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! 

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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.

Wisp by Zana Fraillon

One day, a Wisp flew in on the evening wind. Dust rose up in swarms around it, feet trampled it into the dirt, nobody noticed it.

Nobody, except Idris.

Zana Fraillon , author of the Bone Sparrow and The ones that disappeared –  has again touched upon such an important topic that needs more action – the people who have to live in refugee camps for long periods of time.

So many people flee their home countries every day in our world and most of these people end up in Refugee camps because they have left  everything they own behind them.

However, The story of wisp focuses on hope- hope that one day there will be more to life than just wire fences, tents and desolation.

A small boy by the name of Idris sits alone one day only to notice a small wisp floating around the camp, resting on those it passes by.

With each touch, the Wisp brings magic. With each touch, the wisp brings memories.

Memories get passed around on the wisp as adults and older children remember the wonderful things that had happened to them – before they became refugees and  lived in the camp.

But when Idris, the main character of the story holds the wisp close, nothing happens, as all he knows is life in the camp.

But Idris sees past this and  realises that the wisp for him can be a promise – a promise of life beyond the fence, a life full of excitement, adventure and love.

Wisp allows the reader to see that there is hope and with continued pressure on the government to help there people, someday they will all be able to make wonderful memories again.

So what else can you do? 

Join my facebook group where we talk about ways we can inform children and the wider community about the big issues facing us today:

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

Teacher notes: https://www.hachette.com.au/content/resources/9780734418043-teachers-resources.pdf

Visit: http://refugeecampauburn.com.au and book a time to visit what a refugee camp looks like.

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Act: Join groups that send books and packages to children in dentention: https://befriendachildindetention.wordpress.com

Even something as small as a letter can bring hope to a child in detention. 

Ask:

  • How can we give children in detention hope?
  • Explore other books about refugees – do these all give hope?
  • Draw your own wisp and draw what would be inside of it if you had to live in a refugee camp.

Books from 2017 that encourage you to be kinder the people of the world

There were so many lovely books that I came across this year that encourage young readers not only to think about those around them in their own community but also those who live on the other side of the world.

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Being a part of a community is so important and knowing how to look out for others in our community is something that we all need to do.

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Being kind to others whether they be our next door neighbours, residents in our suburb or children we hear about in the news is something we should all encourage our children to think about. It should be something we as adults should think about too.

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Once we think about others we can reflect on our own actions and perhaps make more sensible choices in what we buy, what we do and what we say. Every little thing we do will impact someone in someway and taking a leaf out of one of these books might just change an action you are going to take today.

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Feather by Phil Cummings

Ada’s Violin by Susan Hood

Say Yes: A story of friendship and hope

Children in our world: Refugees and Migrants

Whatcha Building by Andrew Daddo

I’m Australian too by Mem Fox

The Ones that Disappeared by Zana Fraillon

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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/

Room on our rock by Kate and Jol Temple.

I’ve never heard of a forwards backwards book! How did they do it?

A class of Kindergarten children were in awe of Room on our Rock by Kate and Jol Temple and amazed by the Temple’s ability to write a book that could be read both from the front cover and then from the back cover – and make complete sense – and tell two different stories! Amazing!!

Room on our Rock is a picture book designed to make us see one event from two different perspectives. The reader is able to see how words, when used in different tones and order can make completely different meanings.

Two seals are in need of a home because theirs is being washed away – will the seals on the nearby rock help them? It depends on your perspective of the issue and the way you read the book!

This book made sense to many young children as they know what is going on in our world – they know there are people losing their homes due to war, climate change and poverty but being small means many of them feel that they can’t do a lot.

After we read this book we talked about what we can do – and that by buying this book, our school has helped the Refugee Action Support Program.

Room on our rock is such a clever book with a strong and important message that all children will understand (and hopefully pass this knowledge onto their older family members).

Room on our Rock shows us that all people and creatures are equal and if only we change our perspective we might just see how we can view a tricky situation in a different light.

So what can you do at home?

  • Find out what your local council does for refugees in your area. Is there any way you can help or ask them to provide better help?
  • Who is the Refugee Action Support program group? FInd out more about what they do.
  • Who are climate refugees? Explore te Kiribati Islands and the plans they have in place in case of the seas continuing to rise.
  • Investigate which animals will be displaced due to rising and warming seas. Where will these animals live?
  • Can you create a link between this book and your library? Try and find other books about refugees. Could you have a fundraiser that supports refugees in your country? Or is there a need for books in good condition to be donated or sold for money?

It’s our world

How do we raise our children to be more environmentally conscious children?



How we do we raise them so that they are not caught up in the world of consumption, acting for the Instagram followers or having a total disregard for tomorrow?

