Books with current issues, Creativity, Parent tips, picture books

I’m Australian too by Mem Fox and Ronojoy Ghosh

Australia Fair is ours to share, where broken hearts can mend. 

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 I’m Australian Too
I'm Australian Too

I’m Australian too by Mem Fox and Ronojoy Ghosh is a marvellous picture book which highlights the amazing multicultural country Australia is.


Throughout the story we hear about families from Ireland, Italy, China and Syria. We meet the ancestors of  the first people of Australia and also the refugees who are still waiting to be a part of Australia.

Mem Fox celebrates the diversity of Australia and the friendliness of the community through children’s eyes. Rhyme is used along with the thought provoking repetitive question:

How about you? 

Ronojoy Ghosh’s illustrations tell us more about each child, how they live and the different dynamics of the family unit.

As we read this story as a class the children were bubbling with excitement about the fact that they had a story to tell about where their parents came from. As I read it to my own two children we were able to talk about the different people who live here and perhaps who had a story similiar to ours.

We all have a story to tell and all stories should be told. By reading this book to your own child or a whole group of children, all voices can be heard and appreciated!

Links for your child, your students and you. 

Families – Find or draw a family picture and underneath write about where you all come from. Children always love to know where their parents and grandparents came from and perhaps even before that! Create your own rhyming paragraph just like in the story.

Geography – Using a world map, find out where the children are from in this story. How far have they or their parents travelled? Why did they all move here?
Thinking – Who is an Australian? What makes you belong to a country? Is there a checklist? Is there a feeling you must have? Explore what makes us belong to a country – how do we feel we belong and how do others decide if we belong? How does this feeling of who belongs create problems in the world
Punctuation – what sort of word is I’m? Look for other contractions within the story and discuss why we use them and what they ‘stretch’ out to become.

What is a question mark? How many are used within this story? Create your own questions about this book to share with each other. Make your own question marks out of different materials (such as a long piece of grass!)  IMG_4637

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Creativity, Parent tips, picture books, Teacher tips and resources

A child of Books by Oliver Jeffers

A child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam winston really brings home the importance of books in our lives.

A child of books is a book I have been searching for. ⠀

‘For imagination is free’

The idea of imagination is key to this picture book and is portrayed so beautifully through illustrations, excerpts from other stories and a rich tale. ⠀

A young girl sails on a sea of words to invite others to a place where they can search for make-believe, discover treasures, lose themselves in forests and sleep in clouds of song. ⠀

Books are such an essential part of our lives. They enrich how we see the world and open our minds to so many possibilities. ⠀

I adore fiction stories and especially those that send a message of hope, imagination, joy and empowerment.

So what can you do as you read, while you read and after you read A Child of Books?

  • Take the time to read through this story by yourself and with a child. There are so many details within each picture and word that you can spend quite a bit of time on each page.
  • Search for hidden sentences and author names within the pictures and find out more about the whole story that has been written.
  • Create your own page of the book with favourite passages from poems and stories.
  • Explore the artwork of Sam Winston and recreate an artwork like his.
  • Have a discussion on what life might look like    – without books?  – Without stories?  – without poetry?
  • For Older readers – Has there ever been a time in history when books have been banned? How did that world look like?

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A Child of Books

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Spark by Adam Wallace

Spark by Adam Wallace is a captivating tale of a spark building into a consuming fire. It has been brilliantly illustrated by Andrew Plant, making the reader feel that they are moving with the fire on it’s destructive journey.
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Buy Spark Spark

Throughout the story, vibrant adjectives and verbs leap out of the page along with personification at every turn – it really feels like the spark is alive

The wind was meant to be my friend but it just laughed and dragged me on.

As I read through the story I felt a relationship grow between myself and the spark  – I wanted to follow it and find out what it became and where it went . As it built up into a raging fire, it expresses how it feels and how things around it feel – giving life to everything it touches.

The story moves at a fast pace, leaving the reader burnt out and deflated towards the end but with one last page there is hope – and the knowledge that fire can bring about new life.

So how does this link to sustainability and the environment?

SUSTAINABILITY

Do we need bushfires? forest fires? any type of fire in a natural landscape?

Investigate which types of plants and animals rely on fire for their life cycle.

Investigate bushfires of the last 5 years in one particular area. How have they been started? What have they destroyed? Has the land regenerated?

How much of the air pollution in the world is caused by burning trees?

Investigate slash and burn methods in some developing countries – how does this effect the soil quality? air quality and livelihood of the people?

  • All life forms, including human life, are connected through ecosystems on which they depend for their wellbeing and survival.
  • Sustainable patterns of living rely on the interdependence of healthy social, economic and ecological systems.
  • 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
  • World views that recognise the dependence of living things on healthy ecosystems, and value diversity and social justice, are essential for achieving sustainability.

