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Pollination

Pollination

Pollination

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pollination – How Does My Garden Grow?

Chris Cheng

Danny Snell

CSIRO Publishing, 2023

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

9781486313235

When you live high up in an apartment in the city, it can be easy to take things like your food and clothing for granted, but take a trip to your grandparents in the suburbs and your eyes can be opened and your thinking changed entirely!

For even though young city kids might now know that bees are important, in this intriguing book they learn not only of the bees’ critical role in the survival of the planet as they flit from flower to flower, but also all the other pollinators who carry the precious gold dust – appropriate that it is gold, in the scheme of things – from plant to plant, not only providing food for humans but also for their own kind so that the cycle can continue on.  So, just as pollination itself is essential to the survival of the world’s ecosystems, so it is essential that we protect the pollinators.  As the child learns, something as simple as placing a bright-coloured flower in a pot on a balcony can contribute.

Linked to the Science strand of the Australian Curriculum, particularly the Biological Sciences understanding that “Living things grow, change and have offspring similar to themselves ” as well as being used in conjunction with Bee Detectives,  Plantastic,The Butterfly and the Ants     and Wonderful Wasps, this is an excellent foundation for helping our youngest readers understand a concept that many adults wouldn’t believe they could even pronounce!

Extra notes and some suggestions at the end of the story offer further information as well as some ideas for the best plants to put in a “Pollinators Paradise” if the school were to go down the path of creating a special, year-round garden to attract and protect the local pollinators.  Imagine the investigations that would spark…

 

Australia Remembers: Wartime Nurses

Australia Remembers: Wartime Nurses

Australia Remembers: Wartime Nurses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australia Remembers: Wartime Nurses

Jacqui Halpin

Big Sky, 2022

72pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781922615602

For over 100 years Australia’s military nurses have been risking their own lives to save the lives of others. From nursing Gallipoli wounded in Egypt during World War I, to treating injured troops and civilians in modern day Afghanistan, with skill, devotion, and compassion these courageous nurses have cared for the casualties of war.

Australia Remembers 6: Care and Compassion – Wartime Nurses, the sixth in this series, shines a light on the remarkable women, and later men, who have served, and continue to serve Australia and humanity during times of war, conflict and natural disasters. The hardships, dangers and sorrows they faced is made accessible to younger readers and highlights the outstanding contribution of these often-forgotten heroes. With historic photographs, quotes from past and present-day nurses, fascinating facts and medical breakthroughs, questions and fun activities, it provides engaging and informative reading for children, adults and educators.

It ensures Australia’s military nurses will be remembered for the sacrifices they have made, the care they have given, and the lives they have saved with facts and photographs combined in a layout that makes the information readily accessible. Teachers’ notes are available to guide a deeper understanding  of both the text and its subject, making this a valuable addition to any collection that focuses on Australia’s military history and the things we commemorate around Both April 25 and November 11.

Embrace Your Body

Embrace Your Body

Embrace Your Body

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embrace Your Body

Taryn Brumfitt

Sinead Hanley

Puffin, 2020

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

9781760895983

There is something scary in the statistic that 70% of primary school children have a concern about their body image, and when this is coupled with the greatest desire of post-restriction Australia is for beauty salons and gyms to re-open, it is easy to see why and that without intervention, this obsession with how we look is not going to change. From long before the voluptuous Marilyn Monroe to waif-like Twiggy to the more-rounded Kardashians, our obsession with how our bodies look rather than how they perform has dominated so many lives, and this is as true for our males as it is for females.  How many young lads see themselves in the image of a Hemsworth?

In 2016 Taryn Brumfitt wrote and directed a documentary Embrace which encouraged us to love who we are as we are, but that doco received a MA15+ classification and so did not reach down to the roots of where the obsession starts.

So now she is addressing this with the establishment of a number of initiatives that speak directly to our children including another documentary , a song and, based on that song, this book. Based on the mantra that “your body is not an ornament:it is the vehicle to your dreams!”. children of every size, shape, colour and ability are engaged in all sorts of activities  showing the extraordinary things our bodies can do proving that nobody has a body that is the same as anyone else’s and that it is capable of so much more than conforming to some arbitrary stereotyped look.

