The coral Kingdom by Laura Knowles and Jennie Webber

The time is now, the chance is brief!

Stand up and save the coral reef!

Amazing pictures lie deep within this great Australian Geographic picture book, alongside a rhyming story that will teach young readers all about the coral reef and the creatures that live there.

As you journey below the water line you will see how the coral reef is created, how animals interact with it and how human behaviour is causing damage.

The bleaching of the coral reef is touched upon – not dwelled upon – which is important for young readers. Instead, easy tips and suggestions are offered within the story and at the end with a page full of suggestions.

The illustrations are spellbinding and add so much to the short story – giving you the parent or teacher to talk about that creature and how they live in the water with the reef.

Teaching children about the coral reef is a really important issue right now due to the damage that has been done. This book is a great way to start to teach your children about the small things that they can do to make a difference in the future of the planet (and hopefully their small steps will be followed by their parents bigger steps!)

The coral Kingdom by Laura Knowles and Jennie Webber is an excellent book for children of all ages, and one which links in nicely with science, geography and sustainability.

So what else can you do with this book

SCIENCE/SUSTAINABILITY

  • Visit the end pages of this and choose an animal you would like to research further.
  • Seek out the suggestions at the end of the story as to how you can save the GBR.
  • Find newspaper articles about the GBR and what is happening to it. Seek out both positive and negative stories.
  • Sign or create a petition about the GBR urging the government to stop coal mining and dredging of the land and sea near the reef.

LITERACY

  • Link up all the rhyming words used. Find more words that rhyme with these words and try to create a few lines that you could add to this story about the coral reef.

NUMERACY

  • How much of the GBR has been bleached?
  • How many different types of animals live in the GBR?
  • If the GBR was destroyed how many less tourists might come to Australia?

BUY NOW FROM FISHPOND

 The Coral Kingdom

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The littlest things give the loveliest hugs by Mark Sperring and Maddie Frost

Hugs from someone you love or someone who cares for you are just one of those things that can make your day seem so much brighter.

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And that’s why we loved reading The Littlest things give the loveliest hugs by Mark Sperring and Maddie Frost.

You’ll sail through this book and meet different parents who just love their little ones and the snuggly hugs that they give.

The rhyming and repetition will entrance young readers as will the brightly coloured illustrations.

We loved discussing how the different animals did hug each other with their different sized limbs and bodies. We also wondered how they lived and the different body covering they each had.

The littlest things give the loveliest hugs is a fun book for young readers and a great way to explore the role of parent and child in the animal kingdom!

So what else can you do with this book?

  • Explore how these different animals live.
  • Explore how long babies in each animal group stay with their parents.
  • Look at rhyme and the different words that rhyme with hugs.
  • The end pages are lots of fun to look at – explore the differences between the front and the back.

BUY FROM FISHPOND

 The Littlest Things Give the Loveliest Hugs

AND CHECK OUT BIOME’S GREAT PRODUCTS THAT WILL HAVE LITTLE IMPACT ON THESE LITTLE THINGS!

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Ash dresses her friends by Fu Wenzheng

Have you ever made something  from scratch?

And then been able to give that object to someone else?

Ash dresses her friends by Fu Wenzheng is a wonderful story about friendship, sharing, kindness and the beauty of being able to make things yourself.

Ash is a shy little bird and she doesn’t have many friends until she starts to use her wonderful gift – her ability to create clothing and objects from a beautiful piece of red material.

Ash creates many things including a shirt, arm chair cover, a dress and a scarf! She spreads her ability and love all over the neighbourhood and brings joy to so many through the simple act of kindness.

Ash could have kept the red material all to herself and made so many wonderful things from it but she chose to share and make other animals lives happier.

Ash dresses her friends is a wonderful story about how we can be kind to others, how we can share our gifts to make others happy and how we can make things on our own.

Many of us resort to the shops to buy things for friends – perhaps this book will inspire you to make something of your own next time a friend needs a present, a pick me up or just a reminder of how important they are in your life.

The illustrations really highlight the friendships being developed, the happiness each gift brings and the vibrancy of the material Ash uses in each creation.

I loved the red material Ash used and hopefully one day I might just find something made out of it!

So what else can you do at home?

SELF ESTEEM

  • Explore the gifts your child has. Talk to them about what they can do to make others happy and to show them how special they both are.
  • Look at how Ash felt shy and sad and explore times your child has felt like this.
  • How do friends make us feel good?

SUSTAINABILITY

  •  Ash made things herself out of one piece of material. Where do your clothes come from and who made them? Can you make the effort to buy more clothes from locally and ethically made sources?
  • Explore the Fashion revolution to see how you can be more aware of how your clothes were made, what they are made of and where they go once you have finished with them.

ART

  • Explore the techniques used by Fu (contrast between red and black/grey) and how this impacted the story. Create your own artwork using two contrasting colours.
  • Create your own print like the red material.

