Papa Sky by Jane Jolly and Sally Heinrich

LHave you ever looked up at the sky and wondered what different things you could see in the clouds?
Have you ever been to a cloud forest and wondered where the earth meets the sky?

Papa Sky by Jane Jolly and illustrated by Sally Heinrich is an imaginative yet informative story about cloud forests and the animals that need them to survive.

 

Papa Sky is having lots of fun creating different shapes in the clouds above the cloud forest until one night he falls down into the forest. At first it seems like a wonderful thing to have Papa Sky down in the rainforest but soon the animals come to realise that without him in the clouds they are nothing.

 

The animals work together to send him back up to where he belongs so once again he can create the clouds that they need for survival

 

“We must get him back to where he belongs”.

“He is our all”.

“Without him we are nothing.”

 

Not only does this book provide entertainment it also helps the reader to see the importance of the climate in cloud forests. Cloud forests harbour many of the world’s flora and fauna species (which can be seen in the end paper of this book) and due to climate change many of these species are becoming endangered or extinct.  The animals realise that although it is fun to have someone new around, they really need him to be where he has always been.

 

Sally Heinrich’s illustrations enhance the story with vibrant colour, small detail and varied page layouts. The children who have read this book with me have loved looking at the animals on each page – especially the pages without words – and wondering how they are feeling and what they might be thinking.

 

There are many wonderful discussions you can have before, during and after this story and it is wonderful to see a picture book that can raise awareness of this issue in a non-confrontational way.

 

So what can you do with this book?

 

Geography

 

  1. Investigate what cloud forests are and where they are in the world. Find out if people live in or near them and which animals need cloud forests to survive.
  2. Find out how cloud forests are being affected by climate change.

 

Sustainability

 

  1. Investigate an animal that is becoming endangered due to the change in how cloud forests function.
  2. Find out more about the Beautiful nursery frog and how climate change is causes a decrease in the population. Create a way you can inform others about the plight of this frog or another animal that lives in a cloud forest. https://theconversation.com/australian-endangered-species-beautiful-nursery-frog-11426

 

Science & Art

  1. Step outside, lie down on the grass and look at some clouds. What shapes can you see? Draw, paint or collage your own types of clouds.

 

Want more? Work with me to create more great teacher resources using books as springboards.

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The Snow Wombat by Susannah Chambers and illustrated by Mark Johnson

Where does snow fall?

The answer is everywhere!

 

Open The Snow Wombat by Susannah Chambers and go on a wintry walk in the Australian Alpine to discover how the environment changes when it is covered in snow.

The young reader will delight in the map drawn on the end pages and the names of the different places the wombat visits. You can spend time searching each illustration drawn beautifully by Mark Jackson to find different Australian animals who also live in the snow and the various plants and trees that can survive the freezing temperatures.

Repetition and rhyme have been used throughout the story, encouraging young readers to read along and guess which word might come next.

We loved reading this story and had a lot of fun re creating the map, spotting feral and Australian animals and making our own puppets to reenact the story.

The Snow Wombat was SHORT-LISTED: CBCA Book of the Year, Early Childhood, 2017.

So what can you do with this book?

  1. Draw your own map of the story, this will encourage skills of recount. You can also create your own map of where another Australian animal might go.
  2. Discuss the different animals on each page. Which ones are Australian animals? Which are feral animals? Livestock? Endangered?
  3. Learn about wombats and how they live.
  4. Could you write another story about another type of weather?

Sleepy the sloth by Jan Latta

Come on an adventure with me and learn about my life in the jungle

Sleepy is an adorable sloth. Sleepy the sloth and his friends live in the trees of the Central and South American tropical rainforests and Jan Latta has beautifully captured these animals in their natural habitat.

Jan Latta has produced the True to life series so she can educate children about endangered animals through a captivating story told through photographs taken of these animals in their natural habitat.

In this story – Sleepy the Sloth, we learn about what Sleepy does throughout the day, what he looks like and why, how he eats and the different things he does to live and survive. These facts are all learnt through a lovely story with accompanying photographs.

