Ash dresses her friends by Fu Wenzheng

Have you ever made something  from scratch?

And then been able to give that object to someone else?

Ash dresses her friends by Fu Wenzheng is a wonderful story about friendship, sharing, kindness and the beauty of being able to make things yourself.

Ash is a shy little bird and she doesn’t have many friends until she starts to use her wonderful gift – her ability to create clothing and objects from a beautiful piece of red material.

Ash creates many things including a shirt, arm chair cover, a dress and a scarf! She spreads her ability and love all over the neighbourhood and brings joy to so many through the simple act of kindness.

Ash could have kept the red material all to herself and made so many wonderful things from it but she chose to share and make other animals lives happier.

Ash dresses her friends is a wonderful story about how we can be kind to others, how we can share our gifts to make others happy and how we can make things on our own.

Many of us resort to the shops to buy things for friends – perhaps this book will inspire you to make something of your own next time a friend needs a present, a pick me up or just a reminder of how important they are in your life.

The illustrations really highlight the friendships being developed, the happiness each gift brings and the vibrancy of the material Ash uses in each creation.

I loved the red material Ash used and hopefully one day I might just find something made out of it!

So what else can you do at home?

SELF ESTEEM

  • Explore the gifts your child has. Talk to them about what they can do to make others happy and to show them how special they both are.
  • Look at how Ash felt shy and sad and explore times your child has felt like this.
  • How do friends make us feel good?

SUSTAINABILITY

  •  Ash made things herself out of one piece of material. Where do your clothes come from and who made them? Can you make the effort to buy more clothes from locally and ethically made sources?
  • Explore the Fashion revolution to see how you can be more aware of how your clothes were made, what they are made of and where they go once you have finished with them.

ART

  • Explore the techniques used by Fu (contrast between red and black/grey) and how this impacted the story. Create your own artwork using two contrasting colours.
  • Create your own print like the red material.

COMMUNITY

  • How can you play a bigger role in your community? Explore different groups or community days and how you can be a part of them so you know more people around you.

BUY FROM FISHPOND NOW – CLICK BELOW

Ash Dresses Her Friends

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How to teach your child about fair trade: clothing.

What we buy plays a huge role in so many people’s lives  – how much they are paid, health effects of how the clothes are made and environmental impact of the clothing production.


How can you teach your child about fair trade in regards to clothing? How can you be more aware of what you buy so you are reducing your footprint on the earth and it’s people?

Grab some clothes from your drawers and with your child:

  • Look at where they have come from. Using a map of the world see where those countries are.

(The closer the clothes are made the better! This means less plane kilometres(less pollution) and the likelihood that the people who made your clothes have been not been paid that well) 

  • Look at what your clothes are made from – many are plastic based – do you have many natural fibres?

(Plastic based clothes take more time to break down and therefore have a longer lasting impact on the environment. The people who work with these materials are more likely to have their health impacted upon)


  • With the same pile of clothes work out which ones you have bought brand new, brought form an op shop or been handed down to.

(Clothes can be quite cheap so many of us are happy to buy and wear once. Try to visit an opshop for your clothes, wear your clothes for more than one season and pass on used clothes to others)

  • How many of these clothes are worn out?

(Many cheap clothes will not last very long but will hang around for 100’s of years. Try to invest in clothes that last longer – this doesn’t always mean the most expensive brand will last longer!!) 

Talk together about what you are going to do to lessen your clothing impact on the world!  Then have a read of these books to inspire some fun activities and change!

Schumann the Shoeman and The Very hungry bum.

 

The Very Hungry Bum by Claudia Rowe

I love this book so much! Luckily my children love it to so I can read it to them over and over.

hungrybum

What would you do if you had a bum that was so hungry it would eat not only your underpants but sleeping bags, butterflies and tennis racquets? That’s one of the many great questions we can use when reading this book.

But why am I linking this into my blog on books about sustainability? Well humour can get us a long long way and while many environmental books are hopeful they are often quite sad too.

I have really wanted to blog about this book as I feel that the issue of bums eating underpants is a major issue!

Just recently clothes have started to become cheaper and cheaper and becuase of this we have become more of a throwaway society, not worrying if a shirt rips after one use as it was only $5. These clothes are ending up in landfill too quickly and too easily. We need to make more of a conscious effort.

So how can reading this book inspire thought in you and your children or students?

  • Look at how clothes are made. Choose an item of clothing in your house, see what it is made from and then research this material or item.
  • Map on the world where all the clothes in your house come from – this will raise an interesting discussion. Can you change this somehow?
  • How is a pair of underpants made? Guess how it is sewn together, how pictures are placed on these and what the material is made of. Research and check your hypothesis.
  • How can we ensure clothes last? Look at the types of materials that last longer by using some websites of companies whose aim is to make clothes that last forever such as:  http://www.buymeonce.com/clothes/ and http://textilebeat.com/category/clothing-waste/
  • Is it really cheaper to buy cheap clothes that need to be replaced more often?  Use clothing catalogues of cheap store and then add up the price of a different items and compare to a more ethical brand. Ask your child what they think is the best outcome for the long term? What would they prefer? There are many arguments for and against but try to keep in mind being sustainable!
  • Research Australian companies that have cheap, throwaway goods. Find out their ethical statements about impact on the environment. Do you really think they are following through with this? Write them an email to them to ask further questions.
  • How are clothes made or how were they made in more traditional societies or in the past?
  • CREATE: How can we use these goods when they are no longer able to be used for their original use? Look at Reverse Garbage and upcycle projects to create some ideas. Create your own new item from old clothes and plastic objects.
  • Literacy: Parodies – what are they and how have they been used? Create your own parody of a well known book (see the others Claudia Rowe has!)

 

LINKS TO THE CURRICULUM

SCIENCE

Different materials can be combined for a particular purpose (ACSSU031)

Natural and processed materials have a range of physical properties that can influence their use (ACSSU074)

DESIGN AND TECHNOLOGY

Recognise the role of people in design and technologies occupations and explore factors, including sustainability that impact on the design of products, services and environments to meet community needs (ACTDEK010)

Investigate food and fibre production and food technologies used in modern and traditional societies (ACTDEK012)

Examine how people in design and technologies occupations address competing considerations, including sustainability in the design of products, services, and environments for current and future use (ACTDEK019)

Critique needs or opportunities for designing, and investigate materials, components, tools, equipment and processes to achieve intended designed solutions (ACTDEP024)

SUSTAINABILITY

OI.6 The sustainability of ecological, social and economic systems is achieved through informed individual and community action that values local and global equity and fairness across generations into the future.

OI.7 Actions for a more sustainable future reflect values of care, respect and responsibility, and require us to explore and understand environments.

OI.8 Designing action for sustainability requires an evaluation of past practices, the assessment of scientific and technological developments, and balanced judgements based on projected future economic, social and environmental impacts.

OI.9 Sustainable futures result from actions designed to preserve and/or restore the quality and uniqueness of environments.