Archive | January 2020

Love from the Crayons

Love from the Crayons

Love from the Crayons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love from the Crayons

Drew Daywalt

Oliver Jeffers

HarperCollins, 2019

32pp., hbk., RRP $A14.99

 9780008384920

Love is yellow and orange.
Because love is sunny and warm.

Join the Crayons as they bring us another charming tale,  this time about how love is many colours depending on how we are feeling and what we are doing at the time. 

Explore how love can be shown in so many ways apart from saying those three words, and then take it further by investigating how we often assign colours to our emotions and how colours can affect and reflect our moods. 

Something charming for Valentine’s Day and Library Lovers’ Day.

Edie’s Experiments 1: How to Make Friends

Edie's Experiments 1: How to Make Friends

Edie’s Experiments 1: How to Make Friends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edie’s Experiments 1: How to Make Friends

Charlotte Barkla

Sandy Flett

Puffin, 2020 

240pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781760891770

“If there is one piece of advice I can give you for your first day at a new school, it’s this: avoid sliming your entire classroom. Even if it’s only an accident, you’ll probably end up in trouble with your new teacher…or your classmates… or your new principal. Or with all of them, like I did.” 

Edie loves science so when she starts at a new school she decides to treat it like a giant experiment but after a number of debacles she realises that making new friends isn’t an exact science. 

This is a new series for the independent young reader and perfect for this time of the year when there will be many like Edie who are starting at a new school and whose greatest concern is how they will make friends in this new environment when friendships groups are long established.  Interspersed with experiments and illustrations, this would make the perfect read-aloud to explore how to make new friends when you are just that bit older and inhibitions and uncertainties have already started to creep in. It works for both sides of the fence – those who already know each other and are unsure of how a new person might change the group dynamic, as well as the newcomer who might not resort to sliming the classroom but who feels they have to prove their worth in this new situation.  It might even inspire an interest in science – can making friends become an experiment? Is there a list of ingredients or elements and a procedure to follow?  And if there are, what could go wrong and why? How do human characteristics intervene on even the best plans? 

Mr Archimedes’ Bath

Mr Archimedes' Bath

Mr Archimedes’ Bath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr Archimedes’ Bath

Pamela Allen

Angus & Robertson, 2020

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781460758960

Forty years ago, even very young children knew who the Greek mathematician Archimedes was as they explored the physics of water displacement alongside him as he tried to work out who was responsible for making the bath overflow when he and his animal friends got in. Is it Kangaroo, Goat or Wombat?  Surely it can’t be Archimedes himself????

In this celebratory anniversary release of this favourite children’s classic, a whole new generation of children can explore the same phenomenon with new teaching notes written by me!  Work science and maths into your program to demonstrate how the information literacy process is embedded  across the curriculum and set up your students for a load of fun as they replicate Mr Archimedes’ investigations!!!  And introduce them to a classic story at the same time, one they will be wanting to share in another 40 years.

 

Nullaboo Hullabaloo

Nullaboo Hullabaloo

Nullaboo Hullabaloo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nullaboo Hullabaloo

Fleur Ferris

Puffin, 2019

256pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9780143787143

“In faraway Nullaboo, Gemma Hart’s day isn’t going well. Her family might be evicted from their farm, and her science competition topic is march flies. How can she possibly win against perfect Nina, who gets to study butterflies?

But wait, that’s not a feather in Gemma’s special bug catcher . . . it’s a fairy!

Janomi the fairy isn’t supposed to talk to humans, but desperately needs help. Her grandfather has been captured by the silver spiders. Gemma agrees to help Janomi, and to keep the fairies’ existence a secret. But her bug catcher has recorded their conversation – and Nina finds it.

With a media frenzy taking over Nullaboo, a secret government agency barges in to take control, and suddenly the fairy colony is under an even bigger threat. Gemma and her kooky family, school and resourceful neighbours must take matters into their own hands in an against-all-odds bid to save the last fairy colony on Earth.”

This is a novel for those readers who are independent readers but who still love stories about fairies or for the parent looking for an engaging read-aloud for the bedtime story. With its focus on the environment and a community working together to preserve it, it is a timely tale in these days where even our younger students are aware of terms like “global warming” and “climate change”.  Regardless of our beliefs when it comes to the crunch we can put aside our egos and differences and work together. A meaty read that will entertain as well as provoke thought. 

