My country by Ezekiel Kwaymullina and Sally Morgan

In my country I play with the morning star

Author Ezekiel Kwaymullina, from the Palyku people in Western Australia’s Pilbara, says, ‘The book was inspired by my Nana and Gran, who passed on their love of country to me.’

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This must read for all ages is a celebration of Australia. Throughout the book we see the land as a diverse and bountiful playground that we can all enjoy and one which belongs to all of us.

As we listen to the text hear the young girl playing with the natural world  – sliding down rainbows, chasing the sun and swimming in the moonlight. Sally Morgan’s illustrations bring the text to life through her vibrant, indigenous artwork.

This story is a wonderful bedtime read as it flows from morning to night time, reminding us of the constant connection we should have with our land. It also teaches young children about the importance of country to Indigenous Australians and the deep connection they have.

So what can you do with this book?

Celebrate Indigenous people of Australia. Who are they? Where do they live? How do they live? What has happened in the past and how can we ensure this never happens again?

How do you view the land? Can you improve on how you see the natural world?

Look at Sally Morgan’s illustrations – draw your own picture of you playing with nature using her techniques of bold colours and lines.

 

 

 

 

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National Tree Day

Today is national tree day. What will you be doing?

trees

Local councils run great events where you can have the opportunity to plant a tree, learn about local trees that best suit your area and some councils even give away free mulch and trees for your backyard!

However – we can’t always make these events so why don’t you look around and see if you have any books at home that might inspire more thought and care towards these living things that we cannot do without.

 

Try one of these books:

On thousand Trees by Kyle 

Florette by Anna Walker

Mille -Mae and the Lemon Tree

Trees by Lemniscates

Forest by Marc Martin

Leaf by Stephen Michael King

Uno’s Garden by Graeme Base

Last tree in the city

The Lorax by Dr Suess

Where the Forest Meets the sea by Jeannie Baker.

 

Let me know if you would like any help in adding more to your literacy or home reading time.

Enjoy your day appreciating the trees!

Feathers and Hair, What animals wear by Jennifer Ward and Jing jing Tsong

Fur! Feathers! Scales! Hair! Explore some animal underwear…. 

 

Bright illustrations abound in this fun and informative picture book by Jennifer Ward and Jing Jing Tsong.

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Feathers and Hair, What animals wear enlightens young readers in an exciting way about the different body covers animals have.

Did you know that birds have four different types of feathers?

Or that Armadillo’s are covered with bands of hardened skin?

Not only will your child have fun reading this story and looking at the vibrant pictures, they can also learn some extra facts when they turn to the back few pages.

So what can you do at home?

Learn more about these interesting animals!

Get out the colours and draw your own versions of these animals.

Talk about if you have ever seen any of these animals in the wild or the zoo. Making connections is important to real life events and picture books.

Happy eco birthday to you…..

Balloons, plastic wrapped lollies, party blowers, party hats…..memories of a childhood birthday party.

Waiting in anticipation for the day and counting out the lollies for each of the party bags.

But with all of this eco guilt how can we have a more eco friendly birthday party without skipping out of all of the fun?

Plastic free July has been a great challenge and although i have slipped up a couple of times, (post here) overall we are making progress in using less plastic in our house.

But in the middle of this plastic free challenge is a birthday party.

You can’t be a wowser at a birthday party.

Especially a kid’s birthday party!

Fruit just won’t cut it

So how have we managed to create less plastic for this year’s birthday party and not driven ourselves around the bend in the process?

 

  • We made our cake from scratch (no packet mix this year)
  • We are making our own lemonade (following this recipe here)
  • We are using brown paper bags for lolly bags.
  • We are giving our guests a packet of seeds instead of plastic toys. I’ve heard of people gathering books from second hand stores to give as gifts as well. 
  • Our cupcakes don’t have any wrapping as they were made in silicon cases.
  • We are making our own chocolates from chocolate bought at the whole food store.
  • We are making popcorn

 

What a wowser you say but Don’t worry, there are still lollies involved so there will be plastic – but just less of it. 

I also think our children adjust much better than we do as as long as there are friends, games and cake – the party will be a success.

Perhaps we need to refocus on how we celebrate parties so we can still party in the future.

