The rule of one by Ashley Saunders and Leslie Saunders.

Without thinking, I touch my right wrist, where a microchip should be. A permanent reality of being the second-born in a Rule of One America: I don’t really exist.

With vivid descriptions and conversations between key characters engaging, The rule of one by Ashley and Leslie Saunders, is a new dystopian book series set in the not too distant future.

Written from the point of view of twins – alternating chapters – we meet the new America, one which has brought about the rule of the one child policy in order to save humanity from destruction.

The new world is tightly monitored by a ruthless government who monitors every microchipped citizen. Everything is controlled for the apparent greater good, but the cracks are starting to show.

Our key protagonists, Ava and Mira, are identical twins, who have lived life safely by carefully engaging with society in an identical manner with no one noticing them. Each day one twin attends school while the other stays in the basement. Each day they eat as a family swapping the smallest of details so the other twin can rise to the surface and play the role again.

Life seems well played by the twins until someone notices a difference and this is wear the adventure to not only save their own lives begins, but a journey to save the people from the overruling government.

Tweens and Young adults will enjoy the story, although similar in some ways to other dystopian books and I wasn’t quite sure the ending was powerful enough, they will enjoy reading this and the sequel

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How to Bee by Bren Mac Dibble.


Have you ever wondered about what life would look like if there were only a small amount of bees left in the world?

This is a very real problem and one book that made me shudder with the possibility of being real.

Meet tough, smart and vibrant Peony, an ten year old farm girl who works in the Goulburn Valley of NSW, Australia. Peony works hard on the farm, manually removing bugs from crops as pesticides have been banned – however becoming a Bee is what she dreams of. Being a Bee is one of the most important roles in this futuristic society as the young and nimble need to do the job the bees once did – pollinating flowers.

Peony lives with her grandfather and sister but the community around them and the bond they all have is amazing and something to aspire due despite the poverty they live in. Peony’s mother wants more than farm life and takes Peony off to the city to earn real money. Despite her utter dislike for city life, huge disparity being rich and poor and still the utter disregard for the hard work of farmers, Peony learns about the importance of friendship, family and kind acts.

How to Bee brought a tear to my eye and although it may seem like a bleak outlook from the start it shows how strong the human spirit is and the need we all have to belong and live in harmony.

Perhaps if the big supermarkets and chemical companies read this story they would start to change how they see the world and start to think more about the impact we are having on the future.

There are some areas of the world where this form of pollination is already happening today – I’m not sure if we want this to spread to all areas of the world. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/humans-bees-china_us_570404b3e4b083f5c6092ba9?section=australia

So what can you do?

Bee and Me

The Book of Bees

Bee

Oxfam Shop

I can change the world

What can we do?

Worry we aren’t doing enough when all we do is perhaps compost or perhaps you buy your food in bulk?

Do you cook from scratch? Say no to plastic bags?

Or perhaps the best thing you are doing now is educating your children through books and discussions?

 

How can we make the world a better place to live in?

From so many different sources the message is very clear.

Every small sustainable difference we make, every small change we make, every small thing we show others – all makes a difference.

What are you doing to make a difference? How are you showing this?

How are you educating children? Would love to hear what you are doing or what you would like some help doing!

You can buy this great poster at The Global Guardian Project and try my discount for a further 10% off!

GGPVanessa

Ruben by Bruce Whatley

Ruben’s dreams were of places that made no sense to him. Places that didn’t exist. At least not anymore.

Ruben, a young boy lives on the outskirts of a damaged, abandoned and futuristic city. Every day when he wakes he writes about his dreams and flicks through images of places he once knew.

Living alone, Ruben often wanders the streets, avoiding the huge machines that live in Block city who destroy things humans need for survival – freedom, safety and knowledge.

One day, on his way through the city in search of food and water, he discovers Koji, another child who is also alone. Together they understand each other, share secrets and dream of escaping on one of the fast trains that leave the destroyed city.