COMMUNITY

  • How can you play a bigger role in your community? Explore different groups or community days and how you can be a part of them so you know more people around you.

BUY FROM FISHPOND NOW – CLICK BELOW

Ash Dresses Her Friends

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The silver sea by Alison Lester and Jane Godwin

Let’s go down to the silver sea, come on, I’ll hold your hand.

A magical adventure written by Alison Lester, Jane Godwin and the children at The Royal Children’s Hospital , The Silver Sea, is an exploration of life under the sea, it’s magic and wonder.

Two small children slip out of their house and take to the sea – looking after each other as they explore a world they have never seen before. They splash with dolphins, swim with turtles and ride upon a whale. They explore the ocean with wonderment and awe and with their joint courage they explore the deep dark depths to find luminous monsters and the reedy home of sea dragons.

The two return back to land with new knowledge of the hidden world below and perhaps with a new outlook on life now that they know the many secrets hidden underneath.

Each page is filled with an abundance of colour through the collage of illustrations drawn by the children of TRCH.

We spent quite a bit of time looking how different animals had been drawn and coloured in and wondered who may have created them.

We also pondered about the names written on the end pages and talked about if these children were well enough to leave hospital yet.

This collaboration must have brought a lot of joy to the children who were stuck in hospital and it is wonderful to see projects like this taking place.

The Silver Sea by Alison Lester and Jane Godwin is a colourful story that you’ll love to read and all the profits will go towards helping the children at RCH to have more fun while their getting better in hospital.

What else can you do with this story?

VISUAL ART

– Explore the different art techniques used in this story: stencilling, water colour, wax crayon resist

– As a class write a story and create a collage to match in with the theme of each page. Remembering that the individual differences add more to the story.

LITERACY

– This is a sweet adventure story. Create a story about a place you would love to explore. Who would you take with you and what would you do?

– Rhyme. Rhyming books are difficult to create. Can you create a rhyming story about an adventure you would like to go on?

– Write a description of your favourite ocean animal. It may be one in the story or one they haven’t included.

SCIENCE

– Explore the different life cycles of sea animals.

– Learn about the life cycles of animals that live in the darkest parts of the ocean.

SUSTAINABLITY

– How can we make sure our oceans stay as beautiful as this one in The Silver Sea? Write down 5 things you can do in your life to help the ocean stay this way.

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 The Silver Sea

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What’s at the end of this piece of rope? by Tania Cox and Jedda Robaard.

What’s at the end of this piece of rope? 

Do you leave it? Pull it? Or ask some friends to help you investigate? 

All this is explored through a simple and fun text written by Tania Cox and Illustrated by Jedda Robaard.

With a repeated refrain : What’s at the end of this piece of rope? , a small girl enlists the help of many friends to help her to work out where this tightly held rope is anchored to.

Working together is a key concept in this story and with engaging and fun illustrations, young children will see how important and fun team work can be.

The young reader will love chanting the refrain and also wondering which animal friend will help next. You can ask questions to your young reader as you skip along through the pages helping them to develop their inquiry based thinking.

Enjoy reading this book aloud or encourage your early reader to read to you. Not only is this book a great early reader it is also a great book to spend time perusing through the images of the animals who fill up this book with warmth.

Buy Now – click here: What’s at the End of this Piece of Rope?

What else can you do with this book?

  • Question – what else can be at the end of a piece of rope?
  • Question – should we always pull ropes by ourselves?
  • Question -Why do we need other people to help us sometimes?
  • Which animals are in this story, write down their names and the countries that they come from.
  • Look at the sounds they make as they pull the rope. Can you think of some other sounds that you might make when something is heavy?
  • Why are there not many words in this picture book? Explore the importance of pictures.
  • Please and thank you are used quite a bit in this story – why are these words important?

You hold me up by Monique Gray Smith and Danielle Daniel.

The four words : You hold me up ring throughout this picture book, highlighting the importance of family, trust, friendship and love.

Written by two Canadian authors, this story highlights the damage done by the government to indigenous children in the past and at times, now.

A pertinent issue for many countries around the world, and as an Australian, something we need to do more about.  

Children being taken from their families, never to see them again was something that happened all too often and the stories that are emerging from this are atrocious.

Many of these children and families are on a long path to healing and can only do this with the support of the community around them.

This story reminds us that we are all human and that we all need love, respect and dignity.

Monique Gray Smith has written this with the littlest people in mind and hopes to encourage dialogue among children, their families and educators.

Danielle Daniel’s illustrations are vibrant and full of warmth and love. Each picture oozes the strength of each relationship and the bond held between the people involved.

Read this story with those around you and as you do, you will realise how important it is to hold everyone in our community up.

So what else can you do with this book?

