It's up to us: A children's Terra Carta for nature, people & planet by Christopher Lloyd
What on Earth Books, 2022. ISBN: 9781913750558. (Age:6 - Adult) Highly recommended.
This beautiful non-fiction release for children is… 'based on the Terra Carta – a road map that was created by HRH The Prince of Wales and his Sustainable Markets Initiative to put Nature, People and Planet at the heart of global value creation.' The forward by HRH The Prince of Wales talks about children being connected to Nature and he hopes that this book will inspire them to discover, celebrate, support and care for our Planet.
The book is divided into four sections: Nature, People, Planet and Terra Carta and has been stunningly illustrated in vibrant colour by 33 artists from around the world. From Australia is well known Aboriginal artist and environmentalist Blak Douglas. His double page spread is striking in concept and reflects the statement on the page about the use of carbon dioxide and the threat to the environment by changing weather conditions. Throughout the first three chapters the emphasis is on how the decisions and actions of humans have brought about great changes in our natural world and the consequences that are being felt now and will continue to be felt if positive change does not happen. The fourth chapter, Terra Carta, shows the reader that we can bring Nature back into balance and highlights a number of 'WE WILL' statements with the final page sharing the declaration: 'We Can do this. We Must do this. And we have to do it Now. Because…… IT’S UP TO US!'
The final pages of the book contain further details about the Terra Carta, a brief bio about each of the 33 artists, information about The Prince’s Foundation as well as a Glossary, a statement about Carbon Footprint and a mention of the Fibonacci spiral that occurs in Nature.
This wonderful resource for all schools and public libraries is a perfect book to share with children in the upcoming Harmony Week March 21-27, 2022.
Dear Greta written by Yvette Poshoglian is a captivating and thought provoking novel, that is an easy and delightful read. Written in letter form, this is a highly engaging, culturally connected and inspiring novel that would appeal to many.
This year is supposed to be Alice’s best one yet! It is her last year in primary school and she has high expectations. So, when she is given the ‘old fashioned’ task to ‘write to your hero’, she is less than impressed. It is even worse when she is given environmental activist, Greta Thunberg as her hero. Why could she not have been allocated a rock star, sports champion or social media sensation? In her opinion, they would be so much easier to write to because she already knows some much about them. But as Alice begins to research Greta, she discovers many fascinating facts.
Alice continually pours her life out to Greta each day and shares everything. She shares her troubles about having to give up her bedroom for her recovering grandma, ongoing arguments with her sister and then there is the Harmony Day disaster, just to name a few. But are these really big problems, or are there greater problems to think about? Will Alice be brave and make a difference to right her wrongs and become a better person? And could she possibly turn the Harmony Day Fiasco into a Cultural Celebratory Fiesta?
Yvette Poshoglian has created a highly relatable character in Alice, who many people will connect with. Sharing family connections, cultures and acceptance of others, this is a skilfully written and insightful book to stimulate and challenge your thinking.
This novel could also make a great read aloud for teachers to share with their students.
Themes Environmental issues, Harmony day, Cultures, Creativity, Taking Action, Open minded, Resilience, Reflection, Problem solving.
Winston and the Indoor Cat by Leila Rudge
Walker Books, 2021. ISBN: 9781760652609.
Winston is an outdoor cat and because that's all he has ever known, it suits him perfectly. Then he spies the Indoor Cat and thinks that it is trapped so he devises a plan to free it so it, too, can enjoy the outdoors as he does. But the Indoor Cat soon learns that it prefers the indoors - can the two ever be friends?
In the vein of the old story of the town mouse and the country mouse, this is a story that introduces the concept of being able to be friends even if you have differences in beliefs, values and habits. Both the simple but powerful text and the gentle illustrations in their subtle palette convey a tone of harmony even though the cats are distinctly different.
A good one for the beginning of the school year when new classes are formed and friendships forged even though everyone is a unique individual.
