One World: 24 Hours on Planet Earth

One World: 24 Hours on Planet Earth

One World: 24 Hours on Planet Earth












One World: 24 Hours on Planet Earth

Nicola Davies

Jenni Desmond

Walker Books, 2022

40pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99


It is one minute to midnight, Greenwich Mean Time, April 21 and as the clock strikes midnight there, the reader begins an amazing journey around the world to see what is happening in other places at this precise time, whether that be having breakfast or even afternoon tea.

But this is not the more common snapshot of what people are doing at a specific time. but a glimpse at what the natural wildlife are up to, the threats they face and in some cases, what’s being done to mitigate them.  We travel to the polar bears in the Arctic; to sea turtles in India struggling to the sea after they’ve just hatched;  to kangaroos fighting both the climate and each other in Mutawintji National Park in NSW; and so on around the world as different species respond to the time zone of their environment.

The date was chosen because at that time of the year there is something exciting happening in the animal kingdom around the world, and coincidentally it was Earth Day, celebrated since 1970 “to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide. and act as a call to action to acknowledge that “the clock has struck and it is time to make a difference together”. Accompanied by stunning illustrations, each of which includes the two little children who are taking us on the journey so that there is a storyline rather than just a time-lapse diary, the reader is introduced to creatures like the polar bear whose plight may be familiar as the warming planet melts their icy home to the not-so familiar owl monkeys of Ecuador whose habitat is being destroyed in the search for oil.  And while it might seem impossible for a young reader in Australia to help them, nevertheless there are things that each of us can do to  daily to make a difference. So books such as these  which raise awareness in interesting, fascinating ways are perfect for helping us to think globally and act locally.  

And there is always the sideline of investigating why it’s midnight in Greenwich but midday in Sydney!

Rainbow the Koala

Rainbow the Koala

Rainbow the Koala











Rainbow the Koala

Remy Lai

A&U Children’s, 2022

112pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99


It is time for Rainbow the Koala to become more independent and so, after a year of being nurtured and comforted and provided for, he has to say goodbye to his mother and venture off on his own- find a new tree, seek his own food and generally be the adult he was destined to be.  But it’s not easy – for starters,  it’s not just a matter of climbing the nearest tree and calling it his.  It has to be the right species and unoccupied and with the way land is being cleared for humans and the drying landscape making them less nutritious,  there are not so many of the just-rights available.  Waterholes made by humans can be treacherous, dogs are not always the koala’s best friend and the smell of smoke on the air is a signal for alarm…

This is the first in a new graphic novel series called Surviving the Wild designed to make young readers more aware of the environment by viewing it through the lenses of those creatures that live in it.  The new NSW English syllabus, particularly, requires students to be able to “to express opinions about texts and issues… both objectively and subjectively”, so as well as empathising with Rainbow as they, too, face having to step out of their comfort zone to navigate the new world of school; meeting new people who, like Kookaburra, may not be as friendly as they expect, and having to solve problems for themselves, they also learn about the perils of things like habitat destruction, climate change, drought…  Being in the shoes of the main character, in this case a koala which automatically has inbuilt appeal,  helps them be more engaged and understand the situation better, hopefully inspiring them to become not only more aware but more active in environmental protection.  Inspired by the devastating bushfires of the 2019.2020 summer in which it’s estimated over one billion creatures were lost, there are extra pages explaining the origins of Rainbow’s predicament as well as ways that the reader can help by making simple, everyday changes. 

Hallmarks of quality literature include having characters and a plot which are engaging and interesting for the students, offering layers and levels of complexity that are revealed with multiple readings and which enrich discussion and challenge perceptions, thinking and attitudes.  This certainly does that and young readers will look forward to Star the Elephant which is already published and Sunny the Shark due in August. 





Tyenna: Through My Eyes - Australian Disaster Zones

Tyenna: Through My Eyes – Australian Disaster Zones












Through My Eyes – Australian Disaster Zones

Julie Hunt & Terry Whitebeach

A & U Children’s, 2022

208pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99


They huddle low, nostrils burning from the smoke. A wave of despair flows over Tye. Nothing will survive this firestorm. The bush and everything she loves will be lost.