Bruce Whatley is a master illustrator who has created this whole world in black and white – giving it the grim and abandoned feel it needs. Readers will pour over the illustrations for hours as they journey with Ruben hoping that he can escape this formidable place.

Although set in the future, the sketches of objects Bruce Whatley has included, pull on our own heart strings and lead us to think – what if? Children of all ages will ponder the possibility of places in our world that already look like this or the possibly of our own country looking like this if we don’t care for others around us.

This Dystopian world that Ruben lives in is one that young children can enter without the violence of many other Dystopian fiction books on the market.

I have explored this book with some Gifted Year 4 students and they have thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Ruben and then creating a Dystopian world of their own.

So what can you do? 

GRASPS Task – – Ruben by Bruce Whatley

GOAL: You are going to create your own dystopian world using as many as the key areas as you can.

ROLE You are the engineer of this futuristic society. You are the designer of the people, their plight and their place.

AUDIENCE You need to create a world that will appeal to readers aged 8-12. .

SITUATION : In the book market there are many fiction books set in Dystopian worlds but they are for older readers and any are full of violence. You need to create a dystopian world without violence. There are many other ways the world can become dystopian so use your create juices and move away from the violence we hear about in the older books.

PRODUCT. The world you create needs to be a combination of things so we can get a true insight into this world. You can use: Diary entries, maps, posters, sketches, storytelling, newspaper articles, radio correspondence etc.

You will be marked out of 15.

STANDARDS and CRITERIA [INDICATORS]

 

1 2 3
Key areas of a dystopian world. Student has used 3 key areas in their dystopian world Student has used 5 key areas in their dystopian world Student has used 6 r more key areas in their dystopian world.
Understand how texts vary in complexity and technicality depending on the approach to the topic, the purpose and the intended audience (ACELA1490 Student has developed three different types of texts to engage the audience Student has developed four different types of texts to engage the audience Student has developed five or more different types of texts to engage the audience
Discuss how authors and illustrators make stories exciting, moving and absorbing and hold readers’ interest by using various techniques, for example character development and plot tension (ACELT1605 Outline how they developed characters and settings briefly. Outline how they developed characters and settings in details. Outline how they developed characters and settings in detail and respond to questions with good explanation.
Create literary texts by developing storylines, characters and settings (ACELT1794 Outline the basic process of creating this Dystopian world. Discuss how characters were developed and how they fit into the world created. consider how and why particular traits for a character have been chosen. Discuss in details why the setting has been created and how the idea was developed.
Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive print and multimodal texts, choosing text structures, language features, images and sound appropriate to purpose and audience (ACELY1704 Many errors made in final draft with little editing present. Some mistakes made in final products wth some editing present. Excellent final product with little or no mistakes.

 

 

 

This book will (help you) change the world by Sue Turton.

Do you actually know how you can change the world you live in? Do you understand the political system that you are a part of and how you can change it by standing up and voicing your opinion so that it will be listened to?

Many of us don’t – especially young people – and this book is here to help.

This book will (help you) change the world by Sue Turton has been written with young adults in mind, but many adults will also benefit from what is inside.

Part one of this book outlines the political system of the UK. If you are not in the U.K, don’t let this put you off. There are many parallels in the two systems and Sue Turton only dwells on the details of the UK parliamentary system for a couple of pages.

Part one also looks at why you need to know the system to play a role, why the system is broken and how young people can play a role in a political party.

Part Two is excellent. It is this section that will empower young readers to take action – but take action that is planned, thoughtful and to the point. Sue Turton outlines the different ways people can take action that will make a difference and the importance of voicing your opinions that will be listened to (well researched, coherent and less blame-more action based)

Activism is a key part to this book and many young adults will walk away from this feeling that they can make a difference in the world they live in. This book does have a lot of links (websites, references to events) to the U.K. but they can all be transferred to the country you live in so don’t be put off.

Why are books like this important? 

