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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

9781526602435

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

 9781742036014

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

9781925381801

“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

9780008411282

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

9781474979863

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.  .

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Lift-the-Flap Looking After Our Planet

Lift-the-Flap Looking After Our Planet

Lift-the-Flap Looking After Our Planet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lift-the-Flap Looking After Our Planet

Katie Daynes

Ilaria Faccioli

Usborne, 2020 

16pp., board book., RRP $A19.99

 9781474968942

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. 

Iceberg

Iceberg

Iceberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Iceberg

Claire Saxby

Jess Racklyeft

Allen & Unwin, 2021

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

9781760526047

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.

 

Australia’s Wild Weird Wonderful Weather

Australia's Wild Weird Wonderful Weather

Australia’s Wild Weird Wonderful Weather

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia’s Wild Weird Wonderful Weather

Stephanie Owen Reeder

Tania McCartney

NLA, 2020

68pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9780642279637

According to my Facebook memories, 12 months ago it was snowing heavily here in the Snowy Mountains while there were 95 bushfires raging in the north of NSW, and we, ourselves, were evacuated just a few weeks later because of fires that had ignited here. The talk and news were constantly about the “worst drought in memory”, the heat and the continual and spreading threat of those fires.  And just as we thought that it would never end and we were doomed to breathing smoke-laden air forever, the rains came and places devastated by flames were now threatened with floods!

Regardless of the time of year, the weather in Australia is always a reliable topic of conversation and now two of my favourite creators have teamed together to offer an explanation for the phenomena for our younger readers.  Beginning with an explanation of whatever is weather, their combined writing and drawing talents have been used to explore the various elements of the weather, particularly in Australia so there is a greater understanding of the why, where, when and how of that which has such a bearing on our lives so that it is more than listening to the brief forecast on television or the BOM site. or being fascinated by the rain radars.  Living in the bush as I do, my favourite pages were Bush Forecasting that explain some of the behaviours and characteristics that we have come to notice and learn as the weather changes. Black cockatoos are always a welcome sign here.

Both Stephanie and Tania have drawn deeply on the resources of the National Library of Australia (luckily for them, it’s in their neighbourhood) and being a NLA publication the support materials for further exploration are very detailed. Even moreso though, is the module written to support the book as part of the NLA’s digital classroom   Aligned with the Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences (Geography), and Science for Year 4, 5 and 6 students, it adopts an inquiry-based learning approach to develop students’ understanding of geographical and scientific processes relating to weather, environments, people and systems.

What more could you want?

Tree Beings

Tree Beings

Tree Beings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tree Beings

Raymond Huber

Sandra Severgnini

EK Books, 2020

96pp., hbk., RRP $A34.99

9781925820539

Look closely at the cover of this book.  Look closely at the bark of the tree and the gaps and spaces in between the branches and roots.  For there you will start to discover the purpose of this book, its importance to the planet and why so many people are passionate about their preservation, particularly those whose stories are told within. 

More than 30% of the planet is covered with forest providing clean air, pure water, shelter and employment for both people and animals but the rate of deforestation and degradation is alarming and changing the planet irrevocably.  With a foreword by Dr Jane Goodall , and a focus on four big ideas…

  • Trees give life to the planet.
  • Trees can help save us from climate change.
  • Trees are like beings.
  • Trees need our help and protection.

our children will learn about the value of trees and how essential they are to the healthy life and biodiversity of the planet. As well as understanding how trees give the Earth life, how they ‘talk’ and why they are our best allies in the fight to slow down climate change, readers will meet some of those who have devoted their lives to bringing attention to the plight of the forests and their preservation, the eccentric British professor who travelled the world for seventy years telling people how trees can save us. Written for independent readers in a style that draws them in and keeps them reading, and beautifully illustrated with diagrams, vignettes, close-ups all botanically correct, this is a stunning book that will be eye-opening to many. Trees are so much more than a home for a bird.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

And for those who want more, there is this clip from Gardening Australia that opens up even more understanding.

In a world where students are so aware of climate change, where they have seen the destruction of our bush from the Summer of Fire, where “environment” and “sustainability” are words that even our youngest know and understand and want to act on, this is a book for all ages that will offer yet another avenue of awareness that will allow them to make a difference. Maybe they will be inspired like the 9-year-old-boy who has a plan to plant a trillion trees to save the planet and start their own project!

 

 

Little Inventors Go Green: Inventing for a Better Planet

Little Inventors Go Green: Inventing for a Better Planet

Little Inventors Go Green: Inventing for a Better Planet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Inventors Go Green: Inventing for a Better Planet

Katherine Mengardon

Dominic Wilcox

Collins, 2020

152pp., pbk., RRP $A19.99

9780008382896

Little Inventors is a creative education organisation that inspires imagination by taking children’s amazing ideas seriously. Their mission is to give children across the world the opportunity to develop and showcase their creativity and problem-solving skills, build their confidence, curiosity and resilience to become caring citizens of our planet, all invaluable attributes that will support them as adults in their everyday life and chosen career paths.

The organisation is designed specifically to encourage and support children to invent things and they do this by

  • creating free resources for organisations, teachers and parents to encourage children to think up and draw great invention ideas, working with partners to run challenges, events and workshops
  • challenging skilled experts and makers to work with children to turn their ideas into reality, from the practical to the fantastical, no limits.
  • showcasing children’s inventions online and in books and exhibitions to inspire tomorrow’s inventors, scientists, makers and problem-solvers to believe in their ability to make a difference.

As well as offering children the chance to take part in mini-challenges, the organisers also offer them the opportunity to upload their own ideas to the website.  Little Inventors Go Green is the latest in a series of books (including The Little Inventors’ Handbook) which features information and ideas that will inspire young inventors to consider how they can make this planet a better, greener place for its inhabitants.  While there have been any number of books focusing on climate change and how even our youngest students can take action to help fix it, this one uses the children’s own ideas rather than those created by adults. 

Using diagrams and minimal text that is accessible and speaks directly to the reader motivating them to put their thinking caps on to address whichever problem resonates with them, its format oozes energy and an urge to get involved in doing something. 

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

With the support available from the website and an enthusiastic teacher offering guidance this is a book, and a series, that could easily morph into a lunchtime club attracting kids who like to explore their curiosity, who like to ask questions such as what if…, what could…, how would…, who have lots of ideas whizzing around their head which they just need an outlet for, and who enjoy the company of like-minded thinkers.