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Mother, environmentalist, teacher librarian and book reviewer.

Lenny’s book of everything by Karen Foxlee

You don’t become someone perfect just because your brother is dying. You stay the person you are and all your good and bad bits are magnified.

It’s not often that you come across a book that you cannot put down, or one that you constantly think about.

Lenny’s book of everything by Karen Foxlee is one of those books.

It’s also one of those books that will make you laugh and cry in one paragraph. And one that you will need to keep the handkerchiefs close by…..

This story is written with magic interwoven into the world of the main character – Lenny and her little brother Davey.

Lenny is a young girl who is an ordinary big and bossy sister who loves (yet at times) loathes her little brother. She loves the idea of adventure yet loves the safety of home. Her brother Davey is such a sweet and loveable character who comes out with the best lines in the story – “Holy Batman!” making sure that you break into a smile even at the most difficult moments.

The other characters make this story rich and colourful – firstly their mother Cynthia Spink, hard working and worn out, Mrs Gaspar the dream weaving Hungarian lady who looks after the children while their mother works, mean Mr King, the fruit shop owner, mysterious Mr King and of course Great Aunt Em.

A host of other characters and events play important roles in the story of Lenny, highlighting her love of the encyclopaedias that arrive on their doorstep alphabetically, the dreams she and her brother have of escaping to Great Bear Lake and of course the harsh reality that they have to deal with – Davey having Gigantism.

The story is always so joyful yet there is  the ever presenting unknowing of if Davey will ever stop growing.

This is a story to be read by children over the age of ten but I loved this book and I highly recommend any adult who loves a good book (along with a few hankies).

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The rabbit, the dark and the Biscuit Tin by Nicola O’Byrne

Do you have a child who does not like to sleep?

Have you ever wondered what your evening would look like if the dark never came?

I know we’ve all wished it, especially on those wonderful summer days.

The rabbit, the dark and the Biscuit Tin by Nicola O’Byrne is a cute story about a little rabbit who does not like going to bed and wishes that the evening never – ever came.

But little does he realises that without night time, many living things suffer.

The rabbit, the dark and the Biscuit Tin by Nicola O’Byrne will  teach children about the need for night and day, and the animals and plants that need it.

The illustrations are vibrant and the pop out towards the end will amaze young readers.

The rabbit, the dark and the Biscuit Tin by Nicola O’Byrne is a perfect story for those children who do not like bed time as after this book they will come to appreciate just how important it is!

Teacher tips

 – Science: A great resources for Early Stage One and Stage one when looking at day and night.

 – Literacy: A great resource to use for creative writing – what could you place in a biscuit tin?

 – Life cycles and animal habits – why do they need day and night? Which animals would not survive without one or the other? Which animals have had to adapt to city living because we have too many lights? (Sustainability, STEM, Science, Geography)

Another book about bears by Laura and Philip Bunting

Sick of books about bears?

Is your library shelf piling up with bears eating honey? Bears going on walks or bears getting cranky?

Then you’ll love this book!

Teachers who are looking into traditional or fractures fairytales will love this book as a great springboard to encourage creativity and problem solving when it comes to bears.

Can you imagine if the three bears weren’t in the Goldilocks story? Would Goldilocks still eat porridge? Would the setting still be in the woods? Would there still be bears and beds and a scary ending?

Children will love listening to the fourth wall being broken (another great lesson springboard) and wonder why bears are often chosen as a lead role.

So what did we do in our classroom with Kindergarten?

Children chose to either draw a story without bears ( goldilocks and the three lemurs) or draw things bears do in stories that they don’t normally do (another great lesson about anthropomorphism!!!)

You’ll love this book – story and illustrations!

Buy here now – click image of book

Another Book About Bears

Australian Birds by Matt Chun

This is the perfect book to accompany next years Aussie Backyard Bird count and the perfect book to keep the love and interest in birds up!

