Koalas eat gum leaves by Laura and Phil Bunting

Do you actually know exactly what koalas eat?

Are you sure?

Perhaps you’d better read this to find out….

Koalas eat gum leaves by Laura and Phil Bunting is a fun filled book where you learn a little more than you bargained for about koalas.

We all know they eat gum leaves for every meal but one little koala is tired of these eucalyptus treats so he sets his eyes on something a little bit more delicious.

Not only will the young reader love the story, they will also enjoy looking at the extra messages within the pictures – the simple change of where the eyes are looking, the movement of the sun in the sky and the arm or leg movement to show something else the koala might be thinking.

Koalas eat gum leaves by Laura and Phil Bunting is a cleverly written story and despite it’s humour there are some lovely hidden messages to find and discuss after you have finished reading.

P.S. Don’t forget to stare at the end pages for at least 5 minutes!

What else can you do with this book?

RESEARCH

– What do koalas eat? Where do they live? Are they endangered?

WONDER

– What would happen if Koalas did eat human food as part of their diet?

THINK

– Why is the koala a national icon? Aren’t there any other animals worthy of this? Choose another animal that should be part of the tourist trail and convince others why.

INVESTIGATE

– How is ice cream made? Can you make your own ice cream? By making your own ice cream,not only are you cutting out the plastic container you are also using fresh and natural ingredients (go on, have a read of the back of the packet…)

CREATE

– Create some different Australian flavoured ice creams. Could you create some that animals could eat? You will need to investigate the diet of each animal .

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Brave and strong, All day long. By Elizabeth Cummings

 

Today I’m taking part in the Just write for Kids Books on Tour and I’m happy to introduce Elizabeth Cummings and her latest picture book from her Verityville series, Brave and Strong All Day Long, as a part of her Books On Tour promotion.

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Summer is coming and it’s time to hit the beach don’t you think?

Many people love going to the beach to relax and it’s even better when the weather is warm enough to swim.

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Thankfully, in Australia, many of our beaches are patrolled by lifegaurds who are there to watch over us as we swim underneath the waves, ride the waves or try to run away from them!

Brave and strong all day long by Elizabeth Cummings is a short and simple picture book with a big message – the importance of lifeguards.

Lifeguards need to be confident, strong and brave all day long, they need to be able to help those in need, teach people how to swim safely in the surf and most importantly ensure that everyone returns back to their towels at the end of their swim!

This book, brought to life with Johanna Roberts’ vibrant and informative illustrations, tells us the story about Fiona, a young girl who became a lifeguard. She loves surfing and has enough confidence to be able to help those in need. Not only can Fiona help swimmers caught in rips she can also help fishermen and surfers!

Young children will enjoy reading this story and learning about what lifeguards do. The images reflect what a lifeguards uniform looks like so readers will know who to look out for if they need help at the beach.  There is also a great drawing of a rip – a great way to start a conversation about this ever present danger in the water and perhaps the chance for further research so your children know what one of these looks like.

Brave and strong, all day long has been self published along with many other wonderful creations by Elizabeth and Johanna. Raising awareness of the important role lifeguards play in society is something we all need to do so we do not take these wonderful volunteers for granted.

Check out her website and consider some of her other great titles as well! https://elizabethmarycummings.com/book-store/

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“For more information on blog tours at Books On Tour please visit www.justkidslit.com/books-on-tour.” Thanks so much. Please let me know if there’s anything else you need.

So what else can you do after you have read this book?

  • ENGAGE: Visit the beach and watch what the lifeguards do – perhaps even talk to one and see what they have been up to!
  • INVESTIGATE: Why the flags are placed up and how they help us.
  • INVESTIGATE: Learn more about rips here: https://beachsafe.org.au/surf-safety/ripcurrents
  • ASK: Why do lifeguards wear long sleeve tops and hats. Investigate sun safety and why we need to cover up.
  • THINK: What sort of sun cream do you use? Why are there so many types out there and are they all the same?
  • RESEARCH: Where and when did surfing originate? Why do lifeguards use boards to rescue people?

 

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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.

 

T-Veg: The story of a carrot crunching dinosaur by Smritti Prasadam-Halls

Have you ever considered becoming a Vegetarian? Or perhaps even a Veganism?

Did you get hassled? Questioned? Teased?

Reginald the T-Rex does – and he is not happy about it.


Reginald is a fierce T-Rex, he can run fast, jump high and roar very loudly! However,  he just doesn’t want to eat meat – he wants to eat carrot cake, vegetable stew and banana berry cake instead!! His friends laugh at him and tell him that there he cannot be  T-Rex if he is to continue these veggie eating ways and with this, Reginald walks away.

He tries to befriend some other herbivores but when they just run away he tries to act like a herbivore but finds it too boring. Sad and confused Reginald heads for home – only to find that his T-Rex friends really do need him – and it’s lucky that he has returned!

