Song Bird: Rainforest Rescue

Teach, Restore, Encourage, Establish, Support

These wise words come not only from our superhero – Songbird, but her friends and teachers who learn that looking after the world – especially rainforests, is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the future is much brighter.

ktyrrell-songbird-rainforest-cover-ebook-catalogue

SongBird: Rainforest rescue is the third book in the Song Bird series, written by Karen Tyrell (with guest posts by Steve Tyrell in chapters 2 and 10).

Song bird has had some great adventures so far and even though we thought that Destructo was gone, we discover in the early chapters that he is back, and ready to destroy a rainforest.

This time Songbird and her friends are on a camp in the Gondwana Rainforest and it is a race against time if they are to save this world heritage listed rainforest from Destructo.

With magic interwoven within the rainforest and it’s amazing Beech trees, Song Bird travels back in time to ancient Australia where dinosaurs roamed and mythical snakes slither.  They are chased by Bunyips and Yowie’s and haunted by Destructo’s evil plans. They travel through different eras helping animals and meeting indigenous Australians – who teach them about the importance of nature and living in harmony with the natural world.

Friendship, belief in oneself and a love for the natural world are all strong themes throughout this story – some of the best themes for young children to read about.

Friendship helps us to do things we might otherwise never do.

Believing in ourselves is what keeps us going, is what helps us to rise up when life challenges us and spurs us on to do what we think is right.

Song Bird is a great role model to look up to, and even though she has superpowers, the strength to take on those who are doing wrong is something that we all can do – especially with like minded support around us.

We loved reading the third installment of Song Bird and loved learning more about the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia – perhaps inspiring a visit to a few more of them in the next holiday!

Barry Watson & Karen Tyrrell

So what else can you do?

Explore:

Find out where the Gondwana rainforests of Australia are.

Are there any threats to these rainforests?

What is the meaning of friendship?

What was Australia like during the era of the dinosaurs? What was Australia like when the Indigenous people were free to live on the land before the British colonists came?

Think:

What do the words Teach, Restore, Encourage, Establish, Support mean to you? How can you do all of these things in your life and your community?

Act:

What is something you can save or change in your community? Can you stop the use of balloons? straws? plastic waste at school? Remember, you have the qualities of Song Bird and her friends – you can do it!

Music:

Find out more about the different songs Song Bird sings throughout the novel – what do you think of all of these and do they have anything in common?

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The Garden of Hope by Isabel Otter and Katie Rewse

A young girl, a father and a dog – together yet alone since her mother passed away.

The house was a mess, the little girl Maya felt lonely and often sad and anxious.

But on one particularly sad day, her father tells her about the garden and how much it meant to her mother – especially when she was worried about something.

So grabbing gloves and boots Maya takes on the garden overgrown with weeds.

Maya tidies the garden and freshens the soil and we see by her face that she is relaxed and happier, doing something she knew her mother loved too.

Seeds are sown and hope is planted – then finally they grow.

Maya cared for the garden as much as she could, spending more time out there when she felt angry or upset and helping her father to spend time out there too.

Together they made the garden beautiful again and together they found hope – that despite all the darkness that they were feeling there was beauty in the world and because of the hope they had sowed – it had become even more beautiful!

The Garden of Hope is a story to read with anyone who has lost someone as it  provides hope.

Together you can see that life can be beautiful despite all the darkness and that if we continue to do things that make us feel joy, place more beauty back in the world and support each other, life can be the joyous place that it is meant to be.

Death can be a difficult topic to talk about and books are a great way to start this conversation. You may not talk about much more than the story but it may ignite that small flame inside the young children to know that life can go on.

Keep this book to share with someone you know needs some hope in their lives.

Where in the Wild by Jonny Lambert

“The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak, so we must and we will” – Theodore Roosevelt.

Where in the Wild by Jonny Lambert is an engaging picture book which shows the reader the beauty of different habitats and the animals that live within each one.

On each double page spread we learn about the plants that make the space habitable for the diverse group of animals who choose to make it there home – but there is a great aspect to each page which young children will love.

On each page is a window to another page which shows how some animals can live in two different types of habitats – even when they are quite different – we loved guessing where they might lived the first time we read the book and enjoyed talking about how they can live in both habitats on subsequent occasions.

On each page are colourful pictures of the animals, plants and insects interacting accompanied by rhyming story and also some small facts about different types of animals.

Where in the Wild by Jonny Lambert is a great book to raise awareness about how animals need special places to survive and it is up to us to ensure there are more of these areas – not less.

So what else can you do with this book?

SUSTAINABILITY

In your local area is there habitat for different animals? Find out who lives here and how they live in this environment.

Can you make your local green spaces better places to live for local animals? Try planting more trees and having less grass or built up space.

GLOBAL ISSUES

Where in the world do large rates of deforestation occur and why? (Geography Link, Numeracy Link)

Explore why people chop down large areas of trees and which country is most responsible  – is it the country where the trees are or countries that buy the products or two own the land?

ANIMAL CONSERVATION

Explore the life cycle of different animals and why they need certain habitats as they change and grow. (Science link)

Which animals in the world can only survive in certain areas?

