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Emma Memma Little Library

Emma Memma Little Library

Emma Memma Little Library

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emma Memma Little Library

Emma Memma

Puffin, 2024

48pp (4 board books)., RRP $A12.99

9781761341809

Inside this little slipcase are four little-hands sized books that introduce our youngest readers to the basic concepts of numbers, colours and common creatures but perhaps the most interesting and original is Auslan which shows the signs for common words in the language for the hearing impaired.

While there are many board books for little ones that encourage them to count and recognise colours and animals, the addition of the Auslan book not only introduces those with normal hearing to a new way of communicating, but also means those who do face this challenge to see that their needs are catered for too.  They are not invisible.  

And ex-Wiggle Emma is a champion of this.  Well-known for her passion for raising awareness  of Australia’s deaf community and teaching the very young to communicate in Auslan, she has formal qualifications in Auslan and is currently undertaking her PhD in “the affective, artistic integration of sign language, dance and film editing.” So she is well-qualified to be the author of this collection as she encourages little ones to begin their reading journey. and with a national tour underway and several books already published, she is becoming so much more than the “ex-Wiggle”. 

 

Magic Counting

Magic Counting

Magic Counting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magic Counting

Nabeel Khan

Tete Garcia

Scribble Books, 2024

22pp., board book, RRP $A24.99

9781922585400

For generations of kids, maths has been taught as discrete strands of number, space, and measurement with little or no connection between the strands, and more often than not it is taught at a certain time each day making it appear to be a standalone subject with little or no connection to the real world, and generations of kids, particularly girls, have grown up believing that apart from being able to count and perform basic operations, it is a subject that bears little relation to their everyday lives and that it lives in the “too-hard basket”. Whether these attitudes are because of the heavy reliance on textbooks to teach it, or the ease of writing curriculum documents based on those apparently separate areas (although the Australia Curriculum now has algebra, statistics and probability included) , or teachers having the same perceptions as their students, is debatable but the outcome seems to be the same – it is a subject set apart from all others even though it has been called “the queen of sciences”. 

Forty years ago when given a class who, at the age of just 8, perceived themselves as already failing at maths because they had been streamed into the bottom group, it was clear to me that there had to be a different approach than the typical traditional textbook they had been following, and so, having had so much success teaching littlies to read with a ‘whole language classroom’ I decided to try a whole-maths classroom, with the outcome being a complete turnaround in attitude and achievement, as well as the publication of many articles in the then-authoritative Classroom magazine, as well as Maths About Me, Maths About My Year and the Eureka Maths program (all for Longman Cheshire.) My basic premise was that maths was everywhere and if we could show students how it connected to and actually drove their lives so they could see its purpose and relevance, they would be more willing to embrace it and invest their time and energy in learning how to understand and use the concepts and processes.

Which is all a long-winded way of explaining why I was so excited to have this new book arrive for review.  In it, visual artist Nabeel Khan explores the connections between shapes and numbers and the world in a way that reaches out to both the beginner and the experienced learners. Beginning with the number one – One earth turning, where countless creatures live – the reader then opens the flap=page to discover the circle, its properties and its place in nature and  its connections the spiritual beliefs of the world’s peoples, continuing the exploration for each number to ten, Khan builds on his belief that children learn more effectively if we begin from “a place of playfulness, curiosity, and tangible connection to their environment” so that maths is seen as a connected whole from the get-go. “We can find numbers and shapes everywhere: in the natural world, in art and architecture, in symbolism, and in the sky above us.”

Back in those delightful days when we were allowed to use our imaginations to teach, one of the favourite activities was to explore a maths trail where students would investigate the shapes, numbers, measurements and all the other things in the environment, whether that was around the school, around the shopping centre or even a national institution like the Australian War Memorial. Sometimes they followed trails that others had set, but often they made up their own; sometimes that had to find the correct term for a pattern of bricks and sometimes they just had to add the numbers on their letterbox but either way it provided authentic fun learning across all aspects of the discipline and all ages of the student body. Maybe this book will inspire a similar way to discover the magic as they look more closely at the maths in the world around them.

Needless to say, this is a book that has captured my interest and one that I believe, should not only be in the library’s collection but in each teacher’s toolbox because it has the potential to have a profound impact on the way we teach and understand this vital topic.  

