Book review, Books with current issues, picture books, Picture books that address current issues, refugees, Teacher tips and resources

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?

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Book review, Books with current issues, literacy, Picture books that address current issues, refugees, Teacher tips and resources

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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Book review, Parent tips, Picture books that address current issues, refugees, Teacher tips and resources

Room on our rock by Kate and Jol Temple.

I’ve never heard of a forwards backwards book! How did they do it?

A class of Kindergarten children were in awe of Room on our Rock by Kate and Jol Temple and amazed by the Temple’s ability to write a book that could be read both from the front cover and then from the back cover – and make complete sense – and tell two different stories! Amazing!!

Room on our Rock is a picture book designed to make us see one event from two different perspectives. The reader is able to see how words, when used in different tones and order can make completely different meanings.

Two seals are in need of a home because theirs is being washed away – will the seals on the nearby rock help them? It depends on your perspective of the issue and the way you read the book!

This book made sense to many young children as they know what is going on in our world – they know there are people losing their homes due to war, climate change and poverty but being small means many of them feel that they can’t do a lot.

After we read this book we talked about what we can do – and that by buying this book, our school has helped the Refugee Action Support Program.

Room on our rock is such a clever book with a strong and important message that all children will understand (and hopefully pass this knowledge onto their older family members).

Room on our Rock shows us that all people and creatures are equal and if only we change our perspective we might just see how we can view a tricky situation in a different light.

So what can you do at home?

  • Find out what your local council does for refugees in your area. Is there any way you can help or ask them to provide better help?
  • Who is the Refugee Action Support program group? FInd out more about what they do.
  • Who are climate refugees? Explore te Kiribati Islands and the plans they have in place in case of the seas continuing to rise.
  • Investigate which animals will be displaced due to rising and warming seas. Where will these animals live?
  • Can you create a link between this book and your library? Try and find other books about refugees. Could you have a fundraiser that supports refugees in your country? Or is there a need for books in good condition to be donated or sold for money?
Book review, Books with current issues, eco living, Environmental books, Parent tips, picture books, Picture books that address current issues, refugees, Teacher tips and resources

How to inspire yourself to change

At the end of the year we reflect on how we have gone this year and how we can change for the better.

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We think about the great things we achieved for ourselves and for others and the not so great things.

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It is a great time of year to inspire our children to reflect on the wonderful things they have done throughout the year too.

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However, many of you reading this blog live in the western world where life is easier than most. We don’t live in war, many of you will have enough money to eat healthy food, have safe accomodation and access to education.

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And for children the concept of how lucky they are is difficult to realise when they have never seen what life is like on the other side.

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I have come across some wonderful books this year that will show your children what life is like elsewhere and hopefully inspire them to make small changes in their lives to help those less fortunate.

This could be

 – Buy local products so children are not exploited. 

 – Buy organic or spray free products so families who live near farms are not harmed.

 – Invest in small businesses rather than large multi national companies.

 – Create less waste by making your own food, buying less toys and sharing products.

 – Send money to organisations who directly help those in need – not spend it all on advertising! 

And of course, read these books:

Feathers by Phil Cummings

The Thank you dish by Trace Balla

Ada’s Violin by Susan Hood.

Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

Under the same sky by Britta Teckentrup 

Can you add any more books to this list?

Books with current issues, eco living, Environmental books, My creations, nature play, Parent tips, picture books, Picture books that address current issues, plastic free July, recipes, refugees, Teacher tips and resources

It’s our world

How do we raise our children to be more environmentally conscious children?



How we do we raise them so that they are not caught up in the world of consumption, acting for the Instagram followers or having a total disregard for tomorrow?

In the western world where convenience is key it seems to our survival we, the adults, need to change our ways and show our children that convenience isn’t always the best way forward.

Raising environmentally aware children is paramount. This doesn’t just mean awareness of the natural world, it also means awareness of how our actions impact other people’s lives.

But how do we do this when convenience is right there to make our lives easier when many of us work full time, need to keep a tight budget or want to relax rather than clean, cook or sew?

We can do this – one step at a time. And that one step at  a time should be together with our children and on display to them.

How can you slowly move from a life of convenience to an eco-conscious life?