 

Coming Home To Country

Coming Home To Country

Coming Home To Country

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Home To Country

Bronwyn Bancroft

Little Hare, 2020

24pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781760501921

The saying “there’s no place like home” has never been expressed so poignantly as in this new book from leading indigenous artist Bronwyn Bancroft who always creates a visual feast accompanied by lyrical text. The young girl is coming home across the old wrinkled hills, through the palette of “leaf green, red rust, yellow ochre, deep blue and crimson”  to draw in the breath of the valley, listen to the bird orchestra, slip into crystal clear waters and be held in the embrace of her ancestors. 

“This is peace” and even with its bright colours and traditional busy patterns, that is exactly the feeling that is evoked by the gentle words as they envelop the reader. With the tumultuous summer we are experiencing with such weather extremes and the insatiable fire dragon, this is the book that we and our children need so we can retreat to somewhere safe and know that there is the evidence that Mother Nature will prevail if we would only listen to those who have cared for the land for generations. In her dedication she urges her “three warriors” to keep rallying for change so that “all children can have hope for the future” and know that the fire-ravaged, desecrated landscape that they are seeing right now can heal.

A timely release as we seek to comfort those for whom everything currently seems bleak and black and silent so they know that there can and will be colour and noise and life again soon. 

Roo Knows Blue

Roo Knows Blue

Roo Knows Blue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roo Knows Blue

Renée Treml

Puffin, 2020

24pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9780143790327

As Little Roo hops along she notices all the colours of the outback but as yet she thinks they are all blue. It’s her friend Possum who helps her learn about red and yellow and all the other colours that make up the palette of this vast country.

If I see Renée Treml’s name on any book (and there have been a few now) then I know I am picking up something special for our youngest readers that will be superbly illustrated and an engaging read.  Roo Knows Blue could have been written about Miss Now Nearly 9  who also thought every colour was blue when she was a teeny one (and whose favourite colour is still any hue of blue) and so that brought back lots of lovely memories for this ageing grandmother. But it also shows that a country that we might mentally picture as being predominantly red and grey-green is alive with a rainbow of colour if we just take the time to look more closely. Imagine sharing this and then going outside to do a colour search!  Making a colour chart and then trying to find things to match, just as Little Roo did. What memories!

The language, rhyme and rhythm of the text will appeal to both reader and listener and make predictions easy while the illustrations support all that is going on, making it an excellent choice for developing those essential concepts about print that  are the foundations of literacy development. 

 

Together Things

Together Things

Together Things

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Together Things

Michelle Vasiliu

Gwynneth Jones

EK Books, 2020

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

 9781925820294

The little girl loved to do things with her dad – special things like taming wild animals, flying high in the sky and climbing rocky mountains.  But now that’s all changed because her dad is sick with an illness that no one except a special doctor can see. And he might even have to go to hospital to get better.  However, her mother is wise and she knows and explains how there are different things that the girl and her dad can do together while he gets better, maybe not as exciting as sailing stormy seas or drinking tea with the Queen, but just as important so their love stays strong.

This is a story that will resonate with many of our students as one in five adults experiences depression in their lifetime, so many will understand and empathise. Together Things helps young children to understand that, while it is okay for them to feel mad or sad about this, sometimes they must do different things together while their parent focuses on their mental health and getting better. 

Just as we are now paying attention to the mental health of our students, so too must we help them understand that they are not alone if there is such illness in their family and that they are not responsible for it.  Sharing this story and talking about how common the issue is will help those kids seeing it firsthand realise that they are not alone and that there are many ways to show and share love.  

The Creature Choir

The Creature Choir

The Creature Choir

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Creature Choir

David Walliams

Tony Ross

HarperCollins, 2019

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780008262198

Warble the walrus loved to sing and her dream was to one day take part in The Great Big Animal Talent Show.  Sadly though, her warbling was somewhat less than melodic – in fact it was shocking – and eventually the other walruses banned her from ever singing again.   While this made Warble very sad, she tried hard to stay silent but she just couldn’t and burst into song.  The consequences were disastrous – she caused an avalanche and everyone was buried in deep snow. So while Warble slept that night they all crept away leaving her alone. 