  • Think about how you can support those in your family when they are sad, have experienced something difficult or are just having a bad day.
  • Investigate the Indigenous people of your country. How have they been treated in the past and how are they treated now?
  • How do books like this inspire change? Can books inspire change?
  • Look at the technique used by Danielle Daniels: bright colours, focus on faces and how we can draw emotion into people. Experiment with your own way of exploring happiness, love and support in art.

Ruben by Bruce Whatley

Ruben’s dreams were of places that made no sense to him. Places that didn’t exist. At least not anymore.

Ruben, a young boy lives on the outskirts of a damaged, abandoned and futuristic city. Every day when he wakes he writes about his dreams and flicks through images of places he once knew.

Living alone, Ruben often wanders the streets, avoiding the huge machines that live in Block city who destroy things humans need for survival – freedom, safety and knowledge.

One day, on his way through the city in search of food and water, he discovers Koji, another child who is also alone. Together they understand each other, share secrets and dream of escaping on one of the fast trains that leave the destroyed city.

Bruce Whatley is a master illustrator who has created this whole world in black and white – giving it the grim and abandoned feel it needs. Readers will pour over the illustrations for hours as they journey with Ruben hoping that he can escape this formidable place.

Although set in the future, the sketches of objects Bruce Whatley has included, pull on our own heart strings and lead us to think – what if? Children of all ages will ponder the possibility of places in our world that already look like this or the possibly of our own country looking like this if we don’t care for others around us.

This Dystopian world that Ruben lives in is one that young children can enter without the violence of many other Dystopian fiction books on the market.

I have explored this book with some Gifted Year 4 students and they have thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Ruben and then creating a Dystopian world of their own.

So what can you do? 

GRASPS Task – – Ruben by Bruce Whatley

GOAL: You are going to create your own dystopian world using as many as the key areas as you can.

ROLE You are the engineer of this futuristic society. You are the designer of the people, their plight and their place.

AUDIENCE You need to create a world that will appeal to readers aged 8-12. .

SITUATION : In the book market there are many fiction books set in Dystopian worlds but they are for older readers and any are full of violence. You need to create a dystopian world without violence. There are many other ways the world can become dystopian so use your create juices and move away from the violence we hear about in the older books.

PRODUCT. The world you create needs to be a combination of things so we can get a true insight into this world. You can use: Diary entries, maps, posters, sketches, storytelling, newspaper articles, radio correspondence etc.

You will be marked out of 15.

STANDARDS and CRITERIA [INDICATORS]

 

1 2 3
Key areas of a dystopian world. Student has used 3 key areas in their dystopian world Student has used 5 key areas in their dystopian world Student has used 6 r more key areas in their dystopian world.
Understand how texts vary in complexity and technicality depending on the approach to the topic, the purpose and the intended audience (ACELA1490 Student has developed three different types of texts to engage the audience Student has developed four different types of texts to engage the audience Student has developed five or more different types of texts to engage the audience
Discuss how authors and illustrators make stories exciting, moving and absorbing and hold readers’ interest by using various techniques, for example character development and plot tension (ACELT1605 Outline how they developed characters and settings briefly. Outline how they developed characters and settings in details. Outline how they developed characters and settings in detail and respond to questions with good explanation.
Create literary texts by developing storylines, characters and settings (ACELT1794 Outline the basic process of creating this Dystopian world. Discuss how characters were developed and how they fit into the world created. consider how and why particular traits for a character have been chosen. Discuss in details why the setting has been created and how the idea was developed.
Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive print and multimodal texts, choosing text structures, language features, images and sound appropriate to purpose and audience (ACELY1704 Many errors made in final draft with little editing present. Some mistakes made in final products wth some editing present. Excellent final product with little or no mistakes.

 

 

 

Endangered animals – The Global Guardian Project

Does someone in your family love animals  or perhaps someone in your family needs to learn more about animals??

Well – This capsule created by The Global Guardian Project is one for you to give a go.

We loved exploring the different animals written about in this capsule and learnt so much about what endangered actually means, how animals become endangered and how we can help them.

This capsule provides many outside links to different associations who help these animals – which really resonated with my children. They found it empowering to see that people were making a difference in the world and it helped them to see that they too can do something.

This capsule also provided Geometric colouring pages – a different way to colour in and a world map to print out (we didn’t print it but instead drew one) and pinpoint where the different animals in this capsule were from.

The Global Guardian Project is a great way to educate and empower your children about the world around them AND they have just released a Junior capsule for younger children.

I am offering a special code – GGPVANESSA for you to use and receive a 10% discount on any capsule you wish to trial.

Hope to see you there soon!

Koalas eat gum leaves by Laura and Phil Bunting

Do you actually know exactly what koalas eat?

Are you sure?

Perhaps you’d better read this to find out….

