A few books about families


Just the way we are by Jessica Shirvington and Claire Robertson

Reading this story with your child will help them to know that families come in all different shapes and sizes and because of that we are all shaped in different ways in how we look, feel and act.


The family hour by Tai Snaith

The family hour by Tai Snaith explores how different Australian animals spend time together – frog dads sing, seadragon dads carry their babies in their pouch, echidna mothers feed their babies pink milk and Tasmanian devil families love to be noisy! 

As we read through this book we had a laugh at some of the  family antics, a hint of jealousy at some and a feeling of wonder with others. The animal world is so intricate and it is wonderful to read books like this one to make these facts much more fun for children.


The patchwork bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van T Rudd

The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba Clarke and Van T Rudd is a fun book filled with onomatopoeia, vibrant adjectives and outside active play.

As you read through this story the energy seeps out of the pages as the children tumble through the streets, run up and down hills and zoom along on their homemade bike.

Family forest by Kim Kane and Lucia Masciullo

The modern family comes in all shapes and sizes, with half-sisters, big brothers and step-parents. Some kids have a family tree, and others have a family forest! Created by the award-winning author Kim Kane and celebrated illustrator Lucia Masciullo, half-sisters, this gentle and witty picture book explores one such gorgeous family.

Erik the Lone Wolf by Sarah Finan

Everybody knows that wolves live in packs. But one little wolf cub dreams of setting off on his own adventure… all by himself! Will life as a lone wolf be everything he hoped, or will he miss the rough and tumble of the pack? This fun adventure story featuring a cute wolf cub teaches young readers about the value of friendship, showing how good friends can still be with you, even when they’re not!


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Imaginative Texts – Books that take you to other worlds

Here is a list of some great books that can take your class to another world and inspire some great imaginative writing.

Beware the Deep dark forest by Sue Whiting

Errol by Zanni Louise & Phillip Bunting

‘Errol. Errol. Errol! Come this very minute!’ calls Errol’s mum. But does Errol listen? Not very likely. Errol has much better things to do!

ERROL is illustrated by Kate Greenaway Medal nominee Philip Bunting, and published by Scholastic in Australia, UK and Asia.


Let’s escape by Mike Dumbleton and Kim Gamble

Let’s escape by Mike Dumbleton is an adventure story that takes place within different storybook lands and times.

The young boy creeps through a forest, rides a wild horse and shotos past giants – all in his pyjamas!


The boy on the Page by Peter Carnavas

One quiet morning, a small boy lands on the page.  As a world begins to grow around him, he finds himself doing all sorts of things.  He rolls down a hill.  He catches a shiny, silver fish.  He climbs a mountain, falls in love and builds a house.

But one question troubles him…

Why is he here?


The Tunnel by Anthony Browne

Anthony Browne is at his most brilliant in a new edition of this profound picture book about sibling relations.Once upon a time there lived a brother and sister who were complete opposites and constantly fought and argued. One day they discovered the tunnel. The boy goes through it at once, dismissing his sister’s fears. When he doesn’t return his sister has to pluck up the courage to go through the tunnel too. She finds her brother in a mysterious forest where he has been turned to stone…


Castles by Allan Baillie

One day a Princess came to the beach. She built a castle.

But it wasn’t long before a rotten irate arrived. . .

A day at the beach becomes a wonderful adventure in this picture book by Allan Baillie, the acclaimed author of Drac and the Gremlin. With stunning illustrations by Caroline Margerl, this magical story celebrates play and the imagination.

http://t.dgm-au.com/c/357229/69171/1880



The incurable imagination by Paul Russell and Aska


Right from the start, everyone knew there was something a little bit different about Audrey.

Do you know a child who has a wonderful imagination? Or perhaps you know one who doesn’t have one at all?

The Incurable Imagination is a delightful picture book about the wonder of imagination.

We follow little Audrey as she draws ogres, creates her own songs and talks to giraffes dressed in suits. Her imagination grows and grows and even the most boring of lessons can’t stop it.

Soon enough Audrey’s wonderful imagination become contagious and everyone in her classroom (including the teacher) began to see the world in a completely different way.

The Incurable Imagination by Paul Russell and Aska shows the importance of imagination and how much power it can give us. Many children have become too reliant on tv shows, pre made games and toys to amuse them and thus when left with a blank slate in any situation – don’t know what to do.