This book, written in rhyme is a fun adventure into the world of vegetarianism and acceptance of everyone – no matter what they eat, look like or believe in. Children will learn that everyone is equal, special and has something to add to the community.

Katherine Manolessou’s illustrations are bright and energetic and she makes Reginald an easy to love T-Veg – Rex.

Perhaps you have never considered a carrot crunching dinosaur to send a message about Vegetarianism or acceptance of differences – but written in fast paced rhyme, this book does just that.

Perhaps it’s time you enjoyed some more vegetarian meals!

So what can you do at home?

SUSTAINABILITY

– Try to have a meat free day once a week then progress to twice a week….it can be done!! A current favourite of ours is: Pumpkin and Peanut Butter curry

– Source your meat from organic and local companies. It may mean spending more money but just use less – add more vegetables to the dish instead!

– Try adding more vegetables to your meals and snack – they create less waste

– Do you have a compost bin? Worm farm? All those extra scraps can go this way!

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

 

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

 

 

The chronicles of Jack Mc Cool: The Amulet of Athlone by R.E.Devine

Ever wondered, ‘What’s special about me?’. Jack did and soon discovered that heroes come in all shapes and sizes, even ones with sticky-up hair and an unending supply of dodgy one-liners.

Jack Mc Cool is funny, full of energy and bright- but he is also forgetful and gets in trouble from his teachers. He lives with his family and goes to school – just like any other ordinary teenager.


But this all changes the day he tries to escape the annoying requests from his brother to help him prepare for his school play.

Jack climbs into the attic of the house and in an effort to escape his brother, stumbles upon a trunk – which looks like a great hiding place but ends up being something completely out of the ordinary.

The Amulet of Athlone is the first book in a series of 6 which takes the reader on an magical adventure back in time to the Kingdom of Eireann to recover 6 powerful gems that will restore peace to the Fianna people.

Ruth Devine’s writing is fast paced and action packed. Each chapter in The Amulet of Athlone leaves you with a cliff hanger, subtly recaps what has happened and allows you to really get to know the characters.

Ruth was inspired to start writing this series of 6 by her three sons, who all have ADHD. She wanted to create an adventure story with a quirky main character that not only would her boys want to read about but also other children who may be reluctant readers or have ADHD.

You’ll feel like you know each of the characters by the end of the book and if you’re like me, be quite happy to join Jack and Finn on the next quest. You’ll be amazed by the magical spells and tricks played by evil banshees and mesmerised by the description of the places Jack visits. You’ll also see how important family, friends and positive support  are to all children, especially those who are a little bit different and don’t always fit what the teachers at school or society expect from them.

The Amulet of Athlone is a great start to this 6 book series and I can’t wait to read the rest!

Teacher notes coming soon – Watch this space!

Exploring soils by Samantha Grover and Camille Heisler

Have you ever wondered what is underneath the grass you walk upon?

Have you ever scooped up some dirt and examined the life that teemed out of it?

Have you ever noticed the different colours of soil on your bushwalk or sand at beach?

Exploring soils by Dr Samantha Grover and Camille Heisler is a informative picture book that takes us on a journey through a young child’s eyes as they explore how plants and animals live in soil, how soils are formed and how they are essential in our lives.


Having two young children I have rediscovered the joy of dirt – yes really! Although it does create mess, there is so much to see inside of it. As we dig in our backyard or down in the local park we have discovered so many interesting insects, old junk and pieces of rock.

The collaboration between Grover and Heilser is remarkable. As facts are brought to life through story, the illustrations match so that we can see the layers of soil, see the tiny legs on the insects and learn how water moves through soil.

The importance of soil is shown to the reader as we learn about gardening, using clay for bowls to eat out of and even different ochres that allow us to paint.

The idea of being a soil detective is not out of reach for any young reader and in fact I found this book a great way for children to take a closer look at the soil. There really are hours of discussion to be had around soil and this book is a really great way to start that discussion. Without healthy moving soil we would not have the planet we have today!

So what can you do with this book?

  • Go outside and dig a hole! Start with a small hole and see what is in that space. Write down what you see, draw what you see and compare different spaces around the backyard or park.
  • Learn about the soil that is in your area and how it is different from soil in another part of our suburb or city.
  • Explore why we need healthy soil by conducting an experiment. Try to grow some sunflower seeds in sand, rocky soil, old soil and fresh new living soil. Which one grows best when all given the same conditions?

BUY NOW – click below.

Exploring Soils: A Hidden World Underground

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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

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

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.

 

 

A is for Australian animals by Frane Lessac.

Have you ever wondered which Australian animals you would come across if you wandered through the alphabet, across the desert down by a river or over the ocean?


A is for Australian animals by Frane Lessac takes every reader on a magical journey all over Australia where we meet Quokkas, Bilbies, Jumping spiders and even Death adders!