I could not put down this enthralling intergenerational story that starts in 1914 and spans the years to the end of the 20th century. In 1914 Tom Stott falls in love with Gracie O'Donnell, but she has been contracted to another man and he decides to enlist, first going to Egypt and then to the shores of Gallipoli. Gracie has a baby, Ben, who growing up, also seeks freedom from the constricted life in a small country town and moves to London where he meets Aisling. They have two daughters, Maoliosa and Debbie who too seek freedom in very different ways, Maoliosa as a nun and Debbie going to America. It is not until Debbie's son Noah arrives in Australia that the past will be revealed as he meets his great-grandmother Gracie, his grandfather Will, and other relatives.
Yaxley's narrative is very clever. Divided into six parts, he describes succeeding generations with care. The pre-war life on a farm and narrow thinking of some people in Tom and Gracie's time and the excitement of Kingsford Smith's flights and conquering of the skies in Ben's are vividly portrayed. Religion plays a very important role not only for Tom, but for Maoliosa who decides that the orderliness of a convent is the life for her. However, her sister Debbie finds the music of the 1960's gripping and follows her love to the US, leading a nomadic life, carting her young son Noah from place to place. Finally, when Noah comes to Australia, the truth about his place in the world begins to emerge.
There are hints about what has happened, and the astute reader will realise that the secret that Gracie has harboured all these years is the one that glues the story together and will be happy when it is finally revealed in an age when such things are no longer deemed scandalous. As well as secrets, the quest for love is an overarching theme along with the realisation that a love match may not always live up to one's expectations.
As one would expect from the winner of the Prime Minister's Literary Award in 2018 for This is my song, this is a powerful and touching story of one family’s voyage of discovery.
Evie and the Bushfire is a thoughtfully written picture book about the devastating bushfire that took place on Kangaroo Island, South Australia, in the summer of 2019/2020. The main character Evie is a spirit girl who lives simply as one with Mother Nature. She wakes one day feeling the sense of fire in her bones and seeks refuge in a cave as the land burns around her. She attempts to comfort people through their grief as she is known to have the gift of hope but only a young child Tom can see her. As even he begins to lose hope, Evie talks to him about strength and courage and takes him on a journey to see these in action: the volunteer firefighters, the farmers rebuilding fencing, the glossy black cockatoos spitting out seeds to regerminate the land, home cooked meals from strangers and the green shoots reappearing on the blackened tree. They discover fire again but it is not danger, it is the Ramindjeri men connecting with the land and preventing fire by using fire to protect their ruwe, our country. The community is angry with the fire but Tom talks to them about learning to listen to the land and live in harmony with it.
This story is truly one about hope, resilience, courage and community. It is also about looking to our Indigenous people for understanding and knowledge of sharing the land with nature. The illustrations in mainly black and tones of brown by Jet James are beautifully drawn and mirror the careful and gentle text. Throughout the story elements of colour are introduced to enable the reader to focus on important aspects of the text or changes taking place in the blackened landscape.
This book was written and published on the island of Karta of the Ngarrindjeri Nations with support from the Government of South Australia the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Network.
Themes Bushfires, Kangaroo Island South Australia, Friendship, Grief, Natural Disasters, Indigenous Beliefs & Story, Ramindjeri People, Hope, Courage, Strength, Community.
Two young boys welcome the readers to their gathering. On the first double page we are welcomed in both English and Gamilaraay the language of the Kamilaroi people of the south east corner of Queensland and northern New South Wales.
The first double pages thank the elders of the community for their past struggle, for keeping alive stories, for caring for Mother Earth, for looking into the night sky and sharing the tales found there, for listening.
Everyone is welcome: 'different colours, different people, together in harmony'.
Later Dreise thanks the environment for what it offers its people: Father Sky for the air we breathe, the sun on our faces, Mother Earth for the plants and the animals, even the ants. Then the visitors are thanked: for sharing, celebrating and being respectful of the culture. And finally the reader is thanked for being there, for sharing in the culture being presented at the corroboree, for growing with the presenters, knowing that they too will be filled with pride.