 

How can you celebrate your next birthday with less plastic?

2017 Environment Award for Children’s literature

It’s on again – the Wilderness society’s Environment Award for Children’s literature. The shortlist is wonderful and I have been lucky enough to review some of these great books.

These picture books are all gateways to inspire your young reader to take action in the world they live in. These books also allow your children to explore these big issues of animal conservation, living sustainably and respecting the indigenous culture without fear or worry.

We need to help our children (and ourselves) to understand the big issues but not get stressed about it.

We need to feel that there are things we can do in order to make our world a better place. So by allowing children to read picture books they can explore what other characters are doing and feel that they can do this too.

The winner will be announced on the 12th August so keep your eyes and ears open!

 

Picture fiction
Circle by Jeannie Baker
The Cassowary’s Gift by Pam Skadins and Kathryn Lovejoy
Echidnas Can’t Cuddle by Nieta Manser and Lauren Merrick
Chooks in Dinner Suits by Diane Jackson Hill and Craig Smith

Non-fiction
Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks by Gina M. Newton
Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy
Desert Lake by Pamela Freeman and Liz Anelli

Fiction
Red-tail Recovery by Emma Homes
Rainforest Camp: Juliet Nearly a Vet by Rebecca Johnson
Squishy Taylor and the Tunnel of Doom by Ailsa Wild and Ben Wood

The baby animals book by Jennifer Cossins

If babies of any kind were not cute – what might the world be like?

How have names been created for the different baby animals? 

How many animals in the world are endangered and how can baby animals help humans to realise this?


 

The baby animal book by Jennifer Cossins is a colorfully illustrated story which takes us on a journey to teach us about the different names that baby animals have.

What do you call a baby penguin? Or a baby owl? Or a baby peacock?

We were surprised by the different names given to each baby animal and as a challenge are going to try and commit these to memory . This challenge won’t be too hard as Jennifer Cossins’  illustrations are not only fun to look at but they are also detailed yet not too overwhelming. These illustrations allow the reader to see how the animals move, how they might care for each other and the different colour between parents and children.

The baby animal book is a wonderful addition to Cossins other books (A-Z of endangered animals and 101 Collective nouns) which again are informative in a simple manner yet engaging and inspiring.

So what can you do at home?

  • Choose some other animals that aren’t in this book and find out what their baby names are.
  • Do some baby animals have the same names?
  • Are any of these animals in your home country?
  • Are any of these animals at your local zoo?
  • Are any of these animals endangered and what can we do?
  • Compare the life cycle of two different baby animals – look at how fast they grow, how long they stay with their mother and the different abilities they have.

Enjoy reading this book and engaging with the pictures as you learn about the different names of baby animals!

Beyond the first shelf….

You may not think of yourself as a creative writer or an avid reader but we need to encourage our children to be just that.

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Deep inside the library there are many books that have not been discovered and perhaps there is one hidden away on the bookshelf that will waken up your thirst for reading and ignite your imagination and creativity.

So rather than judging a book by it’s cover or the latest book review, read the first few pages for yourself. Allow yourself to sit for five minutes and meet the characters and explore the new land. If it doesn’t hook you in then try another – there will always be one waiting for you somewhere!

Every day libraries have many new books that arrive – a story about the battle between scissors, paper and rock, a tale of the germs who live on your teeth and your shirt, a story about women who have made a difference in the world and a story about a boy who has a friendly robot. There is non-fiction, fiction and picture books. There are comics, wordless stories and books that open up to three metres in length.

Don’t forget about the library. Borrowing books allows you to share your stories with the whole community.

Millie-Mae and the Lemon Tree by Natalie Marshall

Need to inspire and educate your child into how we can make our own food and rely less on the big brands and supermarkets?


Millie-Mae and the Lemon tree by Natalie Marshall is a beautifully illustrated touch and learn book that teaches children how they can make their own lemonade out of three simple ingredients!

Mille-Mae is a series of books published by Five Mile Press and each are about a small girl who explores the world around her through seasons, play and the natural world.

As we read Mille-Mae and the Lemon tree we too were inspired to make our own lemonade for our home party! Books can inspire great change and through this we were able to avoid buying juice and soft drinks – therefore avoiding plastic waste.