However, children aren’t just told the story of sleepy the sloth – they are also given some great facts and maps along with comprehension questions. There is a map, some fun craft activities and even a colouring in page.

We all want our children to learn about endangered animals but we want them to enjoy learning about them – and this book does just that. When children (and adults) do things rather than just listening or reading, they remember better.

After reading Sleepy the Sloth parents and teachers can use these activities to have more in depth conversations about how we can help to take Sloths off the endangered list!

Jan Latta is passionate about educating people about animals who are endangered and spends a lot of time researching her subjects before photographing them. Not only has she created books but there are accompanying videos for her books too so children can see the animal and how it moves.

Sleepy the Sloth will not only engage your young reader but it will also inspire them to think of ways that they can make a difference in this animal’s life – even if it is on the other side of the world.

You can check out Jan’s work on her blog and purchase one of her many engaging creations

Enid Blyton: Five go down under by Sophie Hamley

“Yes, it’s summer. That’s what we wanted wasn’t it?’ Julian emitted an exaggerated sigh. “Let’s just get to Bondi and into our bathers and a long swim will sort it out.”


The Famous Five are back and this time they are having a Gap year in the suburb where so many English tourists seem to dwell – Bondi.

In this Famous Five novel for grown ups, we follow the Five as they learn about life in Bondi, try to understand the local lingo, eat out at Burnt Sugar Love Goddess Gratitude (which strangely reminds me of a place my friends frequented during their time in Bondi), go surfing and get stung by a blue bottle!

The Famous Five meet the ‘Sydney Six’ who not only are their idols from their favourite Australian sitcom but also interesting tour guides for life in Bondi.

But their adventures don’t just happen in Bondi – they also venture further afield for a taste of #outbacklife on a working farm out in Wagga Wagga.

Each character in this Famous Five novel for grown ups still has the same characteristics they did in the original stories by Enid Blyton but they provide many more laughs. The Five have to deal with hipsters, strange Australian words and antics and life on social media.#wowsydneywowwow

If you need a laugh and an easy this book is a must as are the many more Famous Five books now on offer!

BUY NOW – CLICK BELOW

Five Go Down Under

Little mouse’s Sweet Treat by Shana Hollowell

What lengths do your children go to to grab themselves a sugary treat?

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The little mouse in this book travels all over his neighbourhood to find a delicious sweet snack meeting different animals and their taste buds along the way.

A sweet, simple, fun and engaging story, Little Mouse’s Sweet treat will not only engaged your child it will also expose them to rhyme.

Rhyming is one important aspect of learning to read so having these types of books read out loud to your child is setting them up for an easier path when learning how to read.

The watercolour illustrations are beautiful and my three year old loved looking at what the different animals were doing as the mouse spoke to them.

My one year old niece asked for the story to be read over and over again, enjoying the pictures, the sing song of the rhyme and the curiosity to see what the mouse ended up eating!

Little Mouse’s sweet treat is a lovely read for younger children and one which early readers will also like to read out loud.

You can buy your copy here: Amazon

Exploring soils by Samantha Grover and Camille Heisler

Have you ever wondered what is underneath the grass you walk upon?

Have you ever scooped up some dirt and examined the life that teemed out of it?

Have you ever noticed the different colours of soil on your bushwalk or sand at beach?

Exploring soils by Dr Samantha Grover and Camille Heisler is a informative picture book that takes us on a journey through a young child’s eyes as they explore how plants and animals live in soil, how soils are formed and how they are essential in our lives.


Having two young children I have rediscovered the joy of dirt – yes really! Although it does create mess, there is so much to see inside of it. As we dig in our backyard or down in the local park we have discovered so many interesting insects, old junk and pieces of rock.

The collaboration between Grover and Heilser is remarkable. As facts are brought to life through story, the illustrations match so that we can see the layers of soil, see the tiny legs on the insects and learn how water moves through soil.

The importance of soil is shown to the reader as we learn about gardening, using clay for bowls to eat out of and even different ochres that allow us to paint.

The idea of being a soil detective is not out of reach for any young reader and in fact I found this book a great way for children to take a closer look at the soil. There really are hours of discussion to be had around soil and this book is a really great way to start that discussion. Without healthy moving soil we would not have the planet we have today!

