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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Where in the Wild by Jonny Lambert

“The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak, so we must and we will” – Theodore Roosevelt.

Where in the Wild by Jonny Lambert is an engaging picture book which shows the reader the beauty of different habitats and the animals that live within each one.

On each double page spread we learn about the plants that make the space habitable for the diverse group of animals who choose to make it there home – but there is a great aspect to each page which young children will love.

On each page is a window to another page which shows how some animals can live in two different types of habitats – even when they are quite different – we loved guessing where they might lived the first time we read the book and enjoyed talking about how they can live in both habitats on subsequent occasions.

On each page are colourful pictures of the animals, plants and insects interacting accompanied by rhyming story and also some small facts about different types of animals.

Where in the Wild by Jonny Lambert is a great book to raise awareness about how animals need special places to survive and it is up to us to ensure there are more of these areas – not less.

So what else can you do with this book?

SUSTAINABILITY

In your local area is there habitat for different animals? Find out who lives here and how they live in this environment.

Can you make your local green spaces better places to live for local animals? Try planting more trees and having less grass or built up space.

GLOBAL ISSUES

Where in the world do large rates of deforestation occur and why? (Geography Link, Numeracy Link)

Explore why people chop down large areas of trees and which country is most responsible  – is it the country where the trees are or countries that buy the products or two own the land?

ANIMAL CONSERVATION

Explore the life cycle of different animals and why they need certain habitats as they change and grow. (Science link)

Which animals in the world can only survive in certain areas?

How many different types of animals are on each page? Explore a favourite of yours and the area they live in.

And – come over and join my facebook group where we discuss how we can help our students and children understand and take action on these big issues!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/362368594250457/

The great lizard Trek by Felicity Bradshaw and Norma MacDonald

Written by Felicity Bradshaw and illustrated by Norma MacDonald, an Aboriginal Yamatji artist, The Great Lizard Trek is an excellent addition to the science, geography and sustainability curriculum in classrooms .

It is also a wonderful book for family homes where nature lovers will delight in looking at the detailed illustrations, the maps and the reasons why we need to care more for the world we live in.

The Great Lizard trek takes us on a journey from the north to the south coast of Western Australia. Along this journey we meet the different types of lizards who live in this part of the world and learn their indigenous name and the indigenous country they come from.

Not only do we learn about these lizards we also learn that they are having to move from the places they have always lived because of climate change. Many lizards cannot cope well with extreme heat, lack of water, too much water or lack of shelter. And we often forget that reptiles play just as an important role in the ecosystem as mammals and marsupials do – not as cute and cuddly so they just don’t get the attention.

We learnt a lot about different lizards and were especially surprised by Goannas and how important temperature was for the development of their eggs. If the eggs get too hot – all the babies will be girls and this is a big problem for the future.

The Great Lizard Trek is a book you can read in one sitting or one you can take your time with, drawing on information, flipping to the maps included at the back and the from of the books and doing a bit of your own extra research.

The story is engaging as are the lizard characters we meet. The dialogue between the characters adds lots of fun to these reptiles that often get ignored!

Norma MacDonald’s illustrations are highly detailed and the background for each lizard is a reminder of where they live and the conditions they live in.

Reptile’s are amazing creatures that live in Australia – and we have so many of them. The Great lizard trek is a great wake up call for all readers to see how human actions are having huge ramifications on the animal world.

Luckily for these lizards the outcome seems to be good – but will it always stay this way? Will there be a part two? I’m not sure if the part two will be as positive.

The Great Lizard Trek is an excellent book to discuss climate change from a different angle, various reptiles and to learn more about indigenous language, culture and country.

There are some great teacher notes here: https://www.publish.csiro.au/book/7807/#forteachers 

Love this review? Join my facebook group where we delve deeper into these issues facing children, parents and teachers. 

JOIN MY FACEBOOK GROUP FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS WHERE WE EXPLORE BIG ISSUES AND HOW TO BEST TALK ABOUT THEM WITH KIDS.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/362368594250457/

Bouncing Back: An eastern barred bandicoot story by Rohan Cleave and Coral Tulloch

How did the last eastern barred bandicoot on the Australian mainland end up living in a rubbish tip? 

