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Barefoot Kids

Barefoot Kids

Barefoot Kids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barefoot Kids

Scott Pape

Barefoot Publishing, 2022

224pp., pbk., RRP $A32.99

9781460763650

When 8 year old Levi Anderton was laughed at in class because he froze when his teacher asked him to read something aloud, the situation had the potential for any number of outcomes, all of them profound and some of them not good.  But Levi was able to turn the incident on its head and within 6 months he was the boss of his own company  selling reading rulers and cases online fielding and fulfilling orders from around the world. Like Sir Richard Branson, he turned his disability into an opportunity.

For years, Scott Pape, author of highly successful The Barefoot Investor has been engaged in programs to make financial literacy a key part of every primary and secondary school curriculum including having an annual 4-6 week money challenge similar to the Premier’s Reading Challenge, and, for primary students in particular, showing them the power of working, saving, spending and giving.  

And so, in this engaging easy-to-read step by step guide for young readers to make and carry out a financial plan, interspersed with success stories like Levi’s for encouragement, there is the blueprint to help them become financially savvy at the very least, if not world-leading entrepreneurs. Money may be the “root of all evil” but it seems to be something everyone desires. Regardless of how we might prefer it to be different, success still seems to be measured by salary and despite odds of one in 292 million of winning the recent mega US $2 billion lottery, millions around the world bought tickets in the hope of becoming rich.  Closer to home our students are probably seeing the consequences of the ‘cost-of-living crisis” that is reported on every news bulletin, so it would seem that a book by a recognised expert that has both sound advice and practical strategies would be very appropriate and timely.

Arranged into the six steps entitled Earn Some Money, Stash Your Cash, Be a Barefoot Boss, Get What you Want, Make Someone Smile and Grow your Money, readers are taken from that first basic understanding that money comes from working and even though they might resent pitching in with household chores there are ways that make them in charge so they are in control of both what they do and what they do with the rewards. There are charts and checklists so each child can map their own path (even those under 7) including being able to pitch the idea of being paid for chores confidently to parents. 

With language and layout chosen so that the reader is encouraged, supported and successful on each page, this is a must-have for every child so that they not only get the things they want without having to wait for Christmas or birthdays but they develop the critical understandings and foundations for their future financial security as they learn so much in a practical, personal real-life way.  You could not give a child a better gift. 

And kids could give their parents The Barefoot Investor for Families so everyone wins!

The Sun and the Mayfly

The Sun and the Mayfly

The Sun and the Mayfly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sun and the Mayfly

Tang Tang

Zhang Xiao

Little Steps, 2022

44pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

9781922678041

As Little Mayfly is born in the depths of the lake, moving upwards through the water she greets the sun who is rising over a new day. 

“Hello”, she says, ” you are amazing. You light up this world as soon as you wake up. Who are you?” 

Sun tells her but when it learns that Little Mayfly only lives for one day and when it’s journey is over so will be her life, it has no words because it knows just how brief a day is.  But to Little  Mayfly, a day is a lifetime and there is so much to see and do, and even though she learns that she is going to miss out on things like the tadpole turning to a frog and the flowers booming., she remains cheerful and optimistic, determined to make the most of the time she does have.

Tagged as “an uplifting story about the power of positivity and making the most of every day” this is an enchanting story from a leading Chinese author that not only introduces young readers to the passage of time and encourages them to make the most of their time, it also helps them start to see the world through a different lens – an abstract concept that is tricky for little ones.  It is like that saying that not stepping on the ant makes a huge difference to the ant, if not the walker.  If we only have one day, do we spend it in despair or delight?

Even though the reader longs for a happier miraculous ending as the sun gradually sinks in the west, the inevitable happens and so this is also an opportunity to introduce the concept of life cycles  the tadpole’s is illustrated in the story but in a joyful way – and so the focus becomes not the inescapable but what can be done in the time we have.  Definitely one for the mindfulness collection and to inspire positive  mental health. 

If The World Were 100 Animals

If The World Were 100 Animals

If The World Were 100 Animals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If The World Were 100 Animals

Miranda Smith

Aaron Cushley

Red Shed, 2022

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

 9780008524371

“The total number of individual animals on Earth is believed by some to be 20 000 000 000 000 000 000 or 20 quintillion or 20 billion billion.”

That’s a number that only someone like Elon Musk can visualise so this clever book makes it manageable by reducing it to just 100 animals, and dividing them into vertebrates (just 6) and invertebrates (94).  Then, like its counterpart If the World were 100 People, it uses double page spreads to investigate the characteristics of those 100 with questions such as what makes invertebrates different to invertebrates,  did you hatch from an egg and which animals are the most deadly to humans. 

