Bridge of Clay by Marcus Zusak I

Loved, loved, loved this story.

I laughed and cried all throughout the book.

Set in suburbs of Sydney and surrounds, we meet the Dunbar boys and their many tragedies and pets.

It’s a story of family, of brothers, of mothers and of fathers. It’s a story full of memories. A story of love, laughter, tears and hardship.

It’s a story of endings and new beginnings.

And bridges.

Loved it. Read it.

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We are all equal by P.Crumble and Jonathon Bentley

We are all equal.

Let’s shout it out loud.

We share hope and dreams, we’re equal and proud.

A book to make your heart sing, a book to teach others, a book to realise how similar we all are and a book to read again and again.

We are all equal by P.Crumble and Jonathon Bentley is a simple yet rich book in the message it sends to anyone who reads it – we are all equal.

The story and the pictures match perfectly as they show the differences that we have in looks but the similarities we have in feelings, the differences we have in how we do things but the similarities we have in emotions.

We are all equal by P.Crumble and Jonathon Bentley is a great book to share with young children as it can start a great conversation as to why we are all equal. It will put aside any prejudices children may have from learnt behaviour and it will open up a space to ask questions about the world and the people within.

We are all equal by P.Crumble and Jonathon Bentley is a must read for any home or classroom and there are so many things you can do with the book.

What can you do?

  • Draw your own picture of why you think we are all equal at school , home or in the community.

  • Explore times when people do not think they are equal – this could open up into a project for older students. They can examine an event which showed how people have shown hatred or mistrust for another group of people. Examine why this happened and if there was a resolution.

  • Explore why animals have been used in this picture book instead of people.

  • Go deeper into each page and explore what – in human terms – does each double page spread mean to us? Try and find links in your own lives and recreate pages for your home or classroom.
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The rabbit, the dark and the Biscuit Tin by Nicola O’Byrne

Do you have a child who does not like to sleep?

Have you ever wondered what your evening would look like if the dark never came?

I know we’ve all wished it, especially on those wonderful summer days.

The rabbit, the dark and the Biscuit Tin by Nicola O’Byrne is a cute story about a little rabbit who does not like going to bed and wishes that the evening never – ever came.

But little does he realises that without night time, many living things suffer.

The rabbit, the dark and the Biscuit Tin by Nicola O’Byrne will  teach children about the need for night and day, and the animals and plants that need it.

The illustrations are vibrant and the pop out towards the end will amaze young readers.

The rabbit, the dark and the Biscuit Tin by Nicola O’Byrne is a perfect story for those children who do not like bed time as after this book they will come to appreciate just how important it is!

Teacher tips

 – Science: A great resources for Early Stage One and Stage one when looking at day and night.

 – Literacy: A great resource to use for creative writing – what could you place in a biscuit tin?

 – Life cycles and animal habits – why do they need day and night? Which animals would not survive without one or the other? Which animals have had to adapt to city living because we have too many lights? (Sustainability, STEM, Science, Geography)

When you’re going to the moon by Sasha Beekman and Vivienne To

Have you ever believed that you could go anywhere you wanted?

Do anything you dreamt of?

Or could be anything you wished?

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When you’re going to the moon by Sasha Beekman and Vivienne To is a beautiful story about believing in yourself and the accompanying illustrations are magical.

A young girl wants to go to the moon. She decides to take only the essentials in her small green bag and of course her pet iguana – but what else might she need to get there?

Determined to climb higher than she ever has before she takes no risks, making sure she packs a map to help her get home.

When you’re going to the moon by Sasha Beekman and Vivienne To is a story to read to young children to help them to see the importance of believing in their dreams, admiring their achievements and soaking in the wonder of new activities.

A book to share, a book to read and a book to enjoy.

Secret world of butterflies by Courtney Sina Meredith and Giselle Clarkson

Butterflies have always amazed me with their beautiful colours but there is so much more to them than meets the eye.

The Secret world of butterflies by Courtney Sina Meredith and Giselle Clarkson is a burst of colour filled with facts about tastebuds, poo, flight and eating habits.

Not only is this book filled with facts, it is also filled with rhyming couplets and detailed drawings to grab the attention of any young entomologist.

You’ll learn so much about butterflies, illustration techniques and rhyme that this book will be devoured again and again!

And perhaps you will be inspired to take a slower and closer look outside just to see the beauty that constantly flies among us.

Global Guardian Project: Rainforest conservation

Did you know that even though rainforests only occupy around 7 percent of the entire Earth’s land surface they support over half of the globes plants, trees and wildlife?

Without rainforests we would not only lose this precious flora and fauna but the world as we know it would change dramatically.

Rainforests take in much of the world’s carbon and give us much of our oxygen, they hold much of the world’s rainfall and keep the soils nutrient rich and full of life.

Hopefully at home you are:

  •  Saying no to palm oil
  • Buying wood products that are from sustainable sources.
  •  Buying any products that are environmentally friendly
  •  Educating those around you about the wonders of the rainforest so they can see what will happen if we sit back and do nothing.

And this is where the Global Guardian Junior comes into play

Recently the GGP have released a new set of modules aimed at younger readers and there families.

We have just delved into the Rainforest conservation unit and we loved it!

We learnt about

  • Morpho butterflies and practiced drawing them.
  • Read about sloths, drew them and wrote our own stories about the day we hung out with them!
  • What palm oil is and where is can be hidden (My kids were disappointed they were in some lollies but yay for me!)
  • Wrote down ideas on how we can be change makers.

