Where happiness lives by Barry Timms and Greg Abbott


Where does happiness live? How do you find it and hold onto it?


This delightful picture book Where happiness lives by Barry Timms and Greg Abbott is not only a cleverly rhymed story but the illustrations are intricate and the peep holes through to the adjoining pages make the story lots of fun.

The story begins at Grey Mouse’s house. It i safe, roomy and filled with friends and family. Grey Mouse thinks he has a wonderful life until he spies a much bigger house far off in the distance.

Thinking that a big house with many beautiful things must mean happiness, little grey mouse and his friend White mouse go on a journey to find what they think will make them happy.

But it is along the way that the reader can pick up on the things that the little mice are not noticing – the fluttering butterflies, the singing birds and the sweet smelling flowers – and wonder why they think that a big house with lots of treasures will somehow give them more.

It isn’t until they meet the brown mouse that they realise what true happiness is.

This book will spark conversations about what makes us happy and why we feel that things make this happiness. We live in a society where we are told to buy more and spend up to feel good – but we need to start to teach our children that this is not the pathway to be taken.

Where happiness lives by Barry Timms and Greg Abbott is a great springboard to inspire young children to stop and look at what they have, appreciate the goodness in the simplicity of life and the beauty that friendships can bring.

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Where do odd socks go? By Yvonne and illustrated by Sunshine

Did you know that around 84 million socks go missing in the UK every month? 

Did you also know that there are around 65 million people who are refugees or asylum seekers in the world?

‘Where do odd socks go?’ covers both these topics and more and is one to share with anyone who lives in the world.

This colourful picture book covers the pertinent issue of minority groups in our society through the use of odd socks. It is not only a fun way to view this huge issue of people who are often forgotten, but also an empowering way to show children that they can make a difference to these people’s lives. 

On the first double page spread you will meet the main characters of the story – the Outrank team (members of this team are out to rescue the odd socks) and then the odd socks (socks who feel lonely, left out, different, worried or bullied).

It’s important to spend some time here looking at the different socks and wondering why they feel the way they do – and relating this to people in our society. 

You’ll then meet Tilly and Tolin,  twins with special powers, who are out to rescue the odd socks with the help of the Outrank team.

Children will travel through the book with the characters in order to find the different socks and see that team work is a marvellous tool.

You’ll also journey to Egypt and learn a fascinating fact (that the oldest pair of stockings were found in a circa 500AD tomb uncovered by archaeologists) and see that despite everyone’s differences, we are all important members of society. 

Not only is this picture book fun to read, it is also a book you can draw many different discussions from. You will enlighten children about the important differences between us all, the importance of team work and most importantly the importance of looking out for each other.

The illustrations are fantastic – we loved looking at the different characters and their interesting antics.  The layout of this story make the book fun and both of these combined allow this story to be engaging and easier to grasp the different socks and their needs.  

Where do odd socks go? By Yvonne and illustrated by Sunshine is a much needed story and one to share with as many children as you can! 

Teacher notes to come soon – watch this space! 

Bruno the Boisterous Blue Dog from the Bush written by Robyn Osborn and illustrated by John Phillips

Way off the beaten track, somewhere between Bandywallop and Bullamakanka, lived Bruno Bright, a big, boisterous, blue dog, and his best buddy Bob, a barefoot bushie. 

Pull up a bucket, boil up your billy and bunch up your buddies because Bruno the Boisterous Blue Dog from the Bush written by Robyn Osborn and illustrated by John Phillips is a book to share with any Australian bushwacker.

Bruno the Boisterous Blue Dog from the Bush is a story with a lovely message and a fun read full of words that start with ‘B’, Australian lingo and places.

Children will love the use of B on each page, and although some of the words will need explaining, it is a great way to introduce the outback vernacular!

Bruno and his mate Bob are from the bush. They loved the great outdoors and the simplicity of life. This all changes when Bob wins a large amount of money at the races and they decide that country life isn’t for them.

Together they travel Australia, (this is a double page spread that we loved! We really enjoyed looking at where they went and then looking up what these places look like in the ‘real world.’ )

But when they come back home they think that they can buy a better life – in a fancy house in the city.  As many stories tell us, life with money isn’t always a good life, and this is what Bruno and Bob realise after nearly losing each other.

Buy Now from Fishpond.

Bruno: The Boisterous Blue Dog from the Bush

Bruno the Boisterous Blue Dog from the Bush is a fun book with a great message. It’s a great book for teachers to reinforce Alliteration and to explore different words used in the English language.