Many young people often feel that they can’t speak up because either they don’t understand how the system works, they speak too soon before they have thought how they can best tackle an issue or they are worried about the ramifications of speaking up.

We need to empower young people to speak up but teach them to speak up in the right way. We don’t want them to hurt others verbally or physically to make a point, we don’t want them caught up in the wrong group to make a point either. Being informed is important and this book teaches children how to do that.

Sue Turton’s This book will (help you)change the world is a great book to accompany any classroom that is looking at democracy, debating or human rights issues – it will inform and inspire future leaders.

Planet of the Orb Trees by Barton Ludwig

A world that exists only to have fun without any consideration of how we can make a difference?

A world where you live day by day with the hope that destruction doesn’t come your way if you remain behind the fence?

A boy who does something about his and his planet’s future despite what others say – This is Planet of the Orb Trees by Barton Ludwig.

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Set in the future in an old amusement park, where you can have everything you want  – but this everything is just purely amusement rides and food – no trees, no flowers and really no life except for humans.

Planet of the Orb trees explores a world where people don’t seem to care about the world around them only care for themselves and their own outcomes.

Kai, the main character, is determined to reach another planet for a better life and possibly to help his own destroyed planet. In order to do this he has to leave the safety of the amusement park, cross a desert and work out different traps and puzzles.

My older child enjoyed reading this story and although there were some sections that needed clarification, it was overall enjoyed.

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With large colourful pictures on each page, readers aged 7-13 will enjoy reading this science fiction picture book and possibly give themselves some time to think about how they care for the world around them.  Quirky characters abound and strange experiences occur but underneath this lively tale is a message – care for the world as if you were caring for it for others too.

So many of us just care for ourselves and out immediate fun – we act without thought and consequences. Kai’s planet is destroyed because of this and young readers will see the desolation of the planet despite the so called easy life the amusement park residents have.

Mr. Ludwig wrote “Planet of the Orb Trees” with hopes to promote ecological awareness, conservation of resources, and cohabitation and cooperation with animals.

Planet of the Orb trees has been published by Heart Lab Press and is available on Amazon.

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The History of Bees by Maja Lunde

I heard somewhere once that a sign of a good book is one that can make you cry, make you laugh, warm your soul and make you question the world you live in – this book has done just that.

I’m not the best wordsmith around and I do not think I can’t express how much this book resonated with me.

The History of Bees, told by Maja Lunde is a story told through the eyes of three parents in three different time periods.

Tao lives in 2098, China, George in 2007, USA and William in 1851, England. Each of these characters have children of their own and each of these parents are trying to create the best world that they can for their children – the way they think they should be.

Listening to a recent podcast on parenting, this book made so many links. Research shows that as parents we all have set ideals on how our children should act in the world and we believe that by acting a certain way or saying certain things that we are going to shape our children the way we see best.  But as you read on in this story you can see that despite every parent’s effort to make their children a certain way – each child chooses their own path and explores the world they want to.

BUT – don’t despair, the children are influenced by the good actions of their parents, just in a different way they expected.

The children in this story are strong, smart and determined. The encompass free thinking, risk taking and problem solving. They show how much love parents have for their children despite the path they take.

The History of bees explores Bees through story. You will learn about one of the first beehives that was created to carefully extract honey without disturbing the bees, a farmer who experiences Colony Collapse Disorder on all of his hives and a mother who lives in futuristic China where people are the pollinators of flowers as all the bees have died.

I cried as I finished the last few chapters. I cried with happiness, sadness and concern. If the world means anything to you and if you have children – this book will mean so much more.

We need bees and one of the key messages in this book is how important it is for us to keep bees in a more sustainable way, stop the mass production of honey or crops and learn to live in more harmony with the world.

Maja Lunde has written many wonderful books but this is one you must read today.

What else can you do with this book?

Buy local honey (we love this honey!!)

Look at Save the bees website and support what they are trying to do in Australia.

