Benjamin Zephaniah - Face

Benjamin Zephaniah tackles the moving and compelling story of a young man, Martin, whose life is completely changed when his face is badly scarred in a joyriding accident. Martin has to adjust to his new life and his new face.

Genre: family, friendship, identity


Themes: identity, relationships, responsibility, coming of age, racism

Age: 12-13 years old

Face by Benjamin Zephaniah book cover


  1. Character analysis: Encourage students to analyse one of the main characters in the novel (e.g Martin, Natalie, Mark, Matthew). Have them create character profiles, including physical descriptions, personality traits, and motivations. You can extend this activity to look at characters before and after the accident. 
  2. Become the author: Ask students to imagine it’s the morning after the dance show and Martin has woken up at home. What happens next in the story? 
  3. Identity collage: One of the key themes of the story is ‘identity’. Have students create a collage that represents their own identity, including aspects of themselves that are important to their sense of self. 
  4. Group research project: One of the key themes of the novel is acceptance. Ask students to work in small groups to research and present on a historical or contemporary figure who embodies the theme of acceptance, such as Nelson Mandela or Malala Yousafzai. Have them discuss how their research relates to the novel’s themes.
  5. Symbolism: Ask students to identify and analyse the use of symbols in the novel, such as the mask, the scar, or the mirror. Have them discuss how these symbols contribute to the themes of the novel.

Enjoyed this book? You might also enjoy…

Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah book cover
The List of Things that Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead book cover
The Outsiders by S E Hinton book cover

Refugee Boy - Benjamin Zephaniah

The List of Things That Will Not Change - Rebecca Stead

The Outsiders - S. E. Hinton