So what can you do with this book?

  • Go outside and dig a hole! Start with a small hole and see what is in that space. Write down what you see, draw what you see and compare different spaces around the backyard or park.
  • Learn about the soil that is in your area and how it is different from soil in another part of our suburb or city.
  • Explore why we need healthy soil by conducting an experiment. Try to grow some sunflower seeds in sand, rocky soil, old soil and fresh new living soil. Which one grows best when all given the same conditions?

BUY NOW – click below.

Exploring Soils: A Hidden World Underground

exploring soils

Magic Fish Dreaming by June Perkins

I’m writing this story in a bottle lost at sea…..

 

Magic Fish Dreaming by June Perkins is a collection of poems for children that ignite imagination, incite dreaming and explore the great land and wildlife of Australia.


Poetry is not something I read a lot of – but after reading Magic Fish Dreaming by June Perkins I believe it is something I should do more often.

Not only did I enjoy the diverse range of poems included in this book but the children I read it to lapped it up.

My son asked me to read the poem about the Cassowary several times over along with Pond Pests and Magic Fish Dreaming. We loved the rhyme in some poems, the storytelling within others and the speech between families.

Each poem told a different story and really ignited conversations about fairy teeth, why a Cassowary wasn’t at his home and the possibility of us going on an adventure in a bottle.

June Perkin’s poems are short yet effervescent. They are perfect for reading out loud and some of these poems can also be read as a group. Helen Magisson’s delicate pastel illustrations compliment each poem and add more mystery to those poems which make you sit and wonder; what if?

Not only are these poems full of imaginative places they also bring up issues of endangered animals, loss of habitat and the importance of respecting the land. The beauty of these poems that talk about cane toad invasion and loss of natural habitat is that the message can be quickly understood – something that is really important when trying to educate young children.

Magic Fish Dreaming is a wonderful anthology and one to share with your young children.

 

So what can you do at home?

 

  • Read the poems out loud – which poems can you read together? Which poems have different characters?
  • Find the poems that have rhyme – do you prefer poems with or without rhyme?
  • Which animals are mentioned in the story are endangered? Find out where these animals live and why they are endangered.
  • What are cane toad poles? Why are cane toads pests?
  • Rain is mentioned in a few poems – explore how rain can help and hinder the people and animals of the land.
  • Choose a favourite poem and create a short story from this poem. You could explore the idea of writing a story from a bottle or perhaps finding your own fairy tooth.

 

Interview with Karen Tyrell, author of Song Bird Two: The Battle of Bug World.

Welcome Karen, and thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. I hope that these questions will give my readers some more insight into how you have developed the characters in Song Bird , how music inspires and how we can all take better care of the world we live in.

 Song Bird 2 The Battle of Bug World

What inspired you to write the Song Bird series?

Two life changing events.

Fan girls of my Super Space Kids series requested I write a new series with a girl superhero as the main character, especially written for adventurous girls.

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Songbird Superhero, AKA Rosella Ava Bird character is based on my experiences as a 11-year-old geeky, bullied girl. Each night, I dreamt I could fly, to escape my bullies. Later, I joined the choir and learnt how singing boosted my self-esteem and self-confidence. The following year, I started high school where I discovered my love of science and maths. I wanted Songbird to represent the powerful and free spirit I aspired to be.

Music is so important to all of us and can give us strength. How does music play a role in your life and why did you think your superhero needed music to help her?

Music plays a key role in empowering me in tough times. As a bullied 11-year-old girl, I joined the choir and learnt to sing. My voice was something no bully could defeat.

When I was a bullied teacher, music comforted me when I developed PTSD and anxiety. My student and his parents bullied me to breaking point. Music gave me joy and certainty, a place where I drew confidence and peace.

Like me, Rosella Ava Bird joined the school choir discovered her superpowers lived within herself.

Rosie is such a strong and confident character, even when she doubts herself. Is your character Rosie based on anyone you know?

Rosie is a mix of me and the girl I dreamt to be. I would love to sing and to fly… And use my superpowers for good, to save and protect others.

