Review Blog

May 20 2014

Aussie Kid Heroes by Dianne Bates

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Ill. by Marjory Gardner. IP Kidz , 2009. ISBN 9781921479144. ebk ISBN 9781921479779.
Do your students know the story of Alice Betteridge who became the first Australian child with both hearing and sight disabilities to learn to communicate? Or that of Jessica Hahn who won a special achievement award in the open employee section of the Business Enterprise Centre Business of the Year Award at the age of eight? Perhaps the name of Jenny Turrel is more familiar - she was the youngest Australian to win a medal at the Commonwealth Games, winning gold for swimming at just 13 years and eight months.
Australia has a rich heritage of extraordinary children doing amazing things and many of their stories are captured here in this intriguing book by Dianne Bates. And each of them is just like any child anywhere, even those in your school. Arranged under headings such as Inventors and Designers, Caring Kids, and Enterprising Kids each entry provides a snapshot of the child's achievement, enticing the curious reader to find out more, perhaps even inspire them.
So often, by the time they get to middle school our students see their lives being dominated by school and 'projects' and homework with no end in sight, so this book is perfect for showing them that there is a world beyond the classroom walls and it is possible for them to have an impact on it. As the centre of a display it could be the impetus to have your students share their lives beyond the 9-3 regimen - perhaps you have someone who cares for a parent, or is a champion skier, or is a budding speleologist. Whatever their passion, it is a great opportunity to let them demonstrate their expertise, maybe become the school's go-to person and lift their self-esteem to new heights! Combine with a research challenge to discover more about the stars of this book and you have a very useful resource for the collection.
Barbara Braxton

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