This book has an important role in the conversations and investigations we have with our youngest students and not just in the health and mindfulness programs we offer. Because we are all individuals it opens up the world of science and maths as we investigate why and how that is, delving into genetics and measurement and a host of other areas that give a deep understanding to the message of the book, including the language we use to describe others. ‘Smart’, ‘clever’, ‘athletic’ are so much better than the pejorative terms of ‘pretty’, ‘handsome’ and ‘strong’.  For if, from an early age, we can grasp that we, as individuals, are a combination of the unique circumstances of both our nature and nurture, then our understanding of and appreciation for who we are is a big step towards valuing the inside regardless of the outside in both ourselves and others. 

It is sad that there is still a need for this sort of book in 2020, just as there was in 1920 and 1960, but if you make and use just one purchase this year, this could be the one that changes lives for the better. 

 

 

Questions and Answers about Money

Questions and Answers about Money

Questions and Answers about Money

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions and Answers about Money

Lara Bryan

Marie-Eve Tremblay

Usborne, 2023

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

9781803702513

At a time when a kids’ book about money, Barefoot Kidssells more copies in its first week than the controversial memoir of a popular prince, the release and review of this new title from the ever-reliable Usborne would seem very relevant.

In its lift-the-flap, question-and-answer format it introduces readers to all sorts of aspects of this daily essential from its early history to earning, managing and spending it. In an era where click-and-buy is so accessible, even to our children, understanding more than the recognition of coins and notes is essential and so this has been written in consultation with a British expert so that children can start to build a solid foundation for future money management.

As is usual with Usborne publications, it comes with pre-selected Quicklinks so readers can take their investigations further and as a precursor to Scott Pape’s Barefoot Kids, it is a winner.  An essential part of  the library’s collection to support the maths curriculum.

 

Mathematics for Beginners

Mathematics for Beginners

Mathematics for Beginners

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mathematics for Beginners

Sarah Hull

Tom Mumbray

Paul Boston

Usborne, 2022

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

 9781474998543

Ask your students what they believe maths to be and you will get answers such as ‘numbers’, “measuring”. “counting”… and probably emotions like “hard”, “boring”, “waste-of-time”.  There are more groans and moans than jumps for joy.

 But mathematics is known as the “queen of all sciences” and the word itself comes from the Ancient Greek meaning “that which is learned” or “what you can know.”  And, indeed, it takes but a short investigation to see that maths concepts pervade every aspect of our lives and that is the focus of this book  for those who have mastered the basics of counting and calculating, to demonstrate the application and extension of those skills in solving almost every problem we have, from the mundane such as knowing the using a bus timetable to  extending our knowledge into areas we are yet to explore to solving mysteries that have confounded generations. 

Over the 50+ years I’ve spent in education, many of them helping young children understand the basic concepts through several maths-focused books, I know the key to success is showing them that what they are learning is relevant to their lives and something they will use again and again, and that is also the focus of this book.  So as well as looking at what statistics and probability are, it shows how they can be used to predict which sports teams will win.  By understanding shapes and scale, Lego models become more adventurous.  By understanding pi we can share the pie equally…

With the usual appealing layout and reader-friendly language we associate with Usborne publications, this is one that will take those with an interest deep into the realm of possibilities and, as usual, there are also the Quicklinks which fascinate further.

What Makes a Matilda

What Makes a Matilda

What Makes a Matilda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Makes a Matilda

Puffin, 2022

256pp., pbk., RRP $A24.99

 9781761048869

As the Socceroos enter the FIFA World Cup knockout rounds for the first time since 2006, interest is the FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand in 2023 is growing.  And we know from past successes in other sports how a win the magnitude of that of the Socceroos inspires our young readers to reignite their dreams, so this is a timely release to hone that passion even more sharply. 