Check out my other posts on bees! :

Being a bee

How to bee

The Book of bees

Bee and Me 

The Battle of Bug World by Karen Tyrell 

Five of my favourite picture books I read in 2017.

Five of the best

Children's books tag

Warning! I’ve been tagged. It can be contagious.

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Norah Colvin tagged me and asked me to join in. I don’t normally do this but I’m making an exception. How could I not – it’s about children’s books.

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I’m required to nominate my top five children’s books, then nominate another five people to join in!

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Rules:

  1. Thank whoever’s nominated you and share their blog link.
  2. Let us know your top 5 children’s books
  3. Nominate 5 people to do the same
  4. Let your nominees know you nominated them

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I’m not sure I can decide on my Top 5 – but here are 5 wonderful picture books that speak to me and children about how we can make this world a better place.

  1. Feather by Phil Cummings
  2. The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton
  3. Out of the Blue by Alison Jay
  4. Whatcha Building by Andrew Daddo
  5. The Thank you dish by Trace Balla

Oh dear — Can I also mention Second Sky by Patrick Guest and Desert Lake by  Pamela Freeman and Zoom by Sha’an D’anthes???

 

I think I might have to post again about some junior fiction and Young adult fiction too…

There have been so many wonderful books in 2017 but the above have really stood out.

 

Now to nominate another 5 people —–

Romi Sharp from Just write for kids

Bookie Boo boxes – BookieBoo

De from Booksandbabycinos

Beth from EarthandStarskids

Shaye Wardrop

 

Maybe you don’t write about children’s books but would like to share your favourites anyway. Please consider this invitation inclusion. If you would like to join in, please do.

Alternatively, if you are one of the people I nominate, and you’d rather not join in, or have already been nominated, it’s okay to decline.

 

Plastic Free July

 July is Plastic Free July and throughout this month we all need to try and make an effort to make our lives full of less plastic!

Why do we need to start using less plastic?

Plastic has been an amazing invention and has so many wonderful uses but the problem today is that we are overusing it in places where we don’t need to.

Do we really need plastic bags for our fruit and vegetables at the supermarket?

At the checkout?

Do we really need all that pre packaged food when we can make our own?

Does everything really need to be wrapped in plastic before we take it home? Especially when home isn’t that far away? 

The simple answer is no and although it may seem hard to make these changes, you can – slow and steady if that is what it takes.

But how? Try this module out – Only $2.99  – an inspiring start to getting rid of the plastic in your pantry! 


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You can also just start with some simple swaps.

Not sure how to empower or educate yourself or your child? The following books are excellent reads to help encourage the use of less plastic——- check them out:

Ada’s Violin – True story picture book – Paraguay’s recycled orchestra. Discussion: Why is there so much in landfill and how can we reduce this?

Out of the Blue by Alison Jay – Wordless picture book. Story of looking after the ocean. Why is there rubbish in the ocean? What can you change in your life so you make less of an impact on sea creatures? (what do you flush down the drain that is harmful?)

10 little rubber ducks – Based on the true story of a shipping container which broke in open sea and unloaded thousands of rubber ducks. Where might they be now? How is this an environmental disaster?

My Green Day – Simple tips on how you can have a greener day.

The Seagull – A seagull is tangled up in fishing wire and a young boy rescues him. Why is there discarded fishing wire on the beach and other rubbish entangled in it? How can we use less single use plastic?

The Lorax by Dr Seuss –  

This book looks at how greed can cause us to waste materials and cause damage to the earth. By thinking about what our plastic does after we use it we can start to see why we should use less.

Compost Stew by Mary McKenna

By using materials that can be composted – not thrown into landfill we are creating a better place and creating better soil for future food and plants!

The tomorrow book by Jackie French

With imagination, creative thinking, problem solving and open minds, tomorrow can be a wonderful day where we harness the sun’s energy, we repair things instead of throwing them away, we each have our own veggie patch and wind power is just another form of easy to use energy. This book looks at how children can make a difference in the world they live in – not just rely on the adults!!