This module is fantastic and so well set out for young children. There are colourful photographs, interactive activities, videos and a meditation – which is always a nice way to finish off learning.

When we live in a world far removed from these intriguing places it is important to find informative sources that really give children an insight into what life is like there and how they can make a difference from their home.

Why don’t you give it a try today with my discount code: GGPVANESSA?

Check out these articles and websites: 

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/jan/23/destroying-rainforests-quickly-gone-100-years-deforestation

http://www.saynotopalmoil.com

http://palmoilaction.org.au/resources/palm-oil-action-shopping-guide/

Book worms

How can a library, classroom or home become more sustainable but also fun?

I’ve introduce Book worms and Book chooks to our library for any leftover scraps.

In the ideal world we wouldn’t have any leftovers but unfortunately with young children there is food waste.

Food thrown out into the garbage goes into landfill. In landfill food waste has little oxygen to help it to break down therefore it creates more methane into the atmosphere.

Methane creates more heat into the atmosphere, which isn’t great but when food is composted it only releases carbon, as oxygen is also used to break it down – much better for the atmosphere.

So what are you waiting for? Time to make a small difference in where your food waste goes!

If you live or work somewhere where you don’t have the space for a worm farm or large compost bin – try these Bokashi bins.

You can buy them from biome (just click below)

 

 

Every time you add waste to the bucket, you sprinkle a small amount of bokashi onto the waste (the bokashi is a fine grain like mixture). Once the container is filled to capacity (about 3 to 4 weeks for the average household), you can immediately shallow bury the fermented waste in your garden, planter or outdoor compost.
Or, you can let the waste continue to ferment for two weeks in another airtight container (such as a plastic bag or bucket with lid) and then transfer the matter into your garden. The extra fermentation means the material will break down faster in the soil.

 

 

 

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?

Five of my favourite picture books I read in 2017.

Five of the best

Children's books tag

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

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

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

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Rules:

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Now to nominate another 5 people —–

Romi Sharp from Just write for kids

Bookie Boo boxes – BookieBoo

De from Booksandbabycinos

Beth from EarthandStarskids

Shaye Wardrop

 

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

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

 

Global Guardian Project: Australia

Created by Beth Johnson from Kid’s Mind Body Spirit, this capsule gives your family some wonderful insight into Australia and it’s natural beauty.


In this capsule you can learn more about opals, gum trees and the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef is discussed in depth and your children will be inspired to learn more about this natural wonder through the colouring in pages, an online adventure story and some tips on how you can help the reef to survive.

There are some book links in the capsule but you can also check out these two books which I have reviewed here:

One less Fish

Coral Sea Dreaming

These capsules are aimed at both adults and children so don’t be put off by all the information – use it as a tool for yourself to teach your children through discussion and storytelling. Children can learn a lot through watching videos and documentaries but when we talk and listen to each other we can learn so much more.

The Global Guardian Project is a great initiative run by Rebecca Lane and something you can be a part of too.

If you are interested in giving it a go sign up for one capsule and see if you like it.

I am offering a 10% discount with my code GGPVAnessa.

So what are you waiting for – inspire yourself, inspire your children, inspire your family and together we can make the world a better place for now and the future.

 

Welcome Home by Christina Booth

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors we borrow it from our children

– Chief seattle.

Welcome Home by Christina Booth is a story of a young boy who can hear whales singing when no one else does. He hears sounds of joy and sadness and listens to stories she tells while he is asleep.


The whale tells of fear and darkness in tales of whaling of the past.

Why did they hurt us and chase us away?

The illustrations illuminate this fear and emptiness and make you wonder why whaling was such a sport.

The whale tells the young boy that she wanted to come home but they do not feel safe –

Sorry – the boy whispers.

The journey the reader embarks on is one of critical thought – why did people go whaling? How has this sport impacted the ocean? How can activities we take part in today impact the future?

Although whaling and the issues that surround it can come across quite strongly – this picture book approaches the dark past in a more gentle manner allowing children to explore the issue without feeling fear or guilt but rather a sense of empowerment.

Welcome Home was inspired but the birth of a whale calf in the Derwent river in 2010 – the first for over 190 years.  It is a beautiful read and one that needs to be read to the future.

So where to from here:

Welcome Home

SUSTAINABILITY

  • How do actions we take every day impact the future?
  • Do people have a right to hunt whales today? Explore the pros and cons of whaling as you try to understand why some countries still whale. Look at whaling from their perspective and see how you could change their mind using their perspective on whales.
  • Create a story about an action in the past that has impacted our current environment in a negative way? Create this story so that readers can learn from this mistake.
  • How are we connected to whales? Do we need whales for our ecosystem to survive? Look at life cycle charts and food chains to explore this question.

NUMERACY

  • Investigate the whale numbers around the world and compare to previous years. How are the numbers changing?
  • Look at the different shapes of whales and the patterns of symmetry.
  • Whales can have barnacles living on them. Which species have this? How many barnacles could fit on a whale?

LITERACY

  • Storytelling is an important gift that we all have. What would the world be like without storytelling? Can you think of what your life would look like without stories?
  • Write a letter, create a magazine advertisement that implores people to think about whaling and the horrific side effects. Great way to use persuasive and emotive language.
  • The whale told this story to the young boy  – could this story be told to an adult? How would the story be different.
  • Explore personification used throughout the story: Tugs at my heart, the moon danced on the waves. How does this language make you feel?