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Australian Birds by Matt Chun is a stunning book with so much information to interest the youngest of readers.

Each double page spread is about a different bird of Australia. The sketches by Matt Chun are life like and the written information gives the reader information about how the bird lives, where it lives and what it can do.

This book would be a perfect book for any household who loves amateur bird watching and it would fit in nicely within the school science, geography, numeracy and sustainability curriculum. Visual art teachers could also use these sketches as inspiration.

We love this book – it’s on high rotation at the moment in our house!

Numeracy

– Count birds in the school playground or back yard and create a chart

Geography

– Plot on a map where each of these birds are from and where they move around between seasons.

Science

– Look at the lifecycle of Australian native birds and how they may differ from other birds around the world.

Sustainability

– Are these birds in good numbers or are some of them threatened or endangered. Explore why some birds thrive and some suffer because of humans.

When you’re going to the moon by Sasha Beekman and Vivienne To

Have you ever believed that you could go anywhere you wanted?

Do anything you dreamt of?

Or could be anything you wished?

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When you’re going to the moon by Sasha Beekman and Vivienne To is a beautiful story about believing in yourself and the accompanying illustrations are magical.

A young girl wants to go to the moon. She decides to take only the essentials in her small green bag and of course her pet iguana – but what else might she need to get there?

Determined to climb higher than she ever has before she takes no risks, making sure she packs a map to help her get home.

When you’re going to the moon by Sasha Beekman and Vivienne To is a story to read to young children to help them to see the importance of believing in their dreams, admiring their achievements and soaking in the wonder of new activities.

A book to share, a book to read and a book to enjoy.

Australia Remembers: ANZAC Day Remembrance Day and War memorials by Allison Paterson.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.

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Australia Remembers by Allison Paterson is a book written for children of all ages.  

Using visual literacy, young children can be engaged whilst the detailed descriptions of war time events will engage older children who will gain an understanding of why we remember the past on these days.

Set out in a magazine like format, children can grab information through real photographs, did you know boxes, maps and quotes. They can utilise the clearly set out chapters and glossary to find out what they need to know and engage in some fun activities such as making their own Anzac biscuits, poppies and war memorials.

Any topic such as war events often interests many children but there is not a lot of information about the war Australians were involved in that have been written for primary school aged children.

Australian remembers is able to engage all children through the easy to manage layout, short snippets of information and photos from the past.  This book would be a wonderful resource to have in the classroom for ANZAC Day and Remembrance day – not only for those students who want to know more but also for those who need to see – through images – what these events are all about.

In the Australian primary school curriculum these special days are highlighted throughout so having a resource like this will help teachers and children to have a greater understanding as many schools do hold a ceremony, but not often devote lesson time to it.

 

Why should I read this book in the primary school classroom?

With this book, students can read from pages and study the images through literacy sessions, participate in art creations mentioned in the back pages and use maps in geography lessons to gain a better sense of where these events happened in the world. It would also assist those older students who have difficulty reading more in depth books about the world wars of the past.

Australian Remembers by Allison Patterson is a great resource for parents and teachers to share with children of all ages. This book shows that these stories will always play an important part in our society and that by reading them, talking about people who stand in these pictures and remembering the amazing feats done, their legacy will never be forgotten.

Join in with the Book tour – check out the links below!

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Black Cockatoo by Carl Merrison and Hakea Hustler

You have his mark Mia, between your shoulder blades. The dirrarn (black cockatoo) is your totem. Your jarriny (conception totem) totem

I adored this book so much so that I read it twice.

Mia, a young indigenous girl lives on the coast of Western Australia in a remote town surrounded by bush land, water holes and hot red dirt.

She lives with her family, which includes her grandparents, but feels lost between the culture and traditions of her past and the present world she lives in.

But Mia feels the past so much more than her brother does. She feels the pain of the he injured animals and smells danger and freedom on the wind.

The story revolves around Mia rescuing a black cockatoo who has been injured by her thoughtless brother.