The cartoon-style illustrations add to the fun and simplicity of the message behind the story. The illustrations also help the reader to understand the  new words used on each page – mostly starting with ‘B’

A fun book that makes you wonder about all the little towns that are beyond the cities of Australia and who lived in them. Bruno the Boisterous Blue Dog from the Bush also shows readers that friends and happiness are much more important than money – a great message for children these days when they see so much importance placed on this.

Bruno the Boisterous Blue Dog from the Bush written by Robyn Osborn and illustrated by John Phillips – check it out here https://robynosborne.com/books/bruno-the-boisterous-blue-dog-from-the-bush-picture-book/

and also on the other blogs who are part of this tour!

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The gum family finds home by Tania McCartney and Christina Booth.

Do you actually know how hard it is to find the perfect home?

The Gum family are in need of a new home – it needs to be safe, secure ,comfortable and of course somewhere amongst the gum trees – where will it be?

Join Tania McCartney and Christina Booth as they take the Gum Family on a rocky adventure around Australia, visiting many different and amazing geological formations in Australia.

They visit the 12 apostles, wave rock, Kata Tjuta and the Glasshouse mountains – just to name a few. At each place the look for the perfect spot for a new home admiring the different ways the rocks have formed and changed over time.

Children have a great sense of wonderment and awe and this book arouses just that.

After we read this book we pulled out a map of Australia, books about each place visited and jumped on the internet to learn more.

The book does contain a map, small pieces of information and real photographs but the need to learn more was inspired – so we did just that!

Many students knew about Uluru and the Three Sisters but that was about it – so thank you to The Gum Family – these students all now know a lot more about the country they live in.

I also enjoyed pulling out old photographs of my trip around Australia to many of these places and reminiscing about how I felt in each location.

So this is what we did after we read the book:

– We researched further into each location and wrote down some more points.

– We worked out why tourists visit here and created a new brochure.

– We discussed what might happen if some of these places crumble up? Get destroyed by human interference?

– We discussed what koalas need in a perfect home.

What have you done with this book?

Reece give me some peace by Sonia Bestulic and Nancy Bevington.

 

Musicians young and old will love this story – even if the onomatopoeia is a little too noisy for you!

 

Reece give me some peace is a fun story which will introduce young readers to the delights of different musical instruments and the sounds they make.

The story begins on a sunny morning with Reece’s mother enjoying some peaceful rays of sunshine…that is until she hears a ding, dong ding, ding, dong, daloom!

And discovers her son, Reece, playing the Xylophone!

From here Reece explores all different types of instruments and the sounds that they make – possibly driving his mother crazy with all the noise.

Reece give me some peace is a wonderful way to introduce young children to different types of musical instruments.

Readers can hear the sounds of the instrument, see what the instrument looks like and also view how it can be played.

Music can be seen floating through the air with illustrations by Nancy Bevington – some instruments produce sharp lines while others produce wispy lines – a great way to show young children how music can be felt without worrying about the musical notes.

Reece give me some peace by Sonia Bestulic has been enjoyed by all young readers and with the predictive text, “Reece, give me some peace!” this book gives young readers some sense of being able to read along with the story.

Music plays a vital role in our lives and the younger we introduce young children to the joys and wonder of music, the better than can appreciate the diversity of the instruments that can create the different sounds that we hear.

So what else can you do with this book?

Find some images of what the instruments look like or even find some videos of these instruments being played in different ways.

Create your own musical instruments out of tissue boxes, cardboard boxes and toilet rolls!

Explore onomatopoeia and the different ways we can represent sound with words.

And join in the blog tour:

Design

And my facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/educateempower11/

Or closed facebook group where we talk about big issues and how we can chat to children about them:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/sociallyconsciouschildren/about/

Freedom machines by Kirli Saunders

She was small when she heard about them…the incredible freedom machines.

 

The incredible freedom machines is a beautifully written picture book that takes us on a journey of exploration, creativity and adventure into the unknown.

The machines this young girl seeks out are hard to come by but with perseverance and patience she finds one that is just right for her.

Once found she can escape the reality of the dreary life she lives behind fences and boundaries and seek places that smell delicious, taste like happiness and feel like home.

The incredible Freedom machines focuses in on the importance of imagination and the ability to find places to escape to when reality isn’t what we want it to be.

When I read this to the classes at school we found that the issues of children in refugee camps was something that came through in the illustrations by Matt Ottley — knowing that many of them would have to use their imagination every day so that life inside these camps would not get them down.

We loved the richness of the illustrations as the main character escapes her home and explores the big wide world.

The incredible freedom machines is a book to be read over and over, enjoying not only the flow of the story but also the deeper meanings within.

Along came a different by Tom McLaughlin

Children and adults alike will be inspired by this picture book that shows us that even if we look different, act different or like different things – we can all be friends!