With sections devoted to  pathways to becoming a Matilda, how to capture the Matilda spirit, in-depth player profiles, football history, mindset advice, quotes from your favourite players, pro training drills, photos and more, it also follows the journey of our national team from their first international competition, to when they officially became the Matildas, to their preparations for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. 

Up-to-date , including the 2022 Asian Cup squad and the news that the entire Australian Top Ten of footballers are women; that Lydia Williams, author of Saved! and Goal! , became the first Australian goalkeeper to reach 100 appearances at that level; and their world=ranking currently sitting at 12th, this is the perfect publication  for the Christmas stocking of any young fan with a dream.

The Bedtime Book of Impossible Questions

The Bedtime Book of Impossible Questions

The Bedtime Book of Impossible Questions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bedtime Book of Impossible Questions

Isabel Thomas

Aaron Cushey

Bloomsbury, 2022

96pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781526623751

Can I sleep with my eyes open?

Why can’t I tickle myself?

What’s the world’s worst smell?

Why are bubbles always round?

Children asked impossible questions all the time much to the chagrin of their parents who are trying to get the child to sleep or who have no idea of the answers. And the child is not satisfied with “I don’t know” but now this book allows you to follow that with, “Let’s find out.” Starting with the premise that science is fundamentally about asking questions, particularly impossible ones, using what you know already as the stepping stones to look for answers which often throw up new questions, and continuing to experiment, explore, collect and discover while all the while discovering new rabbit-holes to investigate, the book gives the answers to a wide range of questions based on best-practice current knowledge. 

So as well as demonstrating why humans don’t have tails, why we need eyebrows and how many stars there are, they even explain why tortoises can beat hares! Lots of pictures and accessible text that keeps the audience front and centre make this a book that will not only help parents out but also nurture the budding scientists and support their curiosity as it validates that there are no silly questions – just those needing answers.  Perhaps they will be inspired to ask their own and that could build the basis of your science program for the year.  Investigating what they want to know rather than what some curriculum writer thinks they should! 

 

 

Book of the Microscope

Book of the Microscope

Book of the Microscope

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book of the Microscope

Alice James

Usborne, 2022

64pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781474998468

Give a little child a magnifying glass and you will entertain them for hours.

Give a little child a pair of binoculars and you will entertain them for days,

But give them a microscope and you will entertain them weeks, if not a lifetime.

There is something fascinating that draws little people into looking at little things, so much smaller than they are and which captures their interest and imagination.  How well I remember the times it was our turn to have the school’s class set of microscopes and the anticipation and oy of discoveries made.  It didn’t surprise me that now Miss 16 had a microscope and a telescope on her Santa lists when she was but a babe!

So this book which explains what a microscope is, how it works and how to use it will be a welcome companion to a gift of the real thing. There are so many things to look at in and around the home that it can be overwhelming but with brilliant illustrations and accessible text, the reader is directed to focus on specific things such as the shapes and textures of thinks like moss or pollen and thus when they choose their own investigations they have learned the sorts of things to look for and at. There are even projects such as peeling a leaf or growing body bacteria  so the budding scientist is even more actively engaged.

Apart from being a brilliant suggestion for keeping young readers entranced as the long summer holidays approach, being an Usborne publication means there are safe links to follow to learn and discover more including using a virtual microscope.  

As well, the TL’s best friend Peter Macinnis still endorses the GoMicro, a device that attaches to a smart phone and for which he has written a series of free lessons for kids to use to explore the world around them.   More information about the device and how it can be purchased and used in schools (included purchasing a class set for $270) is here  or contact Peter directly for the teaching notes. 

Social Media Survival Guide

Social Media Survival Guide

Social Media Survival Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media Survival Guide

Holly Bathie

Usborne, 2022

304pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781474999267

Like it or not, use it or not, social media is an integral of today’s life and despite it being illegal for those under 13 to have accounts because the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA), which prevents collection and storage of personal information from children under 13 years of age which originated in the US but which is pretty much universal, many of our young students still access sites and apps daily. 

