There are fish everywhere by Britta Teckentrup


This non-fiction hardcover book will delight anyone who has ever cast their eyes across a natural body of water and wondered what might lie underneath.

Colourful illustrations fill each page alongside with snippets of fishy facts. The facts are easy to read yet give the depth young fish enthusiasts crave and will perhaps inspire them to find out more.  

The number of different types of fish around the world is phenomenal. They can be bony or cartilaginous, live in salt or fresh water and some have even been found in caves, under ice and deserts!

Each fact is accompanied by an illustration making the information easier to digest and pour over. There are flow charts, timelines and diagrams as well as information that compares different types of fish.

There are fish everywhere by Britta Teckentrup is an excellent book to inspire a love of nature and the inner scientist!

Library lesson

Research a fish  that is local to your waters and draw or paint an image of it. Add a diagram or flowchart to describe more about this fish using ideas from the picture book

Sustainability

Why do we need so many different types of fish?

Look at the food chain and wonder what life would be like without fish.

Visual art

Research a fish

Science

Explore life cycles of different fish as inspired by Britta

Compare and contrast different types of fish

Geography

Learn about the world according to where different fish are found.

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Lucky and Spike by Norma MacDonald

Have you ever wondered what life is like out in the desert of Australia where the Spinifex grass grows and the stars shine all over the night sky?

Through the eyes of two cute hopping mice – Lucky and Spike – you and your young readers will see what they get up to each night as they search for food and escape from hungry predators!

Every night Lucky and Spike enjoy the spinifex seeds leftover from the local women who grind them to make bread but as we find out, they are not the only ones who are in search of food.

Lucky and Spike need to use their quick legs to escape a hungry feral cat and a barking owl but with the help of the camp dog and the sharp spinifex grass, they escape.

Norma Macdonald’s illustrations highlight the colours of the desert and the people who live there. The animals are full of life and we can see their movements over the pages as they hop, fly and run throughout the night.

There is so much to enjoy about this book and so much to learn, it is a must for anyone interested not only in the diverse landscapes, people and animals of Australia, but also the need for better solutions for native species.

The hopping mouse lives in Australia in small pockets of sand dunes, grasslands, gibber plains, heaths and open forest .   

They are on the vulnerable species list and are closely monitored by different conservation groups around Australia. Feral cats are a huge problem due to their ability to hunt the mouse with little detection. Other feral animals who roam free also play a role in the degradation of soil and small grasses – needed to provide safety and shelter.

Lucky and Spike is a fun book to read for younger children but also one which can be used for older readers to explore further into different desert animals.

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So what else can you do with this book?

Sustainability

Look at the final page in this story and read what Norma has written about feral cats. Explore the different organisations who are trying to cull these creatures and the different ways they are doing this.

Visual Arts and Artists.

Explore the art works by Norma MacDonald and other books she has written ( Spinifex Mouse by Magabala books)

Literacy

Find the verbs used to describe how the animals move around. Create a list of other verbs these different animals might use during the night and then during the day.

Science

Research further about Spinifex Hopping mice and Barking owls.

Discover how cats become feral.

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The rule of one by Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders.

Without thinking, I touch my right wrist, where a microchip should be. A permanent reality of being the second-born in a Rule of One America: I don’t really exist.

With vivid descriptions and conversations between key characters engaging, The rule of one by Ashley and Leslie Saunders, is a new dystopian book series set in the not too distant future.

Written from the point of view of twins – alternating chapters – we meet the new America, one which has brought about the rule of the one child policy in order to save humanity from destruction.

The new world is tightly monitored by a ruthless government who monitors every microchipped citizen. Everything is controlled for the apparent greater good, but the cracks are starting to show.

Our key protagonists, Ava and Mira, are identical twins, who have lived life safely by carefully engaging with society in an identical manner with no one noticing them. Each day one twin attends school while the other stays in the basement. Each day they eat as a family swapping the smallest of details so the other twin can rise to the surface and play the role again.

Life seems well played by the twins until someone notices a difference and this is wear the adventure to not only save their own lives begins, but a journey to save the people from the overruling government.

