The box cars by Robert Vescio and Cara King

Do you remember when you had more fun playing with a box than the toy that can inside it?

Have you ever watched young children play with an abandoned box for days on end?

The Box Cars by Robert Vescio and Cara King is a delightful picture book that shows young readers the fun they can have with boxes!

We meet two best friends – Liam and Kai who are experts in making different types of box cars and racing them around the local park. It isn’t until one day that they notice someone watching them that they realise how special friends and imagination are.

Soon enough – with a bit of problem solving – their duo becomes a trio and even more box filled fun takes place!

Simple yet brightly lit illustrations by Cara King fill each page and clearly show the emotions of the children as they play. They give a sense of freedom with imagination and nature at the heart of every page.

The story delves into the wonders of imaginative play and friendship and the problems that arise when we need to consider the needs of every one around us.

The Box Cars will open up the opportunity to get children outside with their imaginations instead of inside in front of a screen. It will encourage discussions about friendships and help children to see wonder in the simple things!

So what else can you do with this book?

Literacy

Grammar – Look at the different types of verbs used to describe how the characters do different things throughout the story. Replace these verbs with different or more plain verbs and see how the story changes.

Visual literacy – Every page is a whole page illustration except for one double page spread when Eve is not in a box car. Why is this the only page that does this?

STEM

Design and Make – Build something of your own out of a box that could serve a purpose in the school playground. Create plans before it is made and outline the clear purpose.

History

Toys in the past – explore how children made toys of their own in the past. What materials did they use and how did they make them?

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Who dresses God? Written by Teena Raffa-Mulligan and Illustrated by Veronica Rooke

Children have so many thoughtful questions that not only do they want answered but encourage us, as the adults, to think about the responses. 

Who dresses God? Written by Teena Raffa-Mulligan and Illustrated by Veronica Rooke is a softly written story that explores a child’s wonderment and awe of the concept of God.

With genuine interest the child wants to know who looks after God, where does he live, how does he see or even hear? 

And the parent’s response is genuine. 

Through rhyme, the concept of God is explained. His beauty, love and kindness are everywhere and in everything. God is linked to everything the child knows and wonders about and perhaps by the end of the book the concept of who God is makes a lot more sense. 

Talking about who God is can be difficult not only to explain, but to understand.  This book – Who dresses God? Written by Teena Raffa-Mulligan and Illustrated by Veronica Rooke  – is a perfect way for any perplexed adult to explain God to their child. 

Rhyming words curl through the pages, flowing beautifully to explain how God is special – just like us.  The illustrations help the younger reader to see the story and add that extra detail to why God has created the world we love and care for. 

I highly recommend this delightful picture book for any family wanting to explain who God is, what makes our world so special and what makes us, as people special members of the world that has been made for us. 

Make sure you take part in the rest of this wonderful Blog Tour and check out my facebook pages for extra discussions about books and environmental stewardship!

Growing globally and socially conscious children: https://www.facebook.com/groups/sociallyconsciouschildren/about/

Educate Empower: https://www.facebook.com/educateempower11/

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

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:

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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 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.

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.

Something for Fleur by Catherine Pelosi and Caitlin Murray

Have you ever waited and waited for your birthday?

Have you been left to wonder and guess what gifts you might receive from your friends?

Something for Fleur by Catherine Pelosi and Caitlin Murray is a sweet story about Fleur the flamingo and a special plan her best friend has for her birthday.

We had a wonderful time reading this story. The illustrations are full of life and the story is so sweet.

Younger readers revelled in thinking about the clues offered in each letter Fleur the Flamingo received. They loved looking through the illustrations to see what the different characters were up to each day.

This book is a great way to introduce the use of adjectives and the skill of writing a letter to someone.

This is what we got up to in the classroom:

We wrote letters to someone we thought needed cheering up or someone we had never met – a child in detention or a child in hospital. It was really lovely to see what students wrote in these letters.

