Books with current issues, eco living, Environmental books, Parent tips, picture books, Picture books that address current issues, plastic free July, Teacher tips and resources, water

How can you be kinder to the planet?

There are so many ways that we act in this present world that is thoughtless about the future we are leaving the next generations, and I feel that at this time of year it is the worst.

I love Christmas, I love the food, the gathering of friends and family and I love the decorations – but I hate the waste.

Christmas can be done cheaply – which is wonderful for so many families but what about those children who made those cheap gifts for you in China? What about the families that live down stream from the factories where those toys were made that will be lost or thrown out in a couple of weeks? Did you ever think about that?

Bah humbug you say – yes, I know but we can act sustainably at this time of year too.

We can decorate our tree using decorations that will last twenty years: Try Biome for some great deals today – Free shipping for over $50!

We can buy gifts that will last the latest fad and more than one child. AND we can move away from the need to give our children lots of toys. We need to stay strong against the big companies – our kids will be happy with less – they don’t need more.

Christmas is a time for giving – let’s give back to the planet that has given us life and think about everyone else who lives on it, not just the ones who can consume and throw away.

These books are great places to start your journey on being kinder to the planet too:

The secret of black Rock by Joe Todd-stanton

Papa Sky by Jane Jolly

Coral Sea Dreaming by Kim Michelle Toft

How to Bee by Bren MacDibble

One Thousand Trees by Kyle

A-Z of endangered animals

Rhino in the house

Rock pool Secrets by Narelle Oliver

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global guardian project, Parent tips, Picture books that address current issues, Teacher tips and resources

Global Guardian Project: Australia

Created by Beth Johnson from Kid’s Mind Body Spirit, this capsule gives your family some wonderful insight into Australia and it’s natural beauty.


In this capsule you can learn more about opals, gum trees and the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef is discussed in depth and your children will be inspired to learn more about this natural wonder through the colouring in pages, an online adventure story and some tips on how you can help the reef to survive.

There are some book links in the capsule but you can also check out these two books which I have reviewed here:

One less Fish

Coral Sea Dreaming

These capsules are aimed at both adults and children so don’t be put off by all the information – use it as a tool for yourself to teach your children through discussion and storytelling. Children can learn a lot through watching videos and documentaries but when we talk and listen to each other we can learn so much more.

The Global Guardian Project is a great initiative run by Rebecca Lane and something you can be a part of too.

If you are interested in giving it a go sign up for one capsule and see if you like it.

I am offering a 10% discount with my code GGPVAnessa.

So what are you waiting for – inspire yourself, inspire your children, inspire your family and together we can make the world a better place for now and the future.

 

eco living, Environmental books, global guardian project

New Zealand: Global Guardian Project E-capsule

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Interested in learning more about New Zealand? Then this might just be the capsule that starts you and your family on your journey to becoming a Global Guardian.

I’ve been to New Zealand but what was contained in this e-capsule opened my eyes up to many things I didn’t know about this beautiful place.

As you work through this capsule you will learn about endangered animals who are being cared for by conservationists and scientists, learn about the traditional culture of this island which still plays a large role in modern society and some modern day change makers.

Your children will love the colouring in pages that support the written information about  the yellow eyed penguin, guided meditation to help children learn to be still and appreciate the sounds around them and within themselves and a simple action challenged to make you think more about the single use of balloons.

Children will delight in the images and stories of other young change makers and perhaps inspire you to jump online to see more of New Zealand or perhaps even a trip there one day.

The e-capsules created by the Global Guardian Project are written to inspire global awareness. We all need to be aware of who also inhabits the planet with us and that we can al make small and meaningful differences to make the world a better place for all.

If you think you would like to join the tribe go to their website:

https://globalguardianproject.com/collections/individual-digital-learning-capsules/products/new-zealand-learning-capsule

And use my discount code for 10% off. GGPVanessa

You won’t regret it and your children will love it!

Book review, Books with current issues, eco living, Environmental books, Parent tips, Picture books that address current issues, plastic free July, Teacher tips and resources

The thank you dish by Trace Balla

What are you thankful for?

Do you stop during the day and reflect on how lucky you are?

The Thank you dish by Trace Balla might help you and your child think about being grateful for all the little things we take for granted.


