Thimble by Rebecca Young and Tull Suwannakit

What a beautiful story. Not only are the words soft and gentle but the illustrations highlight the warmth of the family who are going through a difficult time.

We have just spent that last month helping my husband’s grandmother move from independent living to higher care so we have spent quite a bit of time looking through her things and helping her keep or get rid of many things she loves.

We didn’t find a thimble but many boxes of paints and crafts and these are already being treasured dearly by my 7 year old.

Our children’s Great Grandma may live for many more years now she has the extra support bt I know that when the time comes to say goodbye, this book will be one we will share again and again.

So thank you Rebecca and Tull.

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Ori’s clean up by Anne Helen Donnelly

Octopus are very intelligent creatures and with eight legs and a bunch of friends they are also very good at cleaning up – even if the mess isn’t theirs!

Anne Helen Donnelly has created another fun book with a much loved character – Ori the octopus and this time he has a little message for all of us!

Meet Ori – a friendly Octopus who loves his underwater home, just not the rubbish that seems to be hanging around. Together with his friends they pile up the rubbish that is hanging around their watery houses but alas as the week goes by, the rubbish falls from the piles and scatters across the ocean again – encouraging them to problem solve a little bit more and work out where rubbish should go.

Children will love the bright illustrations, the use of alliteration and repetition and the simple message of cleaning up after ourselves.

Ori teaches us all that rubbish can not only go in the bin but also be recycled, reused, repurposed, composted or even better – refused!

Ori also shows us that teamwork is one of the best ways we can make the world we live in a better place.

So what else can you do with this picture book?

Free activities from Anne’s website: http://www.annehelendonnelly.com/activities/

And some ideas from me:

 – Explore alliteration of the animals names. What other names could these animals have? Can you think of names for other ocean animals?

 – Explore repetition throughout the book. What other actions do Ori and his friends do that could use this type of language?

Link all the different types of rubbish and where they go when we need to get rid of them.

Explore your own bin: What is inside your bin after one week of being at home?

Think: How can you create less rubbish in your bin? Try these activities in your home via my dropbox: (Please note this is in very very draft form!)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xnstqsthasuz2tu/How%20much%20plastic%20is%20in%20our%20pantry.docx?dl=0

IMG_1804

Love this review? Join my facebook group where we delve deeper into these issues facing children, parents and teachers. 

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Book Week 2018 activities for classrooms

Need some inspiration for this year’s CBCA Book Week? Check these out!

Sustainability

  • How can we host a waste free Book week? Come up with ideas for costumes and decorations that create the least amount of waste in our school and community.

Literacy

  • Write a book review on one of the shortlisted books.
  • Write down the name of a book that you treasure on a gold coin, book shape, pirate ship, image from book.
  • Write a letter to the author of your favourite book telling them why you treasure it.
  • Write a letter to someone to tell them you found treasure but you have been captured! Tell them where they need to go to find you!
  • Explain why one book should win over the others
  • Explore the protagonist in each story – which are animals? Which are humans?
  • BOY by Phil Cummings- choose a story that you love and draw it as a comic strip or a whole picture without any words.
  • Choose a book, write the name and the title on some decorated paper or shape and place in on the genre treasure map on display.
  • What is treasure and can it mean different things to different people?

Geography

  • Plot on a map where the authors of each of the shortlisted books have come from.

Numeracy :

  • Graph the winners of past CBCA awards: Male vs female, winners from each state etc.
  • Draw a map of the library and plot where different books can be found.
  • If you could buy ten new books for the library – what would they be and how much would they cost? Write a letter to your principal outlining why the school needs these books.
  • Create a map of where you would hide treasure at our school and write down directions using the points of a compass and strides.

Science

  • Do not lick this book: How is a germ like a treasure? Draw a microbe and show why it is like a treasure!
  • Florette – How is a garden, plant or flower like a treasure? Draw your favourite outdoor space that is like treasure and explain why you need this treasure.
  • Design a new library.

Art

  • Search for different paintings that are considered treasures. Do you agree or disagree and why?

Can you find me? By Gordon Winch and Patrick Shirvington

Tufts of grass, muddy banks, forest floors and watery gardens are all places animals hide  – with every intention of never being found, but perhaps you can find them?

Gordon Winch has worked alongside Patrick Shirvington to create this picture book which not only allows readers to search images but also read along with the story through the use of repetition and simple language.

On each double page spread the reader will hear clues that will help them to find the animal who is trying to camouflage in their natural habitat – some are very easy to find while others are quite tricky!

Early readers will get a feel of how each page is written and start to read along as they search the illustrations.

