Lali finds a feather while she's playing in the field. She thinks the feather might be lost so she sets out to find it's home. Along the way she meets la ot of different birds and asks them all the same question, 'Is this feather yours?' Each bird replies 'Na, Lali, Na!', saying the feather is either too little, or not perky or fancy or warm enough, So Lali decides to keep the feather and show the cheeky birds all the wonderful things the feather can do. All of a sudden big old wind comes along and lifts the feather high in the air and it floats away. This makes Lali very sad and, although all of the other birds offer her their fancy feathers, Lali just wants her plain, pokey little feather. When it eventually floats back to the ground, everyone wants to play with this most wonderful feather! The book ends with Lali finding another, equally intriguing object that promises even more adventures.
This is a wonderful story about a young Indian girl with a big imagination, who sees the value and potential in the small things around her. The vibrant illustrations are a perfect match for the text which is interspersed with Indian slang, and helps showcase the diversity inherent in the story. Lali's colourful clothes, her long brown braid and her bindi, are a beautiful depiction of a carefree young Indian girl. This is a must have book to help diversify your library collection for younger readers.
You can find out more about Farhana Zia's books here and about Stephanie Fizer Coleman's beautiful illustrations here.
Published in 2020 by Peachtree Publishing Company Inc.
Recommended for ages 4 - 8
Bear is a little different to the others in his class. He prefers reading and the quiet of his own thoughts, to the lively goings on of the other bears. Space is quiet too, which is why Bear loves it so much. When he begins to design and build his own rocket ship, his classmates laugh at him, but Bear doesn't take too much notice. Once it's finished, he blasts off into the cosmos and marvels at all the wonderful things he can see. And best of all, in space, no-one laughs at his ideas. After a while though, space begins to feel a little lonely. Suddenly, out of his window, he notices a small speck coming towards him. It's Panda in another rocket ship! Bear invites Panda on board and together they share their stories about space over cups of hot chocolate. That's when Bear discovers that having a friend to share the journey with, is much more fun. A story about differences, friendship, and the power of acceptance.
This beautifully crafted story by Deborah Abela, is brought to life through the wonderful illustrations of Marjorie Crosby-Fairall. Deb's gentle, poignant text captures the loneliness that can be felt by children who are a little different, whilst at the same time celebrating being able to look at the world from another perspective. Marjorie's fun and colourful illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to the text, and with the many smaller details she's included on each page, you'll find something new to discover every time you read the book.
My students fell in love with Bear from the very first page, and this is an excellent book to use for discussions centered around acceptance, tolerance and friendship.
Published August 2020 by Walker Books Australia.
Click here for the official book trailer.
As a teacher librarian, I’ve found very few books about dancing for my younger students. Let’s Dance fills that gap brilliantly. From it’s exuberant cover to the end pages, this is a book full of the joy of movement. Written in simple, musically imaginative rhyme, each double page spread taps, whirls, wiggles, grooves and boogies its way across the globe. The dances encompass both traditional and modern, including my own favourite of Disco. I definitely remember boogieing on down in my youth!
The illustrations are colorful and fun, and highlight perfectly the diversity of the dance origins in the portrayal of each of the characters. There is an easy to understand, illustrated explanation of each of the dances at the end of the story.
Let’s Dance is a wonderful way to introduce dance from around the world to young readers, and will have them wanting to jump up and join in from the very first page!
Published March 2020 by Boyds Mills Press.
Recommended for ages 3 - 7
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For more information on Maine you can follow her on Twitter, Instagram, or check out her Website.
This hilarious story by well known Australian author Mem Fox and illustrator Jan Thomas takes us on a counting journey like no other. From the very first page of one goat and a bird (with the goat casually chewing on the beach umbrella) this story is full of fun and laughter. Goats are famous for eating anything and everything and that's exactly what they do as we count with them along the way. Goats with maps, goats, with suitcases, goats flying airplanes, with soccer balls, goats with snow balls, goats playing trumpets and a goat with a VERY full belly are just some of the scenes that will have your students roaring with laughter and learning at the same time. The illustrations are wonderful and my students had a lovely time finding the goat in each spread who didn't quite get the idea of what they were supposed to be doing!