Along came a different by Tom McLaughlin is a story about shapes – reds that love being red, yellows that love being yellow and blues that love being blue but the problem is they love being themselves so much that they can’t seem to like each other – that is until some very different shapes come along and make the reds, blues and yellows realise just how silly they are acting!

This is a great book to look at the importance of accepting all different people who live in our society and that in the end we are all very different – which is great!

Children can also explore different shapes both regular and irregular, colours of different objects and the beauty we see when colours get all mixed together.

Try this book to ignite some great conversations amongst both adults and children in a time when we really need to foster acceptance in the multicultural societies we all live in today.

Ori’s clean up by Anne Helen Donnelly

Octopus are very intelligent creatures and with eight legs and a bunch of friends they are also very good at cleaning up – even if the mess isn’t theirs!

Anne Helen Donnelly has created another fun book with a much loved character – Ori the octopus and this time he has a little message for all of us!

Meet Ori – a friendly Octopus who loves his underwater home, just not the rubbish that seems to be hanging around. Together with his friends they pile up the rubbish that is hanging around their watery houses but alas as the week goes by, the rubbish falls from the piles and scatters across the ocean again – encouraging them to problem solve a little bit more and work out where rubbish should go.

Children will love the bright illustrations, the use of alliteration and repetition and the simple message of cleaning up after ourselves.

Ori teaches us all that rubbish can not only go in the bin but also be recycled, reused, repurposed, composted or even better – refused!

Ori also shows us that teamwork is one of the best ways we can make the world we live in a better place.

So what else can you do with this picture book?

Free activities from Anne’s website: http://www.annehelendonnelly.com/activities/

And some ideas from me:

 – Explore alliteration of the animals names. What other names could these animals have? Can you think of names for other ocean animals?

 – Explore repetition throughout the book. What other actions do Ori and his friends do that could use this type of language?

Link all the different types of rubbish and where they go when we need to get rid of them.

Explore your own bin: What is inside your bin after one week of being at home?

Think: How can you create less rubbish in your bin? Try these activities in your home via my dropbox: (Please note this is in very very draft form!)

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xnstqsthasuz2tu/How%20much%20plastic%20is%20in%20our%20pantry.docx?dl=0

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

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Benny Bungarra’s Big Bush Clean up by Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina

Have you ever been out on a bushwalk, seen some rubbish but thought – it’s not mine, I’ll just leave it? Or have you ever left something behind because you didn’t want to carry it home?

Perhaps reading Benny Bungarra’s Big Bush Clean up by Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina will help you to consider the ramifications of those small bits of rubbish we leave behind and the effect they have on Australian bush animals.

Benny Bungarra’s Big Bush Clean up is a great story about a very friendly lizard called Benny Bungara. We meet him on a beautiful day, warming himself up under the sun – but  when he hears a strange sound he just has to find out what it is.

Thinking it might be a new bush creature he scrambles up a tree to see but once there he discovers it’s a friendly Olive Python with his head stuck in a bottle. Benny helps remove the bottle only to find other creatures who have been effected by rubbish humans have left behind – broken glass and fishing line.

The friends know they need to ask the humans for help but while they are waiting for the help they decide to start cleaning up the place themselves by reusing some items, recycling others and putting some in the bin.

A simple message comes across in this book and young readers will understand what they need to do.

Humans have a huge impact on the planet and we all need to be much more mindful of what we leave behind each and every day.

Benny Bungarra’s Big Bush Clean up by Sally Morgan and Ambelin Kwaymullina teaches children in a fun way about how to never leave rubbish behind and always think about the best place to put it once we have finished with it.

So what else can you do with this book?

 – Check out my (in very draft form) resource to help minimise the amount of waste you have in your house: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xnstqsthasuz2tu/How%20much%20plastic%20is%20in%20our%20pantry.docx?dl=0

Look at your bin at the end of the week and work out what could have been reused, refused, repurposed, composted or recycled!

Pack a waste free lunch box for a week and come up with different ideas that help you to leave less rubbish behind.

Explore images of animals around the world who have been effected by the rubbish humans have left behind.

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/

Bird to Bird by Claire Saxby and Wayne Harris.

A bird drops a seed to the floor of the forest. The seed grows into a sapling, then a tree. The tree is felled and taken to a busy city.

Bird to Bird is a beautfully told story about the life cycle of a tree in it’s natural state and then man made state.

Not only will children learn about how trees can grow they will also see the many uses timber can have.

Children will learn about the history of Australian settlement by the English through the tree and how out lifestyle is supported by this amazing part of nature.

Based on fact, Bird to Bird tells us how trees felled in England were used to make beds for the convicts being transported to Australia.

It also tells us that something that may not be of used anymore can often be used in a different way and given more life.

