Book review, Books with current issues, literacy, Picture books that address current issues, refugees, Teacher tips and resources

Books from 2017 that encourage you to be kinder the people of the world

There were so many lovely books that I came across this year that encourage young readers not only to think about those around them in their own community but also those who live on the other side of the world.

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Being a part of a community is so important and knowing how to look out for others in our community is something that we all need to do.

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Being kind to others whether they be our next door neighbours, residents in our suburb or children we hear about in the news is something we should all encourage our children to think about. It should be something we as adults should think about too.

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Once we think about others we can reflect on our own actions and perhaps make more sensible choices in what we buy, what we do and what we say. Every little thing we do will impact someone in someway and taking a leaf out of one of these books might just change an action you are going to take today.

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Feather by Phil Cummings

Ada’s Violin by Susan Hood

Say Yes: A story of friendship and hope

Children in our world: Refugees and Migrants

Whatcha Building by Andrew Daddo

I’m Australian too by Mem Fox

The Ones that Disappeared by Zana Fraillon

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

How to inspire yourself to change

At the end of the year we reflect on how we have gone this year and how we can change for the better.

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We think about the great things we achieved for ourselves and for others and the not so great things.

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It is a great time of year to inspire our children to reflect on the wonderful things they have done throughout the year too.

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However, many of you reading this blog live in the western world where life is easier than most. We don’t live in war, many of you will have enough money to eat healthy food, have safe accomodation and access to education.

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And for children the concept of how lucky they are is difficult to realise when they have never seen what life is like on the other side.

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I have come across some wonderful books this year that will show your children what life is like elsewhere and hopefully inspire them to make small changes in their lives to help those less fortunate.

This could be

 – Buy local products so children are not exploited. 

 – Buy organic or spray free products so families who live near farms are not harmed.

 – Invest in small businesses rather than large multi national companies.

 – Create less waste by making your own food, buying less toys and sharing products.

 – Send money to organisations who directly help those in need – not spend it all on advertising! 

And of course, read these books:

Feathers by Phil Cummings

The Thank you dish by Trace Balla

Ada’s Violin by Susan Hood.

Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

Under the same sky by Britta Teckentrup 

Can you add any more books to this list?

Books with current issues, eco living, global guardian project, nature play, Parent tips, Teacher tips and resources

Endangered animals – The Global Guardian Project

Does someone in your family love animals  or perhaps someone in your family needs to learn more about animals??

Well – This capsule created by The Global Guardian Project is one for you to give a go.

We loved exploring the different animals written about in this capsule and learnt so much about what endangered actually means, how animals become endangered and how we can help them.

This capsule provides many outside links to different associations who help these animals – which really resonated with my children. They found it empowering to see that people were making a difference in the world and it helped them to see that they too can do something.

This capsule also provided Geometric colouring pages – a different way to colour in and a world map to print out (we didn’t print it but instead drew one) and pinpoint where the different animals in this capsule were from.

The Global Guardian Project is a great way to educate and empower your children about the world around them AND they have just released a Junior capsule for younger children.

I am offering a special code – GGPVANESSA for you to use and receive a 10% discount on any capsule you wish to trial.

Hope to see you there soon!

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

How can you be kinder to the planet?

There are so many ways that we act in this present world that is thoughtless about the future we are leaving the next generations, and I feel that at this time of year it is the worst.

I love Christmas, I love the food, the gathering of friends and family and I love the decorations – but I hate the waste.

Christmas can be done cheaply – which is wonderful for so many families but what about those children who made those cheap gifts for you in China? What about the families that live down stream from the factories where those toys were made that will be lost or thrown out in a couple of weeks? Did you ever think about that?

Bah humbug you say – yes, I know but we can act sustainably at this time of year too.

We can decorate our tree using decorations that will last twenty years: Try Biome for some great deals today – Free shipping for over $50!

We can buy gifts that will last the latest fad and more than one child. AND we can move away from the need to give our children lots of toys. We need to stay strong against the big companies – our kids will be happy with less – they don’t need more.

Christmas is a time for giving – let’s give back to the planet that has given us life and think about everyone else who lives on it, not just the ones who can consume and throw away.