It’s dinner time at Grace’s place and together with her mother they are giving thanks for the many ways their meal has made it to their plate. They are grateful for the simple things like rain, soil and sunshine but then Grace moves onto other ideas such as road workers (who make sure the roads are safe for the bikes to travel along), kangaroos (for not eating the food before they picked it), alpacas (for their wool that keeps us warm) and friends (who help grow and catch food).

Trace Balla has written this celebratory book to show young children that there is more to their meal apart from the supermarket and the packages. They are shown that being a part of a community is part of the growth of food and it also shows that taking the time to slow down, be grateful and learn about where your food comes from is really important.

Grace and her mum also show the slow movement towards sustainable food gathering – a movement which is slowly building momentum as people start to realise the importance of supporting those who grow food and make things from hand.

Australian life is reflected through Trace Balla’s illustrations. You can feel the spring time glow and the smell of winter evenings on the water.

The Thank you dish is one to share with all young families and one that will hopefully initiate your own evening meal conversations of gratitude.

So what else can you do with this book? 

 

Download these tips now: thethankyoudish

animals, Book review, eco living, Environmental books, Parent tips, picture books, Teacher tips and resources

Bouncing Bouncing Little Joeys: A bush Christmas by Lesley Gibbes

Have you started to think about Christmas yet?


If you’re anything like the little joeys in this story you’ll be thinking about all the different things that need to be done in time for Christmas day.

The busy little joeys in this story are not the quiet kind, they are full of energy and eager to decorate the house and Christmas tree – all in time for Christmas day!

Written with rhyme and repetition, young children will love reading this story and watching the little joey and his family have fun together bringing about Christmas cheer!

Doris Chang’s illustrations are cleverly drawn, showing the reader the key part of the joey’s actions. The colours she has used reflect summer in Australia – the parched greens, brown earth and the wildlife that abounds in backyards!

Bouncing bouncing little joeys: A bush Christmas is a fun way to inspire some homemade family fun and because of the rhyme and repetition, children can be involved in the storytelling.

So what else can you do with this book?

Literacy

  •  List all of the verbs used in this story. What other verbs might you use to describe actions when you are getting ready for Christmas?
  • Choose a part of the Christmas tree and write your own descriptive sentence that may have rhyme, repetition and descriptive adjectives.

Science

 

 

eco living, global guardian project, Parent tips, science, Teacher tips and resources

Go litterless

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Did you manage to catch the program War on Waste run on the ABC earlier this year? If you did you still might be a bit confused about how you are going to reduce the amount of waste you produce each year without compromising your lifestyle. Working, caring for your kids and then your own sanity are important – but isn’t the health of the planet also something we need to consider too?

The E-capsule, ‘Go Litterless’ created by Global Guardian Project, is a great place to start you and your family on their path to creating less waste in your household.

This capsule contains information about:

– What being litter less means

  • How we can recycle at home through our bin systems
  • How we can compost at home therefore creating less waste in our rubbish bins
  • Free downloadable to inspire your family everyday!
  • Simple family activities to get you thinking about the litter you create.
  • Recipes and ideas to inspire litter less lunches
  • Book reviews
  • Challenges to inspire and educate

For as little as $6.99 you can own this e-capsule and begin on your journey to becoming a Global Guardian. (and take off 10% through my discount code GGPVanessa)

So what are you waiting for?

‘Go Litterless’ is an inspiring and simple to use e-capsule. You might surprise yourself and realise that you are making small changes already. This e-learning magazine has free colouring in pages, colourful printable to stick around the house and family activities you can pin up on the fridge. There is no overload of information here but simple tips to start you on your journey.

Subscribe here today

Book review, Books with current issues, literacy, loveozya, Teacher tips and resources

Snap review: Within these walls by Robyn Bavati

Whatever is coming, we’ll face it together, as a family.

As long as we’re together, we’ll be okay.


I’ve read a few books about the Holocaust – both fiction and non-fiction and I’ve visited the Holocaust museum in Sydney.

But this book written by Robyn Bavati opened up so many more terrible emotions as we see the unfolding events through the eyes of a young girl named Miri.

Bavati has created this work of fiction based on many different stories she gathered from interviews with survivors – so even though the final book and it’s characters are fictional, the stories are not, and these stories are heartbreaking.

Robyn Bavati is an excellent storyteller on an issue that is so emotional. There are moments of joy, kindness and strength but overall you will be left wondering how this ever happened and perhaps how this still happens today.

