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!

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Charlie’s Adventures by Jacqueline De Rose-Ahern and illustrated by Sophie Norsa.

Charlie’s adventures in South Africa by Jacqueline De Rose-Ahern and illustrated by Sophie Norsa.

Have you ever wanted to visit South Africa but the thought of the long flight with small children was too much?

https://www.derose-ahernstories.com/

You will either be satisfied just reading this book or will be more inspired to head on over there after reading the adventures young Charlie has with his family in South Africa.

As you follow Charlie’s journey you will learn a little of the local lingo, meet the animals that live on the savannah, walk through the city, taste the local produce, dance to some music and of course help Charlie to solve the riddles in order to find hidden treasure!

After Charlie visits a new place in South Africa, he receives a clue which he needs to hold onto in order to solve the final riddle.

The characters talk about a map which they use to move around South Africa and I would recommend pulling out a map so children can see where they might be travelling to as they visit different places.

There is an added bonus in this story – a postcard at the back! Children love reading postcards and this one is blank, leaving space for children to write their own thoughts about this mini holiday!

Charlie’s adventures in South Africa is part of series of travel books for children (which I haven’t’ read, but would be interested in seeing as it is a different way to ignite interest in other countries and its people.) In Jacqueline’s other books he visits Australia, Hawaii and England.

Teacher’s will also love this book as it looks at a country in a different way – through the people and the eyes of a child. It will encourage an interest in maps and perhaps ignite some postcard sending!

What can you do in the classroom? 

– We looked at where South Africa was on the world map, then where is was in Africa.

– As I read the book I showed matching images from South Africa – to make connections.

– As I read I asked the children to listen to and look for clues.

– After we read the children in Kindergarten drew what they thought Charlie saw on his adventure. You can see below what they have drawn and written.

Join my facebook group – Growing Globally and socially conscious children – a closed group where we share ideas on how we can talk about big issues with young children through simple activities. 

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

And join in on the Book Blog tour running this week!

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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.