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

It’s layout with plenty of illustrations and info-filled captions make it both visually appealing and readily accessible to younger readers so they not only learn a lot but can have intriguing facts to roll out during dinnertime conversation. Fancy being able to drop a fact such as “Of all the animal species that have  lived on this planet, only 10 are still living. Ninety are extinct,”  into the chat to start a lively discussion about conservation.  Particularly relevant when it is feared that by 2050 – less than 90 years away – more than 1 000 000 species of animal that inhabit our planet today will be extinct including the polar bear, rhinoceros and gorilla because of climate change, pollution, deforestation and overfishing. 

So what are the big questions we need to ask ourselves and what action do we need to take? This is an important book that reduces the issues to a scale that the child, who will be the adult in 2050,  can cope with and understand and perhaps drive the actions that are critical.  

 

 

Need a House? Call Ms Mouse!

Need a House? Call Ms Mouse!

Need a House? Call Ms Mouse!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Need a House? Call Ms Mouse!

George Mendoza

Doris Susan Smith

A & U Children’s, 2022

40pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781761066016

The sign outside her home says that Ms Mouse & Co are “builders, designers and decorators” and certainly she has a portfolio to back her claims.  All the animals want to live in a house designed by Ms Henrietta Mouse, because she is the only mouse in the world who understands exactly what makes a squirrel or a rabbit, a caterpillar or a frog feel at home.

With her faithful mouse helpers she has built just the right home for so many of her forest friends and each is shown in beautiful detail on each double spread from the spaceship for Squirrel to the underwater Atlantis for Trout to the highly tuned web for Spider. Fourteen homes in all, so what does her own home look like?

As the 2022 season of The Block draws to a close, the interest in home design and décor is rising, and I am always amazed at the number of children who not only turn up to view the open houses but who can speak quite knowledgeably about the contestants and what they have achieved.  Some even aspire to be on the show themselves.  So this picture book  will inspire their imaginations as they think about what their own house might look like, taking into account their personal preferences and foibles, or perhaps inspire an activity that involves designing a home for an Australian animal, also considering their unique needs.  Combine it with books like Puffin the Architect, and Built by Animals and there is the basis for a range of skills and strengths to come into play combining STEM and art that might even kickstart a career choice… 

The Muddy Chef

The Muddy Chef

The Muddy Chef

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Muddy Chef

Penny Whitehouse

Emma Bear

Wild Dog, 2022

48pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781742036380

Across Australia, and particularly in NSW, the one thing that there is plenty of right now is MUD. And kids who want to play in it. 

So this is a timely release that encourages children to play outside and make mud cakes, although these are quite fancy using all sorts of natural ingredients and with names like unlickable lasagne, mud and seed cupcakes and nature’s nachos!  Set out like a traditional recipe book, beginning with setting up the mud kitchen and stocking it with the appropriate utensils and ingredients, each recipe is based on a familiar food item with step-by-step instructions on how to make it, including a photo of the finished product. 

Designed to get children to play outside rather than necessarily developing their culinary skills – there are warnings about NOT eating what is created- as well as following the suggestions in the teachers’ notes  to entice children away from screens and out into their natural environment, this could also be an engaging way to introduce them to procedural texts and all the concepts and vocabulary of measurement, time and sequencing that go with those. 

Certainly something different to share with your parent body.

Lifesize Baby Animals

Lifesize Baby Animals

Lifesize Baby Animals

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lifesize Baby Animals

Sophy Henn

Farshore, 2022

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9781405299497

Imagine opening a page in a book and finding yourself staring into a lifesize eye of a baby blue whale.  There’s not much more of the whale on the page, but nevertheless, it gives an idea of its overall size.

From the tiny baby honey possum about the same size as a fullstop, young readers are taken to visit various animal babies all portrayed in the same scale so they understand the difference in size, inviting them to think about how they compare with these amazing creatures. From baby zebra seahorses that look like comma-sized squiggles on the page to the amazing four-page spread that is as tall as a baby elephant, young readers can compare themselves in all sorts of ways suggested by the text as well as learning the concepts of measurement and scale as they work out the dimensions of the adults using the book itself as their measuring tool.

