Book review

Cedar Valley by Holly Throsby

Lucky enough to get an advanced copy of Cedar Valley by Holly Throsby.

Has anyone else read this yet?

I absolutely loved this mystery set in a small sleepy town not far from Sydney.

Finding out about herself and her mother is something young Benny is in search of .

At the same time the town finds they are in search of the reasons why a healthy looking man sits in front of an antique shop for hours then slips away.

Loved the characters, the red herrings and the cliff hangers.

Another wonderful book by Holly Throsby

You’ll be Inspired to learn more about some other great unsolved Australian mysteries too.

Advertisements
Book review, Picture books that address current issues, Teacher tips and resources

Charlie’s Adventures by Jacqueline De Rose-Ahern and illustrated by Sophie Norsa.

Charlie’s adventures in South Africa by Jacqueline De Rose-Ahern and illustrated by Sophie Norsa.

Have you ever wanted to visit South Africa but the thought of the long flight with small children was too much?

https://www.derose-ahernstories.com/

You will either be satisfied just reading this book or will be more inspired to head on over there after reading the adventures young Charlie has with his family in South Africa.

As you follow Charlie’s journey you will learn a little of the local lingo, meet the animals that live on the savannah, walk through the city, taste the local produce, dance to some music and of course help Charlie to solve the riddles in order to find hidden treasure!

After Charlie visits a new place in South Africa, he receives a clue which he needs to hold onto in order to solve the final riddle.

The characters talk about a map which they use to move around South Africa and I would recommend pulling out a map so children can see where they might be travelling to as they visit different places.

There is an added bonus in this story – a postcard at the back! Children love reading postcards and this one is blank, leaving space for children to write their own thoughts about this mini holiday!

Charlie’s adventures in South Africa is part of series of travel books for children (which I haven’t’ read, but would be interested in seeing as it is a different way to ignite interest in other countries and its people.) In Jacqueline’s other books he visits Australia, Hawaii and England.

Teacher’s will also love this book as it looks at a country in a different way – through the people and the eyes of a child. It will encourage an interest in maps and perhaps ignite some postcard sending!

What can you do in the classroom? 

– We looked at where South Africa was on the world map, then where is was in Africa.

– As I read the book I showed matching images from South Africa – to make connections.

– As I read I asked the children to listen to and look for clues.

– After we read the children in Kindergarten drew what they thought Charlie saw on his adventure. You can see below what they have drawn and written.

Join my facebook group – Growing Globally and socially conscious children – a closed group where we share ideas on how we can talk about big issues with young children through simple activities. 

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

And join in on the Book Blog tour running this week!

blogtour

Book review

Snap review: His name was Walter by Emily Rodda

I’ve just finished reading this new book – His name was Walter by Emily Rodda. 💫 📖

Mystery and magic surround this book along with a haunted house, friendship and of course a book- that is so much more important than any of the children in this story ever realised when they started reading the first page.

Loved this book – one that could not be put down.

Children will love this as they will not only be guessing about what might happen next, they will also fall in love with all of the characters (and perhaps dislike a few quite a lot!)

Book review, Books with current issues, literacy, Parent tips, picture books, Picture books that address current issues, Teacher tips and resources

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.

Book review, literacy

My Brigadista year by Katherine Paterson

What were you doing when you were 13 years old?

Did you ever consider leaving your family for a year to go to a village in another part of your country to teach some others how to read and write?

The courageous character in this story, My Brigadista year by Katherine Paterson, does just that.

Set in Cuba during 1961, the country has been fighting to become independent under Fidel Castro. And although there were many terrible things he did do throughout his rule (and the author does make this clear at points throughout the novel and at the end) he had a goal to make all people in his country literate.

Seen through the eyes of 13year old Lora, we learn about Cuba and the mission she takes part in.

I enjoyed reading about how she met the families, taught them how to read and write in the evening while helping out with the farm during the day. We see the world through her new eyes and feel the passion she has to want to help these people.

As a teacher I could feel this passion as I once travelled to Costa Rica to help in remote communities with work around the towns and also with English.

Lora’s story is possibly one which has not been told in this way before and I believe it is one for anyone studying the history of dictatorships, history of war and the effects it has on the people in the country and the vital role of literacy for everyone.

My Brigadista year by Katherine Paterson is a  book for older readers.

I recommend this one for the classroom, perhaps read out loud as it may ignite volunteer work in some, a love of history in others and a wonder for what else is out there beyond our own suburbs.

 

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

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

animals, Book review, Books with current issues, National Science Week, nature play, Parent tips, picture books, Picture books that address current issues, science, Teacher tips and resources

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!

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/

Book review, Books with current issues, Environmental books, Indigenous authors, Parent tips, Picture books that address current issues, Teacher tips and resources

Sorry day by Coral Vass and Dub Leffler

Long ago and not so long ago, the children were taken away

Sorry Day is a very important picture book  to share this Sorry day – or any future Sorry days.

Released on May 1st, Sorry Day by Coral Vass and Dub Leffler is a powerful story that highlights both the impact on the families who lost loved ones when they were taken away and the impact Kevin Rudd and the Australian community had when they formally said sorry in 2008.

The scene is set as we meet young Maggie who is excitedly waiting at the Sorry Day speech but amongst the excitement she loses her mother and frantically searches for her amongst the sea of legs and people.