Based on a true story, Rohan Cleave and Coral Tulloch have created a picture book that teaches young readers about the plight of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot and the hard work of volunteers, conservationists and scientists to bring them back from the brink of extinction.

The story begins with some information about the Bandicoot, accompanied by delicately illustrated pictures. We learn how they live and grow, what they like to eat and their habitat.

Sadly we learn how humans have caused devastation to this once thriving population through the eyes of the Bandicoot.

The Bandicoots tell us that because of land clearing, fires, foxes and cats their numbers have drastically dwindled.

They tell us that because they have no where to hide in the once loved long grasses, they are easy prey for owls and feral animals.

The double page spread drawn by Coral Tulloch brings home the terrible circumstances these animals were in – life in a rubbish dump – the only place they felt safe enough.

Luckily a small band of dedicated people were able to save the last few of these Eastern Barred bandicoots and with hard work their population is on the rise in fenced reserves, safe from feral animals and land clearing.

This story, although long, is engaging and children will be happy to know that there is a happy ending – even if there is still a lot of work to be done.

Facts and a glossary are added to the end of the story and the endpapers are a fantastic tool for conversation!!

What else can you do with this story? 

Ask students to find out about an endangered species and create their own picture book so they can teach others about it’s plight and how people are trying to save them.

Ask students : What would life be like if Eastern Barred Bandicoot’s disappeared? How would the ecosystem be effected?

Find out: Are there other picture books that are based on factual events that look at animals brought back from near extinction? Try Phasmid: saving the Lord Howe Island Insect and Rhino in the House

And access some great teacher notes from CSIRO

Buy your own copy from Booktopia

Booktopia

Extra links for further study

Conservation volunteers: http://conservationvolunteers.com.au/what-we-do/threatened-species/eastern-barred-bandicoot/

Zoos Victoria: https://www.zoo.org.au/werribee/animals/eastern-barred-bandicoot

Endangered animals – The Global Guardian Project

Does someone in your family love animals  or perhaps someone in your family needs to learn more about animals??

Well – This capsule created by The Global Guardian Project is one for you to give a go.

We loved exploring the different animals written about in this capsule and learnt so much about what endangered actually means, how animals become endangered and how we can help them.

This capsule provides many outside links to different associations who help these animals – which really resonated with my children. They found it empowering to see that people were making a difference in the world and it helped them to see that they too can do something.

This capsule also provided Geometric colouring pages – a different way to colour in and a world map to print out (we didn’t print it but instead drew one) and pinpoint where the different animals in this capsule were from.

The Global Guardian Project is a great way to educate and empower your children about the world around them AND they have just released a Junior capsule for younger children.

I am offering a special code – GGPVANESSA for you to use and receive a 10% discount on any capsule you wish to trial.

Hope to see you there soon!

Chooks in Dinner suits by Diane Jackson Hill

This time, the townsfolk don’t laugh.

‘Let’s give that plan of yours a try,’ they say to Swampy.

All else has failed. 

BUY HERE

Chooks in Dinner Suits: A Tale of Big Dogs and Little Penguins
Chooks in Dinner Suits: A Tale of Big Dogs and Little Penguins

Chooks in Dinner suits, A tale of big dogs and little penguins in based on a true story. Set in Warrnambool on the south coast of Australia in 2005 this story tells us about the demise of the breed of penguins called ‘little penguins’.


Slowly over time due to habitat destruction, being eaten by foxes and dogs or eggs being stepped on, there were only 4 penguins left in 2005. A local farmer made the suggestion to the community to use Maremma guardian dogs to protect these animals from further destruction. The community were skeptical and took time to be convinced but with no other options they trusted in his idea – and thankfully they did!

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These dogs – the Maremma – have been used in other operations across Australia to protect endangered species from feral pests. There is currently a project underway with Bandicoots being protected by Maremma in Victoria. 