But she continued to warble and that attracted a lot of other creatures who also liked to sing but whose voices were also a little rough around the edges.  Warble never said no to any of them and soon they had a choir, one that sang all around the world and was finally ready to enter The Great Big Animal Talent Show!

Being one of those with a voice like warble who liked to sing but whose singing seemed to offend everyone (even strangers on a bus trip in the middle of nowhere at midnight!) this story really resonated with me. Being about being true to yourself and doing what you love just for the sheer joy of it, not because you believe you are the best (or even want to be) epitomises the feeling behind the mantra “Dance like nobody’s watching!”

This would be the most wonderful story to have the children imagine and make the noises the various creatures would and create their own choir that sings and dances just for joy. There could be all sorts of ways to explore tone and rhythm and how they can combine to make something that is pleasing to the ear while just having fun!

7 Steps to Get Your Child Reading

7 Steps to Get Your Child Reading

7 Steps to Get Your Child Reading

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Steps to Get Your Child Reading

Louise Park

Nené May Pierce

Allen & Unwin, 2020

256pp., pbk., RRP $A24.99

9781760524678

As the new school year approaches there is great excitement for new students as well as their parents as one of the biggest milestones in their lives approaches.  And for the little ones, no matter what else is promised, it is the prospect of learning to read that is predominant.  So much so, that for many there is great disappointment because they don’t achieve that goal on the first day!  

After almost 50 years of teaching our youngest readers to master that mysterious code of squiggles on the page, I know that it is imperative to have them able to begin their journey in both the classroom and the library from that very first day. But there is much that can be done at home in preparation for that more formal instruction and this book from author and education consultant Louise Park outlines a series of steps that parents can implement long before the classroom doors open.  

While there are many books written by many people who have experience in the literacy field from all of its diverse angles, this one focuses on the children of the tech generation where there is so much competition from screens.  It combines the traditional thinking while embracing technology so that the two are not mutually exclusive.  The seven steps are 

Step 1: Talking their way to literacy
Step 2: Reading their way to literacy
Step 3: Linking writing and reading
Step 4: Taming the tech and making it count
Step 5: Harnessing the power of book ownership
Step 6: Embracing two reading philosophies
Step 7: Finding just-right books for any age
Difficulty learning to read, write and spell

Each is set out in an appealing format with language that parents will readily understand – it’s not full of the eduspeak that so many teachers favour – yet treats them as intelligent human beings. It clearly explains what the brain is doing when we read and that there is no one-size-fits-all magic bullet simple because every child’s experiences and circumstances are different.

That 50 years of working with little ones and their parents has also taught me that when it comes to reports and interviews, it is the child’s literacy development that parents are most interested in because they know that that is the key that unlocks all the other doors.  But I also know that reading begins long before a child comes to school, that success is a partnership between parent and professional  and so providing books like this either informally or formally as part of a parent participation program can help them enormously.  As the professionals we have the responsibility to do whatever it takes to ensure the children in our care explore and explode their potential so helping their parents help them is an essential foundation. 

Beginning the night she was born!

Beginning the night she was born!

 

Under the Milky Way

Under the Milky Way

Under the Milky Way

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Under the Milky Way

Frané Lessac

Candlewick Press, 2020

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781536200959

In 2018 acclaimed Australian author Frané Lessac showed Australian children how we were all united under the Southern Cross constellation regardless of where we lived in this vast continent. Now, she has broadened the concept to the Milky Way galaxy and shows how the people of North America are united in a similar way.  Beneath a blanket of stars, crowds cheer at Little League games, campers share fireside stories, bull-riders hold on tight, and sled dogs race through falling snow — each portrayed through vivid artwork, engaging verses, and facts about the United States and Canada. To cap it off there are pages which explain the concept of galaxies, the Milky Way and how to find The Big Dipper and the North Star, iconic sights of the Northern hemisphere night sky.

A stunning book that has just an important place in the Australian school library’s collection as it does in those of North America because it begs an investigation into night and day, the night sky of the two hemispheres and how, regardless of our differences and different activitie,s we are all united under the one overarching star system.