Tweens and Young adults will enjoy the story, although similar in some ways to other dystopian books and I wasn’t quite sure the ending was powerful enough, they will enjoy reading this and the sequel

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The elephant by Jenni Desmond

Once upon a time, a child took a book from the shelf and started to read……

About elephants.

The elephant by Jenni Desmond is a beautiful non-fiction picture book which will teach you almost everything you need to know about elephants and the important role they play in the world.

Did you know that without elephants watering holes would remain shallow? Or that pathways through the rainforests would not be accessible to smaller creatures? Or perhaps that their poo is not only a source of food for other animals but also a place to carry seeds for many different types of plants.

The pictures in this book are stunning and although the writing is lengthy for younger readers they will soak up the information whilst staring at the sketches.

Jenni Desmond has written two other books about endangered species, highlighting the importance for us to take a lot more care of them. With growing population and a demand for space to grow food, humans are encroaching on their space to live and pathways to move.

I only just read an article last week about elephants in India and the deadly clashes that are occurring each year. 

Stories about endangered animals are important but so are factual books. We need to know more about these species so we can talk to governments around the world and demand that more care is taken.

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

  1. Look at other books about elephants – non fiction and fiction!
  2. Work on your own project about the history between humans and elephants. How have we felt about them throughout history? Why have things changed?
  3. Explore the different places elephants live and the positive encounters people have with them.
  4. Explore other animals who have helpful poo. What might the world look like if poo was not deposited they way it is?
  5. Create your own information book like Jenni Desmond’s that highlight important facts about another endangered animal.
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Visit my facebook group – Growing globally and socially conscious children to explore more ideas together!

The Squid, the Vibrio and the Moon by Ailsa Wild, Aviva Reed, Briony Barr, Gregory Crocetti and Linda Blackall.

The squid sucks in water and the current whooshes Ali and Mai closer and closer

Meet Ali and Mai , Vibrio fischeri Bacterium, who live inside Sepio – a Bobtail Squid. These three creatures need each other and live in ‘Symbiosis’, helping each other to grow and survive.

This story has been broken up into three sections – the first explores the life cycle of Ali and Mai and their need to find a safe place inside Sepio’s body where they can not only survive but provide the Squid with something precious too – light!

The second part of this book explores why Sepio needs the light organ to light up inside of this body as without it he will not be able to hide from hungry predators!

The third section of this book if full of facts about each character in the story, what symbiosis is and how bacteria create light. The fantastic thing about this section is that the facts are written for children yet done in a way that even younger children can draw some meaning from the pictures.

The Squid, the Vibrio and the Moon is another well written book published by CSIRO that gives all readers the opportunity to learn more about topics that may be otherwise too difficult to understand.

Giving the helpful bacteria (Ali, Mai), protozoa (perhaps too scary for a name), Spirillum (Spiri) and Haemocyte’s (I am the guardian Haemocyte) names , make the existence of these microscopic creatures real to younger children. When something can’t be seen (even for adults) it’s hard to know it even exists. BUT with names and personalities given to these life forms, you can talk about them in much more depth and explore what they do with more interest.

All children who I have read this book to have enjoyed it for a myriad of reasons – some enjoy the facts section at the back, others enjoy the story, some enjoy the sketches of the different sea creatures and of course many enjoy the whole book!

It is a book that can be used as a springboard into both Science and English lessons in the classroom. Mathematic skills could also be drawn upon with the comparisons of different sizes of each character.

Teacher notes can be accessed here: https://www.publish.csiro.au/book/7852/#forteachers

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We are all equal by P.Crumble and Jonathon Bentley

We are all equal.

Let’s shout it out loud.

We share hope and dreams, we’re equal and proud.

A book to make your heart sing, a book to teach others, a book to realise how similar we all are and a book to read again and again.

We are all equal by P.Crumble and Jonathon Bentley is a simple yet rich book in the message it sends to anyone who reads it – we are all equal.

The story and the pictures match perfectly as they show the differences that we have in looks but the similarities we have in feelings, the differences we have in how we do things but the similarities we have in emotions.