In the western world where convenience is key it seems to our survival we, the adults, need to change our ways and show our children that convenience isn’t always the best way forward.

Raising environmentally aware children is paramount. This doesn’t just mean awareness of the natural world, it also means awareness of how our actions impact other people’s lives.

But how do we do this when convenience is right there to make our lives easier when many of us work full time, need to keep a tight budget or want to relax rather than clean, cook or sew?

We can do this – one step at a time. And that one step at  a time should be together with our children and on display to them.

How can you slowly move from a life of convenience to an eco-conscious life?

– Go to the library and borrow some of the books I have reviewed. By educating your children about the world around them they are more likely to make changes. Try Feathers by Phil Cummings

– Eat more fruit and vegetables from a coop, markets or fresh delivery. Vegetables and Fruits have little or no packaging and have less of an impact on the environment that plastic wrapped things. Try a Patch from Scratch by Megan Forward

– Try baking your own biscuits, cakes and bread. I’ve just started making my own sourdough and it is a lot easier than what I thought! I’ll share my recipe some day soon. Try this delicious recipe Coconut carrot cake

– Get outside into the natural world every day. It might just be the park and that’s fine. We need to teach our children about these spaces that allow us to slow down. Try Last tree in the city

– If your children are old enough watch the news but if not there are plenty of books out there that explain these issues in a much more gentle way. Try Illegal by Eoin Colfer, Phasmid by Rohan Cleve, The Hairy Nosed Wombats find a new home by Jackie French

– And most importantly be a part of your community. Check out the Crop swap groups, local community gardens, markets, second hand stores, food delivery groups and repair cafes. Being part of your community will help you to move away from a life of convenience. Try The Patchwork Bike by Maxine Beneba

Is there a change you need to make? Perhaps a book will inspire that change – ask me and I can help!

 

Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

So what can you do?

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

You could:

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

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

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

 

  • Learn more about the UN charter of rights and also the Rights of a child. Which rights did Ebo, his brother and many people not have along the journey? Can you think of anyone you know who is not being given all of their rights?

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.

How important is science?

Science is Golden was once sung by The Grates

And on the kids radio channel I often hear some potatoes singing Science Science Science Science

But how much importance do you place on Science?

 

If we are hoping to help out children to take more notice of the world we live in and the changes that are taking place, we need to open their minds to the wonders of science.

This week is National Science Week and there is no better time to start taking more notice of the wonderful things that are attributed to science.

  1. Start to investigate how much water you use and how much plastic is in your rubbish bin.
  2. Investigate Climatic events which have caused refugees or caused human rights issues.
  3. Read a book – Juliet nearly a Vet or Squishy Taylor and the Tunnel of Doom.
  4. Read another about great scientific works in the area of research and conservation: Phasmid or The Hairy nosed wombats find a new home.

Happy National Science Week! 

Check out these great workshops by the Surfing Scientist!

Try this quiz too! 

 

 

 

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

Do you really know what happens to refugees once they arrive in camps?

Have you ever considered how long some of these people live in these camps?

 

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Frailly is a must read for every Australian across all ages from 10 and up.

It is confronting – this takes place in most developed countries who sprout how peaceful and caring we are.

It is full of hope – Friendships blossom, dreams are big and stories are told.

It has sadness – too many times throughout the story we hear about loved ones left overseas, lost in war or on the journey to a seemingly better life.

Through the eyes of young Subhi we see what life is like within these refugee camps. Subhi is a storyteller, a reader and a dreamer, He knows nothing apart from life within a camp – it was where he was born so he doesn’t know any different except for the stories he is told by his mother, sister and friends.

We follow Subhi and his daily encounters  in the camp and understand what life is like and the unrest felt by those within. We dream with him and see the night see bring him gifts from a far off land.

But things change once he meets Jimmie – an unexpected friend who comes from outside of the fence. Together they go on a journey through a story written down by someone Jimmie has lost. Over hot chocolate and jokes they share secrets and slowly mend each other’s wounds.

The bone Sparrow is a powerful story. Your heart will break, you will cry and you will laugh. You will live alongside Subhi as he dreams his life on the other side of the fence. This book is a must read for everyone. 

Refugee week 2017

This week is Refugee week ( 18th June – 24th June) and there is no better way to bring about awareness about this terrible issue than through a book.

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Refugees are a real, current and terrible problem that we have in our world and possibly one that will get worse if war continues, water rises in low lying islands of the world and famine ravages nations.

We need to help educate our children so that they feel empathy towards these people who just seek safety in a new land where they too can live a peaceful and happy life.

However – many of these picture books and Young adult fiction are confronting so tread with care as you read. Be prepared to talk about what happens in the story so your child feels hope  that something can be done to help the future.