Millie-Mae and the Lemon Tree has a touch and feel aspect as well as lovely shiny pieces which add to the magic of learning to this story.

Mille-Mae and the Lemon Tree is a lovely sweet story and we will be keeping an eye out for more Millie-Mae books!

So what can you do?

 – Make your own lemonade! We used the following recipe 

– Explore other food you can make from scratch and through buying food in bulk so to avoid single use plastic.

– Explore Mille-Mae and and find out why she wanted to make lemonade and how she shared it. What could you do? There is often a lemonade stand in our street once or twice a year!

– Empower yourself and your child to rely on the supermarket less and less. There are many things we can do. It does take a little bit of extra time but in the long run it is worth it.

Finding your child’s gift

Have you ever wondered if your child is gifted?

Perhaps they taught themselves to read at an early age?

Maybe they display empathy towards others beyond their years?

Some gifted children can manipulate numbers ten years before their age peers.

Being gifted can be seen in many different ways and although my blog has a strong focus on books and global issues, gifted education is something very close to my heart.

Having a masters in Gifted ed and working closely with gifted children over many years of teaching I have come across gifted children in all different types of classrooms.

One issue many gifted children have is not being recognised by their teacher. Parents often have a good sense (but sometimes doubt themselves or don’t know who to compare their children to) of what their children can and can’t do – and need to pass this onto their child’s teacher.

In order for our children to be supported we need to recognise the gifts they have and support them.

Here are some possible ways you can recognise if your child is gifted

  • Walk and/or talk early
  • Have an unusual sense of humour
  • Be very curious and ask complex questions
  • Show an early or intense interest in books, often learning to read at a young age
  • Make unusual connections between topics
  • Be self motivated, perfectionist, persistent or independent
  • Have a long attention span and unusual memory for details or facts
  • Learn rapidly, with little practice
  • Think faster than they are able to write
  • Prefer the company of older children
  • Have unusual perception and problem solving ability
  • Worry about adult issues and problems
  • Need less sleep than most children
  • Not always show their abilities in a school setting

It is important to remember that:

  1. Giftedness is not static – it is always changing so don’t arum just because your child can’t read at two that they are not gifted.
  2. Anyone can be gifted – It is not restricted to age, race, gender or disabilities/abilties.
  3. Being gifted does not always mean you are gifted in everything – You may only be gifted in one particular area

 

There are many different ways gifted children can be supported depending on their needs, some are:

  • Subject acceleration
  • Grade acceleration
  • Mentoring
  • External programs with like minded peers
  • Working alongside teachers in planning how they learn.

There was a great article in the Australian today stating that one of the key problems gifted students face is boredom in the classroom which can lead to low self esteem, poor behaviour and disengagement with education. As parents and teachers we need to make ourselves aware of what to look for in order to identify gifted students and then how we can best support them so that their gifts turn into talents.

I will be running a course for both parents and teachers later on this year, please register your name by emailing me if you are interested: nes.ryan@bigpond.com

 

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Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis

Have you ever wondered what language bugs speak when communicating with each other?


Well wonder no more – be inspired by Carson Ellis‘ gorgeously creative, exquisitely detailed picture book about the world of insects and the life cycle of plants.

Du Iz Tak? is written in the imagined language of bugs and starts off with some insects wondering what a small green shoot coming out of the ground is. The insects call on a wise bug to tell them more and as the plant grows we see the natural world and the many different ways natural things change over seasons.

The reader explores excitement of new growth, distress of sharing, pride, decay, loss and wonder all through the simple growth of a new and wonderful flower.

We often take for granted the growth of new flowers but forget to think about the insects who help it grow by fertilising or aerating the soil, insects who protect the seeds and nurture it in the colder months and insects who need the new growth to grow themselves.

Du Iz Tak? ignites imagination and should inspire you to go outside and watch some plants grow, see who visits them and talk about why we need these amazing small parts of our lives.

BUY NOW

Du Iz Tak?

So what can you do at home?

 – Plant some seeds and watch them grow.

– Take a magnifying glass outside and see how many insects you can find.

– Create your own language that you think you local bugs would use.

– Show wonder at the real world – our actions speak louder than words.