The Australian bush land is full of so many marvellous animals and so many of them are very well hidden so that if we ever want to see them we have to be very quiet!

This picture book is a wonderful way to teach children that when we are in the bush, sometimes it is important to be quiet, look around, listen and most importantly tread carefully because all creatures are there, we just need to take the time to look for them!

Many of the animals in Can you find me?  are endemic to Australia so by bringing their habitats to life through questions really engages children and will help them to think about each animal as they venture into the natural world.

Can you find me? By Gordon Winch and Patrick Shirvington

And – come over and join my facebook group where we discuss how we can help our students and children understand and take action on these big issues!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/362368594250457/

Amazing Australian Women by Pamela Freeman and Sophie Beer.

Twelve Australian women who have shaped history and all from different eras and different walks of life.

In the last two years there has been an increase in books about women who have made a difference in the world but this book is a little different.

Focussing on only 12 women and covering each state of Australia, the short stories written about each woman give us some information about where and how they grew up and what inspired them to start on the pathway that made them famous.

Each story is short and engaging so younger readers will enjoy reading these stories and looking and the vibrant illustrations that match what the woman looked like and what she did.

The book has also included a more information section at the back of the book to help young readers or their parents and teachers to use websites that are trusted to give them reliable information.

We especially loved the final page in this book which inspired many of my young readers

So ask yourself:

What is my story going to be?

What will I do?

How will I change my world? 

Amazing australian women by pamela freeman and sophie beer

Digby and the Duck by Max Landrak

Have you ever had a feeling that someone was watching you?

Perhaps your mind wandered in all different directions wondering what that person or thing was?

Digby is one of those people.

He is sure someone is watching him and does everything he can to find that person. He looks for clues, he does some research and he searches in the strangest places.

Until he finds who is spying on him – and once he knows life seems to be so much more reassuring.

This book is funny and children will enjoy the outcome of Digby’s adventures as he searches for the answer to that niggling thought.

Confronting fears is a big part of everyone’s lives and Max Landrak has delved into this issue in a fun way that all children can understand.

So what else can you do? 

Children can talk about how they confront their fears and how they feel once they have found it.

Work out why Digby had to look in so many different places to find his fear.

Read Danny Blue and see how the young children in both stories show resilience despite being in tricky situations.

Visit my Facebook group for some great ideas on how to talk to your children about fears about the many issues that happen in our world – https://www.facebook.com/groups/362368594250457/about/

Tilly’s Reef Adventure by Rhonda N. Garward

A turtle hatches from her egg and immediately her life is in danger – we know that has always been that way but how have humans made the dangers even more numerous?

Tilly’s Reef Adventure by Rhonda N. Garward is a wonderful book – both illustrations and story engage young children from start to finish and gives them so many different ideas for questions they can ask.

The main character in this story is Tilly, and she is a new turtle, born with an instinct to survive.

She escapes from crabs, birds and barracudas but it is the one thing that she wasn’t prepared for that nearly kills her – a plastic bag!

Luckily for her there are some caring humans around who help her out of the bag as they continue to pick up rubbish along the beach.

Continue reading

Books to inspire National Tree Day

National Tree Day is coming up –
 
Friday 27th July for schools and Sunday 29th July for communities.
 
What will you be doing?
 
If you can’t plant trees you could plant some herbs or flowers.
 
And of course, check out this great book list to inspire children to look after trees and appreciate them – as life without them wouldn’t be a life worth living

Read, read and read by Elizabeth Grocery and Liv.

‘When I open a book, it opens a whole new world’

Last year we read and reviewed Liv on Life:Green is good and have been wondering what Liv and her dog Bowie have been up to.

This time they are off to the library to explore new worlds, learn new facts and find comfort when life in the playground gets tough.

Liv loves going to school and has lots of friends – but we all know the playground can get busy and friends can get lost or want to play different things.

It is the day for Liv not to have anyone to play with but luckily the school library is open and within that space she can find comfort, new information and so many new worlds.

School libraries are such important parts of schools and it is so sad that so many schools are getting rid of these precious places.

Liv tells the reader about new worlds she discovers, new insects she never knew about and new ways to play with friends – and she shows us that reading with a friend can even be more fun!

Elizabeth Grocery writes these books with so much engagement within the writing and the illustrations. Children will get so much out of these books – friendships, self confidence and courage.

Young artists can admire the simple colour scheme used throughout the novel and take note of the wonderful books they can see Liv and Bowie reading.

The Liv on Life books are written by Elizabeth Gorcey but inspired by her young daughter – Liv and her amazement at the world.

So what else can you do with this book?

