Whatcha Building? by Andrew Daddo and Stephen Michael King

It’s exactly what this town needs.

I adore this book, Whatcha Building? by Andrew Daddo and Stephen Michael King is a story about endings and new beginnings, imagination and determination and a sense of community.


The old milk bar around the corner from young Davey’s house in being pulled down and a new building is replacing it. Davey observes the daily deconstruction of the milk bar and each day takes a piece of timber home. The builder and the reader’s imagination run wild with all the possibilities of what young Davey might be building.

It’s only until right at the end the masterpiece is unveiled with a timely message for us all.

I love the illustrations in this story as they not only accompany the text but they add more  depth to each page. Stephen Michael King has used recycled garbage, cardboard, pen and ink to create the illustrations and this combination brings life to the story. Throughout the images we can get a real sense of the community at work and the role we all play in our environment.

So what else can you do with this book? 

Sustainability

  • We all throw out too much and many of this can be reused or recycled. Investigate what you can do with things that are no use to you anymore. Rather than just throwing them out can you create something new? Give it to someone else? Or recycle it in the best possible way.
  • Create your own doll sized house purely from recycled and reused materials.
  • What sort of materials are best for the environment? Compare and contrast different types of floorboards available to the community – work out which ones are best using categories such as value for money, ecological impact and community impact.

Global values

  • Watch building really makes us think about how important people and space is to each of us. Many of us get caught up in consumption and needing the best of everything. Is there a place in your community where people can come together?
  • Design a space where people of all ages and backgrounds can come to share the love of where they live – without having to buy things.

Literacy

  • Look at the slang used throughout the story – what do each of these slang words mean? How does this portray Dave the builder?
  • What is the significance of Davey not saying many things throughout the story?

 

Some great thinking questions:

Do endings always have new beginnings?

If all the buildings in your town were replaced how would that effect your community both negatively and positively? 

Select one architect who has changed the way we build sustainably. Find out how they approach design and how they want to improve life for all.

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Let me know how you go! It’s a beautiful book – I hope you can enjoy it too.

Families and reading

On the 15th May it is the UN’s international day of families. Families play a vital role in the education of their children. Families are the first educators of their children and it is within the family group where the love of literacy can blossom.

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Reading is a gateway to imagination, being literate and developing empathy. If you can take the time to read as a family then these skills are being embedded into your child and also reinforced within yourself. Reading as a family gives you time to be close together and to discuss things that aren’t happening in your daily lives (imagine talking about dragons, talking trees and magical stones!)  

Show your children that reading is a pleasurable activity, show them how important searching a  library for the perfect book is. There are no bad authors or books, you just need to take the time to find the books that suit you or perhaps open your mind to new ideas.

As a family take the time to visit your local library, the school library or even the online library catalogue. Borrow some loved books and books that will stretch your mind. Read together or read apart and then discuss what you have read. Reading is the key.

As Albert Einstein once said: “If you want your child to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairytales”

Rhino in the house: The true story of Saving Samira by Daniel Kirk

One of the things I love about picture books is that they can bring real life stories to young readers all around the world through pictures and simple words.

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Rhino in the House by Daniel Kirk is an empowering story about a women named Anna Merz and her lifelong dedication to saving endangered animals in Africa. Anna had always been involved in wildlife conservation and it was when she retired and moved to Kenya that her journey into saving Rhinoceroses began.

The relationship between a baby rhino named Samia and Anna is at the heart of this conservation story. We learn how their relationship develops over time and how her story has inspired many to pursue careers and action in the area of wildlife conservation.

Children will adore this book as the images are colourful and the story is sweet and entertaining. There is little mention of the dangers from poachers which is lovely and allows the children to enjoy this story without fear. We did discuss who poachers are at the start of the story but were then able to focus more on the wonderful work Anna did in her sanctuary.

Rhino in the House is one of those picture books which stays with you long after it has been read and with historical facts at the end of the story it allows the adult reader learn more about Anna and her rhinos.

So what can you do?

SUSTAINABILITY

  • Why do we need to take care of all animals in our world?
  • Which animals are endangered in your country? Why are they endangered and can this be changed?
  • Why are books like this important? How do picture books give all readers this important message? How do they make us read and learn when compared to wordy articles?
  • How is nature fragile?
  • How can animals be protected when humans don’t want to change? Investigate an endangered animal that is effected by human action – write a letter or create a campaign that will change minds and attitudes.

LITERACY

Compare and contrast other books that use a true story and place it in picture book form. With these books: Phasmid, One small Island, The Hairy Nosed Wombats

– Identify the true story in each book.

– Identify the human actions involved – positive and negative.

– Identify the impacts on the world if this animal/s was to become extinct.

– Compare and contrast the 4 picture books and decide which one makes more of an impact on you.

– What does sustainability mean in regards to these stories?

– Teach another group of students about your story or of another animal that is endangered.  Think of an interesting way that grabs their attention so they listen and learn.

Links to Rhinos

http://rhinos.org/books/

https://www.savetherhino.org/rhino_info/species_of_rhino

https://www.worldwildlife.org/species/rhino

http://www.bagheera.com/inthewild/van_anim_rhino.htm

 

 

Curriculum outcomes
OI.3 – Sustainable patterns of living rely on the interdependence of healthy social, economic and ecological systems.
OI.6 The sustainability of ecological, social and economic systems is achieved through informed individual and community action that values local and global equity and fairness across generations into the future.

Making a difference in Australia.

There is still low education achievement outcomes for Indigenous children in Australia. Indigenous children deserve to learn how to read and write as much as any one else does so that they can choose to move out of poverty cycles and educate the next generation.