But as we watch Maggie we also see the loss the Indigenous people experienced during the period of The Stolen Generation, we experience through word and illustration how it would have felt to be ripped apart from your family with no warning.

Dub Leffler’s illustrations are amazing and give so much more emotion to this meaningful story. We hear the story and we see the people.

We hear their cries and we feel the emotion as we watch their faces.

We read the history and we see how this has effected the current landscape.

Sorry Day by Coral Vass and Dub Leffler is picture book you will not forget.

I’m sure children will have many questions about this topic once this story has been read as the links between a child getting lost in a crowd and the story of children being taken away really pulls at the heartstrings and stirs so much emotion.

Delve deep into this topic with your young readers, explore the past and think about how we can make the future a better place.

What else can you talk about?

  • Explore the quote: Long ago and not so long ago, the children were taken away.
  • How did the story impact your emotions?
  • Why did the author jump between the past and the present?
  • How has the illustrator shown the difference between the past and the present?

Sorry Day

  • When is Sorry Day and how long have we commemorated this day?
  • Explore the impacts of The Stolen Generation.
  • Why was there a Stolen Generation?
  • What can we do now to ensure inequalities between indigenous and non-indigenous people lessen?
  • How can you share the story of Sorry Day with others?

Creative Arts

  • List any songs that you know of that explore this theme.
  • List any artwork that you know of that explores this theme.

There are some excellent teacher notes here: https://flickingonthebook.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/3fe4b-sorrydayteachers27notes.pdf

Buy this book now from Fishpond:

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

Stories make us determined

The theme from the Australian Children’s Laureate, Leigh Hobbs, for this month is

Reading stories make us determined

img_7148

But why?  

  • We can be determined to finish a book. Finishing a great book brings about satisfaction that we can read and Enjoyment that we read a great book (and perhaps learnt something). (any great book!)

  • We can be inspired to do something we have only dreamed out once we read about a character  doing something amazing. (<Once Upon a Small Rhinoceros by Meg McKinlay)

  • We can protest about a wrong doing in society because we read about the injustices of the world.  (The ones that disappeared by Zana Frallion)

  • We can look towards people who are determined to save wildlife from extinction and aspire to be like them. (Phasmid by Coral Tulloch and Rhino in the house by Daniel Kirk)

  • We can be in awe of the determination of the main character to keep on keeping on despite adversity (Once and Then by Morris Gleitzman)

  • We can be determined to rights the wrongs of the past and make the future a better place (Alfred’s War by Rachel Bin Salleh)

 

Do you know of some great books that show determination?

Book review, Creativity, Parent tips, Teacher tips and resources

Tiggy and the magic paintbrush: A pet called nibbles by Zanni Louise.

Today is Pet Day at Tiggy’s school, and Tiggy is a little worried – she is the only person in the class who doesn’t have a pet! Lucky Tiggy has her special magic paintbrush – but will it help her solve the problem this time? 

The second book is this fun series – Tiggy and the magic paintbrush – takes us back to school on pet day.

I’ve never been to a school pet day, but I can imagine they would be lots of fun (and a bit chaotic) but also possibly worrying for children who don’t have a pet.

Tiggy is one of those children, but luckily with her big imagination and magic paintbrush, she can create the best pet that anyone could ask for!

And even though Tiggy can’t quite take a photo of her new pet, she is able to draw one and show her friends just how wonderful he is.

You’ll have to read the story to find out what Tiggy’s pet is and why children will love reading this book!

BUY HERE:

A Pet Called Nibbles (Tiggy and the Magic Paintbrush)

Zanni has written this story with young children and their beautifully creative imagination in mind. There are so many great ideas just waiting to be found in the big world but so often children’s lives are too busy with organised activities or technology they just don’t have the space to dream big.

This story just shows how important imagination is, how it fills your soul and mind with happiness and wonder – and encourages us to show who we are.

Tiggy is a delightful character, as are her friends and with the magic paintbrush in tow, anything can happen!

Tiggy and the magic paintbrush – a pet called nibbles has been a very popular read for my children (aged 6 and 4) and the students at school (I’ve read this to Kindergarten to Year 3!) so keep an eye out for this wonderful new series – I’m sure it will delight!

Book review, Books with current issues

Snap review: Missing by Sue Whiting

I couldn’t put this book down.

A heart wrenching, page turning young adult novel by Sue Whiting , missing is one to read.

You’ll be immersed on the awful emotional journey a young girl named Mackenzie must take as she learns her mother has gone missing.

Her mother is a scientist with a specialty in bats. She travels the world speaking at conferences and out in the field discovering new bats and disease seen in them.

Mackenzie’s mother hasn’t returned from her recent trip to Boquete in Panama – and hasn’t been in contact in any form. No one has seen her and as to her whereabouts- there are mixed messages.

No one is telling her anything and the police can’t find her

She clings onto anything she can to feel like her mother is still alive and it isn’t until she does some of her own detective work that she comes to learn what really happens.

You won’t be expecting the ending and you’ll be drawn in by the strength displayed by Mackenzie, a year 6 girl, on the cusp of high school.

So many people go missing every year in Australia and although many are found, many are not.

Take a read of this to see how those who are left behind feel throughout the searching process.