

‘The Great Game’ – the struggle between the British and Russian Empires for supremacy in Central Asia. In Chapter 3 of Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World, Volume 4, she writes about Russia and Britain’s attempts to try to gain control of Afghanistan. This chapter is scheduled in Week 26 of Ambleside Online Year 5.
More on The Great Game here (for children) and here.


Benares, now known as Varanasi (Kashi); Ganges River. Some great photos here


Indian Himalayas


Simla (Shimla) c.1900 the capital city of Himachal Pradesh, and the summer capital of the British-Indian Empire.
The Spiti Valley is a desert mountain valley located high in the Himalayan Mountains in the north-eastern part of the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh. The name “Spiti” means “The Middle Land”, i.e. the land between Tibet and India.
Sepoys – Indian soldiers under the command of the British

23 thoughts on “Ambleside Online Year 5 – Reading Kim by Rudyard Kipling

  1. I so appreciate your resource posts like this Carol! Your Moozle is about a year ahead of my oldest dd, so they are always well-timed to refer to for my own personal preparations. We are using your Madam How posts now as we work our way through that book, and I'm pinning this one for future reference! Thanks for taking the time to share these.


  2. Jumping up and down with happiness over this post!!! We also used your MHLW posts. Invaluable. We start Y5 in July, so bookmarking this for when we hit term 3. Thank you, thank you.


  3. Thanks for all those support materials… we read up to half of Kim, and I dropped it there. It was too rich for my read aloud in the car. But I loved loved it, I need to finish it myself. We watched the movie after half of the book.


  4. And those Society Notes are a gem. I wish my version had them. I'm getting to appreciate a good annotated edition for some books, even if one understands the context, etc. My Galdós edition of Our Friend Manso has delicious notes, and it just enhances my reading.


  5. It's not an easy book but we have the added plus that Moozle's older brother is in the Indian Himalayan area while she's reading and I've got out the maps I used when I was travelling there years ago so the interest factor is high.


  6. Yeap. I also think it's a book to be read independently, that's my opinion. I know some friends read it aloud, but while I read up to half in the car, I got more out of the colloquialisms by looking at them in print, versus my crowd trying to follow my read aloud. It was beautiful, I do love Kipling, he is right up my alley. (And wow, talking about connections and relationships! That's surely a huge plus, about your son.


  7. Thank you!! I've read and greatly enjoyed Kim with my daughter a couple years ago, but I didn't dig in to find these sorts of resources to help flesh it out. Thanks for doing this, they will be so helpful with my son when we read it this school year!


  8. Pingback: 10 Years of Blogging | journey & destination

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