I also invited students to choose to write clues – which was aimed at the more competent learners as writing clues can be quite difficult.

What have you done with this story?

Read, read and read by Elizabeth Grocery and Liv.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what else can you do with this book?

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

The 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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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:

The Explorer by Katherine Rundell

When you get home, tell them how large the world is, and how green. And tell them that the beauty of the world makes demands on you. They will need reminding.

Although I found this book slow to start, once it did start it was amazing. So many different themes shine through this book – friendship, courage, environmental stewardship, adventure, kindness, creativity, problem solving, teamwork and independence.

Four young children – Fred, Con, Lila and Max – are aboard a tiny plane flying over the Amazon Rainforest when it crashes – leaving them stranded in the middle of nowhere and without an adult to help guide them.

Using their own basic knowledge they start to look after each other in an environment that is completely foreign to them.

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The Explorer

Eating new food, sleeping outdoors, observing animal behaviour and hunting for meals are all a part of survival in this green and lush rainforest.

But it is only by chance that Fred discouvers a map and with his own knowledge of past explorers convinces the group that they need to follow the river to get back home.

The children discover much more than they thought they would and learn so much more about themselves that they ever knew. I can’t give anymore away – you’ll have to read it to find out.

Young children will want to go out and explore after reading this book and hopefully realise how important it is to explore places but not destroy them. Many beautiful places on this earth have been destroyed by humans because we all want to see it.

Perhaps we can still see these amazing places but we need to see them for what they are – not what we want them to be.

If you take anything away from this book it should be the idea of conservation. Conservation of indigenous tribes and their language and culture, conservation of plants in their natural habitat and conservation of all types of animals.

Without conservation there will be nothing left on earth to explore and without anything to explore the human spirit dies.

Let’s keep our planet for what it is – think about what you can do to ensure it is conserved in the natural state it once was.

‘You don’t have to be in the jungle to be an explorer,’ he said. ‘ Every human on this earth is an explorer. Exploring is nothing more than paying attention….that’s what the world asks of you. If you pay ferocious attention to the world, you will be as safe as it is possible to be. ‘

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The perfect Leaf by Andrew Plant

But the leaves were so beautiful they had to be shown, they had to be shared.

 

Have you ever wondered at the colours of the autumn leaves? HAve you ever looked so closely to see the different colours of each individual leaf?

 

The Perfect Leaf by Andrew Plant will help you to see the wonder that is nature.

 

Each leaf that falls to the ground during autumn is so different – whether it be in colour, shapes or texture. Whether is is damaged, unmarked or broken – each leaf tells a different story.

 

In The Perfect Leaf, two girls meet and play. They search for the most perfect leaf of gold, red and crimson. They dive deep, throw leaves into the air and swim around in search of the most perfect leaf there could ever be.

 

But soon they discover that nothing is perfect and that everything can be beautiful – we just have to look at it in the right way.

 

The Perfect Leaf explores not only the beauty of nature but also friendship and love. It explores the idea that nothing in this world is perfect and everything has flaws – but these flaws don’t have to be a negative thing, they can be something that makes an object or a person even better.

 

The Perfect Leaf is a lovely book to share as the seasons change and we start to crunch through the leaves on the ground. It is one that will help you to discuss why we shouldn’t strive for perfection but instead strive for what makes us truly happy.

 

So what else can you do with this book?

 

SCIENCE

  • Explore the changes in leaves over the seasons.
  • Explore different shapes of leaves around your home and learning areas.
  • Get outside during those cold winter months and find beauty despite the lack of colour and warmth. See what grows in winter and ponder why.
  • Explore symmetry through leaves

 

LITERACY

  • Explore the adjectives used throughout the book to describe leaves. Write your own description of a leaf.  

 

THINKING

  • What is perfection?
  • Can something be perfect?