  •  Visit the library and borrow some books – of course!
  •  Create your own home library by ordering them into categories, authors or colours! Create some library cards for others to borrow or swap books with you and your library.
  •  Explore all the different things you can do at school if your friends are doing something else.
  •  Make a list of your friends and the things you like to learn about together.
  •  Make time to read every day
  •  Check out the other books in the Liv on Life series

The great lizard Trek by Felicity Bradshaw and Norma MacDonald

Written by Felicity Bradshaw and illustrated by Norma MacDonald, an Aboriginal Yamatji artist, The Great Lizard Trek is an excellent addition to the science, geography and sustainability curriculum in classrooms .

It is also a wonderful book for family homes where nature lovers will delight in looking at the detailed illustrations, the maps and the reasons why we need to care more for the world we live in.

The Great Lizard trek takes us on a journey from the north to the south coast of Western Australia. Along this journey we meet the different types of lizards who live in this part of the world and learn their indigenous name and the indigenous country they come from.

Not only do we learn about these lizards we also learn that they are having to move from the places they have always lived because of climate change. Many lizards cannot cope well with extreme heat, lack of water, too much water or lack of shelter. And we often forget that reptiles play just as an important role in the ecosystem as mammals and marsupials do – not as cute and cuddly so they just don’t get the attention.

We learnt a lot about different lizards and were especially surprised by Goannas and how important temperature was for the development of their eggs. If the eggs get too hot – all the babies will be girls and this is a big problem for the future.

The Great Lizard Trek is a book you can read in one sitting or one you can take your time with, drawing on information, flipping to the maps included at the back and the from of the books and doing a bit of your own extra research.

The story is engaging as are the lizard characters we meet. The dialogue between the characters adds lots of fun to these reptiles that often get ignored!

Norma MacDonald’s illustrations are highly detailed and the background for each lizard is a reminder of where they live and the conditions they live in.

Reptile’s are amazing creatures that live in Australia – and we have so many of them. The Great lizard trek is a great wake up call for all readers to see how human actions are having huge ramifications on the animal world.

Luckily for these lizards the outcome seems to be good – but will it always stay this way? Will there be a part two? I’m not sure if the part two will be as positive.

The Great Lizard Trek is an excellent book to discuss climate change from a different angle, various reptiles and to learn more about indigenous language, culture and country.

There are some great teacher notes here: https://www.publish.csiro.au/book/7807/#forteachers 

Love this review? Join my facebook group where we delve deeper into these issues facing children, parents and teachers. 

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Poppy and the Blooms by Fiona Woodcock.

Sometimes it’s the little people that make the biggest difference in our world.

In this colourful picture book we meet Poppy and her friends – Dandy, Bluebell and Buttercup.

They love playing outside but one day they realise that there is a park nearby that has lost it’s love, lost its colour and lost it’s joy.

And even though they are small and the park is big, they know that with a lot of teamwork and determination they can make a huge difference to the world they live in.

The pages are bursting with colour and the feeling of life, love and friendship all throughout the story. The story is filled with determination and one which will encourage any young listener to believe that they can make a difference.

Do you have a little changemaker?

Do you encourage your little changemaker to make a difference in the world they live in?

Children are willing to care for the world they live in and with a little bit of help in the right direction they will make a difference.

Take the time to make some positive changes in your world and do it alongside the smaller people in your life so that they grow up knowing that they can act and make a difference.

  • Let them pack their own lunchbox – plastic free!
  • Learn about where electricity comes from so they can turn off the lights.
  • Read the labels of soap bottles and wonder if we really should be putting it down the drain.
  • Look at the food you buy and where it comes from, what it is packaged in and the additives. Think about alternatives together.
  • Go to a local park and pick up rubbish, plant a tree or scatter some seeds.
  • Write to local politicians – show children that they have a voice too.  

Benny Bungarra’s Big Bush Clean up by Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina

Have you ever been out on a bushwalk, seen some rubbish but thought – it’s not mine, I’ll just leave it? Or have you ever left something behind because you didn’t want to carry it home?

Perhaps reading Benny Bungarra’s Big Bush Clean up by Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina will help you to consider the ramifications of those small bits of rubbish we leave behind and the effect they have on Australian bush animals.

Benny Bungarra’s Big Bush Clean up is a great story about a very friendly lizard called Benny Bungara. We meet him on a beautiful day, warming himself up under the sun – but  when he hears a strange sound he just has to find out what it is.

Thinking it might be a new bush creature he scrambles up a tree to see but once there he discovers it’s a friendly Olive Python with his head stuck in a bottle. Benny helps remove the bottle only to find other creatures who have been effected by rubbish humans have left behind – broken glass and fishing line.