Children will see the timber being used for beds, weaving looms, a house and then a sculpture.

Imagine if all the objects we had in our lives had such a story to tell? Imagine if we could all be more creative with the things we don’t need anymore and turn them into something else to stretch out it’s lifespan.

Bird to Bird is an excellent story to use at home but it also makes fantastic links to so many subject areas across all grades at school.

Australian history, life cycles, sustainability and transport are all covered within this gently told story and you will find that this book is not one to be read quickly, but one to be read slowly with lots of discussion.

So what else can you do with this book?

Sustainability

  • Is there anything you have that has had another use before the one it is used for now?
  • Is there something broken in your house that could be fixed or used in a different way before you throw it in the bin?
  • Check out your local repair cafe or upcycle place.
  • Explore what you can do with broken pencils, crayons or other school items before they end up in the bin.
  • Explore where our rubbish goes after we have placed it in the bin. Which rubbish will turn back to dirt and which rubbish will stay for longer?
  • Explore natural fibres and the importance of using these over plastic.
  • Explore how logging can be done sustainably and investigate places where this may not be happening.

Check out these great teacher notes:http://www.lamontbooks.com.au/media/116024/publishers-notes-bird-to-bird.pdf

BUY FROM FISHPOND NOW:

 Bird to Bird

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A science storybook about forces: Bird builds a nest by Martin Jenkins and Illustrated by Richard Jones

Are you finding the concept of pushing and pulling a little tricky to teach or understand?

This science storybook about forces is a wonderful way to look at simple forces and how they occur in the real world.

The concept of forces is explored through the lovely ‘Bird’ who uses pushing and pulling in many different ways throughout her day. She pulls a worm out of the ground for breakfast, pushes twigs around for her nest and uses strength to push, pull and carry things to and from her nest.

Richard Jones’ illustrations are delightful and reflect the changing light of the birds day.

The story is told in a matter – of -fact way but children will love seeing the bird build her nest, explore the woods and lay her own eggs. And becuase this story is so easy to understand, the concept of pushing and pulling will be too.

A science storybook about forces: Bird builds a nest by Martin Jenkins and Illustrated by Richard Jones is an excellent book to have in any early science classroom as it makes science real and will help you to get outside and start to look at all the different forces coming into play in our world every moment of the day!

There are some simple activities in the final pages of this book alongside an index and bibliography which will help to continue the conversation about forces after the story has been read.

Can you do anything else with this book?

Visual arts

  • Explore how the artist has drawn movement. Explore different ways to show something is moving.
  • Explore the different colour of the sky throughout the day and how you can replicate that in your draawings.

Literacy

  • Explore the verbs used in this story and which ones relate to forces.

Science

  • Go outside and find other things that use this force.

BUY NOW FROM FISHPOND

Bird Builds a Nest: A Science Storybook about Forces (Science Storybooks)

AND THINK ABOUT HOW THE RUBBISH YOU LEAVE BEHIND IMPACTS THE NATURAL WORLD – BUY FROM BIOME TO MAKE LESS OF AN IMPACT!

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The Flying Optometrist by Joanne Anderton

Have you ever wondered how someone who needs glasses in the outback gets them with no local optometrist around? 

Wonder no more as you meet one of the many optometrists in Australia who regularly fly to remote areas such as Wanarring and Tiboburra to give eye check ups to people who need them most. 

The Flying optometrist by Joanne Anderton and illustrated by Karen Erasmus is one of those picture books that intrigues you straight away. We meet Stephanie, a young girl who has broken the glasses she needs to wear everyday – but as we can see from the dusty illustrations, she lives in a very small and remote town and cannot get them fixed straight away like many people who live in more urban areas can.

And that is where we meet the Flying Optometrist!

The size of his plane is something to worry about as he navigates storms but with great flying skills he makes it – just a day late – and is ready to help those in need.

This picture book really teaches those who aren’t aware of flying medical practitioners just how important they are to these small towns. Without people who are willing to spend time flying around, these Australians wouldn’t get the help they need.

BUY HERE

Karen Erasmus’ illustrations give the feel of the dry and desolate outback, the small population of the town and the importance of a town centre.  Joanne’s words paint the story of those unsung heroes who use their skills as often as they can to help those in need.

This picture book is based on fact and there is some excellent information at the end of the story where you can discuss with children about how the Royal Flying Doctor Service started, what they do, who this book is based on and the Brien Holden Vision Institute.

I really enjoy books that are based on real-life stories or information as it is a great way to learn.

This information at the back is a great way to end the story – and when you read it again (which you will) you and your children and students will be able to ask so many more questions and wonder so much more.

Check out this interview with Joanne Anderton and her Father, Philip Anderton.