We learn about the beauty of persistence, following your beliefs and believing in the power of positive actions.

We also learn the importance of listening to the past, embracing culture and tradition yet looking towards the future.

Black Cockatoo will not only entertain readers from ages 9-13, it will also teach them about owning their beliefs and standing up for what they know is best.

Black Cockatoo would be a great book if o study as a class group as the Jaru language is scattered throughout the story-in context-so readers can learn how to speak this indigenous language from The Kimberley.

As Australians we need to eEmbrace more of our indigenous languages and teach not only those with indigenous heritage but also those who don’t.

Black cockatoo by Carl Merrison and Hakea Hustler is a beautiful story and I hope that it can be shared with many more children!

Beware the deep dark forest by Sue Whiting and Annie White.

It wasn’t a carnivorous plant.

It wasn’t a venomous snake.

It wasn’t a bristly wolf or a deep ravine.

It was worse. Much, much worse. 

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If you love an adventure and a bit of alliteration then you will love Beware the deep dark forest by Sue Whiting and Annie White.

Rosie is off to find her dog Tinky who has run off into a forest full of scary things. With only bravery in her backpack, Rosie is determined to find it – despite warnings from her Grandmother and Father.

Teacher’s will not only love reading this story to their class because it is a wonderful story, they will also love it because of the literacy devices!

There is alliteration

There are so many great adjectives of varying degrees

And there is a great plot to engage with.

The illustrations are a great way to explore visual literacy  – look at the colours, Rosie’s expressions and the use of different types of font.

We have loved reading Beware the deep dark forest by Sue Whiting and Annie White and thinking of many new ways we could describe the snakes, plants and wolf!

Check it out now:

Buy from fishpond right here…..
Beware the Deep Dark Forest

Clever Crow – Wak Liya-Djambatj by Nina Lawrence and Bronwyn Bancroft

 

 

When a hungry crow can’t find any food, he has to be clever.

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Clever Crow – Wak Liya-Djambatj. Written by Nina Lawrence and illustrated by Bronwyn Bancroft is a traditional Australian indigenous story about crows and how clever they are. But what makes this book even better than just being a story, is it is a story told in two languages – English and the Djambarrpuynu, a Yolnu language from the north east of Arnhem Land.

 

As you turn each page you can read the story in either English or Djambarrpuynu and ponder on the patterned images that fall across the pages.

 

For those who cannot speak Djambarrpuynu an orthographic guide has been placed at the back alongside a glossary.

 

Clever Crow teaches the reader about persistence and patience. It shows us that even if we don’t achieve something that we want so much, with time we may just gain it.

 

Children are introduced to difference Australian animals,  traditional indigenous cooking activities and the patterns of indigenous art.

 

The colours of the illustrations jump off each page, lighting up the story from the bright sands of the beach to the darker shades of the bush. The patterns and lines within each block are something to look at in detail to understand the texture of the trees or the contours of the land.

 

Clever Crow is a book that all children across Australia should be reading and it would be wonderful to see more books like this written so we can share the Indigenous languages of Australia and keep them alive for many more generations to come.

What can you do with this book?

Explore the artwork and the patterns within each illustration. Compare the illustrations to that of images from Arnhem land – can you see the patterns in the landscapes?

Find another indigenous story from this part of Australia.

Find an indigenous story from where you live in Australia.

Think about how you have been a clever crow in one aspect of your life OR how you can be.

 

The next day roast pumpkin

I love pumpkin and it’s only recently that I have realised how diverse this orange vegetable is!

Whenever we had leftover roast pumpkin in the past I would serve it again as – roast pumpkin.

But now, inspired by a need to cut down on food waste I have come across some great recipes and they are here for you to make too!

  • Bake your pumpkin seeds – use them as extra crunch on top of a salad.
  • Make some delicious pumpkin and corn fritters, taken from Simplicious Flow by Sarah Wilson.

