The Dog runner by Bren MacDibble


“When the world turns upside down, the ones that survive are the first ones who learn to walk on their heads.”


The Dog Runner , written by Bren MacDibble is a  poignant Middle grade fiction book that allows readers to delve into a world where food is scarce and the world population is suffering.

We meet Ella, the quiet city girl who has lost her mother and hasn’t seen her for 8 months.  She borrows books from her neighbour by sliding them under his door and she remembers life before people started to become dangerous.  Her father and brother live with her and each day, although comforting to still have some of her family, is an act of survival.

Until her Dad doesn’t return home.

Ella and her brother Emery need to find not only their Dad but also Ella’s mum and Emery’s home out in the Mallee scrub. If they can find this place not only will they find his family but they will be able to live off the land and not have  to live off canned sardines and old books.

But to get there they need to pass people who will stop at nothing and land that has little water or shade. Ella and Emery shouldn’t have to take a dangerous journey like this – but they must.

But that’s when Maroochy, Wolf, Bear, Oyster and Squid come in –  A pack of dogs who are strong enough to pull a sled across the barren land. The adventure starts when they take off from the city and it is non stop suspense as they bump and race over the land.

The Dog Runner highlights the importance of the danger of relying too heavily on the use of pesticides on farmed land, large corporations who focus on one type of grain and thinking we can constantly kill our soil and hope that it continues to give us more food.

In this world that Bren MacDibble creates, a fungus has killed all crops around the world and it is only the genius of Emery’s grandpa that gives Emery and Ella hope that the world will again be fed and hopefully more aware.

Indigenous farming methods are the best suited farming methods for Australia and it is about time that we started to take more notice of how they looked after the land and always had diversity in what they grew. Many crops in Australia are not suited to the climate and the soil has been mistreated so poorly that the reliance on pesticides is increasing.

This book sends a message to us all – re learn your Australian history and trust the methods and the crops that the first Australians grew. Stop relying on multinational companies and start looking towards smaller scale farms that take time to look after soils and produce.

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Tales from the inner city by Shaun Tan


We took the orca from the sea and put it in the sky. It was just so beautiful up there, so inspiring. But the calls of the mother never stopped.

Every story in this compilation will make you think about the world we live in and the relationships we have with animals.

You will come across animals we have forgotten, places that once were and never will be again, animals that live within our urban environments and others that want to live with us. You meet animals with agendas  – and will come away from each story wondering how much you really know about the animals that are part of this world.

Each story is accompanied with an illustration which adds more depth. Each story is filled with ideas rather than character or plot development but leaves you wondering – how did we get here?

These stories and poems can just be read for pure enjoyment and reflection but they can also be pondered upon – with the question – Is this really it?

This book is for older readers to enjoy and think about how animals can save us, and how our lives are forever entwined, for better or for worse.

So what can be done in the classroom?

Animals & Sustainability

Look at the table of contents and explore the way this has been created. Research how humans have and do interact between the animals and themselves. Draw similarities between the animal and human.

Compare and contrast the living habitats of animals who dwell in urban and rural areas. Are there benefits to either way of living

Explore the collective nouns for each of these animals.

Literacy

Explore flash fiction / microstory about a chosen animal after reading one in Tan’s novel (crocodile, butterfly, snails, shark, cat sheep, hippos, orca)  

Explore the famous short story by Ernest Hemingway

Why is this a good story?

Explore how picture books can tell a story in less than 500 words.

What do they need? What don’t they need?

Flash fiction does not have images – or perhaps only one – so you will need to tell more but still not as much as a short story.

The wonder of trees by Nicola Davies and Lorna Scobie

A third of our planet is covered by trees so surely they should be something we know a lot about?

Perhaps not.


The wonder of trees by Nicola Davies and Lorna Scobie is an in depth book which explores the extraordinary diversity of trees, the animals that need them and the clusters of them around the planet.

Not only are the pages filled with easy to read information, they are also adorned with stunning illustrations which detail the leaves, bark, root systems and animals.

Many scientific names are included on each page, allowing children who otherwise may not be, exposed to scientific language.