In many indigenous communities books are scarce and literacy levels are low.

You may have heard in the media about the low literacy rates and perhaps wondered how you can make a difference? It is really important that we as an affluent nation look towards helping developing nations but we need to look at our own communities who at times are functioning at a developing nation level – which should not be happening.

Through education, empowerment and support anyone can achieve anything.

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The Indigenous literacy foundation are an amazing group who raise money and work with indigenous communities. Through their programs they empower communities to learn how to read by giving them books and publishing books that have indigenous links.

We are a national book industry charity, which aims to reduce the disadvantage experienced by children in remote Indigenous communities across Australia, by lifting literacy levels and instilling a lifelong love of reading.

Please check them out at www.ilf.org.au  and see if your school or community can  participate in the great book swap in August:  www.greatbookswap.org.au

Say Yes: A story of Friendship, fairness and a vote for hope. Jennifer Castles.

Say Yes: A story of Friendship, fairness and a vote for hope is a perfect book which mixes both history and storytelling to tell us about the 1967 referendum.

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Say Yes, is told to us through the eyes of two best friends – one indigenous and the other white. We experience the heartaches, the unfairness, the loneliness and sadness that the indigenous people go through pre 1967 and then the joy – when finally the Australian law was changed to recognise Australia’s indigenous people as people of this land, who deserved to be treated the same as everyone else.

Many children would have little idea about how Australian’s used to treat the Indigenous people of this land and this story tells it perfectly. Using a mix of Paul Seden’s illustrations and real newspaper clippings and photographs we are able to see what happened and the amazing people who were part of this change.

This year, 2017, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum so make sure you share this important event and take the time to read through the notes and explanation on the law that was changes.

 

What can you do at home or in the classroom?

Indigenous Australia

  •  Are there any issues today that are still not fair?
  • Do you think people’s attitudes are the same or different if compared to 1967?
  • Compare how indigenous people would have been treated before and after this referendum.

Literacy

  • Write a letter to a local politician in the time of 1967 – explain to him or her why the law needs to be changed.
  • Explore the use of the sentence: It’s just not fair. What isn’t fair and why is it repeated throughout the story?

Take action now

There is still low education achievement outcomes for Indigenous children in Australia. The indigenous children deserve to learn how to read and write as much as any one else does so that they can choose to move out of poverty cycles and educate the next generation.

The Indigenous literacy foundation are an amazing group who raise money and work with indigenous communities. Through their programs they empower communities to learn how to read by giving them books and publishing books that have indigenous links.

We are a national book industry charity, which aims to reduce the disadvantage experienced by children in remote Indigenous communities across Australia, by lifting literacy levels and instilling a lifelong love of reading.

Please check them out at www.ilf.org.au  and perhaps even participate in the great book swap in August:  www.greatbookswap.org.au

Where is Bear? by Camilla de la Bedoyere

Where is Bear? by Camilla dela Bedoyere and illustrated by Emma Levey takes the reader on a wonderful journey all over the world to meet different types of bears!


Who knew that there were this many types of bears and of course many more that aren’t mentioned in the book!

This book is full of fun dialogue between a rabbit and all of the different bears she encounters on her journey to deliver a birthday present to her friend Ping the Panda Bear! As we meet each type of bear we also meet the different animals who share the same habitat.

Children learn many different facts through the conversations the animals are having with eachother and will enjoy spotting what each animal is up to.

Emma Levey’s illustrations are colourful and eye catching so your child will not only be engaged with the fun dialogue but also with the creative drawings.

Where is Bear? is a wonderful book to engage your child into not only the world of bears but also an awareness of different habitats around the world.

So what can you do with this book?

SUSTAINABILITY

  • Which bears are threatened or endangered species? Investigate why this is happening.
  • What sort of habitat do the different bears live in? Are any of these habitats changing due to human action?

SCIENCE/GEOGRAPHY

  •  Could any of these bears ever encounter each other?
  • Plot on a map where the different bears are from – make it more detailed than the one in the story.

LITERACY

  •  Create your own non-fiction picture book that allows the reader to learn about something in a fun way. Aim to engage younger readers into more complex topics.

Rock Pool Secrets by Narelle Oliver

Rock Pool Secrets by Narelle Oliver was the last book she produced in her artistic career and it truly is a wonderful book to be remembered by.


Rock Pool Secrets take children on a journey into the secrets of a rock pool through high and low tide. Children can discover the different animals that hide amongst the rocks and see how they survive fluctuations in the water level, food availability and predators.

Rock Pools are always a fascinating place to be and there is so much hidden deep down crevices and cracks, behind seaweed and darkness.

Each page engages the reader as they search for camouflaged animals, hidden molluscs and inky octopuses.

Rock Pool Secrets is a beautiful book to help your child become aware of these imagination inspiring places and how something so small can do so many amazing things.

So what can you do with this book?

SCIENCE

  • Learn about different animals that live in rock pools. Discover their life cycles, habitat and eating habits.
  • Where are rockpools situated?
  • Are there any famous rockpools in the world and why are they famous?

 

LITERACY

  • Using this book as a springboard, choose another area of interest in the area of science. How could you present this new topic in an interesting and engaging manner? Try to engage your peers in a new way so that they can learn something new.

SUSTAINABILITY

  • Why do we need rockpools?
  • How can the ph of the water effect the livelihood of rock pool creatures?
  • What sort of creatures only live in rockpools?
  • Are rockpools ever in danger of destruction?
  • If all rockpools were destroyed, what might the oceans look like?