 I Quit Sugar: Simplicious Flow by Sarah Wilson

  • Bake some sausages with your pumpkin to give them some extra flavour! Another recipe taken from Simplicious Flow by Sarah Wilson.

 I Quit Sugar: Simplicious Flow by Sarah Wilson

Pumpkin-Spice-Muffins-and-Bread-Recipe-with-Coconut-Flour (image taken from https://wellnessmama.com/3655/coconut-flour-pumpkin-bread/)

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(Image taken from https://detoxinista.com/coconut-flour-pumpkin-bars/)

No more just leftover roast pumpkin nights OR leftover pumpkin in the compost bin.

It’s much better in your belly!

Stock made from scraps!

Over the last week rather than composting all of our vegetable scraps, I have been keeping some of it in the freezer.

I then roasted an organic chook and some chicken drumsticks and kept all the bones and leftover meaty bits we didn’t want to eat.

Now, this will often go into our compost but I have given it one more life and turned it into

Chicken Stock!

Now we can add extra flavour to our meals throughout the weeks and months without it costing a single cent!

Recipe taken from
I Quit Sugar: Simplicious

The lost magician by Piers Torday

If you can imagine it, it must exist. Somewhere.

Four children sent to live with someone they don’t know very well. Four children who have experienced the terror of war in London. Four children who differ in so many ways yet come together to save the world from an evil they least expected.

The lost magician by Piers Torday is an exciting and suspenseful novel which will remind you of stories from Narnia and Wonderland.

We meet the children , Evie, Larry, Simon and Patricia at the end of World War Two. They have survived the horrors of war and their parents need to find a new place to live – so they are sent to live with Professor Diana Kelly in the countryside.

As we read on, we learn that the professor is doing some very important research about a missing man and his extensive library. No one knows where he has gone or where his library vanished to.

This man, named Nicholas Crowne, had read and collected every book ever written and just like a librarian, he was the key to unlocking all of the stories and sharing them with the world.

But now with him missing, the future of the world is unknown, and it is up to the children to find a way to seek him out and understand what he knows before those who choose ignorance take the world he has so lovingly grown.

The Lost Magician by Piers Today will sweep you away into a new and amazing world. As you meet the four children you will understand how important libraries are – not only to ignite imagination but to also spark investigations, develop self awareness and inspire thoughts that you never thought possible.

A wonderful underlying message in this story is the importance of the library and the librarian. Without either of these, the world of stories – told and untold – may cease to exist.

So perhaps support your local library by borrowing a book or petition your local school to make sure students have regular library visits in their own school library. The world of the never reads is one which I am sure you will never want to see exist.

Aussie Backyard BirdCount week 22-28th October

What will you be doing next week?

Keen to count birds with your children, students or those youngsters in your care?

The annual Aussie Backyard Bird Count is a great way to connect with the birds in your backyard no matter where your backyard happens to be — a suburban backyard, a local park, a patch of forest, down by the beach, or the main street of town.

You can count as many times as you like over the week, BUT remember – each count is completed over a 20-minute period. The data collected assists BirdLife Australia in understanding more about the birds that live where people live.

You can do it in your backyard, your local park or on your verandah. The Aussie Backyard Bird count just wants to know how birds are fairing in your area of Australia – and hopefully increase awareness of how important having trees, shrubs and flowers are for their existence.

We love the birds that visit our backyard even if they regularly have a heated discussion with our chooks.

Teachers & parents – link this in with numeracy!!

Counting one to one correspondence, counting by twos or other groups.

Creating graphs about the different birds seen.

Adding up the time spent outside counting.

And how about Science

How can we make our natural spaces more native bird friendly?

Which Australian birds are your favourites? Find out more about these birds and the types of trees they like to eat from and live in.

Learn about the life cycle, migration paths and population of your favourite bird.

Evaluate the effectiveness of the Aussie Backyard survey – can you design something different/better or something to add to its value?