For the love of Veggie patches

All children have a strong interest in how things grow and no matter how small your gardening space is, there is always space to grow a seed or two that will flower or is able to be eaten.

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Why do children need to watch things grow?

  •  Growing their own food encourages better eating.
  • Children understand the process of seed to fruit
  • Children learn how to nurture something through monitoring how much they need to water, check if the soil is healthy and if the plant is getting enough sunshine.
  • Gardening can be a solo or group activity – both have amazing benefits.
  • Touching soil and getting outside is not only good for the soul, there have been links to our mental and physical health.
  • Gardening ignites curiosity and an appreciation of nature.

 

How can you grow at home?

Buy some seeds through a seed savers group – this means little plastic waste and support for plants that have not been commercialised.

Try to look for native flowers where possible.

Keep a seed diary when you do plant your seed so you can monitor what is happening throughout the week or two.

Read some books that inspire gardening. Here is a wonderful list of books for you to read.

Grug and his Garden

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A patch from scratch

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The magnificent tree

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The curious garden 

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My magnificent Jelly Bean Tree

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Liv on Life

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Do you have any great gardening books to share with me? 

Juliet nearly a Vet: Rainforest Camp by Rebecca Johnson

Moving beyond the picture book and into chapter books is a great progression for future eco warriors and Juliet nearly a Vet: Rainforest Camp by Rebecca Johnson is a wonderful Junior Fiction book to start the journey.

Have you ever been on a camp? Or perhaps spent some time in a rainforest?


Juliet and her class are on a four day camp where they will take part in many fun camp activities but also save some rainforest wildlife and teach others about caring for all creatures great and small along the way.

Juliet is a clever and determined young girl who does not get worried about what others think – a great role model for younger readers. Juliet wants to be a vet and is determined to reach her dream through practise and any knowledge she can gather.

As we read Juliet nearly a Vet: Rainforest Camp, not only was there a great simple story to follow but there were many facts to learn about Australian animals and how to care for them. The quiz at the end of the story was a great way to finish the book and a clever way to start further discussions


Juliet nearly a Vet: Rainforest Camp is part of a series of 12 so if you enjoy this one – which I’m sure you will, and you love animals – try another one of Rebecca Johnson’s Juliet nearly a vet books – you might learn more about some other great Australian animals.

The art of play

They’ve been in there for an hour. 

Two children, creating magic spells, hiding from wolves and naughty witches and inventing their own language. 


But what if we had rushed off this afternoon to do an organised activity? Or sat down and done homework or put the tv on? 

I know this doesn’t happen all the time but sometimes if you let your children be free they create their own fun. 

We don’t need to immerse our children in a different organised activity every day because they need it, or they love it, or we need to keep them busy. 

You’d be surprised how much children love playing and how much they learn from free play.

A new language has been invented

New rules in a far off land have been written down. 

Magic spells have been created. 

A new type of dinosaur has been discovered 

And a friendship has been strengthened. 

So….

Let your children play freely, let them read books that introduce them to far off lands so they can continue to delve deeper into worlds that the adults need to remember more of. 

We all need picture books

Just recently I have heard some parent’s discussing reading and how they really want their child to start reading longer fiction books and no more picture books.

Junior fiction books are wonderful as are fiction but there is always room for a picture book!

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Why do we need picture books even as older readers?

  1. Picture books allow us to see what someone else is thinking through art.
  2. Picture books can teach us about big issues in a short amount of time.
  3. Picture books allow us to have a deep and meaningful discussion in a short amount of reading time.
  4. Your child will become a better reader through picture books. It is short and achievable and there are pictures to support learning new words.
  5. Picture books are fun – and we want reading to be fun always!
  6. Picture books develop your child’s language skills.
  7. Picture books are great for those with shorter attention spans.
  8. The skills of visual literacy are developed through reading picture books.
  9. We can read lots of picture books in half an hour!
  10. It is always wonderful to have a huge picture book stack on the bedside table – it inspires your child to dream, imagine and create!

the ones that disappeared by Zana Fraillon

How much do you know about child trafficking?

Do you think that it doesn’t happen in your country – as how could it be possible?


The trafficking of children happens all over the world to anyone – though children who come from poverty, areas of war or natural disasters are more likely to be trafficked than others.