The wonder of trees is a book to keep returning to as there is quite a bit of information to be absorbed. Although young children will love the illustrations, older children from ages 5 will enjoy reading pieces of the information which is organised in small clusters around the pages.

The book is also broken up into sections such as different types of forests, how people use the forest, what animals need, how trees grow and the different amazing parts they have for survival.

This A3 size book will be enjoyed by children not only for its information but also the intricate illustrations. It’s one that can be used to explore areas of science, discuss sustainability and wonder about the world that the trees which surround us support.

The ultimate animal counting book by Jennifer Cossins


1 Blue whale: Blue whales are one of the loudest animals in the world and they can hear each other from up to 1600 kilometres away.

The ultimate animal counting book is most definitely an ultimate counting book. From numbers 1-100 you can explore an increasing number of animals who inhabit this planet.

In amongst the animals you will find facts about how they live, what they can do and how they are unique. You will also notice that although each page is dedicated to one animal in particular – they are all very different.

Zebras all have completely different spots (check out the 15 different patterns with number 15!)

The 48 Ibises are not all the white feathered and black beak bin divers we see in our suburbs but also red, green and brown.

And the 100 fairy flies are usually so small that we can’t even see many of them without a microscope.

Wild and domesticated animals, urban and rural dwellers, pests and endangered species have have all made it into this book which is important to show just how diverse the animal kingdom is and how our interaction with them plays a huge role.

Jennifer Cossins has created many other wonderful books about animals and this one is a great addition to the collection. Children of all ages will enjoy learning how to count, reading the different facts and pouring over the illustrations of each individual animal.

Art/Numeracy activity

Can you create a whole class counting book with a focus on endangered animals, animals in your local area or animals in your country?

Integrate skip counting or addition sums with your science unit on living things.

Save time, Save money and be eco….#1

So you look at those bloggers and instagrammers and see how easy it is to live waste free, chemical free and gluten free.

And rather than being inspired, you feel guilt.

Am I right?

We need to remember that many of these infamous influencers are

  • Single or without kids
  • Have a steady income to support organic food
  • Do not work
  • Live close to cafes that cook good quality food.

You may not tick all of these boxes but you still can achieve a waste free, better eating and less of an impact lifestyle – – – – – and I am going to talk about how this can be done!

I’ve been on this eco-health journey for quite some time now and I’m still not perfect at it. I work part time and have two young children so being waste free and healthy all the time can be impossible.

BUT, I can get there most of the time and I am sure you can too.

Are there any things that you do now to make a better difference than last year?

Is there something that you wish you did years ago that would not only make less of an impact on the planet but also an impact on your wallet?

I’d love to know as I am going to share how we have built up to have less rubbish in our bin at the end of the week, better food in our bodies and more money in our pockets!

Join me!

There are fish everywhere by Britta Teckentrup


This non-fiction hardcover book will delight anyone who has ever cast their eyes across a natural body of water and wondered what might lie underneath.

Colourful illustrations fill each page alongside with snippets of fishy facts. The facts are easy to read yet give the depth young fish enthusiasts crave and will perhaps inspire them to find out more.  

The number of different types of fish around the world is phenomenal. They can be bony or cartilaginous, live in salt or fresh water and some have even been found in caves, under ice and deserts!

Each fact is accompanied by an illustration making the information easier to digest and pour over. There are flow charts, timelines and diagrams as well as information that compares different types of fish.

There are fish everywhere by Britta Teckentrup is an excellent book to inspire a love of nature and the inner scientist!

Library lesson

Research a fish  that is local to your waters and draw or paint an image of it. Add a diagram or flowchart to describe more about this fish using ideas from the picture book

Sustainability

Why do we need so many different types of fish?

Look at the food chain and wonder what life would be like without fish.

Visual art

Research a fish

Science

Explore life cycles of different fish as inspired by Britta

Compare and contrast different types of fish

Geography

Learn about the world according to where different fish are found.

Lucky and Spike by Norma MacDonald

Have you ever wondered what life is like out in the desert of Australia where the Spinifex grass grows and the stars shine all over the night sky?