These books are great places to start your journey on being kinder to the planet too:

The secret of black Rock by Joe Todd-stanton

Papa Sky by Jane Jolly

Coral Sea Dreaming by Kim Michelle Toft

How to Bee by Bren MacDibble

One Thousand Trees by Kyle

A-Z of endangered animals

Rhino in the house

Rock pool Secrets by Narelle Oliver

bees, Book review, eco living, Environmental books, literacy, Parent tips, Teacher tips and resources

The History of Bees by Maja Lunde

I heard somewhere once that a sign of a good book is one that can make you cry, make you laugh, warm your soul and make you question the world you live in – this book has done just that.

I’m not the best wordsmith around and I do not think I can’t express how much this book resonated with me.

The History of Bees, told by Maja Lunde is a story told through the eyes of three parents in three different time periods.

Tao lives in 2098, China, George in 2007, USA and William in 1851, England. Each of these characters have children of their own and each of these parents are trying to create the best world that they can for their children – the way they think they should be.

Listening to a recent podcast on parenting, this book made so many links. Research shows that as parents we all have set ideals on how our children should act in the world and we believe that by acting a certain way or saying certain things that we are going to shape our children the way we see best.  But as you read on in this story you can see that despite every parent’s effort to make their children a certain way – each child chooses their own path and explores the world they want to.

BUT – don’t despair, the children are influenced by the good actions of their parents, just in a different way they expected.

The children in this story are strong, smart and determined. The encompass free thinking, risk taking and problem solving. They show how much love parents have for their children despite the path they take.

The History of bees explores Bees through story. You will learn about one of the first beehives that was created to carefully extract honey without disturbing the bees, a farmer who experiences Colony Collapse Disorder on all of his hives and a mother who lives in futuristic China where people are the pollinators of flowers as all the bees have died.

I cried as I finished the last few chapters. I cried with happiness, sadness and concern. If the world means anything to you and if you have children – this book will mean so much more.

We need bees and one of the key messages in this book is how important it is for us to keep bees in a more sustainable way, stop the mass production of honey or crops and learn to live in more harmony with the world.

Maja Lunde has written many wonderful books but this is one you must read today.

What else can you do with this book?

Buy local honey (we love this honey!!)

Look at Save the bees website and support what they are trying to do in Australia.

Check out my other posts on bees! :

Being a bee

How to bee

The Book of bees

Bee and Me 

The Battle of Bug World by Karen Tyrell 

animals, Book review, Environmental books, Parent tips, Picture books that address current issues, Teacher tips and resources

Koalas eat gum leaves by Laura and Phil Bunting

Do you actually know exactly what koalas eat?

Are you sure?

Perhaps you’d better read this to find out….

Koalas eat gum leaves by Laura and Phil Bunting is a fun filled book where you learn a little more than you bargained for about koalas.

We all know they eat gum leaves for every meal but one little koala is tired of these eucalyptus treats so he sets his eyes on something a little bit more delicious.

Not only will the young reader love the story, they will also enjoy looking at the extra messages within the pictures – the simple change of where the eyes are looking, the movement of the sun in the sky and the arm or leg movement to show something else the koala might be thinking.

Koalas eat gum leaves by Laura and Phil Bunting is a cleverly written story and despite it’s humour there are some lovely hidden messages to find and discuss after you have finished reading.

P.S. Don’t forget to stare at the end pages for at least 5 minutes!

What else can you do with this book?

RESEARCH

– What do koalas eat? Where do they live? Are they endangered?

WONDER

– What would happen if Koalas did eat human food as part of their diet?

THINK

– Why is the koala a national icon? Aren’t there any other animals worthy of this? Choose another animal that should be part of the tourist trail and convince others why.

INVESTIGATE

– How is ice cream made? Can you make your own ice cream? By making your own ice cream,not only are you cutting out the plastic container you are also using fresh and natural ingredients (go on, have a read of the back of the packet…)

CREATE

– Create some different Australian flavoured ice creams. Could you create some that animals could eat? You will need to investigate the diet of each animal .

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

Brave and strong, All day long. By Elizabeth Cummings

 

Today I’m taking part in the Just write for Kids Books on Tour and I’m happy to introduce Elizabeth Cummings and her latest picture book from her Verityville series, Brave and Strong All Day Long, as a part of her Books On Tour promotion.