I really love that you have included children with disabilities in The Battle of Bug World and portrayed them as strong, clever, brave and very able – what inspired you to do this when most books do not?

Two important reasons.

I have a mental illness that’s invisible. Many people label my illness as a disability. I don’t. My illness is part of me. I’ve found writing lets me express my struggles and successes in ways that empower myself, and help others. I want to encourage kids to connect with their inner superhero and live strong.

I once taught a boy-genius who was smart and brave, and an incredible maths science whizz. He also happened to move about in a wheelchair. In Songbird, I wanted to shatter the disabilitry stereotype. Like the boy I knew, Amy Hillcrest, is quite the hero.

How do you think teachers and parents can inspire young children to step up and think for themselves when it comes to looking after our planet?

Children should read and learn about their environment. Realise, they are a part of it and can make a difference to it.

My message: We can all lend a hand to care for our environment. Many hands make light work.

Did you research to learn more about how bees and insects function in our world?

YES. I studied how insects and bees behave, especially the bee’s waggle dance. I spoke to beekeepers of honey bees and Australian stingless bees. I spoke to the director of Bee Aware at the Logan LEAF eco festival.

How do you look after bees in your life? Do you have any tips for our young readers as to what they can do?

I do simple things like plant brightly coloured flowers and fresh herbs in my garden. I grow purple agapanthus and native grevilleas to attract bees. I put out clean dishes of water for the bees to drink. I’m careful not to spray pesticides on the grass or the garden. That would poison the bees. Instead, I pull out weeds.

How do you think children can make a difference in our world in relation to the degradation of the environment without having to always rely on adults?

Kids can plant and nurture their own garden, pick up litter especially in parks and waterways, pack their own lunches without plastic, turn off lights and taps, sort out family rubbish into glass, paper and cans ready for recycling bins.

 

What is in store for us in Book 3?

Song Bird returns to save the lost rainforest, revealing an ancient mystery.

Thank you Karen for taking the time to answer all of my questions. Such honest responses and really drawn on your own life experiences and those who you have come across that show their own super powers. I am really looking forward to reading more of your inspiring and adventure filled stories.

Make sure you get your copy of Songbird Superhero and The Battle of Bug World here:

Song Bird Superhero and The Battle of Bug World available on Amazon

Karen Tyrrell Bug World

 

Dear picture book section

Dear Picture book section,

It was really lovely seeing you the other day. You were full of some new releases, some hidden gems and of course some old favourites.

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Whenever I come across your smiling face I am able to stop, relax and take stock of what has been happening in the real world. I can slip into a world of imagination and learn lessons that help me to get by in my every day life.

Your magical stories give me new ideas and your haunting tales caution me about the dark side of life. The new lands you introduce me to help me to see my world from another perspective and different characters help me to see myself and my friends in a different light.

So many of your tales involve animals that can talk and I always wonder why that is. Do we relate better to big issues when a normally speechless creature can suddenly speak words of wisdom?

Picture book section, I don’t know why we have to go weeks without seeing each other so I am starting my own picture book section in a corner of my house. Every time I borrow some pieces of you from the library I am going to store you in my bookcase, not in my bag. I am going to read a story every day and share these new ideas with those around me.

Picture book section, without you I would be in a land of screens, simple stories and cats that just sit and purr in a basket.

Dear Picture book section, thank you for being you.

See you soon,

 

Vanessa

 

 

Children in our world: Refugees and Migrants by Ceri Roberts and Hanan Kai

Wow. Such a big and heavy topic which is often filled with sadness, worry and fear. But this series – Children in our world has again written about refugees and migrants in a way the leave children feeling informed and empowered to take action.


In the news we hear so often of refugees who have settled in Australia and living happy lives but it is the stories of heartache, loss and fear that we don’t always want our children to hear.

Children in our world: Refugees and Migrants by Ceri Roberts and Hanan Kai informs the reader how people can become refugees and how it would feel to pack up your life into a small bag so that you can run. The images that accompany this story really add emotion to the book as we see small children in their much loved bedrooms leaving everything behind, we see children orphaned by their parents and children hidden away on an illegal journey.