Through the eyes of two cute hopping mice – Lucky and Spike – you and your young readers will see what they get up to each night as they search for food and escape from hungry predators!

Every night Lucky and Spike enjoy the spinifex seeds leftover from the local women who grind them to make bread but as we find out, they are not the only ones who are in search of food.

Lucky and Spike need to use their quick legs to escape a hungry feral cat and a barking owl but with the help of the camp dog and the sharp spinifex grass, they escape.

Norma Macdonald’s illustrations highlight the colours of the desert and the people who live there. The animals are full of life and we can see their movements over the pages as they hop, fly and run throughout the night.

There is so much to enjoy about this book and so much to learn, it is a must for anyone interested not only in the diverse landscapes, people and animals of Australia, but also the need for better solutions for native species.

The hopping mouse lives in Australia in small pockets of sand dunes, grasslands, gibber plains, heaths and open forest .   

They are on the vulnerable species list and are closely monitored by different conservation groups around Australia. Feral cats are a huge problem due to their ability to hunt the mouse with little detection. Other feral animals who roam free also play a role in the degradation of soil and small grasses – needed to provide safety and shelter.

Lucky and Spike is a fun book to read for younger children but also one which can be used for older readers to explore further into different desert animals.

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository Premiere

So what else can you do with this book?

Sustainability

Look at the final page in this story and read what Norma has written about feral cats. Explore the different organisations who are trying to cull these creatures and the different ways they are doing this.

Visual Arts and Artists.

Explore the art works by Norma MacDonald and other books she has written ( Spinifex Mouse by Magabala books)

Literacy

Find the verbs used to describe how the animals move around. Create a list of other verbs these different animals might use during the night and then during the day.

Science

Research further about Spinifex Hopping mice and Barking owls.

Discover how cats become feral.

Join my facebook groups if you like!

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

Letters to change the world

Christmas has just passed and perhaps your house is now filled with excess toys and packaging.

Over summer we have been talking about toy quality and how some last, while others don’t, which toys are great to have and which ones we will forget about in one week.

From this we have decided to write letters to toy companies and asking them to make changes to the material toys and their packaging is made out of.

I have done this in class with a group of Year 2 students so any age group can follow the following formula to make a letter be read and replied to.

Here is a suggestion of how to get children to enjoy writing letters to companies of their favourite toys…. It’s simple and allows the children to still enjoy having toys – but gets them to think about how small changes can make a big difference!

Dear (Try to find the name of the CEO),

  1. Talk about why you love their toys and all of the things you like to do with them.
  2. Give them a suggestion as to how these toys could be changed so they have less of a devastating effect on the environment.
  3. Tell them that you hope you can see a change and you are looking forward to a reply.
  4. Sign off and add a return address.

Can you inspire your child to write a letter to a company asking them to make a change for the good of the world?

Minimising waste and reading more books!

2018 has been a great year, filled with so many wonderful books sent for reviews and bought for home or our school library.

I don’t have the time right now to list all of my favourites and I don’t know if I can choose either!! But here are a few Recent ones:

Another great thing that has happened this year is our movement towards creating less waste in landfill this year.

We’ve kept on composting and worm farming,

Reducing our food waste by making banana peel cake

Making our own dishwashing detergent, dishwasher powder and other sprays around the house!

And trying to use less packaging where we can.

I’m hoping to share more tips and tricks for parents to create less landfill waste in their homes without stressing about being zero waste – which I am sure turns many people off as it is quite unattainable for many who work full or part time, live in the suburbs, have kids, care for others .

If you know anyone who would like to join me and learn from my mistakes and my successes then pass on my blog.

See you in 2019!

Australian Birds by Matt Chun

This is the perfect book to accompany next years Aussie Backyard Bird count and the perfect book to keep the love and interest in birds up!

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Australian Birds by Matt Chun is a stunning book with so much information to interest the youngest of readers.

Each double page spread is about a different bird of Australia. The sketches by Matt Chun are life like and the written information gives the reader information about how the bird lives, where it lives and what it can do.