How many different types of animals are on each page? Explore a favourite of yours and the area they live in.

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/

How to Bee by Bren Mac Dibble.


Have you ever wondered about what life would look like if there were only a small amount of bees left in the world?

This is a very real problem and one book that made me shudder with the possibility of being real.

Meet tough, smart and vibrant Peony, an ten year old farm girl who works in the Goulburn Valley of NSW, Australia. Peony works hard on the farm, manually removing bugs from crops as pesticides have been banned – however becoming a Bee is what she dreams of. Being a Bee is one of the most important roles in this futuristic society as the young and nimble need to do the job the bees once did – pollinating flowers.

Peony lives with her grandfather and sister but the community around them and the bond they all have is amazing and something to aspire due despite the poverty they live in. Peony’s mother wants more than farm life and takes Peony off to the city to earn real money. Despite her utter dislike for city life, huge disparity being rich and poor and still the utter disregard for the hard work of farmers, Peony learns about the importance of friendship, family and kind acts.

How to Bee brought a tear to my eye and although it may seem like a bleak outlook from the start it shows how strong the human spirit is and the need we all have to belong and live in harmony.

Perhaps if the big supermarkets and chemical companies read this story they would start to change how they see the world and start to think more about the impact we are having on the future.

There are some areas of the world where this form of pollination is already happening today – I’m not sure if we want this to spread to all areas of the world. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/humans-bees-china_us_570404b3e4b083f5c6092ba9?section=australia

So what can you do?

Bee and Me

The Book of Bees

Bee

Oxfam Shop

Along came a different by Tom McLaughlin

Children and adults alike will be inspired by this picture book that shows us that even if we look different, act different or like different things – we can all be friends!

Along came a different by Tom McLaughlin is a story about shapes – reds that love being red, yellows that love being yellow and blues that love being blue but the problem is they love being themselves so much that they can’t seem to like each other – that is until some very different shapes come along and make the reds, blues and yellows realise just how silly they are acting!

This is a great book to look at the importance of accepting all different people who live in our society and that in the end we are all very different – which is great!

Children can also explore different shapes both regular and irregular, colours of different objects and the beauty we see when colours get all mixed together.

Try this book to ignite some great conversations amongst both adults and children in a time when we really need to foster acceptance in the multicultural societies we all live in today.

Peg and Cat by Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson

Eid al-Adha is something unfamiliar to my children so this book was a perfect way to introduce them to this very special time of year.

With mathematics, singing and celebrating, this picture book opens up minds to learning and fun!

We learnt that meat needs to be divided into three equal parts, we need to share with those less fortunate and eat delicious food with our family and friends.

If you love maths but are also looking for another way to learn about the world you live in – this book is fantastic!

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/

Around the world in 50 ways.

If you had a round the world ticket where would you go?  

This great new book by Lonely planet allows children to participate in a choose your own adventure style travel book – what fun!

As you arrive at each destination you learn something new and get to decide how you will travel – which allows you to move to a new country depending on the mode you choose.

The information is short and simple so kids will learn just enough before moving on and the way you travel to the next city teaches children about distances between places.

Travel is important but it is more important to understand the places you are travelling to and in – we shouldn’t expect places we visit to be like our own cities.

By introducing children to facts and figures about new places that are different to our own it can show them how wonderful travelling can be – as they will learn about a new culture, be part of the lifestyle and absorb language and mannerisms.

Round the world in 50 ways is such a fun way to teach geography and can be read again and again!

Want to know how to be a globally conscious traveller? Check out this post:

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/

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/

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

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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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. 

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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. 

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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?

International Mud Day

Today is International Mud Day.

Is this your worst nightmare or a wonderful idea of fun?

International Mud day began in 2009 at a World Forum when Gillian McAuliffe from Australia and Bishnu Bhatta from Nepal got together to talk about ways to encourage feelings of community and appreciation for the world around us. They discussed the challenges children face when playing together in the mud. On the plane returning from the Forum, McAuliffe contemplated the obstacles that stand between many children and their ability to enjoy the simple, natural act of playing in mud. Challenges such as cultural preferences for cleanliness, lack of access to “disposable” clothing that can be dirtied and proper cleaning supplies, or dry, sandy geography not conducive to muddy conditions. So this is where Mud day grew from the idea that we should all be able to get down and dirty and have fun in mud, no matter where we live in the world.

SO —

The one thing you need to do on International Mud Day is: GET DIRTY!

It doesn’t have to be mud; it could be also be dirt or sand but just one way we can get down and play with the simpler things in life.

So what can you do on this day of mud?

 – Find some mud and stomp in it!

– Find some sand and build castles in it!

– Use your imagination and build something with your hands out of natural material.

Read some books about mud

Read some books about nature play such as:

Cicada by Shaun Tan

Another brilliant book by Shaun Tan – Cicada is a book with subtext for both older children and adults but with illustrations that young children will enjoy too.

Cicada is a story about a cicada who works in a dreary office building, performing the same task day in, day out with no recognition or appreciation of the effort he puts in.