Whatcha Building by Andrew Daddo

Have you ever thought about reusing something instead of throwing it away? This is a wonderful story to get your creative side into gear.

 

Let me know how you go – can you maintain your plastic free ways? 

There is hope

The news of bombings fills me with dread of what those people must have felt, what those families who have lost must be feeling and even what the parents and friends of the bomber must be going through.

It fills me with fear about the world that my children are growing up in and concern about how they might feel if they one day hear about or experience these things.

There is hope.

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As parents and teachers we can prepare our children for the world by displaying how to be more empathetic towards others through our actions. Think about how you talk about other people, news events and the world. 

As parents and teachers we can allow our children to experience what life might be like for other people so that they can be more empathetic. We can do this through conversations and picture books.

If we help our children to understand how the world is different then perhaps we have a brighter future where everyone gets along as best as they can, treats everyone with respect and helps anyone in need. 

Try these books that link to refugees.

The tomorrow book by Jackie French and Sue Degennaro.

Written on a solar-powered computer and printed on recyclable paper The tomorrow book by Jackie French and Sue Degennaro is a story filled with hope for tomorrow.

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Many environmental books are filled with doom and gloom – as the media tells us that is where we are headed. BUT with imagination, creative thinking, problem solving and open minds, tomorrow can be a wonderful day where we harness the sun’s energy, we repair things instead of throwing them away, we each have our own veggie patch and wind power is just another form of easy to use energy.

Jackie French is a marvellous story teller and through this book she ignites ownership of the world in children and a belief that they can all make a difference to the world they live in.

Many of us are too caught up in what we are used to doing and find change so difficult but as we can see through this story that sometimes it is only the simplest of changes that makes a difference to our human world, the animals and natural habitats within in.

Sue Degennaro’s illustrations are an energetic mixture of pastel and collage (using recycled materials of course!) and add so much more to the story being told. Degennaro’s illustrations really highlight the fact that tomorrow isn’t just about humans.

So what can you do?

SUSTAINABILITY

  • Redesign your day: How would you get to work or school if you made one change? What would your meals look like?
  • How can Easter be packaged better? Reflect on the waste over Easter and how you can make a change for next year. Re design an Easter egg package so it is better for tomorrow.
  • Check out my long list of sustainability books. 
  • Check out this great program on Self-sufficiency in the suburbs!  Tell Laura I sent you.

Visual Literacy

  • How to the illustrations add more depth to the story?
  • Does the use of recycled paper change how you see the story? Why aren’t more books printed this way?
  • How does collage add a different dimension to this story – can it be used in all stories?

 

Reading books to children is a great place to start igniting ideas to make changes in the world we live in. Start conversations and take responsibility together to make a difference in the world we live in.

 

More from Harper Collins: http://static.harpercollins.com/harperimages/ommoverride/The_Tomorrow_Book_TN.pdf

Aquatica: a beginner’s field guide by Lance Balchin.

Before the earth’s environment collapsed, under the weight of industrial pollution and radioactive waster, the oceans teemed with an abundance of life. 

It’s now 2200 and all that moves now is only mechanical…..


Aquatica is the second book by Lance Balchin which explores a future where all animals and insects as we know them now are long extinct and all that we have are mechanical creatures.

Aquatica explores a world filled with aquatic animals who have evolved from robotic drones into free thinking, dangerous attackers. Life in 2200 is dangerous yet amazingly interesting.

The protagonist Liberty Crisp, aged 15, is on a mission to document each of these species and try to befriend them so the world does not destroy itself even more than it has.

You can spend hours looking at the details of each mechanical creature and reading the detail of it’s habitat, speed and lifestyle. Lance Balchin ignites our imagination and makes the reader ponder the future – what do we want it to look like for our children?

So how can you use this book at home? 