This book would be a perfect book for any household who loves amateur bird watching and it would fit in nicely within the school science, geography, numeracy and sustainability curriculum. Visual art teachers could also use these sketches as inspiration.

We love this book – it’s on high rotation at the moment in our house!

Numeracy

– Count birds in the school playground or back yard and create a chart

Geography

– Plot on a map where each of these birds are from and where they move around between seasons.

Science

– Look at the lifecycle of Australian native birds and how they may differ from other birds around the world.

Sustainability

– Are these birds in good numbers or are some of them threatened or endangered. Explore why some birds thrive and some suffer because of humans.

Black Cockatoo by Carl Merrison and Hakea Hustler

You have his mark Mia, between your shoulder blades. The dirrarn (black cockatoo) is your totem. Your jarriny (conception totem) totem

I adored this book so much so that I read it twice.

Mia, a young indigenous girl lives on the coast of Western Australia in a remote town surrounded by bush land, water holes and hot red dirt.

She lives with her family, which includes her grandparents, but feels lost between the culture and traditions of her past and the present world she lives in.

But Mia feels the past so much more than her brother does. She feels the pain of the he injured animals and smells danger and freedom on the wind.

The story revolves around Mia rescuing a black cockatoo who has been injured by her thoughtless brother.

We learn about the beauty of persistence, following your beliefs and believing in the power of positive actions.

We also learn the importance of listening to the past, embracing culture and tradition yet looking towards the future.

Black Cockatoo will not only entertain readers from ages 9-13, it will also teach them about owning their beliefs and standing up for what they know is best.

Black Cockatoo would be a great book if o study as a class group as the Jaru language is scattered throughout the story-in context-so readers can learn how to speak this indigenous language from The Kimberley.

As Australians we need to eEmbrace more of our indigenous languages and teach not only those with indigenous heritage but also those who don’t.

Black cockatoo by Carl Merrison and Hakea Hustler is a beautiful story and I hope that it can be shared with many more children!

Would you like Palm oil with that?

We hear about Palm Oil a lot and the devastation it can cause to rainforests.

But how do you talk to children about this so to empower them to make the right decisions?

Bornean-Orangutans-photo-via-WWF

Photo from :https://greenglobaltravel.com/bornean-sumatran-orangutans-endangered-species/

Check out this graphic that shows you how the big companies are still harming the environment with their gathering of Palm Oil : https://issuu.com/greenpeaceinternational/docs/final_countdown_pages_lr_greenpeace

deforestation-palm_0

Talking about Palm Oil

  1. Look at the list of the big companies that are still causing harm to many rainforests with their consumption of Palm Oil.
  2. Open your cupboard and see if you have any products of this brand OR owned by this brand
  3. Together list alternatives to a favourite brand of yours – can you by it from someone else? Can you make it? Can you live without it?
  4. How can you raise awareness of this?

Here are some ideas:

Make a graph to show to percentage of rainforest left in the world.

Learn about the different animals who live in these rainforests.

Learn about the people who live here – what is happening to them?

Try and find some recipes so you can make your own cosmetics, chips or chocolate bars!

 

Big brands to avoid —–

L’Oreal owns: Maybelline New York, Garnier, Lancôme, Helena Rubinstein, BioMedic, Vichy, Biotherm, Shu Uemura, Kiehl’s, Soft Sheen-Carson, Redken, Matrix, Kerastase, Giorgio Armani, Inneov, Sanoflore, CCB Paris, Dermablend, The Body Shop, Skinceuticals, Ralph Lauren, La-Roche-Posay, and Yves Saint Laurent.

Nestle owns: https://www.nestle.com.au/brands

Pepsico owns: http://www.pepsico.com.au/brands/

 

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The Ocean Emporium by Susie Brooks and Dawn Cooper

An emporium is a place where you can view a large variety of things.

So the title ocean emporium is the perfect title to open children’s eyes to the abundance of amazing creatures that live within.

With 24 different categories, each double page spread allows the reader to learn about the different animals that swim in our abundant waters. With stunning illustrations not only will the reader read the facts, they will also see the creature in all of its glory.