Paul Russell also highlights the importance of inspiring teacher who help children to find that imagination and Aska’s illustrations show just how wonderful imagination can be.

This book will encourage young children to use their imagination more often and go beyond the boundaries that have been set. It will also encourage parents to let their children be bored so their imagination can fire up and be a vibrant as little Audrey’s!

The Incurable Imagination will hopefully allow your body to catch ‘imaginitis’ so that  learning and activities can be a lot more fun!

The Dog runner by Bren MacDibble


“When the world turns upside down, the ones that survive are the first ones who learn to walk on their heads.”


The Dog Runner , written by Bren MacDibble is a  poignant Middle grade fiction book that allows readers to delve into a world where food is scarce and the world population is suffering.

We meet Ella, the quiet city girl who has lost her mother and hasn’t seen her for 8 months.  She borrows books from her neighbour by sliding them under his door and she remembers life before people started to become dangerous.  Her father and brother live with her and each day, although comforting to still have some of her family, is an act of survival.

Until her Dad doesn’t return home.

Ella and her brother Emery need to find not only their Dad but also Ella’s mum and Emery’s home out in the Mallee scrub. If they can find this place not only will they find his family but they will be able to live off the land and not have  to live off canned sardines and old books.

But to get there they need to pass people who will stop at nothing and land that has little water or shade. Ella and Emery shouldn’t have to take a dangerous journey like this – but they must.

But that’s when Maroochy, Wolf, Bear, Oyster and Squid come in –  A pack of dogs who are strong enough to pull a sled across the barren land. The adventure starts when they take off from the city and it is non stop suspense as they bump and race over the land.

The Dog Runner highlights the importance of the danger of relying too heavily on the use of pesticides on farmed land, large corporations who focus on one type of grain and thinking we can constantly kill our soil and hope that it continues to give us more food.

In this world that Bren MacDibble creates, a fungus has killed all crops around the world and it is only the genius of Emery’s grandpa that gives Emery and Ella hope that the world will again be fed and hopefully more aware.

Indigenous farming methods are the best suited farming methods for Australia and it is about time that we started to take more notice of how they looked after the land and always had diversity in what they grew. Many crops in Australia are not suited to the climate and the soil has been mistreated so poorly that the reliance on pesticides is increasing.

This book sends a message to us all – re learn your Australian history and trust the methods and the crops that the first Australians grew. Stop relying on multinational companies and start looking towards smaller scale farms that take time to look after soils and produce.

CBCA Notable lesson ideas

Older readers

Lenny’s book of everything by Karen Foxlee

Tales from Inner City by Shaun Tan https://educateempower.blog/2019/03/06/tales-from-the-inner-city-by-shaun-tan/

Younger readers

Black Cockatoo by Carl Merrison

His Name was walter by Emily Rodda

Early Childhood

Collecting Sunshine by Rachel Flynn

Beware the deep Dark forest by Sue Whiting

Picture book of the year

Room on our rock by Kate and Joe Temple

Girl on Wire by Lucy Estela

The incredible freedom machines by Kirli Saunders

The all new must have orange 430 by Michael Speechley

When you’re going to the moon by Sasha Beekman

Cicada by Shaun Tan

Eve Pownell Award

Digby and Claude by Emma Allen and Hannah Somerville

The flying optometrist by Joanne Anderton and Karen Erasmus

The great lizard trek by Felicity Bradshaw and Norma MacDonald

Australian Birds by Matt Chun

Bouncing Back by Coral Tulloch and Rohan Cleave

Under the Southern Cross by Frane Lessac

Waves by Rawlins, Donna, Potter, Heather , Jackson, Mark 

Our Birds: Ŋilimurruŋgu Wäyin Malanynha by Stubbs, Siena

Sorry Day by Vass, Coralillus. Leffler, Dub


Collecting Sunshine by Rachel Flynn and Tamsin Ainslie


A collection, by definition is both the action of collecting something or a group of things.

Children love collecting things and we often get caught up with their desire to collect stuff we need to buy – but this book Collecting Sunshine – shows that collections are everywhere we look, and do not cost a single cent.

Mabel and Robert are out for a walk collecting anything they can touch, smell, hear, taste and see. Their senses are alive with wonderment as they count their collections, play in the rain and collect things that cannot fit into pockets.