Starting from the letter A, Frane Lessac explores through brightly coloured and detailed illustrations the amazing characteristics of each animal. Each picture is accompanied by 5 – 10 facts that are very interesting and perhaps unknown to many readers.

Did you know that emus have two eyelids?

Did you know that the Perentie Goanna can run up to 30 km/h?

Letter A gives the reader background information as to why Australia has so many interesting animals. In A is for Australian Animals, Lessac explores the habitats of mammals, reptiles, birds and monotremes through each letter of the alphabet- really highlighting the diversity of Australia.

The use of rich Australian outback and bushland colours brings life to the illustrations and allows the reader to feel like they are there with the animals in their natural environment. There are no people or buildings to be seen throughout the whole story – a great way for readers to see this wide brown land.

Frane Lessac artwork is superb and draws the reader to look further into each double page spread, searching for hidden animals, detailed plants and movement of sand or water.

A is for Australian Animals is  a must read for any Australian, and perhaps an inspiration for you to take a drive out of the city and into the outback, hidden rainforests or islands of our diverse country.

So what can you do at home? 

Geography

Find out where each of these animals live and plot this on a map. How big is each animals range of habitat and has this range changed over time?

Science

Group these animals – mammal, monotreme, bird or reptile.

Group these animals according to the types of environments they live in.

Literacy

Compare this book to another fact book, video of facts and podcast of facts. How do you prefer for find out facts? Which way do you think is better for your learning or are they all helpful?

Could you change the animals in this story by creating your own A-Z of Australian animals?

Numeracy

There are more kangaroos than humans in Australia! Where do they all live then? Compare and contrast the population sizes of the animals in this story. You could look into the rise or decline in numbers and try to work out why this has happened.

GeographyFind out where each of these animals live and plot this on a map. How big is each animals range of habitat and has this range changed over time?ScienceGroup these animals – ma

Bee by Patricia Hegarty and Britta Teckentrup.

What is your definition of community? Do bee’s fall into this category? 

Categorise at least 20 different insects into how they help the natural environment. 

What came first….the flower or the bee? 

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Photo courtesy of http://www.readingisourthing.com/portfolio/bee-patricia-hegarty-and-britta-teckentrup/ 

Bee’s are the forgotten insect that we would be lost without. We love their honey, their pollination skills and their fuzzy little bodies!

Patricia Hegarty writes in rhyme as she introduces the importance of bees in many different environmental settings. These rhymes are brought to life through Britta Teckentrup’s brightly coloured and textured illustrations.

As you travel through the story with the bee, we discover the many different parts to the small environments that bees need to visit as part of their daily life. Children can see how bees work with each other to find the best nectar and can peep through hexagonal cut outs as the bee travels from page to page. There are also hidden animals within each page which allow you to have small conversations with your child about the ecology of each small environment!

So how can we link this story to informing our children about the importance of bees?

Sustainability

  • Get your own bee hive! Perhaps this is not possible for everyone due to the environment you live in or the space you have but it is worth looking into. We have our own stingless bee hive as we live in Sydney. It is wonderful to see them buzzing around on days that are over 22 degrees, foraging for food all over our garden. They are small little insects but work so efficiently! The native stingless bees do not provide as much honey as the european bee but in about 6 months we should have some to share! Exciting!
  • Which plants rely on bees to be pollinated? Which plants rely on wind?
  • Is beekeeping sustainable? Should we be keeping honey bees in Ausrtalia or rely more on the native stingless bee? (The use and management of natural resourcesand waste, and the different views on how to do this sustainably (ACHASSK090)
  • Explore the bee populations of the world. Use tables to gather this information. IS there a decline in the bee population? If there is, what is causing this problem? What can we do?

SCIENCE

  • Many bees in the wild are being effected by pesticides. Explore the alternatives to using pesticides in your garden.
  • Go on an insect hunt. Spend some time outside recording the different types of insects that are alive in a specified area. Create a graph to record the data.
  • Which flowers do bees like to gather pollen from? Explore your local area to see which flowers the bees in your area love. Perhaps you can plant some bee attractive flowers?

Mathematics

  • Explore the patterns in bee hives! (Link to Geometry/2d and 3d shape in numeracy strand) 
  • Explore the Fibonacci sequence in flowers and plants. You will be amazed at how mathematical nature is!

Geography

  • Research the different species of bees in your country. Where do they live, how far do they forage from there hive?
  • Where can honeybees live in your country? Where can native bees live? What sort of temperature, terrain and conditions do they need?

History

  • Explore the history of european beekeeping(The role that a significant individual or group played in shaping a colony (ACHASSK110)
  • How was beekeeping influenced the food economy in your country?

Creative arts

  • Create your own bee dance.
  • Create a poem using the pictures in the story.
  • Create your own recipe which requires honey as a key ingredient.

 

I’d like to thank http://www.readingisourthing.com/portfolio/bee-patricia-hegarty-and-britta-teckentrup/ for sharing this book and image with me! Please visit them on Instagram at @readingisourthing