But hope is there and we see a young child happily sitting with a family member drinking tea on a verandah at the end of the book. We can see that people can be safe and find a new home – but without government intervention and the power of people keeping them accountable these things cannot happen.

Children are also informed as to how they can make a difference to refugees lives and I love that writing a letter to the government is one of these. Young children may not feel that they really have a voice but through letter writing they can be powerful.

Inspire your children and inspire yourself to take a stand on the ever increasing amount of refugees in our world. These people deserve to live in safety and deserve to live in houses – not in the tent cities that seem to be growing every day.

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 Refugees and Migrants (Children in Our World)

One child by Christopher Cheng

Just imagine.

 

Just imagine what one child can do when they put their mind to it.


One child by Christopher Cheng is an inspiring story told through vibrant illustrations and a simple yet engaging story.

A young girl stares at the TV screen and wonders in despair what she can do about the pollution of the skies, the loss of animals and the trees being cut down. She despairs and worries.

But, something that I have placed at the heart of my own blog comes through this book – we can all make a difference.

We can all do something small which can result in something big.

The girl in this story plants a tree, tidies up the rubbish, walks instead of driving and speaks up.

We all have the power to do something. Something is better than nothing.

This book is so powerful. You will feel inspired and your children will feel inspired to do something now, to make a difference so they can live in a better world not only for themselves but for everyone they know.

 

So what can you do?

 

Write a pledge. Download this one here. Fill it in with what you are going to do in the next 6 months to make a difference in our world. Declare it and revisit it often. Keep yourself on track so you will make a difference in the world we live in.

The coffee cup

A few weeks ago I blogged about and sometimes you forget – which many readers found solace in considering many of us lead busy lives and just sometimes those coffee cups get forgotten.

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Well there seems to be an answer to this forgetting right here in Sydney.

Although it’s still not ideal and waste is still created – a 96% recyclable cup has been created. The first place to trial this cup will be Toby’s Estate in Chippendale. This cup can  be turned into paperback covers and other paper and cardboard products BUT it does need to be dropped into a recycle me box in order for this to happen properly.

It would be wonderful if we always remembered our reusable cup or took the time to have our tea and coffee at the cafe – but it is good to know there is an environmentally answer to those times we do forget.

Perhaps it is time to talk to your regular cafe and ask them what they are doing to make a difference to the waste their customers create. Either offer a discount or start to invest in these recyclable cups.

Feathers by Phil Cummings and Phil Lesnie

The sun rose on a crisp, cloudy day. The sandpiper stretched its wings in the chilling breeze. It knew it was time to leave so it took flight.

Feathers by Phil Cummings and Phil Lesnie is a calming yet thought provoking picture book that takes the reader on a journey over lands filled with hope, fear, sadness and joy. As we follow the yearly migratory flight of the sandpiper we see the countries that play an important role in its survival. We watch the bird as it soars over snowy landscapes, lands near flood waters and finds safety amongst reeds in the water.

Feathers raises many issues but a big one is the time to reflect on how lucky we are to live in Australia. The countries that the sandpiper flies over on it’s yearly flight have been hit hard by earthquake (China) Civil unrest (Myanmar) Flooding (Cambodia) but its final resting place is in Australia – safe and disaster free.

Feathers has so much to offer  – it is a worrying yet heart warming read and one which should trigger some deep conversations about how we can help those who are less fortunate than us.

It is a story about annual bird migration  – which may not seem so important but it is. The numbers of many of these migratory birds are dropping drastically because of loss of habitat.

These birds need to land in different places all over the world – see the  East Asian-Australasian Flyway map – and if they dont, eggs will not hatch or if they do hatch, the chick may not be fully developed, chicks may get eaten by feral animals or not have enough food to eat to survive the long flight back to Australia.

Phil Lesnie’s illustrations bring so much emotion to the story through the ever changing light in the sky  – we can feel the pain of the people escaping war, the worry of the people surrounded by flood and the fear of those whose houses have fallen down. We can see the strength of the sandpiper as it flies on it’s pathway seeking out food, shelter and then home.

