Around the world in 50 ways.

If you had a round the world ticket where would you go?  

This great new book by Lonely planet allows children to participate in a choose your own adventure style travel book – what fun!

As you arrive at each destination you learn something new and get to decide how you will travel – which allows you to move to a new country depending on the mode you choose.

The information is short and simple so kids will learn just enough before moving on and the way you travel to the next city teaches children about distances between places.

Travel is important but it is more important to understand the places you are travelling to and in – we shouldn’t expect places we visit to be like our own cities.

By introducing children to facts and figures about new places that are different to our own it can show them how wonderful travelling can be – as they will learn about a new culture, be part of the lifestyle and absorb language and mannerisms.

Round the world in 50 ways is such a fun way to teach geography and can be read again and again!

Want to know how to be a globally conscious traveller? Check out this post:

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/

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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/

 

The Explorer by Katherine Rundell

When you get home, tell them how large the world is, and how green. And tell them that the beauty of the world makes demands on you. They will need reminding.

Although I found this book slow to start, once it did start it was amazing. So many different themes shine through this book – friendship, courage, environmental stewardship, adventure, kindness, creativity, problem solving, teamwork and independence.

Four young children – Fred, Con, Lila and Max – are aboard a tiny plane flying over the Amazon Rainforest when it crashes – leaving them stranded in the middle of nowhere and without an adult to help guide them.

Using their own basic knowledge they start to look after each other in an environment that is completely foreign to them.

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Eating new food, sleeping outdoors, observing animal behaviour and hunting for meals are all a part of survival in this green and lush rainforest.

But it is only by chance that Fred discouvers a map and with his own knowledge of past explorers convinces the group that they need to follow the river to get back home.

The children discover much more than they thought they would and learn so much more about themselves that they ever knew. I can’t give anymore away – you’ll have to read it to find out.

Young children will want to go out and explore after reading this book and hopefully realise how important it is to explore places but not destroy them. Many beautiful places on this earth have been destroyed by humans because we all want to see it.

Perhaps we can still see these amazing places but we need to see them for what they are – not what we want them to be.

If you take anything away from this book it should be the idea of conservation. Conservation of indigenous tribes and their language and culture, conservation of plants in their natural habitat and conservation of all types of animals.

Without conservation there will be nothing left on earth to explore and without anything to explore the human spirit dies.

Let’s keep our planet for what it is – think about what you can do to ensure it is conserved in the natural state it once was.

‘You don’t have to be in the jungle to be an explorer,’ he said. ‘ Every human on this earth is an explorer. Exploring is nothing more than paying attention….that’s what the world asks of you. If you pay ferocious attention to the world, you will be as safe as it is possible to be. ‘

JOIN MY FACEBOOK GROUP FOR PARENTS AND TEACHERS WHERE WE EXPLORE BIG ISSUES AND HOW TO BEST TALK ABOUT THEM WITH KIDS.

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When the mountains roared by Jess Butterworth

Ever since her mum died, Ruby has been afraid. Of cars. Of the dark. Of going to sleep and never waking up. But then the last remaining leopards of the mountain are threatened and everything changes. 

Without warning Ruby’s mother is killed in outback Australia. Her mother, a herpetologist  leaves a gaping hole in Ruby and because of this sudden loss, she doesn’t know how to cope.

Ruby’s father and grandmother are also struggling to deal with this loss and we see this in the first chapter when they race to get away from Australia and on a boat into India without warning – to manage an abandoned hotel at the foot of the Himalayas.

At first Ruby hates living in this remote location but as time goes on she makes a friend, learns about the mountains and sees how much help she can be to the local wildlife.

But despite this new found love of the mountains she soon discovers a dark secret that it hides – poachers. These poachers are on the hunt for endangered leopards and will do anything to hide what they are up to.

You will fall in love with the mountains of India and be in awe of the determination and strength that Ruby displays despite the loss she has just experienced.

Children will relate to Ruby and Praveen and their ability to see beyond what adults see when it comes to making a difference in the world.

When the mountains roared by Jess Butterworth is an excellent read, set out in small chapters and adorned with leopard print, young readers will find this book a page turner yet a mananagable one.

When the mountains roared is a great book for a class novel study as it links in India and Australia, animal conservation and natural disasters.

So what else can you do with this book?

 – Find out where Ruby moves to from reading the description in the novel. Work out how long it would take to get there by boat and bus.

– Does this book have any similarities to Jess Butterworth’s other book ‘Running on the roof of the world”?

– Where in the world are animals poached and why does this happen? Explore what poaching means and measures in place to stop this from happening.

– Explore the differences in children’s lives around the world. Compare Ruby’s life in Australia to Praveen’s life in India as a goat herder.

