If there is one word that children of today know as well as their name it is “virus”. So much of their lives have been affected by this tiny, invisible thing that has had such huge impact. But what is a virus? Using the successful Lift-the-Flap Q&A format of others in this series, readers can investigate just what a virus is, discovering that there are many more than just COVID 19! They also learn the importance of the rules like social distancing, washing their hands and other personal hygiene issues, important because if they understand the why about the what they are more likely to comply. it also alleviates some of the fear that their imaginations can conjure up.
In the past we have been teaching our littlies about why they need to eat well, sleep long and play hard to have a healthy body and preventing illness has been a peripheral, but things have changed and this is an important addition to the collection so they can better understand this thing that is going to shadow their lives for a long time to come.
Do fish wear pyjamas? What’s the sound of an iceberg melting? How many sheep did it take to launch a Viking longship? Which is faster – a tsunami or a bullet train?
The answers to these and many more questions are available in this book that explores the history, science, environment and art of our planet’s seas and oceans. Beginning with a double-page spread that proclaims Planet Earth should be known as Planet Ocean because 71% of its surface is water and only 29% solid ground, the reader is taken on an intriguing journey that covers everything from the one tiny sea creature that keeps us breathing to the sea that has no shore to the origins or mermaids and beyond. Using rich illustrations and bite-sized pieces of information, this book opens up the world both above and below the waves offering the reader at least 100 journeys to explore further, a journey they can take using the Quicklinks that are provided with these sorts of publications from Usborne.
A peek inside…
Sadly, there are still some who believe that there is no need for a non fiction section in the school library collection because “everything is available on the Internet”. This book, especially written for those emerging independent readers who are learning about their world generally and who don’t know enough yet to formulate specific questions, and its companions in this series. are the perfect way to show that there is a place for print beyond fiction.
The most important part of the human body is the brain but it is only in the last little while that technology has enabled scientists to examine it more closely and start to understand its complexities and connections and figure out how it works. Indeed, about 20 years ago there were huge shifts in the way we teach as new pedagogies emerged from this new understanding and “brain-based learning” was the buzzword of the times.
But for all that we, as teachers, were learning about the principles of learning, and the magic trees of the mind, books which clearly explained how the brain functions which were accessible by young learners have been few and far between. So this new publication which is essentially a conversation between a wise owl and a curious little girl fills a void.
A peek inside…
Using speech bubbles, the owl takes the girl on a journey through her brain clearly explaining its parts, its functions, how we learn and how to keep it active and healthy offering a clear and concise explanation that is perfectly pitched for its target audience. From the senses to sleep, memories to making decisions, it provides an introduction to this fascinating topic and then this is supported by the selected online sites in the Quicklinks that accompany these sorts of Usborne publications.
An essential part of any investigation into how we learn by teachers and how our bodies work by students. At the very least, it will help both groups understand why each of us is unique. and views the world that little bit differently.
Bots and Bods : How Robots and Humans Work, from the Inside Out
CSIRO Publishing, 2021
96pp., pbk., RRP $A27.99
This is a fascinating book which explores the similarities and differences between humans and robots, particularly how the basic features of the human body, such as movement, the senses and thinking, are copied in bots.
As more and more of our lives are assisted by what were once the stuff of futuristic cartoon series like The Jetsons, performing everything from mundane chores to intricate surgery, this is an intriguing insight into just how one is translated into the other.
A peek inside…
With its appealing layout and straightforward text, this is one that will appeal to anyone with a deeper interest in this technology (and thus is going straight to Miss Year 9) while there are extensive teachers’ notes focusing on science and digital technologies for those in tears 4-8.
Publications from CSIRO are always original, fascinating and worthwhile and this is no exception.
Subtitles “Camouflaging Creatures & Magnificent Mimics” this book explores the unique and impressive techniques that animals have for staying out of sight. Some change their colours and patterns to blend in with their environment, while others try to look like sticks or flowers – one even wears a cloak of algae. even though they each use a different approach, each is dependent on their unique surroundings to make the camouflage work.
Spanning the globe, including the stick insects (phasmids) of Australia, all sorts of habitats which have creatures hiding in plain sight are explored. Using a minimum of text to introduce the creature and its special features, the reader is then challenged to find it in a double-page spread that captures both the flora and fauna that it lives in, not always an easy task.
Young readers beginning to explore the wider world of Mother Nature will be fascinated by this book and it is one that those boys who seem to need to gather around one book and explore it together will thoroughly enjoy.