We are all equal by P.Crumble and Jonathon Bentley is a great book to share with young children as it can start a great conversation as to why we are all equal. It will put aside any prejudices children may have from learnt behaviour and it will open up a space to ask questions about the world and the people within.

We are all equal by P.Crumble and Jonathon Bentley is a must read for any home or classroom and there are so many things you can do with the book.

What can you do?

  • Draw your own picture of why you think we are all equal at school , home or in the community.

  • Explore times when people do not think they are equal – this could open up into a project for older students. They can examine an event which showed how people have shown hatred or mistrust for another group of people. Examine why this happened and if there was a resolution.

  • Explore why animals have been used in this picture book instead of people.

  • Go deeper into each page and explore what – in human terms – does each double page spread mean to us? Try and find links in your own lives and recreate pages for your home or classroom.
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When the whales walked by Dougal Dixon and Hannah Bailey

When the whales walked by Dougal Dixon and Hannah Bailey is an excellent book for both young and older readers.

Learn about the evolution of not only whales but many other animals that walk this planet.

A great book for budding scientists, environmentalists and explorers of the world!

So what else can you do with this book?

We have created our own puppet show with some pictures we cut out from the exhibition at the Australian Museum.

We have also created a timeline on our kitchen wall which shows different animals who were present in the different eras leading up to ours.

We have wondered what might evolve next….can you think of what might be evolving right now?

Letters to change the world

Christmas has just passed and perhaps your house is now filled with excess toys and packaging.

Over summer we have been talking about toy quality and how some last, while others don’t, which toys are great to have and which ones we will forget about in one week.

From this we have decided to write letters to toy companies and asking them to make changes to the material toys and their packaging is made out of.

I have done this in class with a group of Year 2 students so any age group can follow the following formula to make a letter be read and replied to.

Here is a suggestion of how to get children to enjoy writing letters to companies of their favourite toys…. It’s simple and allows the children to still enjoy having toys – but gets them to think about how small changes can make a big difference!

Dear (Try to find the name of the CEO),

  1. Talk about why you love their toys and all of the things you like to do with them.
  2. Give them a suggestion as to how these toys could be changed so they have less of a devastating effect on the environment.
  3. Tell them that you hope you can see a change and you are looking forward to a reply.
  4. Sign off and add a return address.

Can you inspire your child to write a letter to a company asking them to make a change for the good of the world?

Minimising waste and reading more books!

2018 has been a great year, filled with so many wonderful books sent for reviews and bought for home or our school library.

I don’t have the time right now to list all of my favourites and I don’t know if I can choose either!! But here are a few Recent ones:

Another great thing that has happened this year is our movement towards creating less waste in landfill this year.

We’ve kept on composting and worm farming,

Reducing our food waste by making banana peel cake

Making our own dishwashing detergent, dishwasher powder and other sprays around the house!

And trying to use less packaging where we can.

I’m hoping to share more tips and tricks for parents to create less landfill waste in their homes without stressing about being zero waste – which I am sure turns many people off as it is quite unattainable for many who work full or part time, live in the suburbs, have kids, care for others .

If you know anyone who would like to join me and learn from my mistakes and my successes then pass on my blog.

See you in 2019!

Where do odd socks go? By Yvonne and illustrated by Sunshine

Did you know that around 84 million socks go missing in the UK every month? 

Did you also know that there are around 65 million people who are refugees or asylum seekers in the world?

‘Where do odd socks go?’ covers both these topics and more and is one to share with anyone who lives in the world.

This colourful picture book covers the pertinent issue of minority groups in our society through the use of odd socks. It is not only a fun way to view this huge issue of people who are often forgotten, but also an empowering way to show children that they can make a difference to these people’s lives. 

On the first double page spread you will meet the main characters of the story – the Outrank team (members of this team are out to rescue the odd socks) and then the odd socks (socks who feel lonely, left out, different, worried or bullied).

It’s important to spend some time here looking at the different socks and wondering why they feel the way they do – and relating this to people in our society. 

You’ll then meet Tilly and Tolin,  twins with special powers, who are out to rescue the odd socks with the help of the Outrank team.