Published in 2010 by Beach Lane Books
Recommended for ages 3 - 7
Normally I'd be reviewing my favourite picture book but I also love Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels and Aurora Rising is one Sci-Fi Young Adult novel that I simply could not put down. In this first of the Aurora Cycle trilogy, we meet the members of Squad 312 who've just graduated from the Aurora Academy, the elite training school for peacekeeping forces in the galaxy. Grouped together by accident rather than choice after graduation, they are sent on a routine assignment as their first mission. This assignment turns out to be anything but routine and becomes focused around the story of a stowaway, Auri. Rescued by the squad captain, Tyler, on a clandestine one-last-time-test-flight before graduation, Auri proves that she is integral to the group, and to solving a mystery that sees the squad break every rule in the Academy's Code of Conduct in order to prevent the past from destroying the future. This is a fast paced, unputdownable Sci-Fi adventure from award winning duo Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff that leaves you wanting more with every page turn.
Published May 2019 by Allen and Unwin Australia
Recommended for ages YA
Click here for the official book trailer.
As a teacher librarian I tried to read as many of the books as I can that I purchase for my library. Obviously I don't get through them all, ('too many books, not enough time' is my catch cry!) but I do read all the picture books that come in. I think you'll guess by that confession, they are my favourite format. But there was one that had been ordered before I came to this library which I only just discovered today and it is Croc and Bird by Alexis Deacon.
I am also a writer and write (among other things) about inclusion, acceptance and tolerance. THIS is the book that I wish I had written! From the gentle, poignant text, to the simple but evocative illustrations, this book encapsulates the very essence of acceptance. If you don't have this already in your libraries or at home, you really should get a copy.
Two eggs hatch side by side. One is Croc. One is Bird. They do everything together until, one day, when they are grown, the river carries them away from the home they have made together. They find a lake full of crocodiles and birds and, after taking another look at each other, decide they should join the group with the animals that look like them. But some of the habits they've learned when they were together, don't quite fit with the rest of their kind. Eventually, after not being able to sleep in their new homes, they seek each other out and realise it doesn't matter about what they look like or how they behave. What matters most is how much they have missed each other and feel happiest when they are together.
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Published in 2012 by Hutchison
Recommended for ages 2 - 6
I cannot wait to get my copy of this important and beautifully illustrated book. Windows is an inspirational and heartwarming story of friends and communities coming together during the corona virus pandemic. Told with simple, sensitive words and supported by stunning illustrations, this close look at what happens in your very own neighbourhood is an important book for young children and school library collections around the globe. The publishers have also released a read aloud video which you can view below.
Published October 2020 by Hardie Grant Children's Publishing
Recommended for ages 3 - 7
These are two of the most beautifully written and exquisitely illustrated books about anti-bullying that have been published. They are not new - Dandelion was published in 2013 and Daisy Chain in 2015 - and you cannot buy them from a bookstore but need to order them through the company that the writer and illustrator are involved with which is Sydney company Protein One - but the effort is definitely worth it.
Bullying in whatever form - physical, emotional, cyber - is not okay. People experiencing bullying often feel they are alone, shouldn't/can't tell anyone and basically have no way of fighting back. There are many organisations out there now providing support but literature is also important. Both of these books with their simple text and soft illustrative palettes, are a gentle way of opening up a conversation about bullying for young and old alike. The emphasis on using creative ways to combat bullying and the focus on certain flowers as the child's support and strength is very clever. Although it seems like a flower that is easily blown away, the meaning of dandelion is 'lion's tooth' indicating an inner bravery. Similarly, daisies may seem weak, but together in a chain, they become strong and unbreakable. Thank you Galvin Scott Davis and Anthony Ishinjerro for these important and stunning picture books.
Dandelion Published in 2013 by Random House Australia
ISBN 9780857981035 (eBook)
Daisy Chain Self published in 2015
ISBN 978-0987417121 (Paperback)
Recommended for ages 4 - 7
This is more than just a simple book of shapes. The wonderful illustrations are a perfect compliment to the text which is a window into the world of Islam and the beautiful symmetry of it's places of worship. A book that can be used to simultaneously explain simple shapes to young children and show them the colours and purpose of the shapes in the Muslim world. Through simple but evocative text, highlighted by colourful and intricate images, this book is a lovely way to help younger ones of non Muslim faith become more culturally aware. I'll be adding the companion book Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: a Muslim book of colors to my library shelves soon!
Published in 2018 by Chronicle Books
Recommended for ages 3 - 5
As promised here are some of my favourite Australian fiction books with diverse characters. There are more, but I've selected these as they are the ones that have really made me think, reflect and respect. I've just ordered The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling for my library and can't wait for my students to read it. Both of Zana Fraillon's books on this list have sparked some pretty intense conversations with students and it's so interesting and wonderful to hear young people talking about global issues like refugees, social justice and diversity - not just in books but in other areas as well. These are excellent supplements to school library collections.