Teacher notes can be found here

And some more teaching ideas:

Exploring people and problem solving. 

  • Find out more about Philip Anderton or another flying optometrist.
  • Explore where medical professionals needs to fly to in Australia.
  • What is the Brien Holden vision institute and where do they fly to?
  • If we didn’t have medical professionals willing to fly planes, what would happen to people of the outback? Or what changes would we need to make?
  • If medical professionals can’t get to a town what else could they do?

Creative thinking

  • Explore some other books which are written as picture books but are based on a true story.
  • Can you write your own short story or picture book based on a true story?
  • Create a way in which people who live in these remote areas can get better help in the future.

What’s at the end of this piece of rope? by Tania Cox and Jedda Robaard.

What’s at the end of this piece of rope? 

Do you leave it? Pull it? Or ask some friends to help you investigate? 

All this is explored through a simple and fun text written by Tania Cox and Illustrated by Jedda Robaard.

With a repeated refrain : What’s at the end of this piece of rope? , a small girl enlists the help of many friends to help her to work out where this tightly held rope is anchored to.

Working together is a key concept in this story and with engaging and fun illustrations, young children will see how important and fun team work can be.

The young reader will love chanting the refrain and also wondering which animal friend will help next. You can ask questions to your young reader as you skip along through the pages helping them to develop their inquiry based thinking.

Enjoy reading this book aloud or encourage your early reader to read to you. Not only is this book a great early reader it is also a great book to spend time perusing through the images of the animals who fill up this book with warmth.

Buy Now – click here: What’s at the End of this Piece of Rope?

What else can you do with this book?

  • Question – what else can be at the end of a piece of rope?
  • Question – should we always pull ropes by ourselves?
  • Question -Why do we need other people to help us sometimes?
  • Which animals are in this story, write down their names and the countries that they come from.
  • Look at the sounds they make as they pull the rope. Can you think of some other sounds that you might make when something is heavy?
  • Why are there not many words in this picture book? Explore the importance of pictures.
  • Please and thank you are used quite a bit in this story – why are these words important?

Kookaburras love to laugh by Laura and Phillip Bunting

Have you ever wondered about why a Kookaburra up in that old gum tree is laughing?

Did you ever think that perhaps there has to be a serious Kookaburra amongst them all?

Kookaburras love to laugh  is another fabulous creation by Laura and Philip Bunting that will leave youngster having a good giggle as they follow the antics of a rather serious Kookaburra – who simply does now want to laugh.

As expected, the use of prints in this story add to the humour of this book. Simple movements or props added to each image give enough information for the reader to know what is going on and through this technique, children feel that they can add a bit more to the story.

This poor Kookaburra is very serious and he is sick of others trying to make him laugh – so he leaves and finds somewhere where he can have some peace and quiet….that is until he discovers that life without laughter doesn’t seem quite right and surprises his friends on his return.

Watching the subtle eye movements between each picture, talking about some good Kookaburra jokes and wondering what #%*@! Really means is all part of this story.

Kookaburras love to laugh is another wonderful story to add to the tree dwelling animal books we have so far:

Mopoke

Koalas eat gum leaves

I wonder who will be next?

So what else can you do?

  • Make sure you participate in your local areas Bird count. This is a really important way the local councils can learn about which birds reside in their areas through residents input.
  • Create your own Kookaburra jokes!
  • Always wonder what they are laughing at – always!
  • Draw your own Kookaburra and of possible photocopy it to add some extra props to create your own pictorial story board.

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.

 

 

 

Jessica’s box by Peter Carnavas

Know someone starting school this year? Or starting a new school?

Jessica’s box by Peter Carnavas might be one to share with them before they start on their way.

This story was written in 2008, has won many awards and has had many teacher notes and activities written about it, so I won’t add to it all but I really just wanted to highlight how great this story is for young children.

This book shows the young reader how important it is to be true to ourselves and that true friends will see who we really are and will love us for who we are – not what we have.

We can teach our youngsters about popularity and how it is fleeting (despite the messages the media throw at us). Peter Carnavas shows children through this store the importance of  knowing who we are and how by knowing, we will find those who will support us through good and bad times.

We have loved reading Jessica’s box and it is one we will continue to visit in times to celebrate friendship or times when we need to re assess the difficult journey friendship can take.

So what else can you do with this book?

– Play a major role in your child’s education so you are aware of how they are feeling. Talk to them about school, read with them after school and be involved when you can.

– Talk about things you are good at and ask your child what they think they are good at. Tell each other what you are both good at. Do this as often as you can.

– For older readers – find times in the media when people have become popular because of one thing but then faded because that thing was gone or no longer popular?

