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Strong and Tough

Strong and Tough

Strong and Tough

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strong and Tough

Rico Hinson-King

Nick Sharratt

Bloomsbury, 2022

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

9781526648631

With the FIFA World Cup well under way,  many young lads will have thoughts of becoming a Socceroo and representing their country in the future. 

So this is a timely story to share with them to show that dreams can come true if they hold on to their hope and stare down whatever difficulties might confront them on the way. They need to stay strong and tough. 

Written during homework club at Manchester City FC in 2020 by the amazingly talented ten-year-old Rico Hinson-King. an everyday boy with an extraordinary story to tell through the character of Charlie about being taken from his birth parents, being separated from his sisters and being placed in foster care and despite being scared and lonely at times, surviving because of his love of football.  Practising to be the best he could be helped keep his mind off things, his determination and resilience helped him to be brave, strong and tough no matter what and one day he scores a goal that is even better than scoring the winning sudden-death penalty at a cup final!  

But as much as it is about football, it is also about his journey in the foster-care system, something that many of our readers will know about but never read about.  So although they might not have the same dream as Charlie, they can be inspired to follow their own passion, to understand that it can be scary and lonely at times but there are ways to distract from those big feelings with even better ones.  

 

DK Life Stories (series)

DK Life Stories (series)

DK Life Stories (series)

DK Life Stories (series)

Various

DK, 2022

128pp. hbk., RRP $A14.99

Over time and across generations there are people who have such a significant contribution to the world that they have changed its direction – people our children should know about regardless of their origins or field of endeavour.

The lives of some of these people like Martin Luther King Jr and Marie Curie are featured in this series for independent readers who are beginning to realise, understand and appreciate the size of the shoulders on which we stand and whose names and achievements are seen as common knowledge.   A leader in publishing non fiction for children, the books have full-colour photographs and hand-drawn illustrations to complement thoughtfully written, age-appropriate text creating an engaging book children will enjoy reading. Definition boxes, information sidebars, maps and inspiring quotes add depth and demonstrate that each person started life as a fairly ordinary child who later found themselves in extraordinary circumstances.

Young readers are always keen to find out about the lives of their own personal heroes, an interest that leads them to the autobiography/biography/memoir genre and this series is one that offers them an accessible and engaging starting point.  

Jørn’s Magnificent Imagination

Jørn’s Magnificent Imagination

Jørn’s Magnificent Imagination

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jørn’s Magnificent Imagination

Coral Vass

Nicky Johnston

EK Books, 2022

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

It is the backdrop to the lives of so many, draws millions of visitors from around the world, and yet is so familiar now that many don’t even see it.

Who would have thought that such a magnificent structure could grow from a little boy playing with sailboats, watching swans land on water, collecting seashells and flowers, even playing with his breakfast orange peel?  And yet it did and in this beautiful retelling of the young life of  Jørn Utzon, the reader learns not only of the beginnings of one of the world’s most recognisable buildings but the power of the imagination, and the importance of letting dreams lead us into amazing places.

Where might today’s discovery take a young person in years to come? Even if it is a wet, indoors day, what might they build from “rubbish” that could become the start of something magnificent?  In 50 years, will a nation be celebrating their dreams as they are about to celebrate Jørn’s?  

Sensitively written and illustrated in a way that doesn’t reveal the mystery to the end, this is a book that not only celebrates a little life that has big dreams that come true, but inspires the reader to drift away and imagine… If Jørn could begin a building with orange peels, could they make a city floodproof by playing in their porridge and milk?

No Boundaries

No Boundaries

No Boundaries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Boundaries

Clare Fiseler

Gabby Salazar

National Geographic Kids 2022

160pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781426371769

As we bid farewell to National Science Week and say hello to Children’s Book Week with its theme of “Dreaming with Eyes Open”, this collection of the stories of 25 female National Geographic explorers and scientists revealing their greatest successes, most epic failures, and astonishing adventures seems particularly appropriate to review on the cusp of these two celebrations in our schools.