We are together by Britta Teckentrup

We’re off to climb mountains, all the way to the top…Our friends keep us going – they won’t let us stop. 

We are together by Britta Tenckentrup is a celebration of love and friendship.  Through colourful illustrations and fun peek a boo holes, children of all ages will see the power of friends as the story travels along.

This book is a wonderful story to share with children as it highlights many things about self love and love of others.

It starts with the importance of our own self – our special gifts, dreams and hopes but it then shows that with one other and perhaps more than one other – we can achieve so much more.

Friends help us to see the bright side of life, they help us believe more in our selves and follow those dreams.

Young children will love the new person that appears on every page and the people shaped holes that are made with each page turn.

If ever we’re lonely, we’ll just say out loud: Let’s all stand together, one big happy crowd! 

We are together by Britta Tenckentrup is a book to share with all young children, one to pour over the illustrations together and discuss about how we feel about ourselves and the people who surround us.

Self belief and positive peer groups are such an influential catalysts in the development of our young children. Talking openly with children about their gifts and how working with others who respect us is important – and through We are together by Britta Tenckentrup, this discussion can be brought up so much easier.

So what else can you do with this book?

Personal Development 

Link this book with any Personal Development units of work in the classroom – talk about the gifts each child has. Discuss the important people in their lives who support them and make them feel respected and listened to.

Explore the people we are friends with – how their strengths and their weaknesses help us to become better people.

Visual Art

Look at the technique Britta has used to introduce new characters on each page.

Literacy

Explore the use of rhyme throughout the story and create a new stanza that could be added somewhere in the book to add more information about the importance of self belief and friendship.

Follow me for a journey to reduce our food waste

Food waste is one of the major elements that is effecting climate change/global warming and it is something that we are not doing a lot about.

Wasting food is something that we all do every single day but it is something that we can all do something about every single day.

Whilst supermarkets and restaurants are major players in the food waste statistics, it is the average household that wastes the most.

Think of the wilting herbs and spinach leaves.

The half drunk bottle of milk or yoghurt.

The leftovers that you forgot about

And the fruit and vegetable scraps that end up in your landfill.

My family and I are on a journey inspired by a few different people but spurred on by Sarah Wilson’s latest book: Simplicious Flow
I Quit Sugar: Simplicious Flow

So wish me luck and join me as we boil our bones, slip  our banana peels into cake and make meals from things we once thought useless!

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: I know exactly what you are by Julia Kregnow and Carmen Saldana.

Has the well known rhyme – Twinkle twinkle little star ever made you think – what really are stars?

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: I know exactly what you are by Julia Kregnow and Carmen Saldana teaches children, through rhyme what stars are using scientific words and facts.

This isn’t a picture book for younger children as the vocabulary is quite scientific (unless you have a child who is very interested in learning about this) but rather for older children as a springboard into more research and discussion.

You’ll hear about cosmic Rorschach tests, atmospheric turbulence, neutron stars and the Milky Way.

You’ll learn about the importance of our own bright star – the sun and the Milky Way galaxy which contains a quarter trillion of stars.

The best thing is it is all done through rhyme and beautifully drawn illustrations. Even if some of the words go over young children’s heads you can talk about the illustrations and the facts in a more simpler way.

There are more in depth facts about the new concepts in the final pages of the book and are all written for children to be able to understand.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: I know exactly what you are by Julia Kregnow and Carmen Saldana is a great book to add to a scientific learning environment as it opens up big facts to the younger reader and will help inspire them to delve deeper into the more complex ideas mentioned in the rhyme.

So what else can you do with this book?

Research your own area of stars or space and create your own Twinkle Twinkle Little Star poem.

List all the different facts about stars and then research one of these areas further.

Choose another nursery rhyme to re create with facts about that particular area – can you give more facts about sheep in baa baa black sheep? Spider facts in Incey Wincey spider.