– How is social media like Jessica’s box? How can we become popular on Facebook or instagram? Does this popularity really count?

How will you play a role in order to help your child thrive?

Archie and the Bear by Zanni Louise

Have you ever felt like no one really understands you?

Have you ever wondered what life might be like if you just set off and found someone who did? 


Archie and the Bear by Zanni Louise is a wonderful tale about friendship, being yourself and acceptance.

I really love this book. I have read it to classes during library time and to my own children many many times.

There is so much to gather from this story, as mentioned above, but overall it is just a really lovely story.

Archie is a bear (but he is really a boy) who goes wondering out into the forest with his homemade honey sandwiches. He meets a friendly boy (who is really a bear) and together they nibble on honey sandwiches and teach each other different things.

As the night grows dark they try to keep each other warm but end up returning to Archie’s house where they sleep warmly by the fire under a warm quilt.

The friendship between the bear and the boy is enviable, they take care of each other, are gentle to each other despite both knowing that they are clearly not what they say they are and they love hanging out together.

Friendship, acceptance and kindness are traits that we want to encourage in our children and this book really shows this in a subtle way.

We need to learn to accept people for who they are, accept people for what they believe in and accept them into our lives even if they are different.

David Mackintosh’s illustrations are bold and simple. They show enough of the story but don’t overload the page. The use of watercolors in the background help the reader to focus more on the main characters and the actions they are taking.

Not only does this book have a calming effect as we watch the friendship blossom, it also shows us how simple life and friendship can be.

Archie and the Bear is a beautiful read, definitely one for your bookshelf!

Interview with Suzanne Barton, author of Meeka

This month I am interviewing Suzanne Barton, the author of the new picture book: Meeka.
 
Meeka is Suzanne’s first picture book and has been self published.
 
Meeka is a delightful story for young children about not only a father-daughter relationship but also about the care we can give to natures’ smaller creatures. Throughout this story we also feel the care of the market stall owner community when little Meeka cannot be found
 
Thank you Suzanne for answering these questions for my audience and I.
 
1. How did you come up with the idea of Meeka?
Meeka’s story first came to life through a conversation between my mother and I. We were enjoying a delicious Moroccan meal and giggling as we imagined the adventures of a cheeky little bird who got stuck in a tagine. Not long after, I wrote up the story to enter into a writing competition and, to my surprise, the manuscript won its category. After that, I’d always hoped to see the story published.
2. How long have you been writing for and when did you feel that children’s writing was where you wanted to be?
I come from a family full of writers, English teachers and Scrabble enthusiasts – so I’ve been a bookworm and a wordsmith for as long as I can remember. My career and studies have led me to write everything from advertising copy to film scripts, but I really love children’s stories. Some years ago I took a course in children’s writing and loved learning about all the different styles and techniques. Since then, the stories have kept flowing.
3. How did you work with Anil Tortop? Did you exchange ideas or just let Anil explore the story and interpret it herself.
Working with Anil was a wonderful collaboration. I had some ideas about how I saw Meeka coming together, and so did she. From her very first sketches and storyboards, it was clear that Anil knew just how to bring Meeka to life. I always loved receiving her drawings as we were working on the book. Her characters have so much personality and movement. Even now I keep noticing tiny details that make me smile.
Check out the book trailer for Meeka!
4. You ran a successful pozible campaign – how did you ensure its success and how did you cope with the wait?
I am so grateful for the lovely people who supported Meeka on Pozible, helping me print the book beautifully. To prepare, I went to a crowd funding workshop for authors and thought carefully about the rewards I could offer supporters, and what fun things I could share on social media during the project. These included a book trailer, time-lapse videos of the illustrations and Photoshopped ‘selfies’ of Meeka with supporters, which were really fun to make. Sometimes I felt nervous that the project wouldn’t reach its goal, but I tried to stay positive and we got there with a few days to spare.
5. Can you give any advice to budding picture book authors who would love to see their book published?
Never give up. If you have stories in your heart, then keep working hard at your craft and seek support in the wonderful writers’ groups that can be found in many communities, and of course at your fingertips online. I also find critique groups especially handy. The chance to regularly receive constructive criticism from a supportive network of like-minded writers, and also to review other people’s work, really helps keep the creative ideas flowing.
 
 

6. Where to next? Can you expect another picture book some time or are there other areas of creative writing you are going to explore?

 

I have several more picture books up my sleeve and hope to see them brought to life in the coming years. I’m also working on a story for older readers, and continuing to create cabaret productions inspired by 1940s radio drama with my musical ensemble, Neo Radio.
Sounds exciting Suzanne! I can’t wait to see what else you can bring to life. Thank you for the time you have given to answer these questions.
Now followers – do you have any questions?

