The Month That Makes the Year

The Month That Makes the Year

The Month That Makes the Year











The Month That Makes the Year

Inda Ahmad Zahri

Allen & Unwin, 2023

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



This month is different from the others.
It starts with the sighting of a new crescent moon.
‘Slow down, be kind to yourself and think good thoughts.’
This month, we learn to do big things by changing one little thing at a time…

For Deenie, the youngest member of a Muslim family, it is her first time to fast during Ramadan. She wonders how she will survive without food or water until sunset but although she faces some   challenges, by the end of the month, she learns that there is a lot more to Ramadan than giving up food and water.

This year, 2023, Ramadan is expected to begin on Wednesday 22 March, following the sighting of the moon over Mecca and last 30 days ending on Friday 21 April, with the celebratory days of Eid al-Fitr starting on Saturday 22 April or Sunday 23 April. While fasting is not compulsory for children, it is seen by many as a rite of passage as they come to learn “patience, gratitude, self-control, mindfulness and a sense of solidarity with everyone on the planet” as well as “strengthening [their] faith on [their] bond with Allah” and thus there will be many in our school communities who are going through this period of denial and for whom, as teachers, we must make allowances, not the least of which is ensuring other students have some idea of this important time in the lives of their classmates.

Told in the first person by a Muslim who has practised the tradition since being a child, its narrative format makes this a personal story that connects to both those of the faith, and those outside it.  Other Muslim children will enjoy seeing themselves in a book that acknowledges their beliefs while showing that it is a struggle to go without and there will be times that they, too, might falter but that there is much that can be gained by distracting their thoughts from hunger and thirst.  Sharing it with all our students will also raise awareness with non-Muslim children helping them to understand not just why their friends might be unable to participate as they normally do, but also the deeper reasons. As well as the enlightening introduction, there is also a glossary to help students understand not only the meaning of some of the terms but also their deeper implications.

From the first year of school, the Australian Curriculum has outcomes explicitly supporting “students to recognise the emotions, abilities, needs and concerns of others [and to] develop their understanding about how respecting the perspectives, emotional states and needs of others is essential to social interactions” and this is an ideal book to meet that goal. It might even be an opportunity for all to share their own religious beliefs, customs and traditions so that they can provide a foundation for investigation throughout the year as they occur.  

Greek Myths

Greek Myths

Greek Myths











Greek Myths

Jean Menzies

Katie Ponder

DK, 2020

160pp., hbk., RRP $A35.00


Even though the ancient Greek civilisation stretched across the Mediterranean, all parts share the same gods and heroes, their way of understanding the world around them and explaining to those less educated how things worked. The gods and goddesses who forged the Earth and set rules for all others to follow were such an integral part of their lives that they were integrated into daily life through their stories, their arts and even referenced in their law.  To this day, thousands of years since they ruled the known world at the time, these stories are known and their heroes recognised. 

In this impressive, weighty tome whose physical appearance belies its accessibility to its target audience of young independent readers, the stories are retold in modern easy-to-understand language accompanied by lots of illustrations.  They are organised under headings of The Beginning, The Olympian Gods, Humans and the Gods, and Heroes and there is also a section that explains more about the role of the myths in Greek life.

A peek inside...

A peek inside…

As with all DK publications for young readers, there are the usual supports for young readers such as an easy-to-navigate contents page, glossary and index, but, importantly, for this one, there is also a pronunciation guide so little tongues can master those tricky names.  Imagine not only being able to say “tyrannosaurus rex” but also ‘Chimaera’ and ‘Eurydice’ and even ‘Penelope’ (which was what I was to be called except my mum knew people couldn’t pronounce it!)   Perfect for dropping at the family dinner table and all because the child found this amazing book in the school library collection!

If your curriculum includes a unit focusing on superheroes, this is a must-have… how do today’s heroes match up and will they still be around in 1000 years? 

What Do You Do to Celebrate?

What Do You Do to Celebrate?

What Do You Do to Celebrate?












What Do You Do to Celebrate?

Ashleigh Barton

Martina Heiduczek

ABC Books, 2021 

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


In every corner of the globe,
as years begin and end,
there are many ways to celebrate
with family and friends.

Thanksgiving in the USA on the fourth Thursday of November heralds the beginning of a season of celebrations around the world, as calendars draw to a close and preparations for a new year begin.  No matter where in the world you live, there is something to mark the passing of time and in this book created by the team behind What do you call your grandma? and What do you call your Grandpa?  the reader is taken on a journey around the globe to share significant celebrations with other children. Whether it’s skating to mass each morning in Caracas Venezuela, waiting for the littlest camel of the Three Wise Kings to bring treats on Epiphany or just visiting the displays in the shop windows of Sydney, children around the world share those end-of-year traditions.

Each double page spread is vibrantly illustrated with a description of the festival in rhyme, and further explanation offered in the final pages. While some of the experiences may be familiar, so many are not but the joy is that it is likely to touch the heart of at least one of our students and at last they are seeing themselves and their culture in a book shared by their peers.  Beyond that important connection, the power of this book lies in its final verse…

So many traditions to mark the year.

What about you – what brings you cheer?

Presents, dancing or is it cake?

What do you do to celebrate?

This sets up the perfect opportunity for our students to investigate and share those things that they do in their homes offering the opportunity for the perfect end-of year activity that goes beyond the more common Christmas Around the World. It acknowledges the different ways our families celebrate this time, builds connections and understanding and provides an authentic vehicle to put all those information literacy skills into practice. 

In My Mosque

In My Mosque

In My Mosque











In My Mosque

M. O. Yuksel

Hatem Aly

Farshore, 2021

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


The mosque as both a place and the way of life it represents plays such a significant role in the lives of so many of our students that this book that explores how it is used by families, friends and communities for worship, learning, eating, helping each other and playing will be welcomed by many.  For not only does it reflect the lives of so many – and we know the power of reading about ourselves in books – but it also demystifies the building and what happens within for those who are unfamiliar.

Based on the author’s visits to many mosques around the world, it shows both similarities and differences and how through these there is unification overall. Illustrated by the artist behind The Proudest Blue the reader is taken inside a place that radiates peace and love and the simple commentary of what happens explains much.

An important addition to the collection of any library that serves the followers of this faith, as well as others as we try to break down the walls by offering insight and understanding.