Chooks in dinner suits is a really lovely story based on a real life event. There are not too many words or descriptions to bore the younger reader, and the facts are told in story. There  is enough action throughout the story for children and pictures to entice them to read it again.

Craig Smith’s illustrations are fun and bring a bit more light to the sadness of this story. His use of soft colours sheds light on the coastal feel of the town and the natural beauty of the hatching ground.

Chooks in dinner suits is a great story to read to show how real life stories can be brought to life for younger readers. Picture books are a wonderful way to engage young readers in the events that are happening in the world around them.

It is definitely worth your while engaging your child in some real images from this story. Check out these links:

So what else can you do?

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Want to become a global guardian?

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Join now and receive 10% off with my unique code: GGPVanessa


Buy Biome products now and keep your home and the world sustainable and eco friendly

 

Endangered plant spotlight :Wee Jasper Grevillea

The Wee Jasper Grevillea, found in only two places in the world : wee jasper and on the slopes above Burrinjuck Dam has bloomed for the first time in twenty years!

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The hard work from the Saving our Species team and the National Parks and Wildlife service has saved this species from extinction.

The Wee Jasper Grevillea can grow up to 2.5m tall and has been in the past a delicacy for roaming cattle.  It grows around the many caves that are around the Wee Jasper area and flowers in winter and spring. It is interesting to note that it is predominately pollinated by birds.

So why is it critically endangered?

– Weeds take over the area it needs to grow in

– Feral Goats and grazing cattle have eaten it

– Recent fires have wiped out some of the small population.

– Human interaction with the area (tramping on plants and seedlings)

How is this plant being looked after?

Fences have been put in place around the species so that any young growth cannot be trampled on. This is paying off so the fencing will stay in place so that more plants can grow to adult size.

What can you do?

  • Report any feral animals you see to local farmers and NPWS.
  • Stick to the path when out bushwalking. Take photos only, do not pick the flowers.
  • Make sure your boots are clean when walking in different areas so you do not carry seeds from weeds.

 

Endangered animal spotlight: The Numbat

What am I?

I am only 40cm long

I eat around 20 000 termites a day

I am only found in Western Australia

 

I am a NUMBAT!

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(Photo taken from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-04-03/numbat-population-grows-after-wa-breeding-program/8410856)

 

Numbat’s used to inhabit the southern part of Australia, including Western Australia, South Australia and parts of New South Wales but now they are only found naturally in pockets of South Western Australia.

Key reasons as to why these cute banded animals are endangered is because of cats, foxes and loss of habitat due to land clearing for mining and farming.

There are currently only around 1000 numbats left  in Australia.

So how can you make a difference for these diurnal marsupials?

Read a book – Rufus the Numbat is a fun filled read!

Check out project numbat and the great kids activities online

See how fences are keeping away cats and foxes

Keep your cat inside – see what PETA says about this.

Check out what FAME are doing for these animals

 

Fluke by Lesley Gibbes and Michelle Dawson

The little southern right whale was born under the shadow of the great harbour bridge.


Fluke by Lesley Gibbs and Michelle Dawson is a beautifully told story about the day a southern right whale gave birth to a calf in Sydney Harbour. Lesley Gibbs gentle storytelling skills alongside Michelle Dawson’s mesmerising illustrations make for a loving tale about a mother whale in search for her baby deep in the harbour.

This event was only the third one recorded in the last 200 years so it made a great impact on the locals who were able to watch the baby grow, become lost and then reunite with it’s mother.

Not only do we get to read this lovingly told tale, we are also able to learn more about Southern Right Whales through small facts on the front and back covers.

The story of Fluke brings to light the care that so many of us have towards living creatures when we see them in distress. It shows just how much many of us love the living world around us and marvel at the wonders it gives us everyday.

So how can we link this to sustainability? 

  • Learn more about whales – where they live, what they eat, how they move and any historical facts about human contact.
  • Are whales endangered? There are many different whales – are all of them endangered and are they all endangered by the same things?
  • How does our water usage effect these great mammals? Can you use water in a more sensible way so that it is not effecting the whales?
  • Do you know of any other stories about animal conservation that have been created into picture books? There are a few on my blog — Can you create your own?