BUY YOUR COPY HERE: https://www.bluebellbooks.org/shop/

Bunny’s book club by Annie Silvestro and Tatjaria Mai-Wyss

Bunny’s book club by Annie Silvestro and Tatjaria Mai-Wyss.

Bunny loves reading books and listening to stories being read by the librarian during summer.

But when the weather cools down storytime moves inside and bunny can no longer hear the stories she loves as she thinks that animals are not welcome in the library .

Bunny can’t live without her books so she comes up with a plan to sneak into the library and borrow some books by herself!

Bunny entices her friends and they all end up in the library every night until the librarian discovers them…what will she do?

You’ll have to read it to find out!

Danny Blue’s Really Excellent Dream by Max Landrak

How would you feel if you lived in a world where everything was the same?

Would you accept? Would you rebel?

Perhaps take a read of this story and see where both those paths might take you.


Danny Blue lives in a world where everything is blue –  bowls, spoons, chair and table. And at first Danny is pretty happy about this blue world. It is all he knows, he is happy and so is everyone else it seems.

That is until one day Danny has a Really Excellent Dream (R.E.D.) which he just can’t shake.

Danny takes it upon himself to follow his dream despite many people around him telling him otherwise . He uses the ideas from his dream and through perseverance he discovers what else is out there. Danny Blue shows determination and by following his dream he begins to make a difference in his blue world.

Danny Blue is a strong character who shows self doubt at first but then displays the ability to see that his idea can work and that it will benefit those around him.  He also shows that even when those around you don’t support you, you need to give things a go – because you just never know!

Max Landrax has cleverly illustrated this picture book. Children love the pictures and in this story the illustrations add more depth to Danny and his different activities. Danny is portrayed beautifully as a tiny boy living in an adult world but with a big dream – and each illustration entices the reader to love Danny and his project even more.

Danny Blue’s R.E.D., shows how society can really take hold of the individual and how the individual can just go on accepting what the status quo is.

Children will feel empowered after reading this story as Danny Blue is a young boy and despite being told his ideas were not possible by the adults in his world, he was still able to make a change.

As parents we have a lot of influence on the young people in our lives and we need to ensure that they are given the opportunity to think for themselves.

How can you add more to this book?

 – Before you turn the last page ask children to predict what Danny Blue’s next dream will be about.

– What do you think Yellow would stand for?

– Research some famous inventors who have changed history despite being told they couldn’t make a difference.

– Research some famous people in history or perhaps even today who have done something that others thought they couldn’t. Look at people who have made changes that have helped society to become a better place.

– Design a world where everything is the same. Work out what would have to change in your world if you were to be similar to everyone else.

– Discuss – If we all lived in a world where we all agreed would we need elections? Would this be a good or bad thing for us all?

– Have you ever had a really excellent dream? Discuss dreams and try to keep a journal for a week to see what you dream about.

 

 

Under the same sky by Britta Teckentrup

We live under the same sky….

We feel the same love….

We play the same games…..

 

Under the same sky by Britta Teckentrup is a picture book for young readers that shows us the beautiful connection that we all have no matter where we live, what we look like, who we love, what we do or how we play.

Delicate illustrations add a soft and gentle touch to the words that quieten young minds and allow them to reflect on the different walks of life around the world.

We have read a few of Teckentrup’s books and this one is definitely another favourite.

Each page follows on from the next with a peek-a-boo type window so that similar ideas can carry on for two pages. Children will love looking through the window and perhaps guessing what will be said on the next page.

Under the same sky is a subtle way to talk to young readers about the world and the many people within. It is a way to teach children about discrimination in its many forms. It is a way to teach children acceptance of others and understanding that ultimately everyone who lives just wants to love, wants to play, wants to sing – just wants to enjoy life, be kind to others and seek out joy.

Britta Teckentrup is a beautiful writer and her illustrations add great points for discussion.

A great picture book read for younger children but also a great one to get older children thinking.

So what else can you do?

  •  Explore how children live around the world. How do children the same age as your children play? What do they sing? How do they learn?
  •  Look up at the sky and talk about what you can see. What can others see? As a group talk about how we all see different things in the world we live in.
  •  Create a book just like this one using the same sentence starter to bring across a message.
  •  Do you treat people like you would want them to be treated? Does your government treat people like they all live under the same sky and have the same hopes?
  • Explore the rhyme used in the story and how it helps to portray the message of equality. Create your own rhyming sentences that have the same starter.

Stripes in the forest by Aleesah Darlison and Shane McGrath

We will hide from their eyes, their dogs, their fire sticks.

We will survive.

For always, we will be. Stripes in the forest. Stealth in the shadows.