Koalas eat gum leaves by Laura and Phil Bunting is a fun filled book where you learn a little more than you bargained for about koalas.

We all know they eat gum leaves for every meal but one little koala is tired of these eucalyptus treats so he sets his eyes on something a little bit more delicious.

Not only will the young reader love the story, they will also enjoy looking at the extra messages within the pictures – the simple change of where the eyes are looking, the movement of the sun in the sky and the arm or leg movement to show something else the koala might be thinking.

Koalas eat gum leaves by Laura and Phil Bunting is a cleverly written story and despite it’s humour there are some lovely hidden messages to find and discuss after you have finished reading.

P.S. Don’t forget to stare at the end pages for at least 5 minutes!

What else can you do with this book?

RESEARCH

– What do koalas eat? Where do they live? Are they endangered?

WONDER

– What would happen if Koalas did eat human food as part of their diet?

THINK

– Why is the koala a national icon? Aren’t there any other animals worthy of this? Choose another animal that should be part of the tourist trail and convince others why.

INVESTIGATE

– How is ice cream made? Can you make your own ice cream? By making your own ice cream,not only are you cutting out the plastic container you are also using fresh and natural ingredients (go on, have a read of the back of the packet…)

CREATE

– Create some different Australian flavoured ice creams. Could you create some that animals could eat? You will need to investigate the diet of each animal .

Brave and strong, All day long. By Elizabeth Cummings

 

Today I’m taking part in the Just write for Kids Books on Tour and I’m happy to introduce Elizabeth Cummings and her latest picture book from her Verityville series, Brave and Strong All Day Long, as a part of her Books On Tour promotion.

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Summer is coming and it’s time to hit the beach don’t you think?

Many people love going to the beach to relax and it’s even better when the weather is warm enough to swim.

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Thankfully, in Australia, many of our beaches are patrolled by lifegaurds who are there to watch over us as we swim underneath the waves, ride the waves or try to run away from them!

Brave and strong all day long by Elizabeth Cummings is a short and simple picture book with a big message – the importance of lifeguards.

Lifeguards need to be confident, strong and brave all day long, they need to be able to help those in need, teach people how to swim safely in the surf and most importantly ensure that everyone returns back to their towels at the end of their swim!

This book, brought to life with Johanna Roberts’ vibrant and informative illustrations, tells us the story about Fiona, a young girl who became a lifeguard. She loves surfing and has enough confidence to be able to help those in need. Not only can Fiona help swimmers caught in rips she can also help fishermen and surfers!

Young children will enjoy reading this story and learning about what lifeguards do. The images reflect what a lifeguards uniform looks like so readers will know who to look out for if they need help at the beach.  There is also a great drawing of a rip – a great way to start a conversation about this ever present danger in the water and perhaps the chance for further research so your children know what one of these looks like.

Brave and strong, all day long has been self published along with many other wonderful creations by Elizabeth and Johanna. Raising awareness of the important role lifeguards play in society is something we all need to do so we do not take these wonderful volunteers for granted.

Check out her website and consider some of her other great titles as well! https://elizabethmarycummings.com/book-store/

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“For more information on blog tours at Books On Tour please visit www.justkidslit.com/books-on-tour.” Thanks so much. Please let me know if there’s anything else you need.

So what else can you do after you have read this book?

  • ENGAGE: Visit the beach and watch what the lifeguards do – perhaps even talk to one and see what they have been up to!
  • INVESTIGATE: Why the flags are placed up and how they help us.
  • INVESTIGATE: Learn more about rips here: https://beachsafe.org.au/surf-safety/ripcurrents
  • ASK: Why do lifeguards wear long sleeve tops and hats. Investigate sun safety and why we need to cover up.
  • THINK: What sort of sun cream do you use? Why are there so many types out there and are they all the same?
  • RESEARCH: Where and when did surfing originate? Why do lifeguards use boards to rescue people?

 

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Molly the Pirate by Lorraine Teece

“Molly lived a long way from the sea, but every day she wished she was a pirate”

Molly is a little girl with a great imagination. She lives in the red dirt of the Australian outback with her mum, a cat, a dog and three chooks but nothing is stopping her from dancing a jig with a pirate, steering a pirate ship or fighting Captain Chicken!

Lorraine Teece has brought this little girls vivid imagination to life through action, adventure and fun filled description of life aboard a pirate ship. Teamed together with Paul Seden’s colourful and movement filled illustrations, Molly the pirate is a great book for young readers.

Children will be inspired to use their own imagination after they have read this book – noticing that sometimes those every day boring looking objects can be turned into something a lot more fun.

A clothes basket could turn into a pirate ship.

A backyard chook into a fearsome pirate

A washing line into a sail .

Many children lack these skills of imagination as they have so many screens and toys to amuse them. Molly the Pirate shows us that with a little bit of creativity we can make any imaginary world come to life!