The friends know they need to ask the humans for help but while they are waiting for the help they decide to start cleaning up the place themselves by reusing some items, recycling others and putting some in the bin.

A simple message comes across in this book and young readers will understand what they need to do.

Humans have a huge impact on the planet and we all need to be much more mindful of what we leave behind each and every day.

Benny Bungarra’s Big Bush Clean up by Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina teaches children in a fun way about how to never leave rubbish behind and always think about the best place to put it once we have finished with it.

So what else can you do with this book?

 – Check out my (in very draft form) resource to help minimise the amount of waste you have in your house: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xnstqsthasuz2tu/How%20much%20plastic%20is%20in%20our%20pantry.docx?dl=0

Look at your bin at the end of the week and work out what could have been reused, refused, repurposed, composted or recycled!

Pack a waste free lunch box for a week and come up with different ideas that help you to leave less rubbish behind.

Explore images of animals around the world who have been effected by the rubbish humans have left behind.

Love this review? Join my facebook group where we delve deeper into these issues facing children, parents and teachers. 

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https://www.facebook.com/groups/362368594250457/

Secret world of butterflies by Courtney Sina Meredith and Giselle Clarkson

Butterflies have always amazed me with their beautiful colours but there is so much more to them than meets the eye.

The Secret world of butterflies by Courtney Sina Meredith and Giselle Clarkson is a burst of colour filled with facts about tastebuds, poo, flight and eating habits.

Not only is this book filled with facts, it is also filled with rhyming couplets and detailed drawings to grab the attention of any young entomologist.

You’ll learn so much about butterflies, illustration techniques and rhyme that this book will be devoured again and again!

And perhaps you will be inspired to take a slower and closer look outside just to see the beauty that constantly flies among us.

2018 Environment Award for Children’s Literature shortlist

Wow, another great list of books has recently been announced as part of the shortlist for the environment award from the Wilderness Society.

wild

So many of these I have blogged about and I will have to search for the last couple to make sure I let you know about them too.

 

Here are the links to my blogs for these wonderful book – I hope you can find the time to read them soon!

Fiction:
Ella Diaries #11 Going Green by Meredith Costain and Danielle McDonald
Pippa’s Island 1: The Beach Shack Cafe by Belinda Murrell
Wombat Warriors by Samantha Wheeler

Non-fiction:
A Is For Australian Animals by Frané Lessac
Exploring Soils: A Hidden World Underground by Samantha Grover and Camille Heisler
Rock Pool Secrets by Narelle Oliver
Coral Sea Dreaming: The Picture Book by Kim Michelle Toft

Picture fiction:
Can You Find Me? by Gordon Winch and Patrick Shirvington
Tilly’s Reef Adventure by Rhonda N Garward
Fluke by Lesley Gibbes and Michelle Dawson
Florette by Anna Walker

I would love to be a part of the judging of this one day….

 

Love this review? Join my facebook group where we delve deeper into these issues facing children, parents and teachers. 

JOIN MY FACEBOOK GROUP FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS WHERE WE EXPLORE BIG ISSUES AND HOW TO BEST TALK ABOUT THEM WITH KIDS.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/362368594250457/

The all new must have Orange 430 by Michael Speechley.

How often do your children convince you that they need the latest toy? 

How often do they ‘need’ to collect the whole set of some plastic thing because – they have to?

And how often do you succumb to consumerism and buy that thing that you know won’t last long or do much?

Well, this is the book for you!

The all new must have ORANGE 430 by Michael Speechley is a very poignant book for today’s world where consumerism reigns and common sense has faded.

We search for the latest and greatest but then quickly forget about it when something newer and shiner comes along.

Harvey is a young boy who needs to have The all new must have ORANGE 430 so he saves as much money as he can and buys it! But it isn’t what he thought it would be – it does nothing, takes up space and is completely useless. Harvey tries to take it back to the shop but they won’t take it and even the manufacturer won’t have it – he just tries to convince him to buy another cheap toy to replace it.

But as Harvey waits in line to talk to the manufacture of The all new must have ORANGE 430 he meets many other children who are also dissatisfied with their toy and together they realise how much more fun the boxes the toys came in are!

The message this book gives us is simple – we don’t need all the stuff we have because we have it all in our minds – creativity, imagination, problem solving.

And if we really want to save the one big thing that matters most – our planet – then we need to start resisting the big manufacturers who seem to trick us so often.

The all new must have ORANGE 430 by Michael Speechley is fantastic and a must read for all children and their parents. It will start some big discussions and make you think about what you purchase in the future.

So what else can you do with this book? 