– Go to the library and borrow some of the books I have reviewed. By educating your children about the world around them they are more likely to make changes. Try Feathers by Phil Cummings

– Eat more fruit and vegetables from a coop, markets or fresh delivery. Vegetables and Fruits have little or no packaging and have less of an impact on the environment that plastic wrapped things. Try a Patch from Scratch by Megan Forward

– Try baking your own biscuits, cakes and bread. I’ve just started making my own sourdough and it is a lot easier than what I thought! I’ll share my recipe some day soon. Try this delicious recipe Coconut carrot cake

– Get outside into the natural world every day. It might just be the park and that’s fine. We need to teach our children about these spaces that allow us to slow down. Try Last tree in the city

– If your children are old enough watch the news but if not there are plenty of books out there that explain these issues in a much more gentle way. Try Illegal by Eoin Colfer, Phasmid by Rohan Cleve, The Hairy Nosed Wombats find a new home by Jackie French

– And most importantly be a part of your community. Check out the Crop swap groups, local community gardens, markets, second hand stores, food delivery groups and repair cafes. Being part of your community will help you to move away from a life of convenience. Try The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba

Is there a change you need to make? Perhaps a book will inspire that change – ask me and I can help!

 

Book review, Books with current issues, Creativity, gifted education, literacy, nature play, Parent tips, Picture books that address current issues, refugees, Teacher tips and resources

Under the same sky by Britta Teckentrup

We live under the same sky….

We feel the same love….

We play the same games…..

 

Under the same sky by Britta Teckentrup is a picture book for young readers that shows us the beautiful connection that we all have no matter where we live, what we look like, who we love, what we do or how we play.

Delicate illustrations add a soft and gentle touch to the words that quieten young minds and allow them to reflect on the different walks of life around the world.

We have read a few of Teckentrup’s books and this one is definitely another favourite.

Each page follows on from the next with a peek-a-boo type window so that similar ideas can carry on for two pages. Children will love looking through the window and perhaps guessing what will be said on the next page.

Under the same sky is a subtle way to talk to young readers about the world and the many people within. It is a way to teach children about discrimination in its many forms. It is a way to teach children acceptance of others and understanding that ultimately everyone who lives just wants to love, wants to play, wants to sing – just wants to enjoy life, be kind to others and seek out joy.

Britta Teckentrup is a beautiful writer and her illustrations add great points for discussion.

A great picture book read for younger children but also a great one to get older children thinking.

So what else can you do?

  •  Explore how children live around the world. How do children the same age as your children play? What do they sing? How do they learn?
  •  Look up at the sky and talk about what you can see. What can others see? As a group talk about how we all see different things in the world we live in.
  •  Create a book just like this one using the same sentence starter to bring across a message.
  •  Do you treat people like you would want them to be treated? Does your government treat people like they all live under the same sky and have the same hopes?
  • Explore the rhyme used in the story and how it helps to portray the message of equality. Create your own rhyming sentences that have the same starter.
Book review, Books with current issues, refugees, Teacher tips and resources

Swimming on the Lawn by Yasmin Hamid

The idea of swimming on top of freshly mown grass which has been swamped by fresh water conjures up ideas of the simple and care free nature that comes with being a child. This scene, amongst others in Swimming on the Lawn by Yasmin really sums up how beautiful childhood can be when we are free to take life slowly, not worry about money, war or jobs and just play with our friends and imagination.


Swimming on the Lawn by Yasmin Hamid is a cleverly written fiction book written for 10-15 year olds. Written from the perspective of young Farida, the reader explores life in Sudan before the war consumes the nation.

Farida is a carefree, playful and imaginative girl who not only enjoys helping her mother around the house also enjoys learning about the world around her. Farida has an English  Mother, A sudanese Father and sister and two brothers and experiences traditional Sudanese culture on a daily basis but also learns English and some western ways from her mother.

Hot beans for breakfast, endless cups of tea, outdoor meals and stifling heat are all part of growing up in Sudan. Visits to the local library by foot, picking oranges with neighbours and helping out with a friend’s mother birth are something perhaps foreign to many children in the western world.

Through the eyes of Farida we learn about the Sudanese traditions of prayer, mourning ceremonies and important religious days. The reader is also exposed to each chapter being written in English and Arabic.

Swimming on the Lawn is a quiet read and through the simple short stories there is so much to learn about a life devoid of electronic devices, fast food and a fast life. The childhood of Farida and her siblings seems idyllic until the war begins – and we all know where that has led the nation that once flourished.

Fremantle Press have provided some thought provoking teacher notes for you to use. It is a great book to debrief about and explore more about how children in other countries live.  This book can be used to ignite children into thinking about how they can make their life a bit slower and a bit more playful.

 

 

Book review, Books with current issues, Environmental books, literacy, Parent tips, picture books, Picture books that address current issues, refugees, Teacher tips and resources, water

Children in our world: Poverty and Hunger by Louise Spilsbury and Hanane Kai

How do you talk to your children about poverty? Have you ever wandered through the city and seen a homeless person sleeping on the street? What have you said to your child? Or more importantly – what have they asked you?


Poverty is a huge issue in our society and one which often gets unnoticed as a lot of the media coverage it driven by consumerism and money. We see so many images of people who have so much, we see advertisements telling us we need to have things to make us happy but how often do we see the people who have lost their homes, loved ones and money? Not so much.