Cicada is treated poorly, ignored by colleagues and constantly calls out ‘Tok, Tok, Tok”, which could represent the noise of a keyboard, the clicking of a clock, the noise cicadas make or perhaps even the monotone thoughts of the office workers. Whatever you take it to mean, it shows the bland existence of humans and this cicada.

But all this changes on Cicada’s last day of work, where instead of having a farewell party or a thank you handshake he simply packs up his desk and ascends the stairs.

The stairs to say farewell to this greyscale existence.

The stairs to something much more wonderful, so much so that the cicada wonders why the humans haven’t worked it out yet.

I won’t spoil it here – you’ll have to read it yourself!

So what else can you do with this book at home and at school?

Younger readers.

Younger readers may not see the subtext of this book but other issues can be explored such as:

– Explore the life cycle of a cicada and the time the spent underground compared to the time above.

– Think about what you would do if you had to live in a world without colour, creativity or fun. How would you feel?

– What does ‘Tok, Tok, Tok” mean to you? What sound would you make if you worked in a world like this?

Why do the humans think he is worse than them? Why do they ignore him or make him go to the toilet out of the building (this can be linked to some women’s prejudice issues of the past).

Why do you think the cicada never left his job?

– What is the importance of getting out into the world around us and exploring more than just making money?

– Why do we need nature? Why do we need to explore?

– Is money really that important? (Big idea – take time to discuss this)

And here are some more in depth ideas if you wish to study this book for older readers:

Notes from Hachette, click here.  

Join my facebook group – growing globally and socially conscious children to swap ideas to help young children tackle the big issues!

Girl on Wire by Lucy Estela and Elise Hurst

A girl stands before a wire, anxious about walking across the tightrope that is so far above the ground.

The wind whips her cheeks and the thunder clouds growl – but she knows she needs to walk it.

Courage, confidence and self belief are strong themes throughout this picture book – but they all come with something else – support from those around you.

We can all have confidence, courage and belief in ourselves but none of this will continue to reign if others around us do not support us.

The young girl in this story is experiencing something that many young children will go through at any time of their life – anxiety, self doubt and loss of confidence. The wire represents the hard times, times when we have to try something new or events that make us uncomfortable. But, with the support of those we love, out toes can curl around the wire a little bit tighter, we can stand a little bit taller and we can walk a little bit more confidently.

Girl on a Wire is a simple yet inspiring story.

Accompanied by the painted illustrations of Elise Hurst, with colours that represent the girls thoughts, we can not only read how the girl is feeling, we can also see how she is feeling.

Girl on a Wire is a an excellent story to start conversations about self confidence and the power of believing in yourself . It is also a story to encourage the awareness that we can allow those who you trust to help support you too – we don’t need to do it all alone.

So what else can you do with this book?

 – Explore with your child people who they trust to help them when they need support.

– Explore times we they have asked for support – did it help?

– Explore times when they didn’t ask for support – what happened, could you still do this big task? Could support have helped you?

ACTIVITY: Draw a wire between two buildings and at one end write something that you really want to be able to do. Along the wire write down the people who need to be there to support you and the things you need to do in order to achieve this goal.

– What do you think the feathers represent? What is a symbol for you to help you get through the tough times?

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/

Let them explore

It is in every person’s nature to be an explorer. And to be a real explorer you need to visit unknown places with an open mind and an open heart.

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Exploring doesn’t necessarily mean jumping on a plane and going to another country. Exploring can simply mean jumping into someone else’s shoes for a moment or two and finding out what the world looks like from another perspective.

 

Your library is a doorway to exploring.

 

In our library we can find so many different characters, places and times that will allow us to explore who we are and who other people can be.

 

Your child might be exploring what life was like over 100 years ago or perhaps what life on earth would be like if we all became zombies. Perhaps they are jumping into the shoes of a holocaust survivor or a future astronaut.

 

When your child brings home a book from the library ask them what it is about, find out how their perspective might be changing because of this book and what other books they could jump into to open up their world just a little bit more.

 

Stories make us Honest

 

The theme for stories this month, as written by Australian Children’s Laureate – Morris Gleitzman, is ‘Just admit it: Stories make us honest’

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Many stories that we read have an element of truth to them and perhaps ask us to question our own actions too. Here are some prompts to help you think a little bit more about the truth:

  • What is the truth? Can it be different in different settings? with different characters and different times?
  • Do people really like finding out the truth?
  • Should characters always seek to find the truth?
  • Can truth be hurtful or wonderful? Or both?
  • Can you think of some stories where the character had to find out more truths about themselves before they could move on?
  • Have you ever told yourself a story to help you learn or cope about the truth?

Explore the truth through some of these books:

Out by Angela May George

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

Room on our Rock by Kate and Jol Temple

Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

Feathers by Phil Cummings

Children in our world: Refugees and Migrants

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

Continue reading

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

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

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

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

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

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Feather by Phil Cummings

Ada’s Violin by Susan Hood

Say Yes: A story of friendship and hope

Children in our world: Refugees and Migrants

Whatcha Building by Andrew Daddo

I’m Australian too by Mem Fox

The Ones that Disappeared by Zana Fraillon

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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/