Feathers is a poignant read that focuses on human destruction of the world we live in. Read this story with your class or children at home. Take the time to think about how you can make a difference in the world we live in – so that war is eliminated and habitat is saved.

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

Join my Facebook page and group: educateempower11 or closed group for teaching ideas : growing globally and socially conscious children. https://m.facebook.com/groups/362368594250457

Sustainability

  • Why do these birds need to migrate?
  • Find out about which birds migrate each year.
  • Read Jeannie Baker’s book – Circle to learn more about the migration of the Godwit.
  • How is Australia causing issues for migratory birds? Can you write a letter to the local government to discuss this and urge them to stop the destruction of habitat?

Human Rights

  • What does safety mean to you? Where did you feel safe in the story?
  • Why does Mia feel lucky?
  • How can we help those who have been affected by floods, earthquakes and war? Are all these acts purely natural disasters or have humans played a role in exacerbating the situation?
  • Explore the UN’s rights of the child. Would all the children in this story have their rights?

Literacy

  • Explore the feather – what does it look like, feel like and sound like? Explore the bird – look, feel, sound and then explore the landscape. Use adjectives, adverbs and verbs to explore these nouns.
  • Choose another migratory bird and write a story about where they travel and what they might see.

Geography

Here are some great articles to read about the demise of the migratory bird:

http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/wildlife/2017/05/migratory-shorebirds

http://birdlife.org.au/documents/Shorebirds-FactSheet.pdf

http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/migratory-species/migratory-birds

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-03-28/project-underway-save-endangered-migratory-birds-pelican-island/7279234

Where’s the play?

So many of us are caught up in worrying what our child has scored in their latest test or if they are up to a higher level than someone else in their sight words or home readers.

But is this undue pressure that society has unnecessarily placed on us? I believe that it is.

Young children need to play and be free.


There is mounting evidence about the importance of play and how much children learn from just playing. There is also mounting evidence about the stress and worry that many children feel from being over tested or over worked after school hours.

How can parent’s help to ensure that their child is learning yet also playing?

– Skip homework some afternoons and play at the park, go for a bike ride or see a friend. Do something that is fun. Children learn through fun and adventure so much more than they will from staring at homework they do not want to engage in. Even children who love doing homework will still benefit from getting out and about.

– Don’t compare your child to others. Don’t worry who is reading at a higher level, receiving more certificates or finished their homework by Monday afternoon.

– Talk to your child’s teacher about the testing regime. With more parent input perhaps this testing culture will fall to the wayside. Testing is an important part of teaching as teachers can gather data BUT there seems to be a lot more testing than is necessary and many children do not perform well under pressure. They perform better in relaxed and unplanned situations.

– Learn in context. There is no point rote learning words or number skills as they mean nothing. Get outside and learn those number skills, read signs whilst out and about and read more books to learn more concepts.

Read books, borrow books and share books – books settle the soul, stir imagination and ignite creativity.

 – Tell stories and dream together.

 

Feathers and Hair, What animals wear by Jennifer Ward and Jing jing Tsong

Fur! Feathers! Scales! Hair! Explore some animal underwear…. 

 

Bright illustrations abound in this fun and informative picture book by Jennifer Ward and Jing Jing Tsong.

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Feathers and Hair, What animals wear enlightens young readers in an exciting way about the different body covers animals have.

Did you know that birds have four different types of feathers?

Or that Armadillo’s are covered with bands of hardened skin?

Not only will your child have fun reading this story and looking at the vibrant pictures, they can also learn some extra facts when they turn to the back few pages.

So what can you do at home?

Learn more about these interesting animals!

Get out the colours and draw your own versions of these animals.

Talk about if you have ever seen any of these animals in the wild or the zoo. Making connections is important to real life events and picture books.

The baby animals book by Jennifer Cossins

If babies of any kind were not cute – what might the world be like?

How have names been created for the different baby animals? 

How many animals in the world are endangered and how can baby animals help humans to realise this?


 

The baby animal book by Jennifer Cossins is a colorfully illustrated story which takes us on a journey to teach us about the different names that baby animals have.

What do you call a baby penguin? Or a baby owl? Or a baby peacock?