To tell you the truth I was a little bit hesitant about reading Children in our world: Poverty and Hunger by Louise Spilsbury and Hanane Kai to my six year old. But she wanted to read it. She told me she wanted to know more about poor people, why they are poor and how we can help them.

Perhaps the numerous stories we have read and conversations we have had are paying off.

Children in our world: Poverty and Hunger by Louise Spilsbury and Hanane Kai is wordy but is written in language that children can identify with. I didn’t feel that I needed to paraphrase any of the story or leave anything too confronting out. I didn’t even need to come up with a reflection of what we can do as the final pages give ideas to the reader.

This book gently looks at poverty and hunger – and leaves the reader empowered to do something, not fearful of the world we live in.

We need to read these books to our children as this is the world we live in but we need to do it in a way – as done in this book that educates them so they know why these things can happen. Different reasons are given for poverty and hunger and also different ways volunteers and governments try to help out to alleviate these issues.

Children in our world: Poverty and Hunger by Louise Spilsbury and Hanane Kai is a must have for anyone wanting to explore these issues with their children and students.

BUY NOW

 Poverty and Hunger (Children in Our World)

Books with current issues, refugees, Teacher tips and resources

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

Do you really know what happens to refugees once they arrive in camps?

Have you ever considered how long some of these people live in these camps?

 

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Frailly is a must read for every Australian across all ages from 10 and up.

It is confronting – this takes place in most developed countries who sprout how peaceful and caring we are.

It is full of hope – Friendships blossom, dreams are big and stories are told.

It has sadness – too many times throughout the story we hear about loved ones left overseas, lost in war or on the journey to a seemingly better life.

Through the eyes of young Subhi we see what life is like within these refugee camps. Subhi is a storyteller, a reader and a dreamer, He knows nothing apart from life within a camp – it was where he was born so he doesn’t know any different except for the stories he is told by his mother, sister and friends.

We follow Subhi and his daily encounters  in the camp and understand what life is like and the unrest felt by those within. We dream with him and see the night see bring him gifts from a far off land.

But things change once he meets Jimmie – an unexpected friend who comes from outside of the fence. Together they go on a journey through a story written down by someone Jimmie has lost. Over hot chocolate and jokes they share secrets and slowly mend each other’s wounds.

The bone Sparrow is a powerful story. Your heart will break, you will cry and you will laugh. You will live alongside Subhi as he dreams his life on the other side of the fence. This book is a must read for everyone. 

Angela May George, Books with current issues, loveozya, Parent tips, picture books, Picture books that address current issues, refugees

Refugee week 2017

This week is Refugee week ( 18th June – 24th June) and there is no better way to bring about awareness about this terrible issue than through a book.

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Refugees are a real, current and terrible problem that we have in our world and possibly one that will get worse if war continues, water rises in low lying islands of the world and famine ravages nations.

We need to help educate our children so that they feel empathy towards these people who just seek safety in a new land where they too can live a peaceful and happy life.

However – many of these picture books and Young adult fiction are confronting so tread with care as you read. Be prepared to talk about what happens in the story so your child feels hope  that something can be done to help the future.

Here are a few great books that I have come across:

Out by Angela May George

Out

Out by Angela May George (Published by Scholastic Australia)  is a sad yet heartwarming story about a young refugee girl who has settled in a new country with her mother.
This beautiful story follows how the girls feels in her new home and the fears she still faces because of what she has been through.

Flight by Nadia Wheatley

Flight is a confronting story about a young family fleeing from their home in search of refuge.

Flight

Drawn in shades of black and brown the images add to the feelings of unknown these travelers must be experiencing. It is dark and fearful but throughout the pages we see hope.
The story begins like that of the Christian Christmas story – a small family leaving there home town in search of safety: following the stars and riding on a donkey,  but as we read along we discover this is a small Muslim family who are escaping their war torn home.
This book is one that needs to be read to older children with reflection and questioning.

I’m Australian too by Mem Fox and Rhonojoy Ghosh 
I'm Australian Too

Throughout the story we hear about families from Ireland, Italy, China and Syria. We meet the ancestors of  the first people of Australia and also the refugees who are still waiting to be a part of Australia.
Mem Fox celebrates the diversity of Australia and the friendliness of the community through children’s eyes. Rhyme is used along with the thought provoking repetitive question:

Book reviews to come

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillion
The Bone Sparrow

Home and Away by John Marsden
Home and Away (Lothian Australian Favourites)

And some books I would love to review when I have the time!

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Refugees by David Miller

Four feet two sandals

The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Great resources from the Refugee week page are available from this link

 Lonely Planet

Oxfam Shop