Lottie Luna is a werewolf. She’s super-fast, super-strong and has X-ray vision. Lottie doesn’t really like to use her special skills, though – she just wants to be like everyone else. But when Lottie and her friends go camping, she finds that she might just need to – if she’s going to find out the truth about the fang fairy…
This is the third in this series for young, newly independent readers who see themselves as just like Lottie – being just regular little girls on the surface , but with a heroine not too far below the surface. Richly illustrated with all the supports needed to carry their reading journey forward, this is an ideal series to offer those looking for something new and different.
Eric loves spending summers with his grandad and this summer is even more special because Eric is going to be able to go on the fishing boat and help Grandad catch fish. However, fishing doesn’t turn out to be quite as easy as he imagined, and so Grandad gives him the important role of being the Chief Seagull Shoo-er. And when a baby seagull gets injured when it is caught in the fishing net, Eric finds himself becoming a very good carer, although letting Beaky go is going to be hard.
This is a charming story for young readers about the special bond between a child and their grandparent provoking memories about those special times they have shared together. There is a subtle message about the need for wild things to be allowed to be wild, but all in all, it’s a feel-good story about a boy and his grandfather.
Down in the seaweed and kelp forests of Australia’s southern coasts dwells a creature that looks like it has come straight from the pen of one of our children’s book illustrators. With its colourful spots and bars, long snout and tail and dingly-dangly camouflage bits it revives any loss in the belief of dragons. The little weedy sea dragon (and its cousins the leafy sea dragon and the ruby seadragon from WA) are among the fascinating creatures that live in this new world of under the water and to have had the privilege of watching their graceful mating dance remains one of my most precious scuba-diving memories.
In this stunning book, not only is the reader introduced to this intriguing inhabitant of the ocean but also to the reason that these sorts of non fiction titles must remain an essential element of the school library collection. “Everything” may be “available on the Internet” but who would know to investigate weedy sea dragons if you don’t know they exist? You don’t know what you don’t know. Alongside Bury’s delicate illustrations, Anne Morgan has crafted a text as graceful as the dragons’ dance and accompanied it with further information that whets the appetite and supports the development of those critical information literacy skills. As well, there are extensive teaching notes for Yr 2-6 that focus on Science, English and Media Arts, leading the reader to consider how individual characteristics help species survive and thrive.
A must-have that will lead young non fiction readers into their own new world. If there are dragons in the oceans, what else might be there?
On a family holiday to Thailand, Noah’s mum has a fall with devastating consequences – confined to a wheelchair for the future.
On a stormy night in Sydney’s Northern Beaches a little magpie has a fall from its nest – a broken wing for a magpie is like a broken back to a human.
But the two are miraculously connected and from that has emerged a story of hope, love, kindness and the lessons we can learn if we are ready to learn them.
Sometimes bad things happen to people and no matter what, you have to deal with it and in this edition of this story for young readers the focus is not so much on the accident and all the medical stuff but how a family had to come together to deal with it. There is Sam Bloom, angry, bewildered and trying to come to terms with who she was, who she now is and who she thought she would be. There is her husband photographer Cam Bloom, father of Noah, Reuben and Oli who is walking the fine line of holding the family together juggling the balls of dependence and independence; there is Nana Jan whose daughter has catastrophic injuries and she can’t fix them; there are Noah’s young brothers Oli and Reuben, who despite his mother’s predicament still continue to leap off the roof to bounce on the trampoline below. And there is Noah who is convinced his mum blames him for the accident because he discovered the viewing platform that gave way when she leaned on it, And binding them together, eventually, is a little magpie chick named Penguin.
Noah tells the story of the family’s healing from his perspective talking directly to the reader, openly admitting that there are bad bits and bad days and exposing these as part of the process of becoming a family again, one that is different to what they thought it would be but still one that is whole.
This story spoke to me on many levels, not the least of which is because my own sister-in-law is in Sam’s situation after an afternoon walk with her dog went so very wrong. We live in the bush with our resident family of magpies who raise their babies on the lawn in front of us each year so Penguin’s antics were so familiar. And there are the kids who have been in my care as a teacher over the years who have had to face similar circumstances and somehow have had to navigate a way through.
Students may well have seen the movie Penguin Bloom – Noah’s story will give them an extra layer of understanding.
When your family has just moved house, towns, even countries there is so much for the grown-ups to do that they don’t have time to play with Suzy. So, being resourceful, Suzy puts a notice on her back gate seeking a friend but there are some criteria they have to meet. When Bear turns up Suzy interviews him and it appears he ticks all the boxes except when it comes to dressing up, Bear refuses to wear shoes. But Suzy loves shoes. Can she be friends with someone who doesn’t like all the things she does?