We were surprised by the different names given to each baby animal and as a challenge are going to try and commit these to memory . This challenge won’t be too hard as Jennifer Cossins’  illustrations are not only fun to look at but they are also detailed yet not too overwhelming. These illustrations allow the reader to see how the animals move, how they might care for each other and the different colour between parents and children.

The baby animal book is a wonderful addition to Cossins other books (A-Z of endangered animals and 101 Collective nouns) which again are informative in a simple manner yet engaging and inspiring.

So what can you do at home?

  • Choose some other animals that aren’t in this book and find out what their baby names are.
  • Do some baby animals have the same names?
  • Are any of these animals in your home country?
  • Are any of these animals at your local zoo?
  • Are any of these animals endangered and what can we do?
  • Compare the life cycle of two different baby animals – look at how fast they grow, how long they stay with their mother and the different abilities they have.

Enjoy reading this book and engaging with the pictures as you learn about the different names of baby animals!

Du Iz Tak? by Carson Ellis

Have you ever wondered what language bugs speak when communicating with each other?


Well wonder no more – be inspired by Carson Ellis‘ gorgeously creative, exquisitely detailed picture book about the world of insects and the life cycle of plants.

Du Iz Tak? is written in the imagined language of bugs and starts off with some insects wondering what a small green shoot coming out of the ground is. The insects call on a wise bug to tell them more and as the plant grows we see the natural world and the many different ways natural things change over seasons.

The reader explores excitement of new growth, distress of sharing, pride, decay, loss and wonder all through the simple growth of a new and wonderful flower.

We often take for granted the growth of new flowers but forget to think about the insects who help it grow by fertilising or aerating the soil, insects who protect the seeds and nurture it in the colder months and insects who need the new growth to grow themselves.

Du Iz Tak? ignites imagination and should inspire you to go outside and watch some plants grow, see who visits them and talk about why we need these amazing small parts of our lives.

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Du Iz Tak?

So what can you do at home?

 – Plant some seeds and watch them grow.

– Take a magnifying glass outside and see how many insects you can find.

– Create your own language that you think you local bugs would use.

– Show wonder at the real world – our actions speak louder than words.

For the love of Veggie patches

All children have a strong interest in how things grow and no matter how small your gardening space is, there is always space to grow a seed or two that will flower or is able to be eaten.

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Why do children need to watch things grow?

  •  Growing their own food encourages better eating.
  • Children understand the process of seed to fruit
  • Children learn how to nurture something through monitoring how much they need to water, check if the soil is healthy and if the plant is getting enough sunshine.
  • Gardening can be a solo or group activity – both have amazing benefits.
  • Touching soil and getting outside is not only good for the soul, there have been links to our mental and physical health.
  • Gardening ignites curiosity and an appreciation of nature.

 

How can you grow at home?

Buy some seeds through a seed savers group – this means little plastic waste and support for plants that have not been commercialised.

Try to look for native flowers where possible.

Keep a seed diary when you do plant your seed so you can monitor what is happening throughout the week or two.

Read some books that inspire gardening. Here is a wonderful list of books for you to read.

Grug and his Garden

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A patch from scratch

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The magnificent tree

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The curious garden 

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My magnificent Jelly Bean Tree

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Liv on Life

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Do you have any great gardening books to share with me? 

Juliet nearly a Vet: Rainforest Camp by Rebecca Johnson

Moving beyond the picture book and into chapter books is a great progression for future eco warriors and Juliet nearly a Vet: Rainforest Camp by Rebecca Johnson is a wonderful Junior Fiction book to start the journey.

Have you ever been on a camp? Or perhaps spent some time in a rainforest?


Juliet and her class are on a four day camp where they will take part in many fun camp activities but also save some rainforest wildlife and teach others about caring for all creatures great and small along the way.

Juliet is a clever and determined young girl who does not get worried about what others think – a great role model for younger readers. Juliet wants to be a vet and is determined to reach her dream through practise and any knowledge she can gather.