– What are superstitions and why do they exist? Do you have any superstitions? How can superstitions be helpful and harmful?

– How many leopards (different types) are left in the world? Is poaching the only reason they are endangered?

In the city I see by Tori-Jay Mordey

Have you been on a trip to the city lately?

Perhaps it is too far away or too busy for you?

Perhaps just for now you can curl up on your lounge and visit it from there! 

Visiting the city is a great experience for young children so in the meantime – take a look at this new book ‘In the city I see‘ written by Tori-jay Mordey and published by Magabala books.

A small , simple and sturdy board book, ‘In the city I see’ will amaze young readers with the vibrant colours on each page that help to add more detail to the simple descriptions.

As you travel through this story you might see hungry pigeons or colourful markets and as you read each of these pages you can talk to your child about the colours they can see, the faces on the people and the different details Tori-Jay has added.

The young art series by Magabala books is a great initiative that showcases young indigenous artists. We have read At the beach I see and At the zoo I see – both fantastic books for young readers.

So what else can you do with this story as you read or after you have read it?

  •  Point out the different colours, name and ask what they are.
  •  How are the different people in the book feeling on the various pages?
  • Who lives in the city?
  •  Why are pigeons hungry in the city?
  • Which flags are flying from the tall buildings?
  • Which show is being advertised on the sign? Check out this video here
  • Visit the city with a camera and an agenda. Choose some places that you can get to by walking or bus and check out places that are child-friendly. A day out in the city is a great way to spend some time!

Zoom by Sha’an D’anthes

What have you decided to do today after breakfast?

Build a rocketship?

Explore outer space?

That’s just what our adventurous character – Scout – has decided to do!

Zoom by Sha’an D’anthes is a fun and imaginative picture book that takes us on a journey with young Scout who is described as an inventor, explorer and a dreamer.

Scout has built a rocket ship and today is the day they are going to zoom off and explore the solar system.

Scout and the trusty rocket ship – Beattie – visit the planets and their personalities. Each planet is represented by a different animal and I found as I read this book out loud to young children that it really helped them to connect with these space beings which are so far away and can at times be difficult to understand.

Each planet smiles at Scout and Beattie, welcoming them to their zone and showing off just how big, small or coloured they are.

We even get to visit Pluto – who is so small and far away (and not a real planet by scientific standards) but very very helpful!

Sha’an’s illustrations are delicate and colourful. Each planet is really brought to life through the idea of an animal and the adventure Scout embarks on does not seem daunting when there are friendly creatures and a caring rocket ship along the way.

Zoom is a simple story but told so well. Children are engaged right from the start with the simplicity of always starting a day with a good breakfast. I also loved that the main character Scout was not outlined as being a boy or a girl so that both boys and girls can identify with being a scientist, adventurer and thinker!

What can you do with this book?

 –  Imagine what animals you think the different planets are like. Draw what they look like and how they act, using information about the planets to support the ideas.

– Design what you think earth would look like if you were in outer space.

– Start a diary with the words – But we all need our breakfast…..

-This picture book is full of adjectives – find as many as you can. Can any of these adjectives be replaced with a new adjective?

-CRASH, GATHUNK and FIZZ are all onomatopoeia words, can you think of some more that you might hear in outer space?

 

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?

Dangar Island. Birds, Barrows, a ferry and me written by Joanne Karcz and illustrated by Jacqui Selby.

Can you imagine living in a place where there are no cars, a cave with hidden secrets and wheelbarrows waiting to be used by weary home comers?

Perhaps a visit to Dangar Island is on the cards for you! And if you can’t get there you need to read this delightful picture book – Dangar Island. Birds, Barrows, a ferry and me. (and perhaps after reading you will be inspired to visit the island!)

Joanne Karcz adores her home – Dangar Island – and has written a whimsical story about the life the children of Dangar Island lead from catching the ferry to school, pushing wheelbarrows home full of groceries and getting muddy on the beach searching for crabs.

Joanne has cleverly used rhyme and rhythm throughout the story which really helps to ignite imagination in readers. The illustrations by Jacqui Selby have been done in watercolour and gently complement the story. The colours and lightness of the illustrations give the story a light and happy feel as we move through the day of a Dangar Island child.

The life Joanne describes seems idyllic for any young child. Imagine being able to explore an island, free of cars and full of nature? Imagine walking out towards the edge of the island and seeing the occasional turtle, dolphin or jellyfish float by?

Perhaps these children find fishing a little boring but as they have so much freedom they must have an abundance of energy, creativity and imagination.

Dangar Island, Birds, Barrows, a ferry and me is a must read for any sydney sider and I hope that it will inspire not only a day trip to this magical island but also encouragement of more outdoor play time for your young reader.

So what can you do at home? 