Reading Collecting Sunshine makes you realise how much joy children get from being outside and taking the time to look closely at the world around them. A simple 5 minute walk can turn into an hour but they joy they find in their collecting, is second to none.

Collecting Sunshine will be enjoyed by young children and inspire them and hopefully their adults to start collecting things from the natural and outside world around them rather than the shopping centre!  

The illustrations are vibrant and full of detail, giving the simple story so much more. Young eyes will love the tiny details of the cats up in trees, budgerigars watching closely and rainbows dancing on the grass.

In the classroom

Numeracy

Take your class outside and collect things. Record this on a sheet and create graphs to show the different types of collections and the amounts of things we can have in a collection.

Science

Use this book to look at the five senses and how we can look at different things differently through a sense. E.g : We can touch a collection of rocks but can we taste rocks? Hear rocks? Smell rocks? See rocks?

Activity Pack : https://www.penguin.com.au/content/PRH_FLYNN_PBOTM_PACK_HR.pdf

Teacher notes: http://www.lamontbooks.com.au/media/126706/september-2018-ec-collecting-sunshine.pdf

The Dream Peddler by Irena Kobald and Christopher Nielson

Once upon a time a boy was born.

He laughed. He kicked.

He grew.

He wondered, and had many dreams

A picture book inspired by a mother’s anguish over her son’s ice addiction, The Dream Peddler is a story designed to start a conversation with older readers that dreams sold to us falsely are not always as they seem.

Told in folktale format, we meet  boy who lives with his family. Time goes on and he grows up and leaves home with a heart full of dreams.

Until he meets the Dream Peddler who entices him to try a different dream which in turn leads to him to not only forget what his original dreams were but also to develop an addiction.

This story is simple yet deep. It can be read on so many levels. Young readers will grasp at the idea of chasing dreams and becoming addicted to something so much that we forget who we are. Older readers will start to see the connection to drugs and how life with them can be nothing but broken hopes and dreams.

Addiction to drugs is too real and too many young people use these drugs either daily or recreationally. Children need to know what the side effects of drugs are before they start to try them out. They need to know who is giving it to them and consider if they really need them.

This book does focus on the illegal drug ‘ice’ but with a growing world there are so many other ways we can become disjointed from our world and addicted to things that take our lives away.

The Dream Peddler is a great book to read to young people so that they can see how important family, friends and following your hopes and dreams are. One off highs and addictions only ruin lives and it is something we need to address more fiercely.

In the classroom

This book can be used within PD lessons on Drugs

Literacy

You can look at the style of folk tales and fables in this story – how a simple story can send us such a strong message without telling us what to do.  

Visual literacy

Look at how the following have been represented: Loss of direction in life, drugs, drug seller, anger, anguish, addiction, realisation

Buy here through Booktopia

Read more here: http://www.dirtlanepress.com/press

Tales from the inner city by Shaun Tan


We took the orca from the sea and put it in the sky. It was just so beautiful up there, so inspiring. But the calls of the mother never stopped.

Every story in this compilation will make you think about the world we live in and the relationships we have with animals.

You will come across animals we have forgotten, places that once were and never will be again, animals that live within our urban environments and others that want to live with us. You meet animals with agendas  – and will come away from each story wondering how much you really know about the animals that are part of this world.

Each story is accompanied with an illustration which adds more depth. Each story is filled with ideas rather than character or plot development but leaves you wondering – how did we get here?

These stories and poems can just be read for pure enjoyment and reflection but they can also be pondered upon – with the question – Is this really it?

This book is for older readers to enjoy and think about how animals can save us, and how our lives are forever entwined, for better or for worse.

So what can be done in the classroom?

Animals & Sustainability

Look at the table of contents and explore the way this has been created. Research how humans have and do interact between the animals and themselves. Draw similarities between the animal and human.

Compare and contrast the living habitats of animals who dwell in urban and rural areas. Are there benefits to either way of living

Explore the collective nouns for each of these animals.

Literacy

Explore flash fiction / microstory about a chosen animal after reading one in Tan’s novel (crocodile, butterfly, snails, shark, cat sheep, hippos, orca)  

Explore the famous short story by Ernest Hemingway

Why is this a good story?

Explore how picture books can tell a story in less than 500 words.

What do they need? What don’t they need?

Flash fiction does not have images – or perhaps only one – so you will need to tell more but still not as much as a short story.