Perhaps you’ll start to look at the washing basket a little bit differently next time you take it out to hang on the line….

So what else can you do?

  • CREATE: Encourage imagination!! Instead of buying your children more toys take them outside to a park or natural setting and let them play and imagine up worlds.
  • INVESTIGATE: Take a look at your clothes line – who invented this and why? Why should we dry our clothes on the clothes line instead of the dryer?
  • LEARN: Do you have backyard chooks? Where do your eggs come from? Investigate the best types of eggs to buy if you can’t have chooks of your own.
  • RESEARCH: Where is the red dirt of Australia? Investigate which towns live on red dirt and why it is red.
  • WONDER: Did chickens ever travel on pirate ships? Find out more about pirates and why they existed and how they still exist now.

New Zealand: Global Guardian Project E-capsule

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Interested in learning more about New Zealand? Then this might just be the capsule that starts you and your family on your journey to becoming a Global Guardian.

I’ve been to New Zealand but what was contained in this e-capsule opened my eyes up to many things I didn’t know about this beautiful place.

As you work through this capsule you will learn about endangered animals who are being cared for by conservationists and scientists, learn about the traditional culture of this island which still plays a large role in modern society and some modern day change makers.

Your children will love the colouring in pages that support the written information about  the yellow eyed penguin, guided meditation to help children learn to be still and appreciate the sounds around them and within themselves and a simple action challenged to make you think more about the single use of balloons.

Children will delight in the images and stories of other young change makers and perhaps inspire you to jump online to see more of New Zealand or perhaps even a trip there one day.

The e-capsules created by the Global Guardian Project are written to inspire global awareness. We all need to be aware of who also inhabits the planet with us and that we can al make small and meaningful differences to make the world a better place for all.

If you think you would like to join the tribe go to their website:

https://globalguardianproject.com/collections/individual-digital-learning-capsules/products/new-zealand-learning-capsule

And use my discount code for 10% off. GGPVanessa

You won’t regret it and your children will love it!

T-Veg: The story of a carrot crunching dinosaur by Smritti Prasadam-Halls

Have you ever considered becoming a Vegetarian? Or perhaps even a Veganism?

Did you get hassled? Questioned? Teased?

Reginald the T-Rex does – and he is not happy about it.


Reginald is a fierce T-Rex, he can run fast, jump high and roar very loudly! However,  he just doesn’t want to eat meat – he wants to eat carrot cake, vegetable stew and banana berry cake instead!! His friends laugh at him and tell him that there he cannot be  T-Rex if he is to continue these veggie eating ways and with this, Reginald walks away.

He tries to befriend some other herbivores but when they just run away he tries to act like a herbivore but finds it too boring. Sad and confused Reginald heads for home – only to find that his T-Rex friends really do need him – and it’s lucky that he has returned!

This book, written in rhyme is a fun adventure into the world of vegetarianism and acceptance of everyone – no matter what they eat, look like or believe in. Children will learn that everyone is equal, special and has something to add to the community.

Katherine Manolessou’s illustrations are bright and energetic and she makes Reginald an easy to love T-Veg – Rex.

Perhaps you have never considered a carrot crunching dinosaur to send a message about Vegetarianism or acceptance of differences – but written in fast paced rhyme, this book does just that.

Perhaps it’s time you enjoyed some more vegetarian meals!

So what can you do at home?

SUSTAINABILITY

– Try to have a meat free day once a week then progress to twice a week….it can be done!! A current favourite of ours is: Pumpkin and Peanut Butter curry

– Source your meat from organic and local companies. It may mean spending more money but just use less – add more vegetables to the dish instead!

– Try adding more vegetables to your meals and snack – they create less waste

– Do you have a compost bin? Worm farm? All those extra scraps can go this way!

Want to become a global guardian?

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Join now and receive 10% off with my unique code: GGPVanessa


Buy Biome products now and keep your home and the world sustainable and eco friendly

 

Bouncing Bouncing Little Joeys: A bush Christmas by Lesley Gibbes

Have you started to think about Christmas yet?


If you’re anything like the little joeys in this story you’ll be thinking about all the different things that need to be done in time for Christmas day.

The busy little joeys in this story are not the quiet kind, they are full of energy and eager to decorate the house and Christmas tree – all in time for Christmas day!

Written with rhyme and repetition, young children will love reading this story and watching the little joey and his family have fun together bringing about Christmas cheer!

Doris Chang’s illustrations are cleverly drawn, showing the reader the key part of the joey’s actions. The colours she has used reflect summer in Australia – the parched greens, brown earth and the wildlife that abounds in backyards!

Bouncing bouncing little joeys: A bush Christmas is a fun way to inspire some homemade family fun and because of the rhyme and repetition, children can be involved in the storytelling.

So what else can you do with this book?