 Phasmid

 Rhino in the House

 The hairy nosed wombats find a new home

The little Corroboree Frog

Circle

Feathers

  • Is climate change or global warming effecting these mammals?
  • How can you make sure you are making less of an impact on how whales live?

Try this:

 Use less chemicals in the shower (Check the ingredients on your bottles)

 Use less throw away plastic  – it can end up in the oceans.

Walk instead of driving

Use less heating or cooling when you can add a jumper or open up some windows instead.

Eat at home or in a restaurant instead of getting take-away.

Make your own food instead of buying food in excess packaging.

Check out some great Biome products here

National Threatened species day

Today is National threatened species day and a great day to pull out a book so you can learn more about an animal that is in need of help.

What is a threatened species?

A threatened species is an animal or plant that has numbers which are becoming lower. This could be due to loss of habitat, feral animals or disease.

Why celebrate?

This day is celebrated in order to raise awareness of how we can start to reverse the decline in numbers and reflect on the past – where we have let animals become critically endangered or extinct.

What can you do?

Pick up some books:

CLICK ON IMAGE TO BUY FROM FISHPOND – FREE DELIVERY! 

Koala Phasmid: Saving the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect Rhino in the House: The Story of Saving Samia One Small Island   A-Z of Endangered Animals

CLICK ON IMAGE TO READ BOOK REVIEW AND TEACHER NOTES

Koala by Claire Saxby

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Phasmid by Rohan Cleve

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Rhino in the House by Daniel Kirk

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A-Z of Endangered animals by

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One small island  by Alison Lester

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Create a poster to share with otherscheck out my blog post on this activity.

Encourage a public speaking competition where children creatively teach others about endangered species

Write your own stories about an endangered animal who has been saved just like Rhino in the House or Phasmid or The Hairy Nosed Wombats Find a new home.  

Check out my simple lesson plan here: Writing a non fiction picture book

wombats

What will do to to help children learn more on threatened species day?

Read, talk, do – the corroboree frog 

 

Recently we read the story: The little Corroborree Frog  

And it has inspired some action in my children. There was no pushing of we have to do this, we have to learn that or we have to save the world. There were simple discussions after we read the story and little discussions around the house when we used water or decided to make our own snacks instead of buying them.

So what happened?

We made a link

My son and I visited the zoo and were lucky enough to see a Corroborree frog.

We made another link

When we returned home my son and daughter watched a couple of short videos on the computer so we could see how they move in the wild and in captivity.

We learnt something and wanted to share it.

There is no point just keeping all the great facts to yourselves so we made posters that we can stick up at home and take to school for news.

See – simple!

If you have time at home, perhaps half an hour you too can educate and empower your children to make a difference in their world. If we don’t start to take action now many animals and people will not be living a great life in the future.

 

 

 

A-Z of endangered animals

Have you ever heard of an Amur Tiger, an Umbrella bird or even a Zebra Duiker?

BUY HERE

 A-Z of Endangered Animals

A-Z of Endangered Animals

Perhaps that is all you will ever do – hear of them – as without immediate action, many of the animals in this picture book will disappear out of the wild and possibly out of conservation programs.


A-Z of endangered animals by Jennifer Cossins is a intricately detailed non-fiction book for children (but adults will love it too!)

The endangered species are explored alphabetically with each page telling us where the animal is from, some interesting and fun facts but also the number of these animals left – disturbingly, some only have 50 left in the whole world.

As I read this book to my children, (they are 5 and 3 so I didn’t read it word for word but pulled out interesting facts)  I could tell they were distressed about the demise of these animals. So rather than dwell on the low numbers we did this:

 What can we do?

  • We can donate money to conservation groups.
  • We can teach others about these animals
  • We can take care of our immediate environment to make sure the animals near us are safe.
  • We can write letters to those in power to ensure there are tougher laws on cats outside at night.
  • We can write letters to those in power imploring them to ensure that there are more trees, natural spaces, less chemicals and less plastic waste.
  • We can draw these animals and learn more ourselves.