 The Ones That Disappeared

the ones that disappeared by Zana Frailly moved me and taught me so much about this awful and hidden issue that so much more needs to be done about.

the ones that disappeared was heart wrenching yet also filled with laughter. As I read I too became friends with the four children at the centre of this story – 3 victims of child trafficking and one a victim of alcohol abuse and separation.

the ones that disappeared is like an adventure story in a far off land. The reader escapes the bad guys with the children, explores dark drains and conjures magic – but sadly this is all too real.

Around the world, millions of people – including many children – are victims of human trafficking. These modern-day slaves often go unseen even in our own cities and towns, their voices silent and their stories untold.

We need to start to wake up to these atrocities in our own countries and those of others. For this to be happening to millions of people a year is disgraceful – especially when so many of those people are children.

This book – although damming of the current state of the world and saddening – offers hope. There is hope for these children if more people are aware and if more people speak up to make government tighten laws the small people can make a difference – just like Esra does.

Children 11 years and up will enjoy this book – especially if they are debriefed after and encouraged to learn more about this issue.

And sometimes you forget

Every day I try to be the most environmentally friendly person I can be and every day I hope that I am inspiring my children to also be friendly to the world they live in. 

But sometime life and convenience gets in the way.

Today, on the way home from a weekend away my husband wanted a coffee for the long drive ahead-and the keep cup was buried somewhere underneath our luggage. 

He could have done without but sometimes after sleepless nights with young children a coffee is a necessity! 

So rather than feeling Eco-guilty and beating myself up about it,  I can choose to recycle the lid and reuse the non-recyclable coffee cup. 

So here are some cups full of soil and seed! We know these cups are going to last a while so they can easily live in the garden and withstand heat, cold and water. 

Teach your children to care about the word they live in but don’t let them fear the world. Educate them so they are empowered to make the right decisions and if they have to take the option which isn’t ideal, teach them what they can do. 

We don’t want to burden our children with fear. We want to give them knowledge and tools to live an informed life. 

And remember -books are a great way to help with this education! Check out my list of books that link to sustainability. 

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The Fall by Tristan Bancks

Wow. I’ve literally just finished this book and I’m blown away by this action packed, adrenaline pumping and hair raising crime thriller- The Fall by Tristan Bancks. 


As a librarian I try to read as many books as I can but this one, as soon as it arrived, I couldn’t put it down. 

The main character, Sam- a want to be crime reporter is visiting his Dad, Harry Garner (a real crime reporter).

 But in the middle of the night Sam hears raised voices and witnesses a body fall from the apartment above his. His father is missing and Sam, using his amateur detective skills is determined to find out who killed this man as soon as he can. 

Enlisting the help of his Dad’s dog, Magic and his neighbour, Scarlet, he finds out more than he bargained for and lands himself in more trouble than he thought. 

The Fall is a gripping story that not only is an amazing read but it teaches the reader many tips about being yourself, believing in yourself and living life with open eyes, open ears and an open heart. 

I loved the Ten Commandments of life that Sam creates on reflection of the dramatic events that happened that fateful evening. 

They are something that all young readers should aim to live by. 

Can’t wait for some more great suspense raising reads by Tristan Bancks. 

Goodbye to the plastic bag

Finally – Woolworths have woken up and possibly started to take lead in the war on waste – something they should have done a long time ago!

Need some books to inspire why we need to #banthebag?

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Here is the link to the article: Click here

If you haven’t been paying attention there have been numerous petitions going around about banning the bag under the hashtag #banthebag with thousands of signatures being added every day.

Woolworths and Coles have up to this point placed the use of the plastic bag back on the consumer – saying that they want to give consumers the choice – but many consumers will never change unless they are made to, convenience of the plastic bag is just too easy. It is great to see that Woolworths have now stepped up and said the single use plastic bag is on the way out and more durable plastic bags and the even better option of hessian will be on offer.

However – We need to make sure that we don’t fall into the trap of always buying the reusable plastic bag as they too have a shorter life expectancy. We need to remember to bring our reusable bags – preferably material that is long lasting (hessian is a great option) so that we are not always purchasing bags out of convenience and forgoing the extra 15 cents per bag.