Under the southern Cross by Frane Lessac.


Take a fact tastic tour on Frane Lessac’s most recent picture book – Under the southern cross and discover many intriguing facts about Australia that perhaps you never knew.


Such as

  • A golden staircase rises from the sea over Broome with every full moon.
  • Ribbons of rainbows hover over Tasmania at certain times of the year
  • Cape Tribulation is home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world
  • The southern cross is used not only for navigation but to help with seasons and of course storytelling.

Each page is filled with simple facts but overarching this is the double page lllustration highlighting the beauty and wonder of the particular place in Australia.

Details abound and so much can be gained from just looking at the illustrations before reading the facts.

Under the Southern Cross is a great book to use in the classroom to show how we can learn about what really makes each place around Australia unique. We often get caught up in the basic facts and landmarks – this book will inspire your students to look further into each individual place and see what really makes it different.

What can you do with this book?

Geography

Plot each place on the map of Australia then compare at least two of them to discover the similarities and differences.

Why have these places been chosen to be in this book? Find another place or two that you think should be included in the book for their uniqueness.

Literacy

Write a short piece – similar to how each place is introduced in the book to introduce a place of your choice.

STEM

Explore other constellations that are important in the Southern Hemisphere.

Locate these in the night sky and find out if there are any Indigenous stories that accompany them.

Teacher notes:

https://www.franelessac.com/wp-content/uploads/Under-the-Southern-Cross-Classroom-Ideas.pdf

The wonder of trees by Nicola Davies and Lorna Scobie

A third of our planet is covered by trees so surely they should be something we know a lot about?

Perhaps not.


The wonder of trees by Nicola Davies and Lorna Scobie is an in depth book which explores the extraordinary diversity of trees, the animals that need them and the clusters of them around the planet.

Not only are the pages filled with easy to read information, they are also adorned with stunning illustrations which detail the leaves, bark, root systems and animals.

Many scientific names are included on each page, allowing children who otherwise may not be, exposed to scientific language.

The wonder of trees is a book to keep returning to as there is quite a bit of information to be absorbed. Although young children will love the illustrations, older children from ages 5 will enjoy reading pieces of the information which is organised in small clusters around the pages.

The book is also broken up into sections such as different types of forests, how people use the forest, what animals need, how trees grow and the different amazing parts they have for survival.

This A3 size book will be enjoyed by children not only for its information but also the intricate illustrations. It’s one that can be used to explore areas of science, discuss sustainability and wonder about the world that the trees which surround us support.

The ultimate animal counting book by Jennifer Cossins


1 Blue whale: Blue whales are one of the loudest animals in the world and they can hear each other from up to 1600 kilometres away.

The ultimate animal counting book is most definitely an ultimate counting book. From numbers 1-100 you can explore an increasing number of animals who inhabit this planet.

In amongst the animals you will find facts about how they live, what they can do and how they are unique. You will also notice that although each page is dedicated to one animal in particular – they are all very different.

Zebras all have completely different spots (check out the 15 different patterns with number 15!)

The 48 Ibises are not all the white feathered and black beak bin divers we see in our suburbs but also red, green and brown.

And the 100 fairy flies are usually so small that we can’t even see many of them without a microscope.

Wild and domesticated animals, urban and rural dwellers, pests and endangered species have have all made it into this book which is important to show just how diverse the animal kingdom is and how our interaction with them plays a huge role.

Jennifer Cossins has created many other wonderful books about animals and this one is a great addition to the collection. Children of all ages will enjoy learning how to count, reading the different facts and pouring over the illustrations of each individual animal.

Art/Numeracy activity

Can you create a whole class counting book with a focus on endangered animals, animals in your local area or animals in your country?

Integrate skip counting or addition sums with your science unit on living things.

The day we built the bridge by Samantha Tidy and Fiona Burrows


The first thing that you will notice in this picture book are the end pages, adorned with Australian native flowers – Gum blossoms, Wattle and Geraldton Wax flowers.

The day we built the bridge by Samantha Tidy and Fiona Burrows is a beautifully illustrated picture book that allows younger readers to explore this important timeline of Australian history.

Fitting in perfectly with any Australian history lesson, this book has a key focus around Sydney’s need for the harbour bridge. We see the journey from the bridges inception in the 1890’s until the day it was finished and celebrated in 1932.