Teacher notes: http://fordstreetpublishing.com/ford/images/stories/teachers_notes/The-Perfect-Leaf-Teachers-Notes.pdf

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Cloud conductor by Kellie Byrnes

Frankie loves sitting by her window and looking at the clouds. She loves to listen to the melodies they create, compose tunes and conduct ideas.

But being able to see the shapes the clouds make in the sky is a gift she loves to share with others.

As we progress through the story we start to see that Frankie is unwell and needs to spend many days in hospital.  But with her imagination, these days become much more amazing than they really are. Frankie sees a courageous cowgirl, children playing at the beach and a young girl riding a bicycle – all symbols of hope that one day she won’t need to be inside getting better, but outside amongst the joy of life.

The cloud conductor not only allows readers to see what life can be like for children who are in hospital for long lengths of time but also the importance of imagination and how imagination can brighten the darkest of dark days.

Positive thinking and hope shine through in this story and the important gifts we can give to others when they are feeling down – hope, joyful thoughts and imagination.

You will love reading this story to all young children and it might inspire some time to lie out in the sun and stare up at those clouds!

So what else can you do with this book?

Link to how you can help

  • Learn about children’s hospitals that exist near you. Is there anyway you can help brighten the lives of the children who have to spend a lot of time in here?
  • The picture book – The Silver Sea – was written in conjunction with children who were staying at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

Imagination

  • What can you see in the clouds? Lie down for at least 5 minutes and talk about all of the different things you can see.
  • What can you hear when you see clouds?
  • Imagine the different types of music clouds would play – draw the different types of clouds and describe the types of music you hear when you see them.
  • Find some music that makes you think of breezy days, stormy days and still days.

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cloudconductor

Real Kids, Real play by Alice Zsembery

So, at what point did we fall in to the trap of believing that buying things makes memories? 

Alice Zsembery’s book: Real Kids, Real play is amazing and many parents should have it sitting on their bookshelves for those days when children call out that they are bored, when you’re stuck inside on a rainy day or just days when you want to have some fun without dipping into your wallet.

The premise behind the creation of this book was to make the job of parenting (or caring) for young kids easier, less stressful and a lot more fun – which resonates so strongly with me.

In this book there are over 150 activities for children aged 0-5 that can be done in your home with your own things – paper plates, toilet rolls, sticky tape,cardboard boxes, potatoes, bed sheets….the list goes on!

There is little need for you to go to the shops to buy an item to do any of these activities which is fantastic for those who are time poor or sleep deprived!

And although these activities may not be instagram worthy because they are not as pretty as some, the hours of entertainment these activities provide are so much more important. These ideas are just what you need to not only give yourself a break from trying to be the perfect parent but they are gifts to your child as they allow them time to use their imagination and be creative.

We loved making our own car lot,

camping inside and the backyard

colouring water and turning it into ice

and of course the good old celery trick!

Any new parent who doesn’t mind getting down with their kids, having a play day at home or reusing that old cardboard box will love this book. And perhaps those who just need a bit of a break will be inspired to try some activities out too.

This book comes with free printables at http://realkidsrealplay.com.au and fabulous praise from Maggie Dent, parenting expert.

Head on over to http://realkidsrealplay.com.au to buy your copy for yourself or someone you know who needs it!

Join my facebook group and page where we discuss ways parents and teachers can engage children through literacy and play about big issues in the real world

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What changes are you making this week?

Image

What changes are you making this week at home or at your workplace to lessen your eco-footprint?

Ash dresses her friends by Fu Wenzheng

Have you ever made something  from scratch?

And then been able to give that object to someone else?

Ash dresses her friends by Fu Wenzheng is a wonderful story about friendship, sharing, kindness and the beauty of being able to make things yourself.

Ash is a shy little bird and she doesn’t have many friends until she starts to use her wonderful gift – her ability to create clothing and objects from a beautiful piece of red material.

Ash creates many things including a shirt, arm chair cover, a dress and a scarf! She spreads her ability and love all over the neighbourhood and brings joy to so many through the simple act of kindness.