Literacy

  •  List all of the verbs used in this story. What other verbs might you use to describe actions when you are getting ready for Christmas?
  • Choose a part of the Christmas tree and write your own descriptive sentence that may have rhyme, repetition and descriptive adjectives.

Science

 

 

Go litterless

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Did you manage to catch the program War on Waste run on the ABC earlier this year? If you did you still might be a bit confused about how you are going to reduce the amount of waste you produce each year without compromising your lifestyle. Working, caring for your kids and then your own sanity are important – but isn’t the health of the planet also something we need to consider too?

The E-capsule, ‘Go Litterless’ created by Global Guardian Project, is a great place to start you and your family on their path to creating less waste in your household.

This capsule contains information about:

– What being litter less means

  • How we can recycle at home through our bin systems
  • How we can compost at home therefore creating less waste in our rubbish bins
  • Free downloadable to inspire your family everyday!
  • Simple family activities to get you thinking about the litter you create.
  • Recipes and ideas to inspire litter less lunches
  • Book reviews
  • Challenges to inspire and educate

For as little as $6.99 you can own this e-capsule and begin on your journey to becoming a Global Guardian. (and take off 10% through my discount code GGPVanessa)

So what are you waiting for?

‘Go Litterless’ is an inspiring and simple to use e-capsule. You might surprise yourself and realise that you are making small changes already. This e-learning magazine has free colouring in pages, colourful printable to stick around the house and family activities you can pin up on the fridge. There is no overload of information here but simple tips to start you on your journey.

Subscribe here today

The second sky by Patrick Guest and Jonathon Bentley

Great things happen when we reach for the sky


Gilbert is a newly hatched penguin and we meet him as he cracks open his egg and looks up towards the sky. He sees flying storm petrels, shearwaters and wandering albatrosses.

He wants to fly too.

Not knowing his own limitations Gilbert sets off on a mission to fly into the sky with the sea birds. He wants to reach the stars, bath in the moonlight and glide through the clouds.

He moves his little wings but they don’t flap as gracefully, he climbs a mountain to soar down below and he grew his feathers as fast as he could but they just weren’t working!

Gilbert shows persistence throughout his failures and never shows that he wants to give up.

And that’s when Gilbert discovers the amazing underwater world that so many of us forget about. He sees the stars, he sees mountain tops and he sees forests. And down deep, down under the water – he finds that he can fly.

Gilbert the penguin is a strong, persistent, creative and determined character – traits that we need to encourage in our children. We need to show them that they can do anything and when they can’t, perhaps they need to look at the world in a different way.

The illustrations by Jonathon Bentley reflect the cold of  Antartica and the stillness of the wintry sky. The story and illustrations portray a very calming atmosphere despite the actions of little Gilbert.

We meet different sea birds and see the varying landscape of sea and sky – a beautiful adventure for any reader to embark upon.

So what else can you do with this book?

 – List the different traits Gilbert has and compare them to yourself. How do you show strength and determination like Gilbert?

– List the different verbs used to describe Gilbert;s movements and then the verbs used to describe how the birds moved.

– Look at the various shades of blue throughout the story – how many can you find and do they have different names?

– What is under the water apart from animals? Examine plants and the geography of oceans. There are mountains, valleys, volcanoes and forests!

– Find out more about penguins and where they live.

– Explore the life cycle of a penguin

– Are any penguins endangered and why?

– Find out more about the various sea birds that live in Antartica. Are they migratory birds or do they live here all year long?

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/

Or like my page – educateempower on facebook. 

The street beneath my feet by Charlotte Guillain and Yuval Zommer

Have you ever wondered what is underneath the road, path or bush track you are walking on?

Have you ever dug down just a little and noticed a change in soil type or creatures?


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Well this just might be the book for you!  The street beneath my feet by Charlotte Guillain and Yuval Zommer is not only a colourful and informative book, it also folds out to around three metres in length! 

As you unfold each page you are taken deeper and deeper underground , exploring different life forms, buried rubbish, fossils, ancient artefacts, underground rivers and different types of rock.

This book will ignite so many conversations of how we use the underground world for our own benefit and perhaps might make you think what we are destroying in order to get to rocks like coal which we seem to think we desperately need.

Children will love to see the hot lava and magma which bubbles underneath our feet and the glorious gemstones which are created by this heat.

Rocks and different parts of soil are so important to the health of plants and animals which live on earth and through reading this book you can really talk about the importance of looking after the soil by thinking about what you throw in the bin, what you place down the drain and how you dig things up!

But overall I think the winning aspect of this book is the fact that is does fold out and the children can move through the soils – gaining some idea of the depth soil goes to.

A great read and one for budding environmentalists, scientists, historians and geographers!

So what else can you do?

 – Have a read of another book about soil

– Dig a hole and look at how the colour changes as you go down. Look at what is in the soil sample – animals, insects, rocks or rubbish?