We were amazed as we  learnt about 8 different jellyfish and the way they all move, help each other and protect themselves.

Dolphins leapt off the page at us and we were very impressed with the pink colours of the Chinese White Dolphin.

Even coral had a mention – the truly amazing living thing that it is, and we learnt about  the different latin names they have and ways that they grow.

The Ocean Emporium  by Susie Brooks and Dawn Cooper is a book to allow children to leap into non-fiction and really whet their appetite for deeper knowledge.

The illustrations are full of colour and there is just enough information for young readers to enjoy without being overwhelmed.

The Ocean Emporium is a wonderful journey to embark upon as you’ll discover secrets, learn new information and most importantly realise how important it is to take care of the world around us.

So what else can you do with this book?

Visit:

Visit your local waterway and discover what swims beneath the surface.

Go to local museums, aquariums and science spaces to learn more.

Act:

Buy less fish – the less we buy, the smaller the demand and the less sea creatures getting caught in nets unnecessarily

Ask: 

  • Choose a creature or a group of creatures and learn more about them.
  • Find out which of these animals live in the oceans near you.
  • Are any of these animals endangered? What can we do to help them?
  • Can you create an insect emporium? Monotreme? Mammal? Marsupial? Sky emporium?

Travelling with conscious.

Being a globally conscious child means travelling with conscious.

off-the-beaten-path-travel-mexico

When you travel :

  • Go to the local eateries
  • Learn the language
  • Talk to the locals
  • Find places off the beaten track
  • Stay with locals rather than a hotel or resort.
  • Spend money on local food, drinks and items at the markets or local shops rather than the big hotels.
  • Make friends, take photos and tell others all about it – because even though travelling is fun, we need to travel more consciously so we can continue to travel to different places and be amazed!

My most memorable holidays are of places where I could speak to the local people, when I found places not on the tourist trail and when I learnt more about the place I visited than I ever would have just jumping on a tourist bus.

We need to show our children how to be globally conscious travellers – how about saying no to that resort or hotel holiday and trying something a little different next time? Even if it is only for a couple of nights as you will see that place in a whole new light!

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/

 

Book Week 2018 activities for classrooms

Need some inspiration for this year’s CBCA Book Week? Check these out!

Sustainability

  • How can we host a waste free Book week? Come up with ideas for costumes and decorations that create the least amount of waste in our school and community.

Literacy

  • Write a book review on one of the shortlisted books.
  • Write down the name of a book that you treasure on a gold coin, book shape, pirate ship, image from book.
  • Write a letter to the author of your favourite book telling them why you treasure it.
  • Write a letter to someone to tell them you found treasure but you have been captured! Tell them where they need to go to find you!
  • Explain why one book should win over the others
  • Explore the protagonist in each story – which are animals? Which are humans?
  • BOY by Phil Cummings- choose a story that you love and draw it as a comic strip or a whole picture without any words.
  • Choose a book, write the name and the title on some decorated paper or shape and place in on the genre treasure map on display.
  • What is treasure and can it mean different things to different people?

Geography

  • Plot on a map where the authors of each of the shortlisted books have come from.

Numeracy :

  • Graph the winners of past CBCA awards: Male vs female, winners from each state etc.
  • Draw a map of the library and plot where different books can be found.
  • If you could buy ten new books for the library – what would they be and how much would they cost? Write a letter to your principal outlining why the school needs these books.
  • Create a map of where you would hide treasure at our school and write down directions using the points of a compass and strides.

Science

  • Do not lick this book: How is a germ like a treasure? Draw a microbe and show why it is like a treasure!
  • Florette – How is a garden, plant or flower like a treasure? Draw your favourite outdoor space that is like treasure and explain why you need this treasure.
  • Design a new library.

Art

  • Search for different paintings that are considered treasures. Do you agree or disagree and why?

Can you find me? By Gordon Winch and Patrick Shirvington

Tufts of grass, muddy banks, forest floors and watery gardens are all places animals hide  – with every intention of never being found, but perhaps you can find them?

