Books with current issues, eco living, Environmental books, Indigenous authors, literacy, nature play, picture books, Picture books that address current issues

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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Book review, Books with current issues, eco living, Environmental books, nature play, Parent tips, picture books, Picture books that address current issues

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!

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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.

eco living, Parent tips, plastic free July

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?

Book review, Books with current issues, eco living, Environmental books, literacy, Parent tips, picture books, Picture books that address current issues, Teacher tips and resources

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

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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!

Book review, Books with current issues, literacy, loveozya, Parent tips, Teacher tips and resources

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.

Book review, Books with current issues, eco living, Environmental books, picture books, Picture books that address current issues, plastic free July, Teacher tips and resources

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.

gifted education, Parent tips, Teacher tips and resources

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

 

Gifted Ed - The Australian 21st July.jpg

 

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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.