Inventors who changed the world by Heidi Poelman and Kyle Kershner.

Have you ever had an idea that you just couldn’t get rid of?

Have you ever tried to make something work and it just wouldn’t?

Take a hold of this board book – for readers young and old – and find out more about these inventors who not only changed the world but surprised themselves with the amount of persistence required to finally come up with the invention they did!

We meet Cai Lun from AD 105 who invented paper, Johannes Gutenberg from 1439 who invented a printing press so more books could be read by more people.

Leonardo DaVinci the great artist, Thomas Edison the man who created electricity, Louis Pasteur and his world changing vaccinations, Marie Curie and her persistence to explore a strange blue rock which ended up being one way to fight off cancer and the Wright brothers who created the first aeroplane.

Each person has a story of persistence, courage and self belief.

They all wanted to find an answer and with lots of hard work they did.

This book is perfect for younger readers who do have gifts but don’t quite have the resilience to persist with something when it gets hard.

By looking at people who haven’t achieved fame or fortune immediately (a big problem with social media in this modern age) we can show children that simply trying a new method when the old method doesn’t work can make a huge difference in achieving our goals!

You can talk about the illustrations with really young readers, read the words and have discussions with junior readers and use as a springboard into more in depth research for older readers.

We have loved reading this book – the illustrations really added a lot more fun to these individuals lives for the board book readers in our house. It’s always wonderful to learn more about inspiring people who have made a real difference in the world!

The heart of a whale by Anna Pignataro

Heart of a Whale is a beautiful picture book to be read out loud whilst spending time pouring over the illustrations that make you feel just like you are in the ocean alongside the whale and the other creatures he meets along the way.

Whale is all alone, he sings his song so everyone can hear. Some feel calm when they hear his song, others cheer up whilst some drift off to sleep.

But Whale is lonely and longs for the company of another whale, he sighs but as he sighs the ocean listens to his wish and carries it away into the ears and hearts of some other whales – who soon find him and fill his empty heart.

The heart of a whale by Anna Pignataro can promote discussion about loneliness, the importance of family and friendship and how we support each other at all times.

It promotes the gifts that we all have and how by sharing our gifts we can help others in our community. But it also shows us that without close relationships sometimes those gifts and talents may not feel good at all.

Whale has a beautiful song but with an empty heart he just can’t hear it – it’s the power of others that can help us to see just how amazing we are!

Teaching notes

Life cycles and animals – Science

What do you know about whales? Are there different types of whales?

If we didn’t have whales what might the ocean look like?

Whales often swim around in herds – what does this mean?

What sounds do whales make? Listen to some different whale calls  – do different whale species make different sounds?

Personal awareness

If you had to walk around every day all by yourself – how would you feel?

When do you feel lonely?

How did the whales in each story change how they looked when they weren’t lonely anymore?

What are your special gifts? How do others help you with these?

 

Join my facebook page – growing socially and globally conscious children for some great ideas and teaching tips!

 

 

 

Would you like Palm oil with that?

We hear about Palm Oil a lot and the devastation it can cause to rainforests.

But how do you talk to children about this so to empower them to make the right decisions?

Bornean-Orangutans-photo-via-WWF

Photo from :https://greenglobaltravel.com/bornean-sumatran-orangutans-endangered-species/

Check out this graphic that shows you how the big companies are still harming the environment with their gathering of Palm Oil : https://issuu.com/greenpeaceinternational/docs/final_countdown_pages_lr_greenpeace

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Talking about Palm Oil

  1. Look at the list of the big companies that are still causing harm to many rainforests with their consumption of Palm Oil.
  2. Open your cupboard and see if you have any products of this brand OR owned by this brand
  3. Together list alternatives to a favourite brand of yours – can you by it from someone else? Can you make it? Can you live without it?
  4. How can you raise awareness of this?

Here are some ideas:

Make a graph to show to percentage of rainforest left in the world.