Children will travel through the book with the characters in order to find the different socks and see that team work is a marvellous tool.

You’ll also journey to Egypt and learn a fascinating fact (that the oldest pair of stockings were found in a circa 500AD tomb uncovered by archaeologists) and see that despite everyone’s differences, we are all important members of society. 

Not only is this picture book fun to read, it is also a book you can draw many different discussions from. You will enlighten children about the important differences between us all, the importance of team work and most importantly the importance of looking out for each other.

The illustrations are fantastic – we loved looking at the different characters and their interesting antics.  The layout of this story make the book fun and both of these combined allow this story to be engaging and easier to grasp the different socks and their needs.  

Where do odd socks go? By Yvonne and illustrated by Sunshine is a much needed story and one to share with as many children as you can! 

Teacher notes to come soon – watch this space! 

War is over by David Almond, illustrated by David Litchfield.

Dear Jan, I am a boy like you. I am not at war with you. You are, not at war with me. Your friend, Jan. 

It’s 1918 in England and the war is raging. John is a young boy who lives with his mother – who works in the biggest ammunition factory in the world, and wonders about his father who he can’t remember all that well, who is away fighting in the trenches in France.

John knows in his heart that war is wrong but nearly all the adults around him tell him that he must engage in the fighting by disliking anything about the enemy.

They tell him that this war could go on forever.

He writes to the King of England and the Archbishop of Canterbury asking for them to tell him when it will be over.

No answer.

The concept of forever is enormous for anyone let alone a young child. In 1918 ‘forever’ would have felt never ending as communication was so much slower and children were very sheltered from what they could and could not hear.

Jan cares for his mother who doesn’t know why she is at war. He wonders why no one stands up and cares about the foreverness of the situation.

He becomes friends with a man who everyone else thinks is crazy – but all Uncle Gordon wants to do is to help people to realise that not every German person is evil.

He meets a young German boy in the forest and tells him that he is not at war with him.

Jan is strong and determined yet shows the weaknesses of any young child. He shows that if we can see the world through eyes of understanding that perhaps these wars could never happen again – if we just see each other as equal.

The simple black and white illustrations allow younger readers to understand more about the concepts of war, love, loss and government in this book. The illustrations also show both the stark reality of war – the loneliness and desolation – and the peacefulness of the world when war is over.

War is over by David Almond, illustrated by David Litchfield is a book for children over the age of ten to read as the concept of war, although told in story form is still heavy and saddening. We need children to be aware of what happened but we also need to be able to discuss the different viewpoints.

This book would also be an excellent book to read aloud in the classroom. It would ignite many conversations and debates and possible plans for the future.

War is over by David Almond, illustrated by David Litchfield.

Buy here today:

War is Over

Lesson ideas here: https://www.hachetteschools.co.uk/blog/2018/11/04/the-big-topic-wwi-and-wwii/

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.

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!

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.

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!

 

 

 

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!

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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.

Wide Big World by Maxine Beneba Clarke and Isobel Knowles

Difference is everywhere, just look and see. This whole – wide-big -world is wondrous unique.

 

The sing song nature of this picture book along with the big bright illustrations tantalises all of the senses and brings about great discussions about the diversity of the world.

We look at the differences between people and the differences in nature, we see differences in the weather and differences in how we see the world.

Wide Big world highlights the differences in all of us – but shows that these differences make the world a wonderful place to live in.

As we travel through the story we see that it is a wonderfully wide big world that we live in and we need to see the joy in everything that makes it wonderful.

Children will see that it doesn’t matter what we look like or where we live-they will see that kindness and happiness rule above all and the appreciation that every day is a gift.

Wide big world is a wonderful celebration of the world we live in and a great book to start many discussions about how we can all be better people in the community we live in.

Freedom machines by Kirli Saunders

She was small when she heard about them…the incredible freedom machines.

 

The incredible freedom machines is a beautifully written picture book that takes us on a journey of exploration, creativity and adventure into the unknown.

The machines this young girl seeks out are hard to come by but with perseverance and patience she finds one that is just right for her.