 – Revisit Mechanica and the activities included.

 – Visit a nearby water way and investigate the different living species that live within this environment.

 – Look at what you put down your drain at home – could any of this effect marine life?

 – Make your own Aquatica creature  and test to see if it can live in water.

 – Look at organisations such as WWF, Greenpeace and see how they help our oceans.

The importance of nature play. 

There is a lot of new research coming out on the importance of play and the importance of play outside.

As a teacher I have always observed children learning best when they are in a relaxed and informal environment. In saying this, there is always a place for teaching and mentoring but there is also a place for exploration, making mistakes and collaboration.


I love being outside – it just makes me happier. I love being in natural areas where there is less human activity and more time to sit back and admire what is around us. So when I became a librarian I couldn’t think of a better way to get children outside than through books!

Research shows that playing outside increases happiness, problem solving and motivation. When children play outside they use more imagination as there are less boundaries, they can problem solve and they can learn about the world they live in through their 5 senses.


Now, you often think of books as an inside activity – which they can be (and often are) and this is fine BUT what if we can take ideas from these books and use them to inspire some outdoor play?

Here are some books which might inspire you to take a trip outside!

 

Go on an adventure

We are going on a bear hunt

This is a classic book that we all know and love. It is so much fun to read and sing to and is a favourite of ours.

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • Go on your own bear hunt! Find some swishy grass, splashy water and sloshy mud – lots of fun!
  • Can you go on a native Australian animal hunt? Which animals live in your area?
  • Pack a bag and go on a short hike. Think of the different things you need to cope with storms, rain, wind and sunshine!

Worm explorers

The worm who knew karate by Terry Denton and Jill Lever

The worm who knew karate By Jill Lever and Terry Denton is a hilarious book about a worm who decides to become a braver and stronger worm through the art of karate! Which made me think….how can we help our children to build their confidence? And what do those worms in my worm farm really get up to? Maybe it’s a secret dojo I have never been aware of….

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • go and dig up some dirt – find some earth worms!
  • Go and buy a worm farm or explore your local community garden worm farm.
  • Feed the worms – what do they like best?

Create a garden

The curious Garden by Peter Brown

One boy’s quest for a greener world, one garden at a time.

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown is a book based on fact. The Highline is an abandoned railway line that people began to take back over and return it back to nature and open spaces for people to enjoy.

It is a poignant book as many cities, suburbs and towns are starting to explore how they can become greener, literally.

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • Keep a seed diary – plant a seed and watch it grow! (use quick growing seeds like herbs, beans or sunflowers)
  • Look at a local park or your own backyard and redesign it so there is more growing and more green.
  • Make an inventory of the nature in your area. Discuss biodiversity of plants and animals.

Explore insects

Mechanics by Lance Baldachin

Mechanica: A beginner’s field guide by Lance Baldachin is a picture book for those who love the earth but wonder what is to become of it if we keep treating it the way we do.

It is circa 2250 and the earth is devoid of any natural life due to human destruction and consumption. However, mechanical creatures have been made to replace what was lost – though these are not always as kind as they look!

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • Find some insects and sketch them. Look at how they move their arms and legs. Try to recreate an insect out of natural material.
  • Create an insect house for your local insects. Many insects are lacking in city gardens as there are not enough small holes for them to live in.
  • Look for signs of life cycles of insects  – these can be hard to find but it will make your child look in the small places that we often overlook.

Explore new places

Bogtrotter by Margaret Wild

The Bogtrotter is a delightful creature that lives in the bog – a gloomy, marshy, mushy bog! Bogtotter, written by Margaret Wild is a book that focuses on belonging, trying new things, playing outdoors, loneliness and discovery.

The illustrations by Judith Rossell are marvellous, really bringing to life the Bogtrotter and his feelings.

The reader steps through into the life of the Bogtrotter, watching him start off doing the same thing every day, not knowing how to make a change. It is through talking to other animals around him and picking a flower that he sees that there is more to his bog.