This is a highly-imaginative story with lots of detail in the illustrations that just beg for little eyes to explore them and really get to know Suzy and her family. But it also poses the question about whether our friends have to like and do the same things we do. Should we force our friends to be the same as us or is there room for compromise or even the possibility of expanding our own horizons?
A thought-provoking read-aloud that is just right for this time of the year when new friendships are being explored and little ones are learning about how to be a friend and how we should treat others.
The day Saida arrived at the school she seemed to have lost her words and instead of joy and laughter there were tears and sadness. Her new classmate hunted high and low for the words but could not find them so instead, she drew a heart in chalk and Saida drew a smile. The first breakthrough!
When her dad explains that Saida probably hasn’t lost her words, it was just that her words wouldn’t work in this country, the little girl sets out to teach Saida the new words she needs as well as learning Saida’s words. What follows is the beginning of a joyous, lifelong friendship that is so characteristic of our children when confronted with this sort of language problem. They work it out, find common ground, ignore boundaries and borders and learn together.
Having worked so often in schools where English is an additional language for so many, where students with no English at all come to get that first grounding before they go to their neighbourhood school, this story is a stunning portrayal of how kids get along regardless particularly when adults don’t intervene. The playground is such a cosmopolitan learning space and whether the language is Arabic like Saida’s or Tagalog or whatever, the children’s natural needs overcome barriers. Enriching friendships are formed and their words that every “shape, sound and size” just mingle naturally.
With illustrations that are as joyful as the concept and the text, this is the perfect story for this time of the year to help students understand that being in such an alien environment can be bewildering and confusing, that there will be times when they are in Saida’s shoes and their words won’t work, but there is always help and hope. Because the learning between the girls works both ways, the story values Saida’s Arabic as much as her new friend’s English so that Saida is an equal partner in the story, offering a subtle nudge for us to consider how equally we treat our NESB students. What accommodations can and do we make for those whose words don’t work in our libraries and classrooms?
Teachers’ notes are available and while these are written for the US, they are readily adaptable to the Australian situation..
The salvation of the planet and particularly, those things that individuals can do to work towards that, has certainly been the hot topic in publishing over the last year or so. And now Usborne have added to the mix with another one of their amazing lift-the-flap books.
This one gives a good overview of why we need to protect the planet, what has been causing it to deteriorate, specific issues that changes in human behaviour can address and an action plan that suggest small changes that make big differences But don’t be misled by the lift-the-flap format because this is more a book for independent readers who have some concepts about the environment and its sustainability. Although the facts are straightforward as they introduce the various concepts, plentiful and illustrated in an engaging ways, the reader still has to be mature enough to understand them.
In addition, the format offers a model for students to build their own resource. Encourage them to pose a question about a topic that interests them, seek and verify the answer and then present it in a lift-the-flap type format for others to discover. To assist with this and give greater insight into the various concepts, Usborne has provided its usual Quicklinks making this an essential resource on this topic.
It is the final freeze of the bitter Antarctic winter, the aurora borealis dances across the sky in a wonderland of wispy colour and movement, and, as morning looms in the pale light an iceberg shears off the face of a glacier and sets sail in those cold waters. But this is not an empty place, nor a quiet place – for in the water below, the skies above and even on the berg itself, there is life. Life that is dependent on other life, as the eternal cycle of food and prey plays out.
This is the most stunning book complete with huge foldout pages that brings the frozen world of the southern continent to life in a way seldom seen. To the daughter of the first female journalist to ever visit the ice back in 1968, it is not an unknown world but to many of our students it will be and they will be astonished at the abundance of life and the connections between the species that exist. In this country of increasingly hot summers where climate change is leaving its mark on the scorched,, burnt landscape, it is hard to imagine how in such a cold climate even small changes can have any impact let alone a significant one. But as the year turns, the “ocean, sky, snow and ice minute greens and giant blues dance a delicate dance” life blossoms and fades in an intricate, harmonic melody that embraces all. What happens there impacts here.
Saxby’s poetic text and Racklyeft’s illustrations are matched in a dance as integral to each other as the life surrounding the iceberg bringing a new world of wonderment to young readers, one that will open eyes and minds and hearts in a way that will inspire them to know it and protect it in the same way my mum did since her childhood when she stood on the wharf at Bluff and watched the explorers’ ship sail South.
You know that it if has Claire Saxby’s name on it, it will be extraordinary and this is no different.