Here are a few great books that I have come across:

Out by Angela May George

Out

Out by Angela May George (Published by Scholastic Australia)  is a sad yet heartwarming story about a young refugee girl who has settled in a new country with her mother.
This beautiful story follows how the girls feels in her new home and the fears she still faces because of what she has been through.

Flight by Nadia Wheatley

Flight is a confronting story about a young family fleeing from their home in search of refuge.

Flight

Drawn in shades of black and brown the images add to the feelings of unknown these travelers must be experiencing. It is dark and fearful but throughout the pages we see hope.
The story begins like that of the Christian Christmas story – a small family leaving there home town in search of safety: following the stars and riding on a donkey,  but as we read along we discover this is a small Muslim family who are escaping their war torn home.
This book is one that needs to be read to older children with reflection and questioning.

I’m Australian too by Mem Fox and Rhonojoy Ghosh 
I'm Australian Too

Throughout the story we hear about families from Ireland, Italy, China and Syria. We meet the ancestors of  the first people of Australia and also the refugees who are still waiting to be a part of Australia.
Mem Fox celebrates the diversity of Australia and the friendliness of the community through children’s eyes. Rhyme is used along with the thought provoking repetitive question:

Book reviews to come

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillion
The Bone Sparrow

Home and Away by John Marsden
Home and Away (Lothian Australian Favourites)

And some books I would love to review when I have the time!

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Refugees by David Miller

Four feet two sandals

The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Great resources from the Refugee week page are available from this link

 Lonely Planet

Oxfam Shop

Out by Angela May George

Out by Angela May George (Published by Scholastic Australia)  is a sad yet heartwarming story about a young refugee girl who has settled in a new country with her mother.

This beautiful story follows how the girls feels in her new home and the fears she still faces because of what she has been through.

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Owen Swan’s illustrations provide the gentle and moving touch needed to really allow the reader to feel like they are moving along with the girl and feeling what she is feeling.

I shed a tear at the end of this story.

This week is Refugee Week and really, we should always be thinking of the refugees that are in Australia and those who want to be in Australia. Many hold terrible memories like the young girl and her mother and need support to start fresh.

I hope that you can share this story with others, showing the refugees are not the enemy but just like you and me. They too need love, support, friends and family. They too hold memories of fear and hope.

So how can we embed this into the curriculum?

Before you read:

  •  Why are two people in colour on the front cover and the rest in black and white?
  • What might out mean?
  • Back Cover: What does it mean ‘ I’m called an asylum seeker but that’s not my name’ ?

As you read

  •  What does Brave mean to you?
  •  Have you ever felt like the girls running on page 2?
  • Imagine feeling as isolated as the boat in the ocean scene.
  • When do you feel free? What does feeling free mean to you? How does this differ from the girl in the story?
  • Does this story have a happy ending?

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After you read

LITERACY

  •  Older students could write a recount/ diary entry remembering a time when they felt fear – if they cannot recall an event they can imagine it.
  •  Find images of Refugees & asylum seekers. Link emotions to their faces.
  • Dramatise different emotions linked to different situations in the story.  Show a picture in the story and ask children to freeze an emotion.
  • Write a persuasive letter to the government outlining why we need to accept Asylum seekers.
  • Have a debate about asylum seekers in Australia.
  • Look at the picture of the girl and mother huddled together on the boat – list how they are feeling. Think of a time you have felt like this.
  • Which stories would you tell if you were on a very long journey without any technology?
  • Can you find out about another language? Create your own simple welcome brochure for your own community.
  • Link this book to other books (The happiest refugee by Anh Do, Mirror by Jeannie Baker) compare and contrast the different stories of these young children.

NUMERACY

  • Research statistics on the number of refugees in Australia. Compare this to other countries around the world.
  • Find out where refugees have settled in Australia. Use tables to show this information.

SOCIAL JUSTICE

  • Why are people refugees? Find out the different reasons someone may be a refugee.
  • What is a refugee? What is an asylum seeker? What is an immigrant? FInd out and compare differences.
  • Discover different popular music from different lands. How do people enjoy this music. Compare and contrast the different music.
  • How can we make our community more welcoming for those who are new to Australia?

PROBLEM SOLVING

  • Could you catch a fish with just two simple materials such as a shoelace and a hook? Shoelace and a button? Think of as many combinations as you can from two objects that you have on you right now.
  • Why do we have refugees in this world? Can we rid the world of needing to have refugees? Are there different types of refugees?
  • What does it mean to be BRAVE? How can we be BRAVE? Do we need to be BRAVE?

Buy this unit of work here with accompanying printables:
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Curriculum links:

Ethical understanding

Intercultural Understanding

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