 

  

 

Bluey: The Decider

Bluey: The Decider

Bluey: The Decider

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluey: The Decider

Bluey

Puffin, 2024

24pp., hbk., RRP $A16.99

9781761344763

State of Origin in rugby league and Bluey and Chucky are watching the footy with their families. Bluey’s family is supporting the Maroons but Chucky’s parents are on opposing teams, and Chucky is confused.  Can Bluey help him pick a side?

This is a scene that will play out in many households over the next few weeks as the real-life State of Origin unfolds, and there will be those who will be as confused as Chucky, particularly if their parents are on opposing sides because of their place of birth or their loyalties. But, as in the story, there will soon come a time when everyone can be on the same team – unless you’re like my family where some of them are green-and-gold and I am definitely with Mackenzie’s family!!!  

 

Can I Sit in the Middle?

Can I Sit in the Middle?

Can I Sit in the Middle?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can I Sit in the Middle?

Susanne Strasser

Gecko Press, 2024

22pp., board book., RRP $A16.99

9781776575855

It’s time to sit on the sofa and read a story together, but it takes a while to get everyone together and be ready to start. And just when it looks like it’s good to go, Rhino comes in looking for his slippers…

Young children will enjoy this cumulative story that is full of fun and laughter, as they try to predict which creature will be next to come through the door and join the others,  And the ending is particularly satisfying because is there anything more enjoyable than snuggling sown behind the conch in a blanket tent? With its clear illustrations that tell the story almost on their own, this is one that our earliest readers will love because they will be able to tell it to themselves over and over again, the basis of being a successful reader as they get older. 

Dinosaur Roar! (series)

Dinosaur Roar!

Dinosaur Roar!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinosaur Roar! (series)

Peter Curtis

Jeanne Willis

Orchard Books, 2024

16pp., board book, RRP $A16.99

Imagine a series of books about dinosaurs created especially for our youngest readers, in board book format just perfect for their little hands to hold by themselves.

Inspired by the classic picture book Dinosaur Roar! by Paul Stickland and Henrietta Stickland, this colourful collection of children’s books features dinosaurs with personalities even bigger than they are! Each book in the series introduces a different title character and uses his or her personality to teach children about dinosaurs and convey a simple moral lesson. The 26 dinosaur characters frequently pop up in other characters’ books in the collection, which together make up The World of Dinosaur Roar!

With wonderful, rhyming text written by series creator, Peter Curtis, and award-winning author, Jeanne Willis, these laugh-out-loud stories are sure to be a hit with young dinosaur fans! Each book includes a spread of simple dinosaur facts and a pronunciation guide, and is produced in association with the Natural History Museum in London. 

There are few children who don’t go through a “dinosaur phase” and so, not only does this series engage, entertain and educate them, but it also starts developing those early reading behaviours particularly those about print works being valuable for finding things out, and being something they can easily return to time and again. The website offers lots of activities and there is a YouTube channel with even more things to do.

An ideal series for the young readers in your life. 

 

Who am I? (series)

Who am I?

Who am I?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who am I?

I’m a Puppy

9781922326867 

I’m a Tiger

9781922326874

I’m a Duckling

9781922326850

I’m a Polar Bear

 9781922326881

Liv Wan

Catch-a-Star, 2024

12pp., board book, RRP $A14.99

One of the key strategies used in teaching our little ones to read is to have them immerse themselves in the context so they can predict what might happen, and to do this they need to have context-specific vocabulary at their fingerprints.  For example, if the story’s setting is the ocean they are more likely to be thinking fish, sharks, dolphins and mermaids than lions, giraffes, elephants and zebras. 

Thus series like these which introduce them to context-specific words play a vital role in developing those early reading behaviours, particularly when they invite the reader to actively engage with them through their format.  Grouped under titles of Pets, Jungle, Farm and Winter, each page offers a simple clue, a question and a lift-the-flap to see if the response is right.  The bright, bold illustrations provide the setting so the child can focus their thoughts on what the creature is likely to be and this, combined with gentle coaxing from the adult can lead to a successful guess that not only provides a positive interaction with the book but helps the little one understand that they, too, can be a reader.