Teach your children how they can educate others and they will learn so much more themselves. 

Where is Bear? by Camilla de la Bedoyere

Where is Bear? by Camilla dela Bedoyere and illustrated by Emma Levey takes the reader on a wonderful journey all over the world to meet different types of bears!


Who knew that there were this many types of bears and of course many more that aren’t mentioned in the book!

This book is full of fun dialogue between a rabbit and all of the different bears she encounters on her journey to deliver a birthday present to her friend Ping the Panda Bear! As we meet each type of bear we also meet the different animals who share the same habitat.

Children learn many different facts through the conversations the animals are having with eachother and will enjoy spotting what each animal is up to.

Emma Levey’s illustrations are colourful and eye catching so your child will not only be engaged with the fun dialogue but also with the creative drawings.

Where is Bear? is a wonderful book to engage your child into not only the world of bears but also an awareness of different habitats around the world.

So what can you do with this book?

SUSTAINABILITY

  • Which bears are threatened or endangered species? Investigate why this is happening.
  • What sort of habitat do the different bears live in? Are any of these habitats changing due to human action?

SCIENCE/GEOGRAPHY

  •  Could any of these bears ever encounter each other?
  • Plot on a map where the different bears are from – make it more detailed than the one in the story.

LITERACY

  •  Create your own non-fiction picture book that allows the reader to learn about something in a fun way. Aim to engage younger readers into more complex topics.

Phasmid: Saving the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect by Rohan Cleave & Coral Tulloch

Phasmid: Saving the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect is not only a remarkable read but it is also an extraordinary tale of survival and the efforts of Australian scientists to save a small insect. Jane Goodall gives a forward in this book also.


Believed to be extinct, these intriguing insects were found on a rocky crevice offshore from Lord Howe Island.

Children will love this book for it’s an easy to read story , detailed images and excellent facts.

This book will shed light on the destruction introduced species can cause and how even little insects play a major role in our ecosystems.

How can we adapt this book for our younger readers?

SUSTAINABILITY

  • Research another insect that is critically endangered in Australia.
  • Draw another endangered animal or better still enter this great competition
  • If the Phasmid became extinct how would our world change?
  • Have there been other instances where rats have caused problems or extinctions?
  • How can we raise awareness of endangered animals? Create an anthology of different types of writing so that anyone who reads the anthology will be brought in to the importance of the issue through at least one piece of writing.

 

  • CREATIVE THINKING

    • What if there were no insects? What would the world look like?
    • List some reasons why we need insects.
    • If you could be an insect – what would you be?
    • What are some differences and similarities between a Phasmid and a water?
    • Are bugs the food of the future? If they are how can we ensure that we don’t make insects extinct due to our eating habits?

LITERACY

  • As the primary reader you can read through the book, stopping to explain and question the words and images. Here are some focus words.
  • camouflage Nocturnal
    Exoskeleton Mottled
    adulthood Predators
    Melaleuca leaves Banyan Leaves
    Phasmid Lord Howe Island
    Extinct Balls Pyramid
    Scientist dedicated
    breed captivity
    Invertebrates Critically endangered
  • Map: Find a map of Australia and also Lord Howe Island. Look at where LHI is and the location of Balls Pyramid.
  • Phasmid: What is Phasmid? Create a diagram which children can label. What sort of creature is it? How do we know it is an insect?
  • Create a story – Children can create their own story about the Phasmid and it’s amazing tale of survival. Encourage children to take on a different perspective – perhaps we could learn about how it got to Balls Pyramid? How it felt when the scientist took it to the lab?

SCIENCE

  • Life cycle – create a life cycle of the LHI Phasmid using the book for inspiration.
  • Learn about how scientists look after animals who are critically endangered. Look at zoo programs.

 

 

Useful weblinks

https://blog.csiro.au/childrens-book-reveals-how-phasmids-escaped-extinction/

http://www.zoo.org.au/melbourne/animals/lord-howe-island-stick-insect

http://www.lordhoweisland.info/library/species.pdf