It’s the summer holidays, and Tye is staying at her grandparents’ lodge at Chancy’s Point in Tasmania’s beautiful Central Highlands. But her plans for fun with best friend Lily and working on her pencil pine conservation project are thwarted as fire threatens the community and the bush she loves – and when Tye discovers Bailey, a runaway boy hiding out, she is torn between secretly helping him and her loyalty to her grandparents.

As the fire comes closer and evacuation warnings abound, Tye is caught up in the battle of her life. Will she and Bailey survive? What will happen to her beloved pencil pines and the wildlife at risk? Can she and her close-knit community make a difference in a world threatened by climate change?

This is the latest in this series that offers fictionalised accounts of world events that help our older, independent readers not only understand what happened but allows them to process it.  By giving each story a central character such as Lyla who endured the devastating Christchurch earthquake in 2011, the story becomes one of courage, resilience and hope rather than an historical recount with meaningless facts and figures. It offers the ‘colour and detail’ to the stark monochrome sketches of news reports, websites and other information-only sources.  

Like its predecessors, Tyenna is a well-written, well-researched blend of imagination and information that above all, tells a story of one girl’s experience -sadly one similar to that of  so many of our students who faced that dreadful Black Summer of 2019-2020 when the whole of the east coast of the country seem to be alight – and shows that it is OK to have been scared and fearful, but that natural human resilience can prevail. The first to focus on an Australian disaster (it will be joined by Mia later this year), it will resonate with many in one way or another and thus, if you have a system that places trigger warnings in your books, this may be one to consider.  

While we would all like to protect our kids from the disasters of modern times, natural or otherwise, that can be an impossible task as the world now comes to them in the palm of their hands, but stories like this can offer insight, understanding and a feeling that they too, have come through the other side – often shaped by it but also more resilient and courageous because of it. 



It’s Up to Us: A Children’s Terra Carta for Nature, People & Planet

It’s Up to Us

It’s Up to Us: A Children’s Terra Carta for Nature, People & Planet












It’s Up to Us: A Children’s Terra Carta for Nature, People & Planet

Christopher Lloyd

HRH The Prince of Wales

What On Earth Books, 2022

64pp., hbk., RRP $A39.99


On January 11.2021, The Prince of Wales’s Sustainable Markets Initiative  announced the ‘Terra Carta’ – a charter that puts sustainability at the heart of the private sector. Terra Carta (Earth Charter) will provide a roadmap to 2030 for businesses to move towards an ambitious and sustainable future; one that will harness the power of Nature combined with the transformative power, innovation and resources of the private sector.

This book, illustrated by 33 different artists from around the world, offers ” a beautiful, lyrical and thought-provoking voyage through Nature, the threats we face and an action plan for the future” based on that Terra Carta.  Developed in partnership with The Prince’s Foundation, a charity established by HRH The Prince of Wales to demonstrate how Nature can be put at the heart of human activities it is written in easily-accessible text which explains the importance of  each element- Nature, People and Planet – and why it is critical that they are in harmony.  It shows how the actions of humans have led to change in the environment, how natural habitats have become polluted and the evolution of climate change. It explains the role of carbon dioxide in that change, using language that anyone can understand, the consequences of the planer heating, and what everyone on the planer must agree to do if we are to keep the planet healthy and habitable. That it is up to us, as individuals and collectively, to act now.

If your students have been following the book trail that I have threaded through this year’s reviews that tracks the development of both planet and humans…

Our Country: Ancient Wonders

BANG! The Story of How Life on Earth Began

Australian Backyard Naturalist 

Earth is Big

We are One: How the World Adds Up

Australian Backyard Explorer

The History of Everywhere

The Amazing Meals of Martha Maloney

A Hundred Thousand Welcomes

Atlas of Amazing Migrations

Ouch! Tales of Gravity

The Same But Different

On the Origin of Species 

then this book is a natural addition because it not only has that planet in crisis but offers it a future through the children who now understand where we have come from to get where we are.  It includes the Terra Carta itself, including QR codes to scan to find out more, and while that, in itself, seems to be a commitment to be undertaken by the corporate world, nevertheless, it offers a roadmap for the children so they can consider the ways they can make a difference.  Combined with other books written especially for them about climate change, the environment and sustainability, they can, as a class, develop their own Terra Carta for the school and/or their families to follow.  There is nothing so overwhelming as a global issue, but also nothing so empowering as knowing that as an individual, you can make a difference.