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Summer is coming and it’s time to hit the beach don’t you think?

Many people love going to the beach to relax and it’s even better when the weather is warm enough to swim.

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Thankfully, in Australia, many of our beaches are patrolled by lifegaurds who are there to watch over us as we swim underneath the waves, ride the waves or try to run away from them!

Brave and strong all day long by Elizabeth Cummings is a short and simple picture book with a big message – the importance of lifeguards.

Lifeguards need to be confident, strong and brave all day long, they need to be able to help those in need, teach people how to swim safely in the surf and most importantly ensure that everyone returns back to their towels at the end of their swim!

This book, brought to life with Johanna Roberts’ vibrant and informative illustrations, tells us the story about Fiona, a young girl who became a lifeguard. She loves surfing and has enough confidence to be able to help those in need. Not only can Fiona help swimmers caught in rips she can also help fishermen and surfers!

Young children will enjoy reading this story and learning about what lifeguards do. The images reflect what a lifeguards uniform looks like so readers will know who to look out for if they need help at the beach.  There is also a great drawing of a rip – a great way to start a conversation about this ever present danger in the water and perhaps the chance for further research so your children know what one of these looks like.

Brave and strong, all day long has been self published along with many other wonderful creations by Elizabeth and Johanna. Raising awareness of the important role lifeguards play in society is something we all need to do so we do not take these wonderful volunteers for granted.

Check out her website and consider some of her other great titles as well! https://elizabethmarycummings.com/book-store/

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“For more information on blog tours at Books On Tour please visit www.justkidslit.com/books-on-tour.” Thanks so much. Please let me know if there’s anything else you need.

So what else can you do after you have read this book?

  • ENGAGE: Visit the beach and watch what the lifeguards do – perhaps even talk to one and see what they have been up to!
  • INVESTIGATE: Why the flags are placed up and how they help us.
  • INVESTIGATE: Learn more about rips here: https://beachsafe.org.au/surf-safety/ripcurrents
  • ASK: Why do lifeguards wear long sleeve tops and hats. Investigate sun safety and why we need to cover up.
  • THINK: What sort of sun cream do you use? Why are there so many types out there and are they all the same?
  • RESEARCH: Where and when did surfing originate? Why do lifeguards use boards to rescue people?

 

SIGN UP TO MY EMAILS FOR MONTHLY RECAP ON BOOKS AND AUTHORS I’VE MET ALONG THE WAY

 

animals, Book review, Books with current issues, eco living, Environmental books, gifted education, literacy, nature play, Parent tips, picture books, Picture books that address current issues, plastic free July, Teacher tips and resources

Five of my favourite picture books I read in 2017.

Five of the best

Children's books tag

Warning! I’ve been tagged. It can be contagious.

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Norah Colvin tagged me and asked me to join in. I don’t normally do this but I’m making an exception. How could I not – it’s about children’s books.

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I’m required to nominate my top five children’s books, then nominate another five people to join in!

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Rules:

  1. Thank whoever’s nominated you and share their blog link.
  2. Let us know your top 5 children’s books
  3. Nominate 5 people to do the same
  4. Let your nominees know you nominated them

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I’m not sure I can decide on my Top 5 – but here are 5 wonderful picture books that speak to me and children about how we can make this world a better place.

  1. Feather by Phil Cummings
  2. The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton
  3. Out of the Blue by Alison Jay
  4. Whatcha Building by Andrew Daddo
  5. The Thank you dish by Trace Balla

Oh dear — Can I also mention Second Sky by Patrick Guest and Desert Lake by  Pamela Freeman and Zoom by Sha’an D’anthes???

 

I think I might have to post again about some junior fiction and Young adult fiction too…

There have been so many wonderful books in 2017 but the above have really stood out.

 

Now to nominate another 5 people —–

Romi Sharp from Just write for kids

Bookie Boo boxes – BookieBoo

De from Booksandbabycinos

Beth from EarthandStarskids

Shaye Wardrop

 

Maybe you don’t write about children’s books but would like to share your favourites anyway. Please consider this invitation inclusion. If you would like to join in, please do.