Gordon Winch has worked alongside Patrick Shirvington to create this picture book which not only allows readers to search images but also read along with the story through the use of repetition and simple language.

On each double page spread the reader will hear clues that will help them to find the animal who is trying to camouflage in their natural habitat – some are very easy to find while others are quite tricky!

Early readers will get a feel of how each page is written and start to read along as they search the illustrations.

The Australian bush land is full of so many marvellous animals and so many of them are very well hidden so that if we ever want to see them we have to be very quiet!

This picture book is a wonderful way to teach children that when we are in the bush, sometimes it is important to be quiet, look around, listen and most importantly tread carefully because all creatures are there, we just need to take the time to look for them!

Many of the animals in Can you find me?  are endemic to Australia so by bringing their habitats to life through questions really engages children and will help them to think about each animal as they venture into the natural world.

Can you find me? By Gordon Winch and Patrick Shirvington

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/

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

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/

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Stories make us determined

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

Reading stories make us determined

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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?

What changes are you making this week?

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What changes are you making this week at home or at your workplace to lessen your eco-footprint?

I can change the world

What can we do?

Worry we aren’t doing enough when all we do is perhaps compost or perhaps you buy your food in bulk?

Do you cook from scratch? Say no to plastic bags?

Or perhaps the best thing you are doing now is educating your children through books and discussions?

 

How can we make the world a better place to live in?

From so many different sources the message is very clear.

Every small sustainable difference we make, every small change we make, every small thing we show others – all makes a difference.

What are you doing to make a difference? How are you showing this?

How are you educating children? Would love to hear what you are doing or what you would like some help doing!

You can buy this great poster at The Global Guardian Project and try my discount for a further 10% off!

GGPVanessa

Bouncing Back: An eastern barred bandicoot story by Rohan Cleave and Coral Tulloch

How did the last eastern barred bandicoot on the Australian mainland end up living in a rubbish tip? 

Based on a true story, Rohan Cleave and Coral Tulloch have created a picture book that teaches young readers about the plight of the Eastern Barred Bandicoot and the hard work of volunteers, conservationists and scientists to bring them back from the brink of extinction.

The story begins with some information about the Bandicoot, accompanied by delicately illustrated pictures. We learn how they live and grow, what they like to eat and their habitat.

Sadly we learn how humans have caused devastation to this once thriving population through the eyes of the Bandicoot.

The Bandicoots tell us that because of land clearing, fires, foxes and cats their numbers have drastically dwindled.

They tell us that because they have no where to hide in the once loved long grasses, they are easy prey for owls and feral animals.

The double page spread drawn by Coral Tulloch brings home the terrible circumstances these animals were in – life in a rubbish dump – the only place they felt safe enough.

Luckily a small band of dedicated people were able to save the last few of these Eastern Barred bandicoots and with hard work their population is on the rise in fenced reserves, safe from feral animals and land clearing.

This story, although long, is engaging and children will be happy to know that there is a happy ending – even if there is still a lot of work to be done.

Facts and a glossary are added to the end of the story and the endpapers are a fantastic tool for conversation!!

What else can you do with this story? 

Ask students to find out about an endangered species and create their own picture book so they can teach others about it’s plight and how people are trying to save them.

Ask students : What would life be like if Eastern Barred Bandicoot’s disappeared? How would the ecosystem be effected?

Find out: Are there other picture books that are based on factual events that look at animals brought back from near extinction? Try Phasmid: saving the Lord Howe Island Insect and Rhino in the House

And access some great teacher notes from CSIRO

Buy your own copy from Booktopia

Booktopia

Extra links for further study

Conservation volunteers: http://conservationvolunteers.com.au/what-we-do/threatened-species/eastern-barred-bandicoot/

Zoos Victoria: https://www.zoo.org.au/werribee/animals/eastern-barred-bandicoot

The case against fragrance by Kate Grenville

Have you ever thought twice about what you spray on your skin?

Have you ever considered the possible damages you are doing to yourself, your family or the water system when you use heavily fragranced laundry detergent?