Climate Action

Climate Action

Climate Action










Climate Action

Seymour Simon

HarperCollins, 2021

48pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99


With the world’s leaders, governments and focus on climate change as the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) is in full swing in Glasgow, Scotland, this will be a timely addition to your collection about this topic.

It provides an introduction not only to the dramatic effects of climate change, but to the solutions. It shows how our behaviour and actions have led us to this point, how the children  around the world are dealing with extreme storms, wildfires, and sea level rise, and demonstrates what scientists, youth activists, and ordinary citizens are doing to protect their communities.

Divided into eight sections for easy browsing and with over fifty photographs, captions, charts, and graphs, this nonfiction book is ideal to share in the classroom and to answer the questions of our children who are so concerned for their future. It also includes a glossary to supplement the text, author’s note, and index  making it easy to navigate and support the locating aspect of the information literacy process


World-whizzing Facts: Awesome Earth Questions Answered

World-whizzing Facts: Awesome Earth Questions Answered

World-whizzing Facts: Awesome Earth Questions Answered











World-whizzing Facts: Awesome Earth Questions Answered

Dr Emily Grossman

Alice Bowsher

Bloomsbury, 2021

256pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99


Just because kids get older doesn’t mean their questions about the world around them stop and in this new book, a sequel to Brain-fizzing Facts: Awesome Science Questions Answered  TV science expert Dr Emily Grossman answers incredible and important questions about our natural world such as why some animals do square-shaped poos and which direction a dog is likely to face while weeing,  as well as serious stuff like what climate change and wildlife loss are actually doing to our planet and what can be done to help.

Covering a diverse range of key science topics, from human biology and animals and plants to the weather and space, Dr Emily shows readers why Earth is so weird and wonderfully great yet still faces its biggest challenge.   Through clear, sensitive explanations, and a format that will engage the most reluctant reader, the reader can find out what is actually happening to our Earth and what this means for both humans and wildlife – and how they, as individuals, can make changes that will help. 

Like its predecessor, this is designed to inspire the scientist in the reader and encourage them to go beyond the information provided to investigate and discover deeper answers for themselves. 

Earth Matters: Loving Our Planet

Earth Matters: Loving Our Planet

Earth Matters: Loving Our Planet











Earth Matters: Loving Our Planet

Carole Wilkinson

Hilary Cresp

Wild Dog, 2021

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


From a very young age these days, children learn that we must look after our environment and that even the smallest things if done by a lot of people can have an impact. Having experienced devastating drought, fires and floods just in the last three years, they hear the words “climate change” often but don’t necessarily understand what they mean or what causes it, so this book which is especially for younger readers is a great introduction to explaining what is happening and why. Just as their individual actions can have a positive impact, they can also be negative 

So helping them understand this and offering them some more tools and strategies to help their personal contribution to a better future can be empowering so that their concerns for the future can be reduced. 

Wilkinson’s Matthew Flinders – Adventures on Leaky Ships  is shortlisted for the 2021 CBCA’s Eve Pownall Award for information books offering testament to the quality of her research and writing, and with extensive teaching notes available, this is a go-to when teachers and students are looking for a resource to help them understand this phenomenon.   


North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres

North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres

North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres











North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres

Sandra Morris

Walker Books, 2021

40pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99


“Earth is divided into the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Hemisphere by an imaginary line called the Equator.  One of the most important differences between the two hemispheres is the timing of seasons. Because of the hemispheres’ different angles and distances relating to the sun over the course of the year, their seasons – and their weather patterns – occur at different times.  In both hemispheres, animals deal with the changing seasons in various ways. Whichever hemisphere they live in, they need to be able to read the signs of the changing seasons to survive.”

But with climate change, many of those signs are changing and human activities are also having a massive impact, so more and more species are at risk as they are not adapting as fast as the changes.  This beautiful non-fiction picture book contrasts, month-by-month, some of the world’s most-loved Northern and Southern Hemisphere animals and the ways the climates in those regions affect the way they breed, feed, adapt, hide and survive. Using an element common to both focus creatures, such as camouflage, building a home, being armoured and migration. two are in the spotlight for each month showing how they deal with what they have always had and what they are now facing. 