Catch A Star continues to recognise the need for even our youngest readers to have engaging stories that are sturdy enough in their own hands so they can mimic the reading of those who read to them, a critical step in becoming a reader, and this series is no exception. Reading is a complex activity that requires a variety of strategies, not the least of which is the expectation that the little one can and will be a reader, and engaging stories that help build those early reading behaviours and concepts about print are an essential in any parent’s toolkit. 

 

 

 

 

Questions and Answers About Refugees

Questions and Answers About Refugees

Questions and Answers About Refugees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions and Answers About Refugees

Katie Daynes

Ashe De Sousa

Oksana Dkachkovska

Usborne, 2023

14pp., board book., RRP $A19.99

9781803709987

Who are refugees?

Why do people become refugees?

Can anyone become a refugee?

What do ‘asylum seeker’, ‘migrant’ and ‘internally displaced person’ mean?

These are some of the questions asked and answered in this new release Q&A from Usborne, the masters of making the complex simple. With its lift-the-flap format, all the big questions like “Why do wars start?” are explained in short, easy-to-understand paragraphs so that students can have a basic understanding of what some of their classmates may have faced in a previous life and time.  And with current and potential conflicts creating an even greater problem than previously, there are many who will be seeking answers.

 Written with advice from the Refugee Council and drawing on conversations with refugees and aid workers from around the world, the questions cover all stages of a refugee’s journey, from fleeing danger and embarking on hazardous journeys, to seeking asylum and struggling to find a new place to call home. The language and scenes have been carefully considered to be appropriate for younger children, providing an extremely useful educational tool for families and schools. And for those wanting to know more, there are the usual Quicklinks to carefully selected and vetted online resources.

What is love?

What is love?

What is love?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is love?

Katie Daynes

Daniel Sosa

Usborne, 2023

12pp., board book, RRP $A19.99

9781803701943

There are so many books written for our youngest readers to help them to explore their emotions, understand that these are natural and experienced at certain times by everyone.  But generally, they focus on “negative” feelings like anger and frustration and sadness so it is pleasant to discover one that focuses on love and all it facets and ways it can be expressed. 

Over a century ago, Elizabeth Barrett Browning asked, in Sonnet 43, How do I love thee? Let me count the ways and while this little book might not be as erudite as that, for its intended audience it is perfect as they can lift the flaps and explore what it means to love and be loved, from cleaning out your hamster’s cage and forgiving your brother to Dad making you your favourite sandwiches, even that sometimes it means saying or being told “no.” There is so much more to the emotion than that romantic love that seems to be life’s goal and so using everyday, relatable situations young children can begin to understand different kinds of love and to think up their own examples.

Santa’s Trip

 

 

 

Santa's Trip

Santa’s Trip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Santa’s Trip

Mia Cassany

Susie Hammer

Wellbeck, 2022

12pp., board book,  RRP $A14.99

9781914519444

Welcome to the most magical night of the year!
Santa’s house is a hive of activity
As the elves prepare for all the festivity.

Reading the letters is a very big task
Have you been good? Santa will ask.

Santa’s workshop is bursting with toys
All sorts of treasures for girls and for boys.

This is a magical book for young children as it unwraps like a present to form a large mat picture that takes the reader on a journey from Santa’s workshop to their own living room!  Each fold reveals more of the story and builds the anticipation making it something special that they will return to again and again because even without the words they will be able to tell themselves the story.  

Delightful.

Peekaboo Santa

 

 

 

Peekaboo Santa

Peekaboo Santa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peekaboo Santa

Camilla Reid

Ingela P. Arrhenius

Nosy Crow, 2023

10pp., board book., RRP $A15.99

9781839946783

Anyone who has played peekaboo with a young child can still hear the squeals of delight as the hidden is revealed, and so this interactive board book with all sorts of things to discover is going to be greeted with great anticipation.

Start by focusing their thoughts on the season and the sorts of things that might be mentioned – a critical early reading behaviour that develops the ability to predict text – and then use the support of the rhyming structure to narrow their choices.   There are multiple sliders for young fingers to manipulate and a surprise ending that will have them giggling for ages.

An ideal way to build anticipation, context and the joy of reading a book that they can return to again and again, because even if they know the secrets it is the power of being independent that is such a drawcard.