Have you ever thought – what are those fragrances made of?

No matter what your answer is, you need to read this book to gain a greater understanding as to why we need to cut back on fragrances in our lives.

Kate Grenville couldn’t work out why every time she had a book launch migraines would come on until someone suggested to her – have you ever considered the smell in the air?

After doing has done extensive research on the Fragrance industry, Kate Grenville has brought us this easy to read and understand book.

As you will discover, the fragrance industry is regulated by the people who make them so with no rules on informing the consumer about the ingredients in each bottle (they are trade secrets!), we really don’t know what we are spraying on our skin, washing our clothes in or spraying in the air to freshen it up.

This book is easy to read, there is no over the top jargon or unnecessary statistics. It is told to us in words we need so that we can understand how the air we breathe affects our health.

After reading this book it really made me think – why does the market tell us our air needs to smell like roses or that we must smell of the latest perfume? Why do our clothes need to be washed in lemon scent and bathroom cleaners smell like oranges?

There are so many things we need to question and so many ways we can live healthier lives and have less impact on those around us.

What fragranced product can you ditch?

Introducing Global Guardian Project Junior: Exploring the Ocean.

The junior issue of these informative online magazines is here, with a captivating first capsule – Exploring the ocean.

What makes the Junior modules different?

  • Information is still up to date and informative but not as fact heavy. Pictures and videos are still linked to each section as well as links to groups that help endangered animals or areas of the ocean.
  • There are some great mini posters to download and colouring in pages to print out aimed at the 3-7 age group.
  • There is a strong focus on craft and art – making the learning real as well as meditation more suited to little ones who can’t sit still for long!
  • Great reading for parents is also included in these modules so it’s not just learning for the children, but also learning for the adults involved.

Why subscribe to Exploring the Ocean and future issues? 

  • You’ll get a 10% discount from me (GGPVanessa)
  • You’ll feel more empowered to start making changes in your life – such as giving up the plastics that end up in our ocean on a daily basis (check out this post about straws by GGP)
  • You’ll learn some wonderful new facts about animals who live in our oceans and how other families around the world are playing their part to ensure they are just as wonderful in 100 years time.

We had a great time exploring this module! 

 

We had a great time creating our own ocean with a boat that was cleaning up plastic. This was all directed by my nearly four year old – it goes to show that a little bit of parent time, a little bit of information and a little bit of interaction goes a long way to empowering little ones to feel they can make a difference.

Sustainability and parenting

Parenting isn’t easy and when you throw in trying to be more sustainable, things can get a little more complex – why?

Working full or part time can seem to leaves you time poor for things like baking your own bread, making your own moisturiser and riding or walking everywhere.

I have read several times on health and wellness bloggers who seem to make everything themselves that they have had burnt out. They have landed in a heap and have had to have a couple of weeks off – which makes me think, are we trying too hard to have it all when it can all be done in simple ways?

  • You don’t have to go to the markets every Saturday when you can get your fruit and vegetables delivered to your house or to a central location. This gives you your weekend back to do what you want to do. Try harvesthub.com.au

 

  • You can try to make your own skin cream but you can also buy your own from locally made, organic and fair-trade companies. Many of these companies have a small eco footprint due to the fact they produce in bulk – leaving less packaging behind. However, if you do want to make your own products aim for buying the ingredients in bulk to minimise extra waste. I’ve bought mine through Aussie soap supplies and The inspired Little Pot has some great ideas and products too.

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  • You can also make your own cleaning products – which I do on a regular basis and although the task is something I never want to do, it is something that can take me only ten minutes once the kids are asleep. I make my own dishwasher powder, washing liquid (washing machine), hand soap and different household cleaning sprays. I’ve chosen recipes that take minimal time and products that can be bought in bulk. Those ten minutes spent at home save me half an hour going to the shops for the same product!!

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  • Making food from scratch is fun – and should be something you should try to do instead of buying store bought, plastic wrapped snacks. And even better – buy your food in bulk from great places like The Source

 

Most important of all – by doing all of these things you are silently showing your children that we can all take small steps to make a difference.