FIRST THINGS FIRST: 

 – Grab a box and play with it– find out all the amazing things you can do with one! Keep your toilet rolls, old paper etc and create different things instead of buying new toys.

THINK

 – Take a look around your place and work out the things that you need and what you just wanted.

– Which toys give you the most joy and why? Which activities give you the most joy?

– Wonder where all the broken toys go and look at this artist and what he did to show us how wasteful we are. Jurassic Plastic.

– Could we live in a world without plastic toys? How would your life be different? (Explore ads on tv, the state of your room, money saved, less fights, more creativity)

– How do ads convince you that you need to collect the latest toys? Explore the price of many of these toys and what they do once you buy them.

– Challenge your family to create less waste by not buying things they don’t really need, eating more fruit and vegetables to save on packaging and spending time outside or in a world of imagination and creativity instead of with plastic toys.

Love this review? Join my facebook group where we delve deeper into these issues facing children, parents and teachers. 

JOIN MY FACEBOOK GROUP FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS WHERE WE EXPLORE BIG ISSUES AND HOW TO BEST TALK ABOUT THEM WITH KIDS.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/362368594250457/

Waves by Donna Rawlins, Heather Potter and Mark Jackson

Children have travelled on the waves of migration to the shores of Australia for tens of thousands of years. This book tells some of their stories.

15 children. 15 stories. 15 different periods in the last 50000 years.

Waves by Donna Rawlins, Heather Potter and Mark Jackson explores the different reasons people have travelled to Australia, the vessels they travelled on and the worries and fears they experienced as they dealt with the unfaithful ocean.

We meet Anak, one of the first visitors to Australia on board simple rafts, Finola, a convict all alone to to unfortunate circumstances, Harry sent off without his parents to start fresh to the land of blue skies and wide open spaces and Hau,a refugee who has to battle with pirates, lack of food and no fuel to cross the seas.

Each child in this book has a story to tell and many of them are heart wrenching. Themes of loss, struggle, courage and bravery swim throughout these tales and show us just how tough moving to a new country can be – especially on the ocean.

Waves can be used in so many waves at home and in the classroom as it looks at the history of Australia from a different angle, explores the idea of migration and delves into why different people have decided to move from their home country and then live in Australia.

Each story can be read individually and discussed at length. Maps can be used, historical dates and background information can be pursued.

What else can you do?

Explore the individual stories by using the teacher notes available here: http://classroom.walkerbooks.com.au/waves/WavesTeacherNotes.PDF

Also

  • Choose two stories to compare and contrast. Explore the reasons for coming to Australia, the journey to Australia, how the children felt about the journey and their family background.
  • Map where each of these children came from.
  • Explore the current Australian population to find out where out backgrounds lie and how these people came to live in Australia..
  • Explore the charter for the rights of a child as created by the UN. Could of many of these things happened if the charter was in place earlier on? How can these events still happen with the UN charter in place?

Jasper Juggles Jellyfish by Ben Long and David Cornish

Do you know a child who just can’t sit still in the classroom? Or would rather move about instead of sitting down? Or perhaps you have an interest in creatures with eight legs or even those who blob around the ocean?

Well this book is just for you!

Jasper Juggles Jellyfish by Ben Long and David Cornish is a fun filled rhyming picture book that tells the story of young Jasper, an eight legged student who is having trouble learning how to count.

Learning how to count without doing the act of counting can make things tricky so young Jasper decides to juggle his numbers instead – but this proves to be just as tricky!

Instead of giving up, Jasper learns to take his time and slowly build up his juggling skills. Starting with one willing jellyfish before he moves onto two then three then all 12.

Colourful pictures and easy to read rhyme make this story quite a lot of fun but also provide many different talking points.

After we read this book we researched about different octopi, different types of jellyfish and of course tried to juggle ourselves.

We were also able to explore rhyme and the different types of ways words can rhyme in sentences to tell a story.

Jasper juggles jellyfish is a great story for young children who are learning how to count as it shows that persistence, practice and hands on learning are all key to understanding the great big world of numbers out there! It might also inspire parents and teachers to ensure that whenever learning takes place we make sure it is fun, hands on and linked to the real world!

So what else can you do with this book?

Numeracy

  • Explore different ways of counting to 12.
  • Explore different patterns in counting
  • Explore how many legs were in that counting pattern!

Literacy

  • Look at the different rhyming words used in this story and try to create your own sentence or two.

Science

  • What are the different types of jellyfish that reside in oceans or surrounding waterways near you?
  • Learn more about octopi and their intelligence.
  • How can you juggle? is there a science behind juggling different types of objects?
  • Can jellyfish always be this helpful? Look in the news for times jellyfish haven’t been too helpful.