This anthology celebrates lesser-known changemakers and outstanding women of diverse backgrounds, nationalities, and fields of study who are just beginning to make a name for themselves. Each profile is based on first-person interviews and comes paired with useful tips and relatable advice for budding explorers and scientists.  Each has a text box called Inspiration Station in which the scientist offers advice for those who already have the dream, while inspiring those who may be doubtful to chase their own dreams. Stunning photography and fascinating general interest information about the animals, places, and practices add drama and context.

Readers can track a volcanologist as she braves the elements atop an active volcano; travel alongside a mountaineer as she battles stereotypes and frostbite to conquer the famed Seven Summits;  join a conservationist on her passionate fight to save lions and dig with a paleontologist to uncover massive dinosaur fossils, bit by breathtaking bit, as well as a host of other women forging new paths in careers possibly unheard of. These heartfelt stories give readers an insider’s look at the amazing work female explorers at National Geographic and beyond are doing in the field to solve some of the world’s toughest problems.

No Boundaries sends a positive message to every girl who has ever dreamed or dared to go a little further. And although these explorers’ endeavours are quite adventurous, the lessons they share can inspire all girls, as well as boys, whatever their goals, skills, and interests, to dream with their eyes open.

 

Against All Odds

Against All Odds

Against All Odds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Against All Odds

Craig Challen & Richard Harris

Ellis Henican

Puffin, 2022

288pp., pbk., RRP $A17.99

9780143778202

In June 2018, for seventeen days, the world watched and held its breath as the Wild Boars soccer team were trapped deep in a cave in Thailand. Marooned beyond flooded cave passages after unexpected rains, they were finally rescued, one-by-one, against almost impossible odds, by an international cave-diving team that included Australians Dr Richard ‘Harry’ Harris and Dr Craig Challen.

In this young readers’ edition, specially edited and condensed for a younger audience and including new maps and diagrams explaining the rescue, as well as photographs, a timeline and glossary, the story of the remarkable rescue is recounted by those two doctors. 

And while it is a fascinating tale with their first-hand accounts filling in the gaps that could not be shown on the nightly news, and which will give added understanding to the new movie Thirteen Lives coming to Netflix, for me the key messages for our students lie in the personal introductions from both doctors…

In a year when the CBCA Book week theme is Dreaming With Eyes Open, Dr Craig says, “This is the worst thing you can do, putting limits on yourself before you have even tried for no reason other than the fear of the unknown …  slowly I built knowledge and expertise until one day I realised that the limits I had previously believed in were not really there at all, I was able to do so much more and go much further than I knew… And every challenge pursued, whether successful or not, builds our capability and strength as adventurers.”

While Dr Harry declares, after being described as a unicorn because of the “rare and improbable combination of skills I brought to the rescue” that, “I came to realise that every one of us is a unicorn. Every one of us has a unique combination of skills and characteristics, and hopefully there is a custom-made place in life for all of us.” 

They both believe that the boys coped in the cave because “they were country kids, They grew up in a tough environment, Several of them knew what it meant to be stateless, When you grow up doing hard things, you are ready for the challenges of life when they come.” This was a message echoed in Dr Harry’s accepted speech when he and Dr Craig were awarded joint Australians of the Year in 2019. 

“I do fear for kids today who, living in a risk-averse society, will not learn to challenge themselves and to earn the grazed knee and stubbed toes that really are necessary to build resilience and confidence, …Kids do need to be kids and they need to be allowed to find their own boundaries and to test their own limits… Parents [need] to let them have a little rope to do that.”

While so many of us waited for news during those 17 days as what began as a two line news filler about a soccer team trapped in a cave in remote Thailand became a global focus and then our lives moved on; and while for those involved there were debriefs and examinations for the lessons to be learned for the future, the enduring message is that of the doctors and young readers should be inspired.  A legacy indeed. 