A celebration of Indigenous culture, this lively book invites everyone to the gathering, to share in the culture presented, to learn the language being offered, to share in the stories of the Kamilaroi people.
The vivid illustrations showcasing traditional Aboriginal motifs and styles, are full of colour and detail, with children on every page inviting the reader to share their experiences.
A companion to Gregg Dreise's My Culture and Me, this joyful picture book celebrates Australia's Indigenous heritage and the diversity we enjoy today.
And I love the endpapers, with the Dark Emu filling the night sky from the Southern Cross, across the Milky Way, reflecting not only the story of the Dark Emu one of the creators, headed into the night sky after he died, but also a nod to Bruce Pascoe's recent books, Dark Emu, and Young dark emu which present a new perspective on the way we see Aboriginal life in Australia before Europeans arrived.
St Martin's Press, 2020. ISBN: 9781509808625.
(Age: Adult - Mature YA) Recommended for adult readers. The young
woman, Morgan Christopher is unexpectedly rescued from jail through
a bequest and request from a benefactor known for his incredible
artistic talents. Morgan's own incomplete art skills are needed as
she is thrust into the task of restoring a mural created in 1940.
This restoration project comes with time pressures and emotional
pressures from the artist's daughter as she unearths the history of
the original artist, Anna Dale. Anna was the winner of a National
Town Mural competition to paint the mural for the town of Edenton.
As an outsider, she ruffles a few locals and her Northerner ways and
opinions are sometimes at odds with the local North Carolina
residents. The social milieu of the 1940's town reveals the
inter-racial conflicts of Southern USA in the 1940s as well as the
joys and challenges of the small town. What should she include in
her artistic representation of the town? When the contemporary
parolee, Morgan, investigates the history of the mural that was
never displayed, she uncovers a history that has many twists - and
some of them are not pleasant. In her own story she must unravel her
own insecurities related to the event that caused her imprisonment,
and needs to decide whether she is worthy of love and the incredible
honour of becoming an art restorer for the late renowned artist.
This is an impressive adult dramatic saga incorporating the two
separate stories of the original artist - Anna Dale, and the
contemporary restorer - Morgan Christopher. Told with time shifts
back and forth between the two stories, there is a slowly unfolding
revelation of the drama that led to the mural's disappearance. The
process of art restoration is overseen by the interesting gallery
administrator and there are stories of family disharmony and
restoration woven through the saga. Diane Chamberlain is a master of
the romantic and historical narrative, and this is the kind of book
that would be enjoyed as a 'holiday' selection because of the
revelation of the mystery and social drama across the generations
within the 385 page narrative. Although this is an adult story, it
could be read by mature YA readers.
Recommended for adult readers. Themes: Historical drama; Art
restoration; Racial discrimination - USA; Romance; Murder mystery;
Little Nic's big day by Nic Naitanui
Illus. by Fatima Anaya. Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760876876.
(Age: 5+). Highly recommended. Themes: Rhyming stories, Diversity,
Multi-culturalism, Differences, New Beginnings, Schools. Little
Nic's Big Day is written by well-known Australian AFL West
Coast Eagles footballer, Nic Naitanui. This entertaining picture
book begins with young Nic's apprehension about his first day at a
new school and whether he will fit in. The clever rhyming text
begins with conversations with Nic and his mother on what might
happen at school. His mother reassures him as does his teacher when
he is introduced in the classroom. Throughout the day Nic finds
companions and settles into his new school. The story strongly
promotes the theme of diversity and that being different is easily
embraced in the school setting. The author sensitively reflects on
what languages the classmates speak, the foods they eat and how
different things make them happy.
The illustrations by Fatima Anaya are bold and brightly coloured.
They beautifully complement the contemporary rhyming text where
emphasis is placed on significant words on each page.
This picture book is a welcome addition to any school library
especially at the start of the school year where children are
entering new schools and new classes. Children often worry about
being accepted in new situations. This book is an easy and
entertaining read that may allay a little of that worry and will
appeal to students of all ages. Little Nic's Big Day would also be a
wonderful read celebrating Harmony Day.