As a key icon of Australia, many of us may not know how much thought and how much time it took for this bridge to be built. It is something we see all time time in either our passing over it or viewing it on commercials about Australia. It’s connection is not only that of two land masses but also of a community that wanted more.

The pictures in this book tell just as much of a story as the words do, and together they create a magical book that takes you back in time to a place that Sydney was.

The day we built the bridge is an excellent way for children to see the time it took for the bridge to be built and the other things that were going on whilst this all was happening. It allows them to see what children did, how families worked together and the day to day life of Australians through the war and times where money was scarce.

Stunning illustrations and poignant words will bring you back to this book again and again. It is one to share in the classroom and at home.

So what else can you do with this book?

History

Write down different words that you associate with commemorative events in Australia. Why is the building of the bridge so important? Are there other events just as important? Can we rank these events?

Use trove.nla.gov.au to explore images and newspaper articles from this time in Sydney and make comparisons to bg events of today.

Research how bridges were made then and how they are made now – are there any differences?

Create a timeline in your own space of the events that took place in the lead up to the bridge being created. What else can you add?

If the bridge was a different design, how might Sydney look or feel?

https://t.dgm-au.com/c/357229/137028/2741

The Australian students guide to Writing and Grammar by Claire Duffy


Many students find studying grammar a chore – because of the way it is taught and the wonder of – do I really need this?

This book, The Australian students guide to Writing and Grammar by Claire Duffy, is a very concise yet easy to use book about grammar and writing for students who need to know a little bit more in their own time.want to know more.

The Australian students guide to Writing and Grammar by Claire Duffy provides students information about basic grammar and skills in writing before it delves into how to be a writer who can write creatively, persuasively and analytically.

Examples are provided throughout each chapter and the language used talks to the students in a friendly and easy to understand manner.

I loved the nerd corners for the extra fact and the tables filled with accessible information about different types of writing.

This book doesn’t ask the reader to do anything except read the information provided. There are no tasks to complete or quizes to fill in. I think because of this students will return to this book when they are unsure of any aspect of writing and grammar, knowing it is a place they can read, learn and do in their own time.

I know that I will be using this to revisit some of the writing techniques not only in my own writing but in the lessons I teach.

Highly recommended for teachers and students as it fits nicely into a bag, is simple to use and very informative.

Buy here:

There are fish everywhere by Britta Teckentrup


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

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

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

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

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

Library lesson

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

Sustainability

Why do we need so many different types of fish?

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

Visual art

Research a fish

Science

Explore life cycles of different fish as inspired by Britta

Compare and contrast different types of fish

Geography

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

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?

Lucky and Spike by Norma MacDonald

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository Premiere

So what else can you do with this book?

Sustainability

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

Visual Arts and Artists.

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

Literacy

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

Science

Research further about Spinifex Hopping mice and Barking owls.

Discover how cats become feral.

Join my facebook groups if you like!

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

The elephant by Jenni Desmond

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

About elephants.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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We are all equal by P.Crumble and Jonathon Bentley

We are all equal.

Let’s shout it out loud.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What can you do?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what else can you do with this book?

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

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

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

Letters to change the world

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yours troolie, Alice Toolie by Kate and Jol Temple

We’ve had a lot of laughs whilst reading ‘Yours troolie, Alice Toolie ’ by @katejoltemple

You don’t need to have met either character before to enjoy the conversation between two classmates who have been made to write letters to each other because of a huge fight they had.

Letter writing between two enemies could not get any better!

The format of this story is fun – the font, the doodles on each letter entry and the honesty of how kids really see the world.

Letter writing may even make a comeback….you never know.

A great book to read and an even better book to use in the classroom to instigate some fun letter writing!

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What can you do with this book?

  • Write some letters between classmates or friends. You can use the post and integrate learning about the Australian postal system or just post the letters in a made up box in the classroom.
  • Investigate the best way to capture and store a ghost. Compare this to the method Alice and Jimmy used. Which way is better?
  • Learn about where and why emoji’s were invented. Create some that you think may be needed in the future.
  • What is eco glitter? Create a list of all the things you love using that are not so eco-friendly. Are their alternative products out there that will not harm the environment?
  • Do you think another letter writing book could come out of this one? Write down some future ideas for Alice and Jimmy if there was to be a second book (it may not be letter writing – could it be something else?)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teacher notes to come soon – watch this space! 

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. 

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