For many parents, the world of social media and instant connectivity is not one in which they grew up – it’s all happened in the last 20 years –  and so helping their children navigate where they never went when they were children can be tricky.  Perhaps the recent hacking of Optus and Medicare and the exposure of personal date gathered legitimately can have a silver lining if it alerts parents to the spread of their digital footprint and propels them to start considering what they are sharing, and thus, their children. 

For even though way back in 1996 my school had a huge focus on safe surfing of the web and the kids, most of whom did not have access to computers and the internet at home, had the basics drummed into them from the get-go, the issues caused by the use of these instant, anonymous platforms continue to rise as our young people seek attention, fame, and in some cases, notoriety. Who can forget the death of 14 year old Dolly Everett who took her own life because of online bullying.?

Thus this book which enables our young readers, even those under the required 13 years) to manage their life, relationships and mental health on social media platforms and empowers them to stay safe online is an important read for all.  With the usual engaging layout we associate with Usborne, but in monochrome rather than colour, it offers in-depth coverage of a range of important a difficult issues young people face including body image, appearance-enhancing filters, influencers, sexual content and mental health. It uses recognisable themes rather than platform specifics, making the content relevant long-term, and tips on how to set up accounts safely and best manage privacy and messaging settings. It also addresses the user’s online persona, online reputation, and relationships; helps them understand  fake news and information and how to handle online bullying, as well as avoiding trolls.

While social media can have a really positive side – many would have been very isolated without during COVID lockdowns – and it would be wonderful if we could instil such a sense of confidence and well-being in the younger generation that they never feel the need for anonymous, meaningless affirmation, nevertheless there is a dark side and users must be aware of the potential for harm as well as good.  Once it’s out there, it’s out of your control. 

As well as being an important guide for the kids, it is also really useful for parents themselves as they learn what it is their child needs to know and do, understand and value as what was once just “peer pressure” from your immediate social circle is now a universal phenomenon right there in their hand. It goes hand-in hand with the excellent site and work of the E-Safety Commissioner established by the Australian government which has information for everyone from parents to teachers to kids to women to seniors and even a host of diverse groups who may be targeted or marginalised. 

Despite the care we take, every keystroke or finger tap can unknowingly add to our digital footprint, and so the better informed we are the safer we will be. Thus this is one to recommend to parents, to teachers and for yourself if you have responsibility for students or your own children online. 

 

Monsters: 100 Weird Creatures from Around the World

Monsters: 100 Weird Creatures from Around the World

Monsters: 100 Weird Creatures from Around the World

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monsters: 100 Weird Creatures from Around the World

Sarah Banville

Quinton Winter

Wren & Rook, 2021

208pp., hbk., RRP $A45.00

9781526363497

From Cyclops to the Beast of Exmoor, Bigfoot to the Loch Ness Monster, gold-digging ants to an underwater panther, every culture has its iconic monster – some real and others embedded in literature.  While they are as diverse as the people who have seen them, heard them and told their stories, they all share the ability to send shivers down the spine…

In this fascinating book for older readers, and perfect for sharing in those  fill-in-five, each monster is brought to life with its story told on one page and illustrated in full colour.  Each is thoroughly researched, most arise from the storytelling and superstitions of past generations searching to explain mysteries before science exposed the possibilities.  Nevertheless the stories and beliefs remain and even now there are documentaries and even television series focusing on those who believe and are willing to risk all to show the “truth”. Each is identified as to whether it is myth, folklore or a sighting and the taster inspires further investigation.

And while there are monsters from all over the world featured, neither of Australia’s most familiar – the yowie and the bunyip – is featured, setting up the perfect opportunity for students to create extra entries for those as well as any others that might not have been included, as well as investigating the role that such creatures played in people’s lives. For example, many fairy tales with ‘watered-down” monsters were didactic stories designed to improve children’s behaviour! And even as we approach the festive season, youngsters in some countries are threatened with only receiving lumps of coal, if anything, if they don’t behave.  

This book has lots of potential for all sorts of investigations into the world of myths, legends and folklore.