It is an intriguing introduction to the environment and the continuing impact of climate change that will leave young readers with a greater understanding of how even the smallest action can have a huge effect.

From the detailed end papers which  have a clearly labelled world map showing the hemispheres, continents, countries, oceans and the animals mentioned in the book, including several from Australia and New Zealand to the supporting pages featuring a comprehensive glossary, index, further reading suggestions as well as  information on how individual readers can help, this is a must-have for any library collection and any unit of work that focuses on sustainability of the environment, animal adaptation and climate change, adding so much more to the reader’s understanding of the topic rather than the traditional “all you need to know about…”.

Look for this one in awards’ lists over the year.




The Last Bear

The Last Bear

The Last Bear










The Last Bear

Hannah Gold

Levi Penfold

HarperCollins, 2021

304pp.,  hbk., RRP $A18.17


When her mother is killed in a car crash, April’s scientist father retreats onto himself as he tries to deal with his grief and becomes the epitome of the absent-minded professor, leaving11-year-pld April to pretty much fend for herself.  So when he tells her he has applied to man the weather station on remote Bear Island in the Arctic Circle and they will be there alone for six months over the northern summer, April sees it as a chance to reconnect with her dad and start to build a new relationship with him.

However, things don’t work out that way with her dad becoming more and more withdrawn, leaving April to explore the island and entertain herself all day and all night as the sun does not set at this time of the year. Although she has been told that once polar bears roamed the island freely, because of climate change and the melting of the sea ice, there are now no bears left,  one evening, on the horizon, silhouetted against the sun , something moves. Something big and loping and gone in the blink of an eye but a polar bear, nonetheless. He is starving, lonely and a long way from home. Determined to save him, April begins the most important journey of her life…

This is one of those stories that stays in the mind long after the final page has been turned – indeed, Michael Morpurgo labelled it “unforgettable”. A modern story that brings the real effect of climate change home it is ideal for introducing children to the concept through their natural affinity with nature as few will be untouched by Bear’s plight and they begin to realise  that small, individual actions can have cumulative consequences. Perhaps, like April, the reader will find their own voice and their own passion and despite the obstacles, roar as April does. 

But it is more than another story about the environment and its vulnerability, albeit one with such a setting and such a storyline.  It is about April finding her voice and her passion as Bear teaches her how to roar from deep-down within as well as learning about that deep grief her father has been experiencing when she has to leave Bear. It’s about hope for families that are permanently changed finding a way to become whole again, if different, and going forward.  The most important thing in this world is the relationships we form with others, that shape our knowledge, understanding and values, and this book explores these to the fullest – between April and her dad, April and the bear, and the impact of the island and its isolation has on everyone and everything. 

Whether offered as a read-aloud or a read-alone, this is a book so well-written it will be a highlight of the reading year. 

Climate Crisis for Beginners

Climate Crisis for Beginners

Climate Crisis for Beginners











Climate Crisis for Beginners

Eddie Reynolds and Andy Prentice

El Primo Ramon

Usborne, 2021

128pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99


The climate crisis is real. It is already changing the world around us.  How does the climate work? What are we doing to change it? What can we do differently to avoid the worst outcomes? Why do we all find change so hard? The climate crisis is a troubling and sensitive topic, especially for children, so the book includes vital tips on how to set realistic goals and not get overwhelmed by bad news.

Given the number of posts asking for suggestions for books about about sustainability that are being sent to the TL forums I belong to, this is a timely release. Using simple language and vivid illustrations to explain complex questions clearly, and make the concepts and solutions accessible to our younger students, it is another must-have addition to your collection that explores the planet and how we can make it better.


A peek inside...

A peek inside…

From the same series as 100 Things to Know about Saving the Planet it has the usual Usborne integrity that talks directly to the reader to engage them and enable them to feel empowered to do something.  It spans a broad range of topics and these are expanded by the pre-selected Quicklinks so the reader can follow their interests further.

It is the publication of books like this focusing on contemporary topics that compel schools to have vibrant, up-to-date non fiction collections in print format so that students have access to the information at their level at hand, rather than going down the rabbit hole of the internet.  .