Boss Ladies of Science

Boss Ladies of Science

Boss Ladies of Science

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boss Ladies of Science

Phillip Marsden

Lothian Children’s Books, 2022

32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9780734421227

Few of the names in this collection will be familiar to our students, although perhaps they should be, particularly those like Kirsten Banks, an indigenous Australian astrophysicist who loves to share her knowledge of astronomy, lending 21st century technology with the history of her ancestors dating back 65 000 years – as do a number of the other women featured. 

However, Marsden has drawn together a group of diverse women from around the globe working in fields from astronomy to zoology and created thumbnail sketches, both in text and graphics that show that women are just as active in the sciences as their male counterparts and deserve the same sort of recognition and respect for their endeavours.  Each scientist has their own page that contains a portrait, a brief summary of their achievement and an inspirational quote to inspire young readers to believe in themselves and follow their passions.  If they had a page in a book called Boss Ladies of …. what would it say? 

You have a choice as to whether you will make this world a better place, even in a small way. – Jane Goodall, Primatologist

Released in time for National Science Week  it would also segue well into Book Week as “Every boss lady was once a little kid with a huge dream. Let their trials and triumphs inspire you to work hard at what you love, and to believe in yourself, no matter whether you fail or succeed.” 

Australia Remembers: Cameron Baird

Australia Remembers: Cameron Baird

Australia Remembers: Cameron Baird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia Remembers: Cameron Baird

Allison Paterson

Big Sky, 2022

72pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781922615572

This is the fifth in this series which tracks some of the highlights of Australia’s military history of both war and peace-keeping missions over the last century. and includes Australia Remembers : ANZAC Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials  and Australia Remembers 2: Customs and Traditions of the Australian Defence Force   Len Waters: Boundless and Born to Fly , The Bombing of Darwin (timely in its 80th anniversary) and the upcoming Wartime Nurses .

In recent times, 41 Australian Defence Force personnel lost their lives whilst on duty in the conflict in Afghanistan. Cameron Baird, VC, MG is one such Australian who died in the service of his country. Cameron was born to lead, inspiring others and gaining the respect of his peers. A dedicated soldier, Cameron’s leadership and courageous actions resulted in the award of the Medal of Gallantry in 2007-2008. In 2013, while on active service in Afghanistan, Cameron lost his life while attempting to rescue a wounded mate. His act of supreme sacrifice, valour and devotion to duty was recognised with the awarding of Australia’s highest battlefield honour – the Victoria Cross.

This is a story of Australian service in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. It is a story of mateship, dedication, leadership and sacrifice, and one we should never forget.

With facts and photographs combined in a layout that makes the information readily accessible, it will appeal to those who have an interest in the military, particularly modern conflicts.  Teachers’ notes  are available to guide a deeper understand of the man and his life as well as the campaigns he was engaged in, making them more real than just a bunch of facts and figures from a time and place far away.

Gaia: Goddess of Earth

Gaia: Goddess of Earth

Gaia: Goddess of Earth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gaia: Goddess of Earth

Imogen Greenberg

Isabel Greenberg

Bloomsbury, 2022

64pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99

9781526625700

Imagine you made something that was so beautiful and powerful that everyone wanted to take it for themselves. And then you had to watch them destroy it. Would you fight for it?

Meet Gaia, the ancient Greek goddess who created the Earth and the universe that stretched beyond it. She raised trees from their roots to the sky, sent waterfalls tumbling over cliffs and created the tides that sloshed on the shore. She gifted her creation to animals and mortals, and watched as they made it their home.

But she also created a force she couldn’t control: the ambition of gods. Gaia watched as the gods fought brutal wars and manipulated mortals such as Hercules and Achilles, disturbing peace on Earth. Storms raged, fires blazed and people, animals and plants suffered. Gaia begged the gods to look after her creation, but no one listened.

But Gaia never gave up fighting for a better world. This is her story.