Once found she can escape the reality of the dreary life she lives behind fences and boundaries and seek places that smell delicious, taste like happiness and feel like home.

The incredible Freedom machines focuses in on the importance of imagination and the ability to find places to escape to when reality isn’t what we want it to be.

When I read this to the classes at school we found that the issues of children in refugee camps was something that came through in the illustrations by Matt Ottley — knowing that many of them would have to use their imagination every day so that life inside these camps would not get them down.

We loved the richness of the illustrations as the main character escapes her home and explores the big wide world.

The incredible freedom machines is a book to be read over and over, enjoying not only the flow of the story but also the deeper meanings within.

The Ocean Emporium by Susie Brooks and Dawn Cooper

An emporium is a place where you can view a large variety of things.

So the title ocean emporium is the perfect title to open children’s eyes to the abundance of amazing creatures that live within.

With 24 different categories, each double page spread allows the reader to learn about the different animals that swim in our abundant waters. With stunning illustrations not only will the reader read the facts, they will also see the creature in all of its glory.

We were amazed as we  learnt about 8 different jellyfish and the way they all move, help each other and protect themselves.

Dolphins leapt off the page at us and we were very impressed with the pink colours of the Chinese White Dolphin.

Even coral had a mention – the truly amazing living thing that it is, and we learnt about  the different latin names they have and ways that they grow.

The Ocean Emporium  by Susie Brooks and Dawn Cooper is a book to allow children to leap into non-fiction and really whet their appetite for deeper knowledge.

The illustrations are full of colour and there is just enough information for young readers to enjoy without being overwhelmed.

The Ocean Emporium is a wonderful journey to embark upon as you’ll discover secrets, learn new information and most importantly realise how important it is to take care of the world around us.

So what else can you do with this book?

Visit:

Visit your local waterway and discover what swims beneath the surface.

Go to local museums, aquariums and science spaces to learn more.

Act:

Buy less fish – the less we buy, the smaller the demand and the less sea creatures getting caught in nets unnecessarily

Ask: 

  • Choose a creature or a group of creatures and learn more about them.
  • Find out which of these animals live in the oceans near you.
  • Are any of these animals endangered? What can we do to help them?
  • Can you create an insect emporium? Monotreme? Mammal? Marsupial? Sky emporium?

Wisp by Zana Fraillon

One day, a Wisp flew in on the evening wind. Dust rose up in swarms around it, feet trampled it into the dirt, nobody noticed it.

Nobody, except Idris.

Zana Fraillon , author of the Bone Sparrow and The ones that disappeared –  has again touched upon such an important topic that needs more action – the people who have to live in refugee camps for long periods of time.

So many people flee their home countries every day in our world and most of these people end up in Refugee camps because they have left  everything they own behind them.

However, The story of wisp focuses on hope- hope that one day there will be more to life than just wire fences, tents and desolation.

A small boy by the name of Idris sits alone one day only to notice a small wisp floating around the camp, resting on those it passes by.

With each touch, the Wisp brings magic. With each touch, the wisp brings memories.

Memories get passed around on the wisp as adults and older children remember the wonderful things that had happened to them – before they became refugees and  lived in the camp.

But when Idris, the main character of the story holds the wisp close, nothing happens, as all he knows is life in the camp.

But Idris sees past this and  realises that the wisp for him can be a promise – a promise of life beyond the fence, a life full of excitement, adventure and love.

Wisp allows the reader to see that there is hope and with continued pressure on the government to help there people, someday they will all be able to make wonderful memories again.

So what else can you do? 

Join my facebook group where we talk about ways we can inform children and the wider community about the big issues facing us today:

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

Teacher notes: https://www.hachette.com.au/content/resources/9780734418043-teachers-resources.pdf

Visit: http://refugeecampauburn.com.au and book a time to visit what a refugee camp looks like.

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Act: Join groups that send books and packages to children in dentention: https://befriendachildindetention.wordpress.com

Even something as small as a letter can bring hope to a child in detention. 

Ask:

  • How can we give children in detention hope?
  • Explore other books about refugees – do these all give hope?
  • Draw your own wisp and draw what would be inside of it if you had to live in a refugee camp.