BUT WHAT ABOUT OUR BIN LINERS? I hear you cry…

Here are a few options:

  •  Line your bin with newspaper or any strong scrap paper.
  •  Get yourself a compost bin, worm farm and/or chickens so you have little or no scraps in the bin.
  • Buy less products with plastic rubbish or recycle the plastic at redcycle points.
  • Nappies – make the switch to cloth nappies and washable wipes
  • Menstrual products – make the switch to a menstrual cup and washable pads!
  • Or check out biome for some great biodegradable bags.

 

The little Corroboree Frog by Tracey Holton-Ramirez and Angela Ramirez

Which frog is less than 3cm in length, walks instead of jumps and loves eating ants?

It is the Southern Corroboree Frog!

The little Corroboree Frog by Tracey Holton-Ramirez and Angela Ramirez (published by Magabala books) is a wonderful picture book that tells the sad yet hopeful tale of a family of Southern Corroboree Frogs who live in the Kosciusko National Park. This little froggy family love eating ants and seeing who is the best at croaking but when they try to care for their new tadpole eggs the pond dries up and rubbish hangs around nearby.

With the help of a small boy and his family the Southern Corroboree Frogs dismal outlook brightens and awareness is raised in the wider community.

Every child I have read this book to has loved it. They have loved the bright illustrations and the story – which has encouraged nearly every child to jump online or into a book to find out more about these frogs.

Taronga Zoo has an ongoing and successful breeding program  and This Corroborree Frog website provides lots of useful information about how the frog is being helped and how you can help too!

Take the time to find this book so you can raise awareness with your child about these small invertebrates and how despite being so small, they play such an important role in our environment.

We need to teach our children about how every little thing we do has a huge impact on the wildlife around us.

So what can you do?

  • Hold an event for National Threatened Species day on September 7th.
  • Create your own story about an endangered animal so you can raise awareness like this book has.

 BUY NOW
The Little Corroboree Frog

Let’s Escape by Mike Dumbleton and Kim Gamble

 

Tucked up in bed but ready to escape – that’s how we all should feel as we sink underneath our bed sheets and start to read a book.


Let’s escape by Mike Dumbleton is an adventure story that takes place within different storybook lands and times.

The young boy creeps through a forest, rides a wild horse and shotos past giants – all in his pyjamas!

Kim Gamble’s illustrations bring the words to life and add so much more to the story.

Let’s escape allows the readers to imagine about all the possible places they could travel in their dreams – and encourages more reading and more books as so many un conquered worlds lie within.

Let’s escape should encourage parents to read more with their child and imagination is the key to everything! Without imagination and dreams we lack so much in our lives. We loved reading this book and everytime we have read it again we have discovered more within the pages.

Waterlilies by Diane Lucas and Colwyn Campbell

This simple yet powerful picture book will empower your child to want to investigate the outside world and the abundance we can find within it if we take the time and the care.

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Waterlilies by Diane Lucas brings the indigenous perspective of food and life to children who otherwise would have little idea of how people live off the land is a respectful way.

Written in both English and one of the Indigenous languages spoken in Kakadu ( Gun-djeihmi) and drawn with expert detail, this picture book will enlighten.

As Australians we need to know more about the people who cared for this land many years before white man came and took over. We need to draw more from this knowledge so we can start to treat the land with respect so it will be around in the same condition for many more years.

Waterlilies by Diane Lucas and Colwyn Campbell is a must read and one that should inspire some learning of your local indigenous language and local bush tucker.

 

 

So what can you do?

Here are some simple ideas and questions to pose to your students or children: 

Conduct your own investigations into any local bush tucker in your backyard or nearby bushland.

Write about a time you ate some local food – cooked from scratch.

What is your local indigenous language?

What sort of bush tucker is available in your area?

How can you treat the land with more respect so that we can live off it and keep is beautiful for many years to come?

Library borrowing time

How often do you and your child visit the library?

When you are there – how long do you spend looking for a book?

booksAs I have spoken about in previous posts – borrowing from the library is important. In many ways it is more important than buying your own copy of a book as you become part of a community. As part of this library community you need to care for the book so others can read it and you need to return it on time so others can read it.

However a really important aspect of the library is learning how to borrow a book. When we visit a library there should be at least thirty minutes set aside to read through books, flick through the pages and look over the covers.