Alternatively, if you are one of the people I nominate, and you’d rather not join in, or have already been nominated, it’s okay to decline.

 

Book review, Creativity, Indigenous authors, nature play, Parent tips, picture books, Picture books that address current issues, Teacher tips and resources

Molly the Pirate by Lorraine Teece

“Molly lived a long way from the sea, but every day she wished she was a pirate”

Molly is a little girl with a great imagination. She lives in the red dirt of the Australian outback with her mum, a cat, a dog and three chooks but nothing is stopping her from dancing a jig with a pirate, steering a pirate ship or fighting Captain Chicken!

Lorraine Teece has brought this little girls vivid imagination to life through action, adventure and fun filled description of life aboard a pirate ship. Teamed together with Paul Seden’s colourful and movement filled illustrations, Molly the pirate is a great book for young readers.

Children will be inspired to use their own imagination after they have read this book – noticing that sometimes those every day boring looking objects can be turned into something a lot more fun.

A clothes basket could turn into a pirate ship.

A backyard chook into a fearsome pirate

A washing line into a sail .

Many children lack these skills of imagination as they have so many screens and toys to amuse them. Molly the Pirate shows us that with a little bit of creativity we can make any imaginary world come to life!

Perhaps you’ll start to look at the washing basket a little bit differently next time you take it out to hang on the line….

So what else can you do?

  • CREATE: Encourage imagination!! Instead of buying your children more toys take them outside to a park or natural setting and let them play and imagine up worlds.
  • INVESTIGATE: Take a look at your clothes line – who invented this and why? Why should we dry our clothes on the clothes line instead of the dryer?
  • LEARN: Do you have backyard chooks? Where do your eggs come from? Investigate the best types of eggs to buy if you can’t have chooks of your own.
  • RESEARCH: Where is the red dirt of Australia? Investigate which towns live on red dirt and why it is red.
  • WONDER: Did chickens ever travel on pirate ships? Find out more about pirates and why they existed and how they still exist now.
Uncategorized

Papa Sky by Jane Jolly and Sally Heinrich

LHave you ever looked up at the sky and wondered what different things you could see in the clouds?
Have you ever been to a cloud forest and wondered where the earth meets the sky?

Papa Sky by Jane Jolly and illustrated by Sally Heinrich is an imaginative yet informative story about cloud forests and the animals that need them to survive.

 

Papa Sky is having lots of fun creating different shapes in the clouds above the cloud forest until one night he falls down into the forest. At first it seems like a wonderful thing to have Papa Sky down in the rainforest but soon the animals come to realise that without him in the clouds they are nothing.

 

The animals work together to send him back up to where he belongs so once again he can create the clouds that they need for survival

 

“We must get him back to where he belongs”.

“He is our all”.

“Without him we are nothing.”

 

Not only does this book provide entertainment it also helps the reader to see the importance of the climate in cloud forests. Cloud forests harbour many of the world’s flora and fauna species (which can be seen in the end paper of this book) and due to climate change many of these species are becoming endangered or extinct.  The animals realise that although it is fun to have someone new around, they really need him to be where he has always been.

 

Sally Heinrich’s illustrations enhance the story with vibrant colour, small detail and varied page layouts. The children who have read this book with me have loved looking at the animals on each page – especially the pages without words – and wondering how they are feeling and what they might be thinking.

 

There are many wonderful discussions you can have before, during and after this story and it is wonderful to see a picture book that can raise awareness of this issue in a non-confrontational way.

 

So what can you do with this book?

 

Geography

 

  1. Investigate what cloud forests are and where they are in the world. Find out if people live in or near them and which animals need cloud forests to survive.
  2. Find out how cloud forests are being affected by climate change.

 

Sustainability

 

  1. Investigate an animal that is becoming endangered due to the change in how cloud forests function.
  2. Find out more about the Beautiful nursery frog and how climate change is causes a decrease in the population. Create a way you can inform others about the plight of this frog or another animal that lives in a cloud forest. https://theconversation.com/australian-endangered-species-beautiful-nursery-frog-11426

 

Science & Art

  1. Step outside, lie down on the grass and look at some clouds. What shapes can you see? Draw, paint or collage your own types of clouds.

 

Want more? Work with me to create more great teacher resources using books as springboards.