– Conduct your own science experiment and see the best type of soils for plants to grow in. Learn about how much of a role soil plays in the life of a seed. Try sand, dry dirt, wet dirt, potting mix, compost etc. Place them all in the same location and give them a similiar amount of water. Predict and then watch!

– Explore the rocks we use for buildings, science and energy. Where do they come from? How do we get them out? Are they running out and are there alternatives?

– Could you create another book in this style? What could the topics be?

Want to become a global guardian?

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Join now and receive 10% off with my unique code: GGPVanessa


Buy Biome products now and keep your home and the world sustainable and eco friendly

Global Guardian Project

Have you heard of the Global Guardian Project?  This project is something I recently stumbled across and has been something I have been thinking about for a while – how can I help parents empower their children?

The Global Guardian project is the answer.

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Each month they release a new module which focuses on a variety of topics that help families to be inspired and empowered to make differences in their world.

Perhaps you too want to raise children who do care for the planet more than perhaps we have or our own parents have. We want to give them the tools so they can stand up and make a difference!

The Global Guardian Project is another tool you can use at home to create positive habits, learn new facts and challenge each other to become more creative and critical thinkers.

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I will be reviewing several capsules in my blog and I invite you to read these reviews and think about becoming a Global Guardian member.

So how much does it cost?

The wonderful part of the GGP is that you can choose how much you want to spend. You can nominate from as little as $6.99 a month to $12.99 a month.

How do I become a member?

If you sign up through my blog and use my code you will receive a 10% discount on any membership that you choose.

Ready to sign up?

Discount code: GGPVanessa

Sign up link: https://globalguardianproject.com/pages/digital-learning-capsule-subscription

Hope to see you in the GGP group soon!

Draw a story

This month, The Australian Children’s Laureate, Leigh Hobbs has suggested that we focus on drawing a story.


The idea behind drawing a story is to show how much the illustrations can change how we see the story. The illustrations can give us the viewpoint of someone or something in the story or just allow us to be observers.

Illustrations can help us to feel stronger emotions or to understand what the author really means.

Illustrations play a vital role in picture books and allow us to stop and think about what we have just read, search the page for more meaning and look at how different illustrators portray ideas.

There are more great graphic novels coming out – picture book and comic style.  And these types of books are a great place to start looking at how illustrations can tell a story all on thier own.

There are some wonderful ideas on the website and also an event but how can you use these ideas if you don’t have access to the books at home or at your school?

  • Last week my son (3) and I sat down. He drew three pictures then put them in order and told me a story as he looked back on what he had drawn. He learnt how to sequence the story, how to start a story and how to finish it – He even managed a complication in between! It was fun, it was easy and he learnt a lot – learning doesn’t always have to be formalised when it comes to books!
  • Explore Graphic novels that I have reviewed: Illegal, The arrival
  • Find an image and make up your own story. Try Bronwyn Bancroft’s art

Exploring soils by Samantha Grover and Camille Heisler

Have you ever wondered what is underneath the grass you walk upon?

Have you ever scooped up some dirt and examined the life that teemed out of it?

Have you ever noticed the different colours of soil on your bushwalk or sand at beach?

Exploring soils by Dr Samantha Grover and Camille Heisler is a informative picture book that takes us on a journey through a young child’s eyes as they explore how plants and animals live in soil, how soils are formed and how they are essential in our lives.


Having two young children I have rediscovered the joy of dirt – yes really! Although it does create mess, there is so much to see inside of it. As we dig in our backyard or down in the local park we have discovered so many interesting insects, old junk and pieces of rock.

The collaboration between Grover and Heilser is remarkable. As facts are brought to life through story, the illustrations match so that we can see the layers of soil, see the tiny legs on the insects and learn how water moves through soil.

The importance of soil is shown to the reader as we learn about gardening, using clay for bowls to eat out of and even different ochres that allow us to paint.

The idea of being a soil detective is not out of reach for any young reader and in fact I found this book a great way for children to take a closer look at the soil. There really are hours of discussion to be had around soil and this book is a really great way to start that discussion. Without healthy moving soil we would not have the planet we have today!

So what can you do with this book?

  • Go outside and dig a hole! Start with a small hole and see what is in that space. Write down what you see, draw what you see and compare different spaces around the backyard or park.
  • Learn about the soil that is in your area and how it is different from soil in another part of our suburb or city.
  • Explore why we need healthy soil by conducting an experiment. Try to grow some sunflower seeds in sand, rocky soil, old soil and fresh new living soil. Which one grows best when all given the same conditions?

BUY NOW – click below.

Exploring Soils: A Hidden World Underground

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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?

Magic Fish Dreaming by June Perkins

I’m writing this story in a bottle lost at sea…..