Playing outside with sticks, caves, dirt and rocks is so important to all children. Get outside more often with your child. Whether it be at the park, oval, beach, river or bushland. We all need to get outside more and play!

Take a trip to Dangar Island – encourage your child to plan the day. How will you get there? Drive to the ferry stop or catch a train to Brooklyn? This is a great opportunity to teach children about timetables.

Look at the map in the picture book and compare to maps online of Dangar Island. Plan your day on the island and see what you can do!

Encourage some geography skills – How far is Dangar Island from Sydney? How large is Dangar Island. What is the river called and where does it flow to and from?

Encourage some history skills – Did Indigenous Australians live on Dangar Island? When did white men inhabit the island?

Check out the Dangar Island website: http://www.dangarislandleague.net

Australia Illustrated by Tania McCartney

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to look at a starry sky without a single sound around him? 

Or looked at a wildflower and not known the name?

Perhaps you’ve only ever visited the big cities and never explored further afoot.


Well, look no further, Australia, Illustrated by Tania McCartney is an amazingly illustrated picture book which explores many different aspects of the Australian landscape.

Australia has such a diverse landscape and this book captures so many of the hidden gems that each state has to offer.

As the reader explores each state they learn about famous Australians, the type of weather and the iconic buildings. We also explore the endangered and endemic animals, local food and hidden bush tracks.

As we read through this story I was able to talk about the different places I had visited and places we would love to go. We were also able to wonder about how people feel about living in different parts of Australia and what those children might get up to on the weekend.

Australia Illustrated by Tania McCartney is a book that you can read little by little or in one sitting. It is also a great book that you can return to again and again as there is so much to discover on each page.

Tania McCartney is a superb illustrator and if you can’t be inspired to take a trip around this great big land, then perhaps no book can convince you!

So what can you do at home?

 – Check out a map of Australia and see where Tania has illustrated.

– Look at the large map of Australia and each state and read the different towns and cities that make up the illustration. Choose one or two to find out more about.

– What has Tania McCartney drawn to make each state unique? Do you agree with this?

– Could you create a book like this about another country?

Grandpa’s BIG adventure by Paul Newman

Grandpa’s BIG adventure by Paul Newman and illustrated by Tom Jellett is a story of adventure told by a grandfather to his grandson – and what a great story he tells!


Grandpa is teaching his grandson how to swim (and his grandson is a little apprehensive like many young swimmers are) and to help ease him into the water he tells him of a great adventure he once had when he swam around the world.

The story grandpa tells is amazing and one which we all want to believe in, even when he tells of the time he met the Prince of Whales!  The illustrations highlight the wonderful adventure with brilliant colours and quirky illustrations and tell more of the story to a young readers eyes.

If we all had a grandpa like this who ignited imagination we would never fear anything as we would know that someone has gone through these emotions before – such an important message for young children.

What can you do with this story? 

Geography ~ Numeracy ~Literacy

  • As you read this story pull out a map of the world and look where you could swim to.
  • Look at all of the different bodies of water in the world.
  • Where do people swim? Where don’t people swim? Work out reasons why! 

 Numeracy 

  • Measure distances between countries and bodies of water.
  • Pose problems – if grandpa swam 1km an hour, how long would it take him to swim to New Zealand from Australia? 

 Self awareness 

  • Can you tell a tall story that would help encourage someone?
  • Do you think grandpa did any of the things in this story?

Literacy

  • Look at the inside back and front covers – what else did grandpa do whilst on his adventure? Can you add some extra tales to this story?
  • How do the illustrations change the meaning of the text? Read this book without looking at the pictures – ask students to tell you what they can see in their minds and then show them the image. Give students a sentence (or they create their own) where the sentence can have more than one meaning. 

Word play and extension 

  • Idioms – there are so many wonderful idioms in this story, try and find them! Then explore some more ambiguous sentences and draw your own illustrations. 

Gwendolyn by Juliette MacIver

img_2515Gwendolyn by Juliette MacIver and Illustrated Terri Rose Baynton ( ABC books.) is a playful story about  a penguin who lives in the jungle very happily. She loves the weather, the colour and the friends and she is always very optimistic until she realises that she really wants to be a penguin in the Antarctic.

Despite her jungle friends trying to change her mind, she is very determined to see her old ‘real’ home and eventually arrives in Antarctica.

Gwendolyn is excited by living back in Antarctica and meeting many different family members but soon realises the jungle is the place for her and that she can be different  – and it’s ok.

This book highlights the importance of optimism and friendship. It also looks at the fact that anywhere can be out home – as long as we are happy and loved.

This is a great book to read to children who may experience self doubt. Trying new things can be a scary thought but with encouragement and self belief, we can do anything!

Gwendolyn!