Learn about the different animals who live in these rainforests.

Learn about the people who live here – what is happening to them?

Try and find some recipes so you can make your own cosmetics, chips or chocolate bars!

 

Big brands to avoid —–

L’Oreal owns: Maybelline New York, Garnier, Lancôme, Helena Rubinstein, BioMedic, Vichy, Biotherm, Shu Uemura, Kiehl’s, Soft Sheen-Carson, Redken, Matrix, Kerastase, Giorgio Armani, Inneov, Sanoflore, CCB Paris, Dermablend, The Body Shop, Skinceuticals, Ralph Lauren, La-Roche-Posay, and Yves Saint Laurent.

Nestle owns: https://www.nestle.com.au/brands

Pepsico owns: http://www.pepsico.com.au/brands/

 

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The Forever Kid by Elizabeth Mary Cummings and Cheri Hughes

Johnny is not in that photo but we know he is with us.

Johnny our forever kid.

That’s what we call him now. 

The Forever Kid by Elizabeth Mary Cummings and Cheri Hughes is a powerful picture book that explores how children feel when they lose a sibling.

We meet a family who love celebrating birthdays – birthdays filled with favourite people, favourite dinners and favourite snacks!

But this year the celebration is different because their big brother Johnny isn’t around anymore.

We don’t know why Johnny has gone but we do know that now he is a forever kid – forever in the hearts and the minds of the family.

This book is a celebration of Johnny’s life – a celebration of what he loved to do and how good he made them feel. It does not dwell on the sadness felt by the family – though we can sense this – but rather them trying to enjoy the happy memories.

The illustrations on each page ooze emotion and allow the young reader to see how the family is feeling throughout each stage of mourning. Through this they can see that mourning a loved one is ok – it’s an important thing to do and it’s something we can do with others who shared that person as well.

The forever kid would be a great book to share with anyone who has lost someone, especially young children. I think that it brings a sense of empowerment to the young reader as it shows that it is ok to miss someone and memories are a treasure we should always celebrate.

Now see what others think about this book by following some other great book blogs!

And join my facebook page or email list to have fresh book reviews and teaching ideas delivered right to you! Educateempower11 (facebook)

Blog Tour Schedule

Digby and Claude by Emma Allen and Hannah Sommerville

“One autumn, change came to Main Street …”

 

Digby lives on a street that is going through a lot of change. He watches from his window an old crumbling building slowly being moved out of and taken apart, ready for new apartments to be built.

Digby is a child who live in the 1930’s and using his imagination, he decides to find a place to think about what he could build once inspired by the action in front of him. An old bathtub does the trick and he spends many hours lying there admiring the clouds and hatching up great ideas.

However, the next day another boy comes along – Claude – and together they start to build a cubby that they both can play, eat snacks and swap stories in.

The cubby gets bigger as the new developments start to rise up. They spend hours every day adding extra rooms and hideouts to their space – until Claude isn’t allowed to come anymore.

Digby continues to play in the cubby alone until one day some new children arrive – children that have just moved into the new apartments.  Together the magic of the cubby lights up again – showing the children that just a little bit of imagination can go a long way.

 

Ideas for the classroom and at home

How is an idea for a  book made?

Emma Allen talks about her book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkhPV8KgwKE

Community & change

How can you make new members of your community feel welcome?

Why is there change happening in this story? Is there any change happening where you live?

How does change to the buildings affect people? How does it affect the environment?

Who are Digby and Claude?

These children were able to play and there are not many adults in sight – why was this? Are you allowed to play alone? Why do you think this is?

Imagination

What is important about playing outside and using your imagination?

The Natural world

Many children live in apartments now – how can we encourage these children and their parents to play outside and use imagination more? How can buildings be designed so children are safe in common outdoor areas?

Design a cubby house that you would make from natural materials and old things. Label your drawing and outline what would happen in your cubby house.