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • Go to a new park, a new national park or any outdoor space.
  • Walk a path you walk everyday but do it slowly and try to notice the small things as you go along. Talk to people, say hello and notice what is happening.
  • Take something outside that you normally do inside – does it make a difference?

 

Imagination

Incredibilia by Libby Hathorn

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.

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • Take some ribbons, balls, string and scraps and see what you can do with them outside rather than a specific toy.
  • Create new names for the local insects, trees and flowers in your garden or local park – imagination!
  • Go somewhere or find something that you think is incredibilia!

Being Green

Leaf by Stephen Michael King

Leaf shows the love of nature that children can have when given the chance. It also shows the adult world and how everything needs to be neat, tidy and regimented. A sad story on adults behalf!

In this magical story a little boy  grows his own seedling in his hair and loves it, cares for it and shares many adventures with it. He spends every waking minute finding the best way to care for his seedling.

Unfortunately it’s time for a haircut and the adult world tries to take his small tree away from him. However, his determination and resilience shines through and he continues to care for the tree as he grows older.

This is a beautifully drawn book which not only intrigues the reader but really hits the spot on how we need to take a step back and let the natural world become a part of our daily lives.

After you read this book, with your child you can…..

  • Perform a puppet show outside with leaves as the characters – draw on them and create a story!
  • What can you grow out of different substances? Explore how seeds grow and what they need to grow.
  • How heavy are different trees. Use problem solving to try and work this out.

 

I hope this has inspired you to read some books and play outside! I have many more ideas each week on my blog so please sign up to flickingonthebook.wordpress.com

 

 

Mechanica: A beginner’s field Guide by Lance Baldachin.

How would our planet look if insects did not exist?

Can butterflies be beautiful and brutal?  

Are drones a necessary evil? 

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Mechanica: A beginner’s field guide by Lance Baldachin is a picture book for those who love the earth but wonder what is to become of it if we keep treating it the way we do.

It is circa 2250 and the earth is devoid of any natural life due to human destruction and consumption. However, mechanical creatures have been made to replace what was lost – though these are not always as kind as they look!

This very impressive picture book with detailed diagrams of futuristic insects, small animals and birds captured my attention immediately.

Children will love reading the details about each creature and looking at the intricate designs Lance has included.

There is a glimmer of hope in the Addendum – perhaps nature will always fight us and our consuming ways.

How can you use this book at home or in the classroom?

Science

  • With every animal in the story try to compare and contrast it to a real animal in your own country (if possible) (Links in to higher order thinking skills)
  • Choose any insect in our world and explore how that insect helps us to grow food, keep soil healthy or rid waste.
  • Create your own Mechanica creature. Give it a new name. Outline the details similar to Lance Baldachin descriptions.
  • Create the life cycle for these Mechanica. How is their life cycle altered when they turn bad?
  • What are drones? Explore the history of drones and wonder if we really need them….

Geography

  • Using a world map find out where these futuristic creatures live. Ask why they might live in these regions and not others.
  • What sort of Mechanica could live in your home town?

Literacy

  • Write a journal from the perspective of Miss Liberty Crisp. Outline her journey through the Orient, her experiences in Saraswati and her excursion to the National History Museum.
  • Write a persuasive outlining to others the importance of starting to take care of the world we live in. Present this in a TV advert – make it catchy, straight to the point yet entertaining.

Art

  • Create your own mechanics using recycled materials. Find old nails, bolts, cutlery etc. Not only are you creating something from waste but you are also alerting children on how much waste we do create!

 

Welcome to future Earth.
Despite repeated warnings, the environment has become polluted to such an extent that many areas of the globe have become uninhabitable, and wildlife is now extinct.
From the ashes, a new style of ‘wildlife’ is created. Wildlife that will not remain harnessed by humankind.

Welcome to the world of Mechanica.

Back Cover: Mechanica – Lance Balchin