Ash could have kept the red material all to herself and made so many wonderful things from it but she chose to share and make other animals lives happier.

Ash dresses her friends is a wonderful story about how we can be kind to others, how we can share our gifts to make others happy and how we can make things on our own.

Many of us resort to the shops to buy things for friends – perhaps this book will inspire you to make something of your own next time a friend needs a present, a pick me up or just a reminder of how important they are in your life.

The illustrations really highlight the friendships being developed, the happiness each gift brings and the vibrancy of the material Ash uses in each creation.

I loved the red material Ash used and hopefully one day I might just find something made out of it!

So what else can you do at home?

SELF ESTEEM

  • Explore the gifts your child has. Talk to them about what they can do to make others happy and to show them how special they both are.
  • Look at how Ash felt shy and sad and explore times your child has felt like this.
  • How do friends make us feel good?

SUSTAINABILITY

  •  Ash made things herself out of one piece of material. Where do your clothes come from and who made them? Can you make the effort to buy more clothes from locally and ethically made sources?
  • Explore the Fashion revolution to see how you can be more aware of how your clothes were made, what they are made of and where they go once you have finished with them.

ART

  • Explore the techniques used by Fu (contrast between red and black/grey) and how this impacted the story. Create your own artwork using two contrasting colours.
  • Create your own print like the red material.

COMMUNITY

  • How can you play a bigger role in your community? Explore different groups or community days and how you can be a part of them so you know more people around you.

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Ash Dresses Her Friends

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The silver sea by Alison Lester and Jane Godwin

Let’s go down to the silver sea, come on, I’ll hold your hand.

A magical adventure written by Alison Lester, Jane Godwin and the children at The Royal Children’s Hospital , The Silver Sea, is an exploration of life under the sea, it’s magic and wonder.

Two small children slip out of their house and take to the sea – looking after each other as they explore a world they have never seen before. They splash with dolphins, swim with turtles and ride upon a whale. They explore the ocean with wonderment and awe and with their joint courage they explore the deep dark depths to find luminous monsters and the reedy home of sea dragons.

The two return back to land with new knowledge of the hidden world below and perhaps with a new outlook on life now that they know the many secrets hidden underneath.

Each page is filled with an abundance of colour through the collage of illustrations drawn by the children of TRCH.

We spent quite a bit of time looking how different animals had been drawn and coloured in and wondered who may have created them.

We also pondered about the names written on the end pages and talked about if these children were well enough to leave hospital yet.

This collaboration must have brought a lot of joy to the children who were stuck in hospital and it is wonderful to see projects like this taking place.

The Silver Sea by Alison Lester and Jane Godwin is a colourful story that you’ll love to read and all the profits will go towards helping the children at RCH to have more fun while their getting better in hospital.

What else can you do with this story?

VISUAL ART

– Explore the different art techniques used in this story: stencilling, water colour, wax crayon resist

– As a class write a story and create a collage to match in with the theme of each page. Remembering that the individual differences add more to the story.

LITERACY

– This is a sweet adventure story. Create a story about a place you would love to explore. Who would you take with you and what would you do?

– Rhyme. Rhyming books are difficult to create. Can you create a rhyming story about an adventure you would like to go on?

– Write a description of your favourite ocean animal. It may be one in the story or one they haven’t included.

SCIENCE

– Explore the different life cycles of sea animals.

– Learn about the life cycles of animals that live in the darkest parts of the ocean.

SUSTAINABLITY

– How can we make sure our oceans stay as beautiful as this one in The Silver Sea? Write down 5 things you can do in your life to help the ocean stay this way.

BUY FROM FISHPOND NOW – CLICK BELOW

 The Silver Sea

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

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The trouble in tune town by Maura Pierlot

Practice should never be a fight.

If you’re having fun, then you’re playing all right!

It’s day 6 on the Just write for kids Books on tour and I can’t wait to share this award winning picture book with you!

The trouble in tune town by Maura Pierlot is a must read for any student who is learning an instrument – or any child who wants to learn one!