A book written for those who value wildlife. A book written to stir awareness of the precious animals in our care. A book written to ensure that we do not wipe out any more animals due to our actions.

Aleesah Darlison has created a story which captures the sprit of the last wild Thylacine, hunted down by man. Stripes in the forest is not so much a story of hope but one of warning. As I read this book to my children and some classes there was a sadness that overcame us all and many questions – why did they hunt them? What did they do wrong? Are they still alive? What can we do now?

The Thylacine was an amazing creature that once inhabited mainland Australia but was slowly hunted out due to farmers killing them to protect their flocks and hunters killing them for sport. The last known Thylacine died in captivity in 1936 but since there rumours have abounded as to whether or not some have still survived.

Shane McGrath’s illustrations give more depth to the story adding the darkness of the rainforests, the hiding places the Thylacine seemed out when it was hunted and the fear it felt when it lost it’s family. The Thylacine is drawn in great detail, giving the reader a true understanding of how it looked and moved.

Stripes in the forest will need some extra discussion after it has been read as it is quite dark; Guns are fired and animals are killed – a very sad reality which still happens today.

But despite it darkness it brings across a very important message – we need to look after the animals on this earth. We need to support those who work in animal conservation so that no more animals become extinct. We need to learn from our past mistakes to make sure this does not happen again.

The facts at the end of this story are a great way to inspire further research into the Thylacine and perhaps some groups who still believe it may be running around somewhere in Tasmania!

So how can we link this to Sustainability? 

  • Check out a list of endangered animals and find out how humans are impacting their existence.
  • Explore these questions – Do we really need as much farm land as we currently have? How does farmland impact on native animals?
  • How do you cause animals to become endangered and how can you change this? (Do you have a cat that creeps out at night? Do you drive instead of walking? How many native plants are in your backyard or local park?)
  • How are conservation groups and scientists helping some of these endangered animals?
  • How does poverty or war cause animals to become endangered?
  • Write to your local government asking them to do more for the animals in your area.
  • Talk about these animals to others and by raising awareness we can make a difference!

Dear picture book section

Dear Picture book section,

It was really lovely seeing you the other day. You were full of some new releases, some hidden gems and of course some old favourites.

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Whenever I come across your smiling face I am able to stop, relax and take stock of what has been happening in the real world. I can slip into a world of imagination and learn lessons that help me to get by in my every day life.

Your magical stories give me new ideas and your haunting tales caution me about the dark side of life. The new lands you introduce me to help me to see my world from another perspective and different characters help me to see myself and my friends in a different light.

So many of your tales involve animals that can talk and I always wonder why that is. Do we relate better to big issues when a normally speechless creature can suddenly speak words of wisdom?

Picture book section, I don’t know why we have to go weeks without seeing each other so I am starting my own picture book section in a corner of my house. Every time I borrow some pieces of you from the library I am going to store you in my bookcase, not in my bag. I am going to read a story every day and share these new ideas with those around me.

Picture book section, without you I would be in a land of screens, simple stories and cats that just sit and purr in a basket.

Dear Picture book section, thank you for being you.

See you soon,

 

Vanessa

 

 

Coral Sea Dreaming by Kim Michelle toft 

Another intriguing and intricately detailed picture book from Kim Michelle Toft is Coral Sea Dreaming. ⠀

Take a plunge under the water and meet many amazing animals who live amongst the Coral of the Great Barrier Reef. ⠀

Learn about why we need to take care of this world heritage listed wonder. ⠀

Learn more about the animals who call the reef their home and know that if the reef is destroyed by mining, climate change, pollution, over fishing or greed that they too will disappear. ⠀

Kim Michelle Toft shows her passion for raising awareness about the GBR in all her books and this one is no exception. ⠀

Norah Colvin has written an amazing and insightful blog post on this book – take  a look here: http://www.readilearn.com.au/preserving-worlds-oceans-coral-sea-dreaming/

So what can you do?

Visual Art

Explore the techniques used by Kim Michelle Toft and recreate your own images of endangered sea creatures of the GBR.

Literacy through science 

Write your own poem using rhyme that highlights the importance of coral. Explore why we need coral and which animals would not be alive if we did not have any coral in our oceans.

Sustainability

How do each of our actions effect the GBR? Make a list of the actions you are going to change (water usage, chemicals you put down the drain, amount of times you drive instead of walking)

Why do we need the coral reef? List all of the different reasons why we need this great natural wonder.

How can we talk to the government so that they take action and halt any further mining in this area?

What might the future look like without the GBR?

Visual ArtExplore the techniques used by Kim Michelle Toft and recreate your own images of endangered sea creatures of the GBR.Literacy through science Write your own poem using rhyme th