 

Magic Fish Dreaming by June Perkins is a collection of poems for children that ignite imagination, incite dreaming and explore the great land and wildlife of Australia.


Poetry is not something I read a lot of – but after reading Magic Fish Dreaming by June Perkins I believe it is something I should do more often.

Not only did I enjoy the diverse range of poems included in this book but the children I read it to lapped it up.

My son asked me to read the poem about the Cassowary several times over along with Pond Pests and Magic Fish Dreaming. We loved the rhyme in some poems, the storytelling within others and the speech between families.

Each poem told a different story and really ignited conversations about fairy teeth, why a Cassowary wasn’t at his home and the possibility of us going on an adventure in a bottle.

June Perkin’s poems are short yet effervescent. They are perfect for reading out loud and some of these poems can also be read as a group. Helen Magisson’s delicate pastel illustrations compliment each poem and add more mystery to those poems which make you sit and wonder; what if?

Not only are these poems full of imaginative places they also bring up issues of endangered animals, loss of habitat and the importance of respecting the land. The beauty of these poems that talk about cane toad invasion and loss of natural habitat is that the message can be quickly understood – something that is really important when trying to educate young children.

Magic Fish Dreaming is a wonderful anthology and one to share with your young children.

 

So what can you do at home?

 

  • Read the poems out loud – which poems can you read together? Which poems have different characters?
  • Find the poems that have rhyme – do you prefer poems with or without rhyme?
  • Which animals are mentioned in the story are endangered? Find out where these animals live and why they are endangered.
  • What are cane toad poles? Why are cane toads pests?
  • Rain is mentioned in a few poems – explore how rain can help and hinder the people and animals of the land.
  • Choose a favourite poem and create a short story from this poem. You could explore the idea of writing a story from a bottle or perhaps finding your own fairy tooth.

 

National Threatened species day

Today is National threatened species day and a great day to pull out a book so you can learn more about an animal that is in need of help.

What is a threatened species?

A threatened species is an animal or plant that has numbers which are becoming lower. This could be due to loss of habitat, feral animals or disease.

Why celebrate?

This day is celebrated in order to raise awareness of how we can start to reverse the decline in numbers and reflect on the past – where we have let animals become critically endangered or extinct.

What can you do?

Pick up some books:

CLICK ON IMAGE TO BUY FROM FISHPOND – FREE DELIVERY! 

Koala Phasmid: Saving the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect Rhino in the House: The Story of Saving Samia One Small Island   A-Z of Endangered Animals

CLICK ON IMAGE TO READ BOOK REVIEW AND TEACHER NOTES

Koala by Claire Saxby

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Phasmid by Rohan Cleve

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Rhino in the House by Daniel Kirk

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A-Z of Endangered animals by

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One small island  by Alison Lester

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Create a poster to share with otherscheck out my blog post on this activity.

Encourage a public speaking competition where children creatively teach others about endangered species

Write your own stories about an endangered animal who has been saved just like Rhino in the House or Phasmid or The Hairy Nosed Wombats Find a new home.  

Check out my simple lesson plan here: Writing a non fiction picture book

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What will do to to help children learn more on threatened species day?

Swimming on the Lawn by Yasmin Hamid

The idea of swimming on top of freshly mown grass which has been swamped by fresh water conjures up ideas of the simple and care free nature that comes with being a child. This scene, amongst others in Swimming on the Lawn by Yasmin really sums up how beautiful childhood can be when we are free to take life slowly, not worry about money, war or jobs and just play with our friends and imagination.


Swimming on the Lawn by Yasmin Hamid is a cleverly written fiction book written for 10-15 year olds. Written from the perspective of young Farida, the reader explores life in Sudan before the war consumes the nation.

Farida is a carefree, playful and imaginative girl who not only enjoys helping her mother around the house also enjoys learning about the world around her. Farida has an English  Mother, A sudanese Father and sister and two brothers and experiences traditional Sudanese culture on a daily basis but also learns English and some western ways from her mother.

Hot beans for breakfast, endless cups of tea, outdoor meals and stifling heat are all part of growing up in Sudan. Visits to the local library by foot, picking oranges with neighbours and helping out with a friend’s mother birth are something perhaps foreign to many children in the western world.

Through the eyes of Farida we learn about the Sudanese traditions of prayer, mourning ceremonies and important religious days. The reader is also exposed to each chapter being written in English and Arabic.

Swimming on the Lawn is a quiet read and through the simple short stories there is so much to learn about a life devoid of electronic devices, fast food and a fast life. The childhood of Farida and her siblings seems idyllic until the war begins – and we all know where that has led the nation that once flourished.

Fremantle Press have provided some thought provoking teacher notes for you to use. It is a great book to debrief about and explore more about how children in other countries live.  This book can be used to ignite children into thinking about how they can make their life a bit slower and a bit more playful.