Meg, the best musician in tune town but she is having a lot of trouble getting the notes to sound right. She tries different instruments but still doesn’t feel the rhythm, the beat or the tune. So the notes ……. escape!

The notes move through different places where they can be played in different ways by different people on different instruments. They mosh and mash, shimmy and shuffle in their quest to find a place where someone can feel them and enjoy them – not worry too much about being perfect.

Maura has cleverly created this rhyming picture book to show children that playing music is all about having fun and feeling the notes in all their splendour. Throughout the story we are shown different notes, where they live on the stave and the different ways music can be played.

Different instruments are shown throughout the story as well as different styles of music. The reader can see that notes can be used in so many different ways and can be used to have lots of fun too.

Practise can be hard work when your having difficulty with reading the notes, understanding the beat or feeling the tune – but Maura Pierlot shows us that when we relax and let the music find us, we can have the most wonderful time!

Sophie Norsa’s illustrations are full of colour and life. We can see how the different notes feel as they glide through the different styles of music and different types of musicians. The colour adds to the vibrancy of the story and show all that there is when you pick up an instrument!

You can visit Maura Pierlot’s website here: http://maurapierlot.com to purchase a copy or to find out more about her creations!

Or buy your own copy through fish pond here:  The Trouble in Tune Town

And don’t forget to join in with the Book blog tour on these websites too!

Design

Interview with Zanni Louise about creating Tiggy and the magic paintbrush.

This week I was lucky enough to interview Zanni Louise, author of 2018 CBCA shortlisted book Archie and the Bear, Too busy sleeping and now a wonderful new series called Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush.

Zanni Louise_ credit Kate Nutt Photography

Zanni explains what inspired her to write this new series, the importance of friendship and how a magic paintbrush can lead to the development of self belief in those tough times.

Thank you Zanni!

————-

  1. What inspired you to write a series of books about a young girl with a magical paintbrush?

The stories evolved over a number of years. They began as stories about a girl called Wynn and a 3D printing machine, which Wynn used to print things to solve her problems. The idea initially came from a fun conversation with my daughter. Working with editors, though, I ended up ‘refreshing’ the name, and decided that it would be more practical to have a magical device she could take with her, and preferably keep secret.

  1. Why a magical paintbrush?

When brainstorming devices, my daughter rushed past me, hurriedly painting imaginary things in the air with her invisible paintbrush. A paintbrush is handy, portable, and small enough to hide. It also gives Tiggy scope for creativity, which is something I really like.

  1. Tiggy has two special friends at school, and in one of your picture books, Archie and the bear, friendship is focussed on too. How important is it that we have friends in our lives – at all ages?

Friendship is a big theme in my life, and inadvertently a big theme in all my stories. Everyone has a different version of friendship, and I guess I’m interested in exploring all these different forms.

  1. How do you see this book helping young children as they start early schooling or even when they change classes or schools?

The first book A School Day Smile was written because my daughter was at the cusp of starting school, and I was curious about about her emotional responses, and her strategies for coping with this big change. Tiggy is clearly nervous about her first day, but is trying to be brave. I think this is a common experience, and for kids reading this, they feel validated that these are normal experiences. Tiggy also attempts to use magic to make her feelings go away, going as far as changing who she is, so people will like her. But in the end, she has to come back to being comfortable with her Tiggy-ness. I think this is important for all of us.

  1. Tiggy’s paintbrush is a tool she can use but she also learns that she can cope without it. I think this is a really important aspect of the story – why did you feel the need to ensure when children read this that they knew how important it is to realise how wonderful they are and that they can get by without these magical tools?

That aspect to the stories emerged quite unintentionally. It becomes a nice metaphor for reality though, that we don’t need to rely on our ‘crutches’ – we have all the resources we need within us. My editor at Five Mile, Melissa Keil, really helped draw out the ambiguity between Tiggy’s magic and her imagined world. I love too that Gillian’s illustrations bring this to life, by contrasting Tiggy’s ‘real’ black and white world, with her colourful imagined, magical world.