This is one of three in this fascinating series which includes Dinosaurs (already published) and Deadly Animals (due April 2023), each of which is intriguing in itself but also an opportunity to show how the library can support the maths curriculum making them relevant to a much wider audience than early readers. Imagine a collaboration between older and younger students where they actually mapped the real sizes of creatures, first using the book’s size as suggested, and then converting this to more formal measurements.  As well as bringing the concept of scale to life in a meaningful way for the older students, they could compare the babies to the adult versions and determine which grows the greater amount both in proportion and percentage, and compare that to human growth. Younger students would have lots of fun consolidating the vocabulary of measurement beyond just comparing themselves to their peers, as well as mapping their own growth since birth or comparing the length of their bones or even trying to find an accurate way to measure around their head.  . 

The value of books like this that go far beyond their intended purpose and audience, including building connections between children, cannot be underestimated. IMO, this a must-have.   

 

Quickly Slowly Day

Quickly Slowly Day

Quickly Slowly Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quickly Slowly Day

Martin Baynton

Rob Foote

Little Steps, 2022

32pp., pbk., RRP $A16.95

9781922678515

Slowly up the steep steps, quickly down the slide

Slowly count to twenty, quickly try to hide.

The passage of time is one of the most abstract and difficult concepts for little children to understand, particularly when some things seem to pass quickly while others drag on and on. So this rhyming story featuring Baby Bear and his Mama introduces them to the vocabulary of ‘quickly’ and ‘slowly’ by sharing a day and showing the difference between the two terms.  Not only will young children relate to the activities, but they could also have fun classifying which of their own activities would be in the ‘quickly’ column and which in the ‘slowly’. This could be extended to embrace means of transport or animal movement, all the while consolidating and extending vocabulary in an interactive way.

This is another story evolving from The Book Hungry Bears television show in which the main characters share picture books, hungry to learn all they can from those they settle down to share together. With so much screen-based interaction for our littlies, taking the time to share a story and discuss it with them, is critical so they learn about the constancy of print and the potential that the stories offer, and particularly that they can return to them time and time again and even build their own stories.  

Slowly choose a book, slowly read the pages,

Slowly share the words, Let’s make this last for ages.

 

You Are 25% Banana

You Are 25% Banana

You Are 25% Banana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Are 25% Banana

Susie Brooks

Josy Bloggs

Farshore, 2022

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

9781405299084

With an intriguing title that is as eye-catching as the cover, this will capture the imagination of any casual browser, and once opened, so will the contents. 

Using both bold fonts and illustrations, this is a fascinating early introduction to genetics that explains how humans are related to every other living thing on the planet, including bananas; that our closest relatives are chimpanzees with a 99% match; yet while our “recipe” is the same as 99.9% of everyone else on the planet now or ever, it is the 0.1% that makes us unique.  Only identical twins have the same recipe!

One of the most common activities in early childhood classes is to graph hair and eye colour, or map heights and so this book goes a long way to helping children understand why they have the colouring or the build that they do.  Learning this at an early age might help alleviate the body image issues that still plague our kids, particularly as they get older, helping them accept their red hair and freckles more readily and even celebrate their differences rather than their lack of conformity to some media-driven, arbitrary, preferred look.  

For older students, it could help them understand the stupidity and futility of racism, particularly if they also watch the pioneering documentary Blue Eyes, Brown Eyes,  Whether our beliefs about human development are based on Glasser’s Basic Needs theory, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs or any other theory, the need for love and belonging is common, and physical acceptance is high – so the more we can understand the importance and influence of our genetic makeup from an early age, the more likely we are to value ourselves and others.  Therefore, this is an important book to start the conversation, even if we don’t like bananas! 

 

 

Bluey and Bingo’s Fancy Restaurant Cookbook

Bluey and Bingo's Fancy Restaurant Cookbook

Bluey and Bingo’s Fancy Restaurant Cookbook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bluey and Bingo’s Fancy Restaurant Cookbook

Bluey

Puffin, 2022

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

9781761045769

Fancy an omelette? Some fish and chips?  Perhaps a pavlova? Or even a duck cake for your birthday?

All the familiar characters of the popular Bluey series, have come together to share their favourite foods in this easy-to-follow recipe book that might start young readers off on a culinary career! Beginning with the usual safety and hygiene tips and the necessary equipment list, including an adult helper, budding young cooks are stepped through each recipe with the help of their familiar friends.

With a sturdy spiral binding and wipe-clean pages, as well as opening up the world of food made at home, there is also all the literacy and maths of interpreting recipes, such as the vocabulary of cooking, sequencing, measuring, following instructions, time management and so on.  To tempt the taste buds before buying,  there is even a free recipe on offer.

When this generation grows up, this might be the one recipe book that they share with their own littlies as they proudly share where their cooking journey began!!!

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

9781406394771

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!