Cedar Valley by Holly Throsby

Lucky enough to get an advanced copy of Cedar Valley by Holly Throsby.

Has anyone else read this yet?

I absolutely loved this mystery set in a small sleepy town not far from Sydney.

Finding out about herself and her mother is something young Benny is in search of .

At the same time the town finds they are in search of the reasons why a healthy looking man sits in front of an antique shop for hours then slips away.

Loved the characters, the red herrings and the cliff hangers.

Another wonderful book by Holly Throsby

You’ll be Inspired to learn more about some other great unsolved Australian mysteries too.

Charlie’s Adventures by Jacqueline De Rose-Ahern and illustrated by Sophie Norsa.

Charlie’s adventures in South Africa by Jacqueline De Rose-Ahern and illustrated by Sophie Norsa.

Have you ever wanted to visit South Africa but the thought of the long flight with small children was too much?

https://www.derose-ahernstories.com/

You will either be satisfied just reading this book or will be more inspired to head on over there after reading the adventures young Charlie has with his family in South Africa.

As you follow Charlie’s journey you will learn a little of the local lingo, meet the animals that live on the savannah, walk through the city, taste the local produce, dance to some music and of course help Charlie to solve the riddles in order to find hidden treasure!

After Charlie visits a new place in South Africa, he receives a clue which he needs to hold onto in order to solve the final riddle.

The characters talk about a map which they use to move around South Africa and I would recommend pulling out a map so children can see where they might be travelling to as they visit different places.

There is an added bonus in this story – a postcard at the back! Children love reading postcards and this one is blank, leaving space for children to write their own thoughts about this mini holiday!

Charlie’s adventures in South Africa is part of series of travel books for children (which I haven’t’ read, but would be interested in seeing as it is a different way to ignite interest in other countries and its people.) In Jacqueline’s other books he visits Australia, Hawaii and England.

Teacher’s will also love this book as it looks at a country in a different way – through the people and the eyes of a child. It will encourage an interest in maps and perhaps ignite some postcard sending!

What can you do in the classroom? 

– We looked at where South Africa was on the world map, then where is was in Africa.

– As I read the book I showed matching images from South Africa – to make connections.

– As I read I asked the children to listen to and look for clues.

– After we read the children in Kindergarten drew what they thought Charlie saw on his adventure. You can see below what they have drawn and written.

Join my facebook group – Growing Globally and socially conscious children – a closed group where we share ideas on how we can talk about big issues with young children through simple activities. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/sociallyconsciouschildren/about/

And join in on the Book Blog tour running this week!

blogtour

The gum family finds home by Tania McCartney and Christina Booth.

Do you actually know how hard it is to find the perfect home?

The Gum family are in need of a new home – it needs to be safe, secure ,comfortable and of course somewhere amongst the gum trees – where will it be?

Join Tania McCartney and Christina Booth as they take the Gum Family on a rocky adventure around Australia, visiting many different and amazing geological formations in Australia.

They visit the 12 apostles, wave rock, Kata Tjuta and the Glasshouse mountains – just to name a few. At each place the look for the perfect spot for a new home admiring the different ways the rocks have formed and changed over time.

Children have a great sense of wonderment and awe and this book arouses just that.

After we read this book we pulled out a map of Australia, books about each place visited and jumped on the internet to learn more.

The book does contain a map, small pieces of information and real photographs but the need to learn more was inspired – so we did just that!

Many students knew about Uluru and the Three Sisters but that was about it – so thank you to The Gum Family – these students all now know a lot more about the country they live in.

I also enjoyed pulling out old photographs of my trip around Australia to many of these places and reminiscing about how I felt in each location.

So this is what we did after we read the book:

– We researched further into each location and wrote down some more points.

– We worked out why tourists visit here and created a new brochure.

– We discussed what might happen if some of these places crumble up? Get destroyed by human interference?

– We discussed what koalas need in a perfect home.

What have you done with this book?