As we read Juliet nearly a Vet: Rainforest Camp, not only was there a great simple story to follow but there were many facts to learn about Australian animals and how to care for them. The quiz at the end of the story was a great way to finish the book and a clever way to start further discussions


Juliet nearly a Vet: Rainforest Camp is part of a series of 12 so if you enjoy this one – which I’m sure you will, and you love animals – try another one of Rebecca Johnson’s Juliet nearly a vet books – you might learn more about some other great Australian animals.

the ones that disappeared by Zana Fraillon

How much do you know about child trafficking?

Do you think that it doesn’t happen in your country – as how could it be possible?


The trafficking of children happens all over the world to anyone – though children who come from poverty, areas of war or natural disasters are more likely to be trafficked than others.

 The Ones That Disappeared

the ones that disappeared by Zana Frailly moved me and taught me so much about this awful and hidden issue that so much more needs to be done about.

the ones that disappeared was heart wrenching yet also filled with laughter. As I read I too became friends with the four children at the centre of this story – 3 victims of child trafficking and one a victim of alcohol abuse and separation.

the ones that disappeared is like an adventure story in a far off land. The reader escapes the bad guys with the children, explores dark drains and conjures magic – but sadly this is all too real.

Around the world, millions of people – including many children – are victims of human trafficking. These modern-day slaves often go unseen even in our own cities and towns, their voices silent and their stories untold.

We need to start to wake up to these atrocities in our own countries and those of others. For this to be happening to millions of people a year is disgraceful – especially when so many of those people are children.

This book – although damming of the current state of the world and saddening – offers hope. There is hope for these children if more people are aware and if more people speak up to make government tighten laws the small people can make a difference – just like Esra does.

Children 11 years and up will enjoy this book – especially if they are debriefed after and encouraged to learn more about this issue.

The little Corroboree Frog by Tracey Holton-Ramirez and Angela Ramirez

Which frog is less than 3cm in length, walks instead of jumps and loves eating ants?

It is the Southern Corroboree Frog!

The little Corroboree Frog by Tracey Holton-Ramirez and Angela Ramirez (published by Magabala books) is a wonderful picture book that tells the sad yet hopeful tale of a family of Southern Corroboree Frogs who live in the Kosciusko National Park. This little froggy family love eating ants and seeing who is the best at croaking but when they try to care for their new tadpole eggs the pond dries up and rubbish hangs around nearby.

With the help of a small boy and his family the Southern Corroboree Frogs dismal outlook brightens and awareness is raised in the wider community.

Every child I have read this book to has loved it. They have loved the bright illustrations and the story – which has encouraged nearly every child to jump online or into a book to find out more about these frogs.

Taronga Zoo has an ongoing and successful breeding program  and This Corroborree Frog website provides lots of useful information about how the frog is being helped and how you can help too!

Take the time to find this book so you can raise awareness with your child about these small invertebrates and how despite being so small, they play such an important role in our environment.

We need to teach our children about how every little thing we do has a huge impact on the wildlife around us.

So what can you do?

  • Hold an event for National Threatened Species day on September 7th.
  • Create your own story about an endangered animal so you can raise awareness like this book has.

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The Little Corroboree Frog

In the Forest by Anouck Boisrobert and Louis Rigaud.

Printed on responsibly sourced paper and printed with environmentally friendly soy ink, In the forest is a feast for not only the ears but also the eyes and hands.

In the forest everything is green, everything is full of life…


The reader is allowed to explore the beautiful pictures in this story as they pop up along side the words. EAch page shows the diversity of the forest until man comes along and starts to destroy it.

Before our eyes we watch the forest become decimated….but luckily in this world there are people who care.

We often focus on the negative events in this world and forget about the people who are on the ground caring for these places and making a difference. We can all make a small difference and we can all lobby large companies to make bigger differences. Without energy from people who care these forests will get destroyed and will never return.

In the forest highlights the importance of stopping to look at the beauty around us. It also highlights the important role that we all have in creating a better world for us all to live in.


 

So what can you do?

  • Try to create your own pop up story!
  • Why is there a sloth on each page and what is the importance of this sloth?
  • Many people say that Trees are the lungs on the earth – is this true? Can we make robotic lungs instead?
  • Take note of the trees in your backyard or neighbourhood. What are the different types and who lives within them?