Rushing over the library borrowing process is not enjoyable and doesn’t teach the value of borrowing books.

We want our children to love reading and we want them to find books that they want to read – and make them go back for more. We want them to see what is popular, we want them to talk to the librarian and we want them to see something new.

My four suggestions when we go to the library

  •  Encourage your child or class to take their time borrowing.
  •  Take time to try out a new type of book each time you borrow.
  •  Borrow fiction and non fiction
  •  Read part of the book in the library to generate excitement.

The library is a wonderful resource and something we all need to utilise to it’s full potential.

 

Desert Lake by Pamela Freeman and Liz Anelli

The dry salt bed of Kati-Thanda~Lake Eyre shimmers in the desert heat.

But far up north, the rains have come. Water is flooding into empty riverbeds and swirling down towards the lake.

Soon everything will change.


Mesmerising images, lyrical narrative and imagination sparking facts – Desert Lake is a work of art created by Pamela Freeman and Liz Anelli.

The story begins in the hot parched desert which looks desolate and barren but as soon as the rains falls and the rivers from up north flow down south we see how amazing the natural world is. As we read this story we were amazed to find out about frogs eggs that lay dormant for  years under the ground waiting for rain and birds that can sense when the lake is in flood from hundreds of kilometres away.

Desert Lake’s illustrator – Liz Anelli has created eye catching illustrations which give more depth to the story through detail and by adding extra images on each page.

The natural world is an amazing place and to see something like this happen in person would be a wondrous event. I was lucky enough to visit Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre when it was in flood in 2010 – we couldn’t drive to the lake at the time as many of the roads were damaged from recent flooding but we were able to take a flight from William Creek Hotel. As we flew overhead we saw flocks of birds all over the lake and understood the span of the water as it sat there glistening in the sunlight.

Kati-Thanda-Lake Eyre does not receive as much water as it used to largely due to climate change and over use of water from nearby farms. Humans have a great knack at doing things that suit us without thinking of the consequences – perhaps now is the time to start to consider the farming procedures in Australia so that we can perhaps start to farm food that works with our climate – food that needs less water and less pesticides.

So what can you do?

  • Take your time to read this book – we have read it over and over and still each time we manage to ask new questions about Kati Thanda.
  • Pull out a map and find out which rivers flow into Kati Thanda.
  • Investigate and find out the type of farming done in the middle of Australia and how the farming might effect the land.
  • How can you save water? List some ways your family can conserve water.
  • How can you look after water? List some ways you can be more mindful of what you put down the drain.

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Desert Lake: The Story of Kati Thanda - Lake Eyre

It ain’t easy being green – plastic free July

Perhaps you have signed the pledge to be plastic free in July or have been inspired by hearing about the terrible amount of plastic in our oceans and landfill?

Perhaps you have started to think about how you will do without this single use plastic?

Perhaps the thought of being without single use plastic sends you into a flutter?

Or some things you just can’t do without?

You’re not alone!

Each indi

Our household has slowly consumed less plastic over the years but there are still moments when I feel quite a bit of eco guilt over bringing plastic home. Do you feel this?

This eco guilt can be overwhelming but I think we all need to start looking at the positives, look at where you are making changes – even if they are small, because of that small change you are leaving less plastic waste behind.

This week I tried to buy my meat from the butcher’s in a reusable container but due to Health and Safety regulations I couldn’t. I was very disappointed as not only was I nervous about asking, I was then not able to do what I thought was the best.

On reflection (once I got over the disappointment) I realised that these bags could be recycled (RED cycle program through Coles) Or can be washed with hot, soapy water and reused for smelly nappies or on the go rubbish.

So I guess what I am trying to say is – celebrate your wins. Celebrate what your family can do and what you can manage. Perhaps making your own bread is just too hard right now and even though there are single use bags, the butcher’s up the road is just too convenient while you have young kids or are getting home late from work.

Aim for some swaps and give yourself time. We can all do this, one bit at a time.

Try these easy swaps:

Plastic bags – reusable bags (leave them in the car!)

Grow your own herbs

Buy loose leaf tea

Buy a reusable cup that you can have take away hot drinks in.

Buy your meat and vegetables in bulk from Coops or delivery companies.