The iron man by Ted Hughes
Illus. by Chris Mould. Faber and Faber, 2019 (c1968) ISBN:
(age: 6+) Highly recommended. Themes: Cautionary tale, Modern fable,
STEM, Recycling. This outstanding new publication of The Iron
Man will thrill new readers as well as ones who already know
the tale, reminding them of not judging a book by its cover, as they
hear the tale of an outsider at first derided by the village but
then proving his worth beyond comprehension.
In this beautiful edition, Faber presents a book aching to be picked
up and held, its tactile cover enticing all readers to open the
In the first of five chapters, the Iron Man finds himself in the
sea, bits of him spread over the sea floor. He puts himself together
again, piece by piece and walks to the village, eating the barbed
wire fences along the way, scaring the residents. They build a pit
to trap him and when he falls in, cover him with soil, making a
small hill. But a family sitting to have a picnic finds their family
outing disrupted as the Iron Man rises from below, forcing them to
flee. He has returned. The village calls out the army to rid
themselves of the monster, but Hogarth has a different idea, and
chapter three ends with the monster happily residing at the scrap
metal dump in the village.
But an alien in the form of a space-bat-angel-dragon drops onto
Australia, covering the whole continent. Here it demands food and
military from over the world try to deal with it, without success.
Prompted by Hogarth, the Iron Man has an idea and chapter five
brings the whole to a satisfying conclusion, promoting world peace,
demilitarisation and harmony through music.
Ted Hughes' classic tale, first released in 1968 and rarely out of
print, is presented here with stunning new illustrations. Mould
invests the Iron Man with human characteristics, his mouth and eyes
revealing a host of emotions all children will recognise and love. I
love the intricacies of the Iron Man's body with its cogs and
wheels, nuts and bolts, derricks and winches, steel plate of all
shapes and sizes. Readers will love zeroing in on the make up of the
Iron Man marvelling its duplication on the end papers.
Cautionary in warning readers not to judge people by their
appearance, the story resonates with humour as it is the child in
the village who shows his elders the usefulness of their visitor.
And our audience will thrill at the alien landing in Australia, its
body covering our whole island.
Readers will love the way the story is resolved, the Iron Man
pitting himself against the alien, taken apart and reassembled bit
by bit on the northern beaches of Australia, bringing the world
together with a peaceful conclusion, a modern fable about working
together to promote enduring peace.
Africa Day by Chi Mary Kalu
Illus. by Jelena Jordanovic-Lewis. Little Steps Publishing, 2019.
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Themes: Africa, African food and
culture, Community, Family. Brisbane based lawyer, Chi Mary Jalu has
written a book about a special market day focussing on African food,
music and dance which will make readers' mouths water and feet beg
to move. A boy and his mother leave home early with baskets ready
for the special market day. Walking along some of the market stalls
they breathe in the smells and tastes of African food: fried buns,
jollof rice, bean pudding and Ethiopian coffee. They move on to a
jewelry stall where Mum buys some wooden beads and a bracelet. Next
is bag stall, full of cane and rattan baskets and bags. Then a
material stall where mum buys some shirts and lengths of fabric.
They watch some dancers, jugglers and fire breathers, and they move
on to the singers and musicians engaging the crowd with their lively
music, dressed in traditional costume. The music captivates Mum and
her son who dance until the stalls are taken down and packed away
and it is time for home.
A fabulous time has been spent at Africa Day at the market, and
readers will have joined in the fun of the day, learnt some things
about African culture, had their tastes tingled by the food offered,
and learnt a few African words. A book to encourage diversity and
harmony, Africa Day is full of verve and vigour, wonderfully
evocative illustrations cover every page, full of life, colour and
movement, encompassing the splendour of this continent across the
Indian Ocean. I love the endpapers with the range of African fabric
designs, repeated on the title page, and the happy, laughing faces
on all the participants at the market.
Young dark emu, a truer history by Bruce Pascoe
Magabala books, 2019. ISBN: 9781925360844.