A book for children 11 and older but one to debrief on after and perhaps look further into the Holocaust and why it all happened.

 

Book review, Books with current issues, Teacher tips and resources

Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

I read my first real graphic novel in my twenties – Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – it was amazing. Not only the storytelling and the story to be told, but the fact that this huge and terrible part of history could be told in a simple and easier to understand way.


Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin also does just that. We are all very aware of the horrible refugee crisis in our world but perhaps many of us do not know of the journey that these people need to go through in order to reach a new country.

Told through the eyes of young Ebo, we learn about where he lives in Africa and his desire to leave his home town where there is no work and little family left. Following his older brother he makes a dangerous journey into the town of Agadez where he meets his older brother. It is there that they work hard to leave the city and make the perilious journey through desert and then the sea for a better life.

The reader experiences the highs and the many lows of Ebo’s journry. Giovanni Rigano’s illustrations show the reader the love, hope and desperation of the people. We are also able to see the harshness of the desert and the terror of the sea.

Through  Coulfer and Donkin’s storytelling we feel Ebo’s emotions, understand his desires and hope for a better future with him.

We meet other refugees who also desire a better life and we learn why they risk everything in order to reach a country, which they think will help them.

Illegal is a story that needs to be shared. The way refugees are treated by many countries is beyond comprehension and this story just shows how desparate theses people are. No one would ever undertake the journey if they didn’t need to.

At the end of the story the reader can view a map with explanation of where Ebo travels which I found and those children I shared the story with most informative.

There is also another short graphic story at the end of Illegal, that speaks to us about a young refugee woman. This story brings to light the plight of young women who may be travelling with young children or pregnant and their desperation to flee terror and poverty.

Illegal is a story to share and a story to reflect on. It is a story that will hopefully stir emotion and action so that more people do not need to take these journeys.

 

So what can you do?

  • Find out where the refugees in your country are from and plot the journey they have taken to get to your country.

 

  • Find some news articles that tell you a story about someone who has come you’re your country as a refugee. Find out how they came here, who they left behind or lost and what they needed to do.

 

  • Look at how the graphic novel is set out and create your own graphic novel that will teach others about an important story like this one.

 

  • See if there is a way you can help people who are refugees in your country.

You could:

– Write a letter to your local member, Premier or Prime Minister.

– Contact Local refugee organisations and see if there is any way you can help.

– Raise awareness in your community by submitting a short graphic novel to the local newspaper or school newsletter.

 

  • Learn more about the UN charter of rights and also the Rights of a child. Which rights did Ebo, his brother and many people not have along the journey? Can you think of anyone you know who is not being given all of their rights?
Book review, Books with current issues, refugees, Teacher tips and resources

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.

 

 

eco living, Parent tips, plastic free July

It ain’t easy being green – plastic free July

Perhaps you have signed the pledge to be plastic free in July or have been inspired by hearing about the terrible amount of plastic in our oceans and landfill?

Perhaps you have started to think about how you will do without this single use plastic?

Perhaps the thought of being without single use plastic sends you into a flutter?

Or some things you just can’t do without?

You’re not alone!

Each indi

Our household has slowly consumed less plastic over the years but there are still moments when I feel quite a bit of eco guilt over bringing plastic home. Do you feel this?

This eco guilt can be overwhelming but I think we all need to start looking at the positives, look at where you are making changes – even if they are small, because of that small change you are leaving less plastic waste behind.

This week I tried to buy my meat from the butcher’s in a reusable container but due to Health and Safety regulations I couldn’t. I was very disappointed as not only was I nervous about asking, I was then not able to do what I thought was the best.

On reflection (once I got over the disappointment) I realised that these bags could be recycled (RED cycle program through Coles) Or can be washed with hot, soapy water and reused for smelly nappies or on the go rubbish.

So I guess what I am trying to say is – celebrate your wins. Celebrate what your family can do and what you can manage. Perhaps making your own bread is just too hard right now and even though there are single use bags, the butcher’s up the road is just too convenient while you have young kids or are getting home late from work.

Aim for some swaps and give yourself time. We can all do this, one bit at a time.

Try these easy swaps:

Plastic bags – reusable bags (leave them in the car!)

Grow your own herbs

Buy loose leaf tea

Buy a reusable cup that you can have take away hot drinks in.

Buy your meat and vegetables in bulk from Coops or delivery companies.