  1. You have written two wonderful picture books and now a junior fiction book. How was the process of writing Tiggy and the Magical paintbrush different to your other stories?

It took me a long time to get my head around writing for this age group. Unlike picture books, junior fiction and independent readers are being read by kids themselves, so the language needs to be very simple, without compromising the stories. The process of writing these stories, particularly as a series, has helped me really flesh out the narrative arc in all my stories. I have always gotten away with writing very intuitively with picture books. But independent readers push me in new directions.

  1. Inspiration can come from many places – how do you find yours and develop these ideas into stories?

I like to keep inspiration and creativity at my finger tips. To be honest, I have half a mind on potential ideas almost all the time! Mostly, I’ll try and write ideas down. When I get a chance, or feel particularly inspired, I’ll start nutting out a story. I’m fairly patient with stories. Some take days to develop. But some take years! Often a partly formed idea will sit on my computer for months before it becomes anything more.

  1. What else will we see Tiggy get up to in future books?

In the next two books, Tiggy tries her hand at performing, and prepares for a birthday party. And next? Well, yet to be seen!

Buy Tiggy and the Magic paintbrush here: 

A School Day Smile (Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush)

A Pet Called Nibbles (Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush)

Booktopia

Ruben by Bruce Whatley

Ruben’s dreams were of places that made no sense to him. Places that didn’t exist. At least not anymore.

Ruben, a young boy lives on the outskirts of a damaged, abandoned and futuristic city. Every day when he wakes he writes about his dreams and flicks through images of places he once knew.

Living alone, Ruben often wanders the streets, avoiding the huge machines that live in Block city who destroy things humans need for survival – freedom, safety and knowledge.

One day, on his way through the city in search of food and water, he discovers Koji, another child who is also alone. Together they understand each other, share secrets and dream of escaping on one of the fast trains that leave the destroyed city.

Bruce Whatley is a master illustrator who has created this whole world in black and white – giving it the grim and abandoned feel it needs. Readers will pour over the illustrations for hours as they journey with Ruben hoping that he can escape this formidable place.

Although set in the future, the sketches of objects Bruce Whatley has included, pull on our own heart strings and lead us to think – what if? Children of all ages will ponder the possibility of places in our world that already look like this or the possibly of our own country looking like this if we don’t care for others around us.

This Dystopian world that Ruben lives in is one that young children can enter without the violence of many other Dystopian fiction books on the market.

I have explored this book with some Gifted Year 4 students and they have thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Ruben and then creating a Dystopian world of their own.

So what can you do? 

GRASPS Task – – Ruben by Bruce Whatley

GOAL: You are going to create your own dystopian world using as many as the key areas as you can.

ROLE You are the engineer of this futuristic society. You are the designer of the people, their plight and their place.

AUDIENCE You need to create a world that will appeal to readers aged 8-12. .

SITUATION : In the book market there are many fiction books set in Dystopian worlds but they are for older readers and any are full of violence. You need to create a dystopian world without violence. There are many other ways the world can become dystopian so use your create juices and move away from the violence we hear about in the older books.

PRODUCT. The world you create needs to be a combination of things so we can get a true insight into this world. You can use: Diary entries, maps, posters, sketches, storytelling, newspaper articles, radio correspondence etc.

You will be marked out of 15.