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Non-fiction. Pascoe's revelatory book
emu, black seeds has now been made into a simplified
illustrated hardback version for younger readers - allowing a
younger audience to also learn of Pascoe's research into the
agricultural practices of Australian Aboriginal people. Pascoe draws
on historical records and artefacts to piece together a picture of
Aboriginal settlement before the arrival of Europeans, and contrary
to the long held view of the 'hunter-gatherer' existence that suited
the colonialists' idea of an 'empty' land, he reveals the existence
of Aboriginal farming and land care, permanent settlements with
houses and storage buildings, and complex aquaculture management
Teachers will welcome this book as an excellent example to show
students learning how to research primary sources for their
projects. Pascoe includes extracts from many original nineteenth
century colonial diaries and reports, and he revaluates the artwork
of colonial artists who showed cultivated fields in their paintings,
once dismissed as an English romanticising of the Australian
landscape. He urges the putting aside of preconceptions and
interpreting with a new eye the original materials. 'It is a
different way of looking'. Thus the so-called 'humpy' was actually a
substantial construction that could accommodate many families, the
'lazy' fisherman had actually engineered an ingenious fishing
machine, and fire was not a threat but a useful tool for tilling and
Pascoe has collected the evidence to present the case that the
Aboriginal way of life actually met all the criteria of an
established agricultural society that lived in harmony with their
environment. This is not what the colonialists wanted to see, in
their quest to occupy new land. And it is evidence that was
destroyed as they took possession, and introduced their livestock.
This is an important book in the study of Australian history - it
provides a new perspective to be read and discussed. It needs to be
on every teacher's reading list and in every school library.
Secret in stone by Kamilla Benko
The Unicorn Quest bk. 2. Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN:
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy; Unicorns; Magic; Bravery.
This is the second book in The Unicorn Quest series, and I
wish I had read the first, The
unicorn quest. Two young sisters Claire and Sophie have
found themselves in the fantasy kingdom of Arden, and although in
this book we know that Claire has been revealed as a wielder of
magic, and a Princess of the realm with power to call back the
Unicorn from extinction, it seems that there is more to do to rescue
Arden from the power of those who seem to be working against the
kingdom's harmony and who perhaps have deliberately set their mind
and magic to destructive ends. Claire's gentle and apprehensive
spirit must work hard to rescue her sister, and perhaps even rescue
the unicorn. In a fantasy world not unlike Narnia, there is magic of
different qualities and properties linked to different groups within
the kingdom. These distinctions and the intriguing way that magical
skills are expressed is a delight and the author has created a
wonderful fantasy world and adventure. Claire is a wonderful young
heroine - flawed and reticent, but her insights reveal a wonderful
strength and quality. Her friends, all with different magical
skills, are also intriguing.
This book can be recommended to those who love magical fantasy
stories, but it appears the series will continue and so it is
recommended that readers begin with the first book in the series.
Recommended for lovers of magical fantasy adventure, aged 10 +
Colouroos by Anna McGregor
Lothian Children's, 2019. ISBN: 9780734418821.
In the Red Centre of Australia live the red kangaroos; in the Blue
Mountains live the blue kangaroos; and on the Gold Coast live the
yellow kangaroos. When the drought drives each group from their
traditional homes and they go in search of water and end up gathered
around the same waterhole, they look at each other and think they
are strange. But they all enjoy the cool water, are afraid of
dingoes, leap on their long legs and eat the juicy grass and when,
at night. 'the colour left to dance in the sky above', they all
looked the same. And strange things began to happen . . .
On the surface this is a delightful Australian story for our
youngest readers about the mixing of colours to create new ones, and
it does this very effectively, although the adult sharing it might
have to explain how joeys arrive. Full of colour, rhythm and
repetitive text it engages and perhaps inspires the young child to
do some experimenting with their own paints and ask What happens
when . . .? It could give rise to a host of science and art
activities about colour and light.
But a deeper look could also lead the older reader into considering
how humans also mix and match, mingle and marry and give birth to
the continuing story of multiculturalism and diversity that makes
each community so special. Not just colours interacting but also
cultures, foods, sports . . .