Even though they can be destructive, ornery and bite the unwary really hard, wombats still rank high among children’s favourite Australian animals. So this new addition to the Nature Storybook series, released today, will be a welcome addition to the collection.
Given the bushfires of last summer and now the floods of this autumn, the plight of Australia’s native creatures has never been so precarious or prominent as young readers begin to understand the impact of these natural disasters on habitat and food supplies. Therefore, this story about the life of a wombat, looking at the interesting way these animals build their homes, look after their family and protect themselves from predators is very timely. From the day breaking as she snuggles down in her burrow where the tree roots mesh to marking her territory as she is a solitary creature, to having to defend herself and her little jellybean-like baby against the dingo, Cheng has crafted the most compelling story, accompanied not only by stunning illustrations from Duthie but also lots of wombat facts as imagination and information sit comfortably side by side in this narrative non fiction format that makes so much available to our young readers.
Chris Cheng is at his best when he meshes his meticulous research with his way with words and this sits very well along Python, his other contribution to this series and his many others stories for children, my personal, long-term, yet-to-be-beaten favourite being One Child.
A must-have for any collection that meets the needs of any children with a liking for or an interest in these unique creatures.
And if you would like to get your students started on writing faction, beginning with a wombat focus, then From Fact to Faction(e:update 011, 2012) written by me is available to Primary English Teachers’ Association Australia members.
From rubbish into the bin to recycled products in the playground, this little lift-the-flap book tracks the journey of recycling, providing the perfect introduction to this practice which is a normal part of everyday life now.
Joining the 16 other books in this series, Usborne continues to bring quality non fiction to even our youngest readers offering them a book that is sturdy and small enough for little hands as well as a format that is engaging and fun. Anyone who knows the power and persistence of a young person’s questions will welcome being able to share this title, and the others, with them so they have the answers they seek from a clear and authoritative source written with them in mind so they learn the value of information in print . Perfect for preschoolers as it acknowledges those who prefer non fiction even at that age..
As our nation prepares to honour those who have served this country in both war and peace on ANZAC Day 2021, once again we will see and hold commemorations that while confronting in their origins are comforting in their familiarity. Regardless of which town or city we are in, there will be many aspects of the services that are familiar because they have been traditionally associated with ANZAC Day (and other remembrance days) for over a century.
In this new book, a companion to Australia Remembers the author has worked closely with the Department of Defence and History and Heritage units of the Navy, Army & RAAF to deliver answers to questions I have often been asked as a teacher on our major days of commemoration, Beginning with answering the question “Why do we have customs and traditions?, chapters address items such as mottos, codes, music, parades and drills, flags, banners and pennants, badges and awards, ranks, uniforms, animals and mascots and many other elements that go together to make up these special days. It is more than just pomp and pageantry – there is a story behind each story!
With hundreds of photos, easily accessible language and all the supports needed to navigate the text easily, this is a fascinating look behind the scenes enabling students to have a better understanding of not just the overall ceremony but why things are done the way they are. Having been a teacher librarian for over 20 years, the author knows just what is needed to make a text student-friendly.
Remembering those who have served has a prominent and rightful place in the ceremonial life of our schools, as was demonstrated in 2020 when thousands stood at dawn in their driveways because COVID-19 prevented them from participating in the traditional assemblies (itself the beginning of a new tradition) and this new volume in this series is another significant contribution to the library collection so that the memories and the understanding continue.
It will joined by Australia Remembers 3: Len Waters – Boundless and Born to Fly in September, which tells the story of Kamilaroi man Len Waters, who, during World War II became Australia’s first known Aboriginal fighter pilot.
“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…”.
Imagine someone told you that your dream could never come true. What would you do?
Meet Marie Curie. Shy and reserved, she loved science more than anything else in the world. But she lived at a time when women couldn’t be scientists. Marie followed her passion and is now remembered for her game-changing discoveries. But while she tinkered away with test tubes and experimented with a glow-in-the-dark chemical elements, Marie became a mother. Irene and Eve grew up to be fiercely independent and determined women just like their mother, and had many adventures of their own.
Meet these three incredible women in this illustrated book as they save lives during WWI and WWII, win Nobel Prizes, overcome tragedies, travel all around the world and change the history of science forever. This uplifting and touching tale of strength, science and sisterhood is a triumph of female empowerment, introducing yet another generation to their work that changed the world..