From the sisters who gave us the remarkable Madame Curie and her Daughters, and Athena: the Story of a Goddess comes another journey into Greek mythology with this modern take on the story of Gaia, told by the Fates, -Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos – in a graphic narrative that is designed for independent readers.  With a poignant environmental message that the pursuit of power damages our natural world, and we all have to work together to protect it, it is a relevant today as it was during the time of the Ancient Greeks 3000 years ago.  

But not only does it offer an introduction to Greek mythology that forms such a strong platform of our beliefs and values, it can also be a companion to those books that you might have been using to investigate the origins of this planet. For every civilisation has its creation myths which make for intriguing studies in themselves, let alone comparing and contrasting the lore with the science. 

Fascinating.

Subbie and his mate

Subbie and his mate

Subbie and his mate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subbie and his mate

Corinne Fenton

Mark Wilson

Ford Street, 2022 

32pp., pbk, RRP $A16.95

9781925804980

When an ebony-black foal was born on s spring morning in 1988, no one knew that he would grow to be one of the most famous horses in Australia, right up there with Phar Lap.  That, despite becoming a household name after winning the 1992 Melbourne Cup, his greatest contribution would come in the years and years following as he and his constant companion raised millions of dollars for charity and brought comfort to children and the aged alike as they visited those in hospitals.

The story of the bond between Subzero and Graham Salisbury is written into Australian horse history in this moving story for young readers, and while they, and probably their parents, are too young to remember the horse, the power of the connection between an animal – horse, dog, cat, donkey… – will be recognisable in Fenton’s narrative and Wilson’s illustrations that reflect some of the classic images of this horse that remain in the memories of older folk.  

As the 30th anniversary of his Melbourne Cup win approaches, teachers’ notes will help expand the themes of this book and help the reader understand ‘what this horse and this man did –
know of the joy and happiness, the smiles they brought to the faces of the young and not so young, those sick kids they gifted special moments to carry with them forever. “

Pirate Queens

Pirate Queens

Pirate Queens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pirate Queens

Leigh Lewis

Sara Gomez Woolley

NatGeo Kids, 2022

64pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781426371950

In 1995, September 19 each year was proclaimed International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Created as a bit of fun by two friends in the US, in Australia, at least, it has become a major fundraiser for Childhood Cancer Support with schools getting involved in a range of ways to support students and friends.  According to the Cancer Council, it is estimated that, on average, about 750 children aged 0-14 are diagnosed with cancer each year in Australia with leukaemia accounting for about 33% of cases, and brain cancers, 25% so it is likely that a school will be supporting a student through this –  if not yours, then nearby.

Thus, what might have been a frivolous suggestion more than 25 years ago, can now have a significant impact on those we know and this new book from NatGeo Kids can provide an opportunity to investigate the lives of some of the women who were just as fearsome as the more well-known males such as Blackbeard, Captain Kidd, Captain Hook or even Jack Sparrow.  As is often the case with history, the past is viewed through a male lens because men were viewed as the gender capable of writing and reading, they became the scholars, and thus wrote the history books which were mostly written to please kings , generals or male politicians and so only portrayed the male perspective.  

Thus, even though there have been female pirates since the dawn of piracy, including Ching Shih (aka Zheng Yi Sao)  who tormented the South China Sea with her fleet of 70,000 raiders in the early 19th century, our children have grown up with male-dominated images and stereotypes.

Easy to read with lots of detailed illustrations, the author has trolled the few resources that do still exist and this collection of six stories of powerful female pirates who forged their own path is but a small part of the stories of other women whose stories have been lost or forgotten. Spanning the Caribbean, the Irish and North Seas, the Mediterranean and even the Pacific, this is a fascinating look into the lives of these women that had me more intrigued that I imagined and immediately I could see its place in a serious study of these seafarers who not only captivate young readers in folklore and fiction but who also were real and shaped history so that International Talk Like a Pirate Day could have a legitimate place in the curriculum and thus, its associated fund-raising boosted.

Older students might investigate the qualities of leaders and leadership and whether rule by fear is the most successful way, while perhaps the next pirate a younger child draws might even be female!