STANDARDS and CRITERIA [INDICATORS]

 

1 2 3
Key areas of a dystopian world. Student has used 3 key areas in their dystopian world Student has used 5 key areas in their dystopian world Student has used 6 r more key areas in their dystopian world.
Understand how texts vary in complexity and technicality depending on the approach to the topic, the purpose and the intended audience (ACELA1490 Student has developed three different types of texts to engage the audience Student has developed four different types of texts to engage the audience Student has developed five or more different types of texts to engage the audience
Discuss how authors and illustrators make stories exciting, moving and absorbing and hold readers’ interest by using various techniques, for example character development and plot tension (ACELT1605 Outline how they developed characters and settings briefly. Outline how they developed characters and settings in details. Outline how they developed characters and settings in detail and respond to questions with good explanation.
Create literary texts by developing storylines, characters and settings (ACELT1794 Outline the basic process of creating this Dystopian world. Discuss how characters were developed and how they fit into the world created. consider how and why particular traits for a character have been chosen. Discuss in details why the setting has been created and how the idea was developed.
Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive print and multimodal texts, choosing text structures, language features, images and sound appropriate to purpose and audience (ACELY1704 Many errors made in final draft with little editing present. Some mistakes made in final products wth some editing present. Excellent final product with little or no mistakes.

 

 

 

Tiggy and the magic paintbrush: A pet called nibbles by Zanni Louise.

Today is Pet Day at Tiggy’s school, and Tiggy is a little worried – she is the only person in the class who doesn’t have a pet! Lucky Tiggy has her special magic paintbrush – but will it help her solve the problem this time? 

The second book is this fun series – Tiggy and the magic paintbrush – takes us back to school on pet day.

I’ve never been to a school pet day, but I can imagine they would be lots of fun (and a bit chaotic) but also possibly worrying for children who don’t have a pet.

Tiggy is one of those children, but luckily with her big imagination and magic paintbrush, she can create the best pet that anyone could ask for!

And even though Tiggy can’t quite take a photo of her new pet, she is able to draw one and show her friends just how wonderful he is.

You’ll have to read the story to find out what Tiggy’s pet is and why children will love reading this book!

BUY HERE:

A Pet Called Nibbles (Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush)

Zanni has written this story with young children and their beautifully creative imagination in mind. There are so many great ideas just waiting to be found in the big world but so often children’s lives are too busy with organised activities or technology they just don’t have the space to dream big.

This story just shows how important imagination is, how it fills your soul and mind with happiness and wonder – and encourages us to show who we are.

Tiggy is a delightful character, as are her friends and with the magic paintbrush in tow, anything can happen!

Tiggy and the magic paintbrush – a pet called nibbles has been a very popular read for my children (aged 6 and 4) and the students at school (I’ve read this to Kindergarten to Year 3!) so keep an eye out for this wonderful new series – I’m sure it will delight!

Find your treasure #2

This year the theme for book week is Find your treasure, so each week in our library we will be taking part in a small activity where the theme will be promoted.

I have some much loved covers from my Who gives a crap toilet paper and instead of putting them straight into the bin they are being converted into book covers (see below)

Each book that has been covered has three clues on the front. The idea behind this is for children to see what sort of books could be ones that they treasure.

We have books about adventure, women’s rights, battles and laughter. Not only will children get to guess which books are hidden behind the paper, they will also discover these covered books hidden on our shelves throughout the year.

Finding treasure is exciting and I hope that by covering some much loved books other children will also discover that exploring in the library can be fun!

Find your treasure #1

This year’s CBCA book week theme is Find your treasure. In our library the students will be participating in a variety of competitions with great book prizes!

Perhaps you would like to participate in some of these at your school?

Visit my Tpt store and for a term one special of $3.99 you can download and use these ideas too!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Find-your-Treasure-CBCA-Book-theme-2018-3653620

There are two competitions each term for all terms of the year – Finding your treasure doesn’t end in book week!

Just some of the ideas…..

Term 1, Competition 2.

Choose a book that you have read recently and using your mathematical skills, be creative and explain e.g.

The cost of keeping a dragon as a pet,

The tuition fees of a magic school,

The money you would give to one of the characters and why,

Draw a map to scale,

Create graphs about the characters in the story. Choose at least 3 aspects of the book to use your mathematical skills.

Term 3, Competition One.

Find some facts about a treasure that has never been found but many stories have been told about it.

Present these facts in an engaging way for display in the library.