If there is one book to put on your to-buy list in preparation for
the next Harmony Day, this is it. The best picture books span the
age groups seamlessly and this debut by this author/illustrator has
The island of sea women by Lisa See
Simon and Schuster, 2019. ISBN: 9781471183850.
(Age: 16+) Highly recommended. 'A woman is not meant for the
household!' Did you know that on the island of Jeju in Korea, it was
the tradition in the 1930s for women to go to work, diving for
abalone, octopus, sea urchins, crabs and sea slugs, bringing in
their sea harvest to support their families? It was the men who
stayed home, cooked the meals and tended to the children. The
haenyeo, women divers, were expert at capturing their breath and
diving deep, taking what they needed and living in harmony with
Young-sook and Mi-ja are two haenyeo friends, diving together.
Young-sook is continuing her family tradition, diving with her
mother, whilst Mi-ja is the daughter of a despised Japanese
collaborator living with an abusive uncle and aunt, never knowing
the love of a mother. Young-sook's mother takes Mi-ja into the
diving collective, and trains her along with her daughter. The two
girls become the closest of friends.
From the first chapter, we know that something has happened between
the two girls. It is 2008 and Young-sook, as an old woman, is
collecting algae along the shore when she is approached by an
American tourist asking about her grandmother Mi-ja. Young-sook
denies ever knowing her. Why does Young-sook lie, and why does she
refuse to have anything to do with the visitors?
Whilst telling the story of Japanese and American conflict in Korea,
during the 1930s, 1940s, World War II and the Korean War, Lisa See
explores what it means to be close friends, the shared secrets, the
jealousies, and the heart-breaking betrayals - for only a loved
friend knows how to inflict the deepest wound. I think most readers
would identify with that situation - when someone they cared about
lets them down or hurts them in some way. But the mystery of what it
was that divided the two young women carries the reader breathlessly
to the very last chapter.
This is a really interesting book, combining a well-researched
history of the period, with a thought-provoking exploration of
friendship, and the bitter after-effects of being unable to forgive.
Calm mindfulness for kids: Activities to help you learn to live in the moment by Wynne Kinder
Dorling Kindersley, 2019. ISBN 9780241342299.
(Age: 8-12) Highly recommended. Themes: Mindfulness. Kindness.
Emotional wellbeing. Wynne Kinder brings her comprehensive
experience in mindfulness education and creating digital content for
the brain breaks program GoNoodle
to this Dorling Kindersley information book. Calm mindfulness
for kids is beautifully presented with photographs of children
engaged in calming and distressing activities. Presented in six
chapters, educators and children can delve in to the sections -
Focus, Calm, Move, Change, Care, and Reflect. They are guided
through each chapter, through the distressing, learning calm breath,
sensory experiences, caring for themselves and collaborating with
Mindfulness is a key tool which underpins classroom harmony,
promotes positive energy and helps support children developing
positive emotional health. There are colourful circles placed
throughout to help grownups support and explain the activities. In
'Bubbles of kindness' there is an easy-to-follow exercise with the
ingredients listed, bubble mix and twisted pipe-cleaners. Adults can
help the child focus on sending kind bubble thoughts to their
friends and those they find difficult to relate with.
'Reflecting is a way to turn an experience into wisdom.' By making a
gratitude paper chain, siblings, families, classes and teams can
write something they are grateful for on individual strips of
coloured paper, then build a chain to decorate their home or
classroom. A mindful body begins with eyes closed focussing on
breathing and quietly stilling the body. Each activity boosts
self-confidence and builds esteem. They are malleable enough to suit
the individual child's flexibility and levels of understanding. Calm mindfulness for kids is an excellent resource for
teachers supporting students developing their personal and social
capabilities. Kinder illustrates that promoting children's positive
wellbeing can be achieved in short sessions, without expensive tools
and is inclusive for all. For families, this is a wonderful tool to
promote a well-grounded sense of self-knowledge and self-confidence,
great for parents and children