LITERACY

Personification – explore the use of personification throughout this story. ( Just  a few to start you – tickled trees, wind whispered, chased animals, skipping and sprinting together, breathing in the bush, hauled through the undergrowth, thrown high, fear surged ). How does personification change the feelings you have towards bush fires? Choose something that is in the Australian bush and personify it! Allow children to investigate different trees or flowers , animals or insects.

Point of View – Could this story be written from the wind’s point of view? Why does writing it from the fire’s point of view change how we feel towards a bush fire?

The end page – How does this change how you feel towards the story? How would you feel without it? Create your own story where the view of the story is changed on the last page.

Thinking – How did the Spark begin? Use knowledge from the story to work this out and create a earlier chapter to the story. How would a spark start in 2016? 1916? 1616? 20000BC? 50000BC?

Visual literacy – why are some pages without words – how do these set the mood? How has the style of the illustrations affected the mood of the story? Which page do you like the best – how does it make you feel?

ACELT1611:Understand, interpret and experiment with sound devices and imagery, including simile, metaphor and personification, in narratives, shape poetry, songs, anthems and odes
(ACELY1670)(ACELA1483)

GEOGRAPHY

Australian has a lot of bushfires, mostly throughout summer. What is a bushfire? Do other countries have bush fires?

Do we need bushfires? Investigate the history of bushfires throughout white history but also if the Indigenous people used fire to help the land.

Who helps out in bushfires? Investigate the rural fire service, fire fighters and volunteers in Australia who help out when it comes to bush fires.

The influence of the environment on the human characteristics of a place (ACHGK028)The impact of bushfires or floods on environments and communities, and how people can respond (ACHGK030).

grass-tree-circuit-01

Parent tips, Teacher tips and resources

Challenge through interests

Challenging our children.

It is easy to assume that bright children will devour everything that is thrown at them, enjoying any bit of learning, finding it easy and engaging.

This is not always the case.

As parents as educators we need to tap into our children’s interests and learning styles so we can help them to develop their gifts, ignite their passions and stir their imagination.

If we are to tackle problems like climate change, plastic ridden oceans and toxic waterways we need our creative thinkers to be passionate, to be engaged and to want to learn more about the world.

We need to extend our young children, accelerate their learning and enrich any task at hand. Without challenge and enrichment of learning these children can learn to just cruise through schooling and life, not realising the talents that they have.

So what can you do through books?

  1. Find  books that engage your child. There is a book out there for everyone. Talk to your child, talk to the librarian and take the time to read together from as young as possible. Everyone loves reading something.
  2. Whilst reading ask your child some deeper questions. Not only ‘What?’ questions but also ‘how?’ and ‘why?’
  3. Talk about the book after you have read it. Ask more challenging questions such as – how would you change the ending? If you could be one of the characters who would you be? Could you change the ending? What if ……had happened?
  4. Find out more about the author – many authors have great websites and talk about how they came to be authors. Many will talk about persistence and passion.

 

Soon to come….a free e-book on questioning stems!  Watch this blog!

Creativity

Incredibilia

You may ask: why is this linked to environmental books?

I decided to link it because it is about a young girl who has a beautiful imagination. She is creative, she dreams and she plays.

We need more creative people who can dream big and believe that their dreams can be acted upon to make a difference in the world. The world needs our help in so many ways and by linking creative thinking to our daily lives we can encourage everyone to think outside the box and look for ways we can make a change.

I hope this blog full of books and reading tips can help someone to make a difference! (as inspired by my weekly email from Alice Nicholls: The Whole Daily.

incredibilia

I loved reading Incredibilia by Libby Hathorn and illustrated by Gaye Chapman to my children, the pictures really transport you to an imaginative world full of crazy creatures, whispy clouds and natural beauty. We loved looking at each page and imagining what Georgie was thinking about, what she was playing and how the others could play to. Another great blog I follow has explored some simple ideas about play in her own backyard and the amazing possibilities a tree can offer!

You too can read this book to yourself, to your class or to your own children.

Questions to ask

  •  What is Georgie thinking?
  • Why won’t the other children play with her?
  • Draw what you love to think about.
  • Draw an imaginative world where happiness, love and peace reign. (or write a story for those who prefer to write)
  • Max and Harriet didn’t think Georgie’s imagination games were worthwhile. How can we make sure we include everyone in our play?
  • Why do we need imagination?
  • Research some successful people who have dreamt big when others didn’t believe them. Here are some starter websites: failedatfirst  Bigdreamers successandfailure

This links in closely with the Kids Matter units of work in that it raises children social and emotional intelligence.

This book looks at:

Self Awareness: be proud of your passions. Be proud of your dreams. Don’t let others opinions hamper you.

Social Awareness: We can include others by merging our ways of learning together. Sometimes great things can come out of collaboration.

Relationship skills: Learning how to play together, how to include others and how we can play fairly.