How do you grow your heart? With gratitude. Jack, Lila, Mina, Li Wei and Rosie are back again and this time each reveal how they learn to focus on what they have rather than what they don't have, to say thank you and to be grateful. Each child takes us on their own journey of discovery to find out what gratitude means to them, and how it inspires them to try and make the world a better place. We learn about the many ways we can show our gratitude and not only help other peoples hearts grow and become filled with joy and happiness, but our own as well. One of my favourite lines from this gentle and thought provoking story is 'Gratitude is like opening a door, and seeing the world in a new way.' What a simple but beautiful message, and such a wonderful way of encouraging our youngest humans to look after the world, and to connect with and understand each other. Each page is full of bright and intuitive images that perfectly capture the meaning of the text. The smiles on the faces of the children as they experience the joy of being grateful are truly heart warming.
Back matter includes 'big people' talking about what they are grateful for, discussion questions for children, notes for parents and carers, and tips for nurturing gratitude in children. This is the latest in series of books about values by this superb author/illustrator duo entitled 'Human Kind: A Little Good in a Big World' and would make a wonderful addition to any library collection.
Wellbeing, mindfulness, being thankful, values, diversity, kindness and cultural understanding are all topics that can be linked as teaching ideas for the classroom from this delightful picture book.
Find out more about Zanni Louise here.
Find out more about Missy Turner here.
Find out more about the Human Kind series here.
Published in 2021 by Five Mile Press
ISBN 9781922514455 (HB)
Recommended for ages 3 - 8
The Glint of Gold is there everyday if you look for it. You can see it in the white plum blossoms, the sparkles Jack Frost leaves and the colours of a sunset. You can hear it when you sing or listen to the song of a magpie, smell it when you walk in the bush after the rain, feel it when you dance in bare feet on the grass or snuggle close to someone. Each glint of gold is like a piece of treasure to be thankful for and remembered at the end of the day, knowing there will be more for us to find tomorrow. This is a beautiful, comforting story about taking pleasure in the every day. Kate's lilting text encourages us to slow down and look around at the small things that fill our hearts and bring a smile to our faces when we least expect it. Patricia's illustrations are full of colour and vibrance and with every page turn the reader discovers a new 'glint of gold'. A wonderful story of gratitude and mindfulness, The Glint of Gold is a celebration of the senses and the heart.
Wellbeing, mindfulness, families and the colours and animals of the Australian bush could all be linked as teaching ideas to this gentle story. With thanks to Books On Tour PR & Marketing and Little Pink Dog Books for access to the digital copy.
Find out more about Kate McGann here.
Find out more about Trish here.
Published 2021 by Little Pink Dog Books.
ISBN 9780648964032 (HB)
Recommended for ages 4 - 7
While two children are holidaying with their Nana, they stumble across a piggybank that their Pop had kept tucked away for a rainy day. Inside they find a shimmering green banknote that sparkles with magic and immediately flies out the door. The children quickly follow, eventually finding themselves in front of a huge department store named WIZARD & CO. Inside, the chief goblin informs them that a one hundred pound Hocus Pocus note is a lot of money, and tells them to 'Expect the unexpected - this is magic after all!' He guides them through the eight levels or floors, each one a riot of colour, curiosities and surprises. Level one has rainbow makers and flying toasters, level two is where books come alive, level 3 has wonderful food (watch out for the blackbird pies!) and level four is where the teddy bears are having their tea. On level five they find train sets with tiny people, and up on level six is where games are played including snakes and ladders - with real snakes! Levels seven and eight are full of intriguing gardens and giant sized lollies. As they reach the check out ready to pay for the wondrous things they've chosen, the note takes off again to the very top floor, where a wise old wizard gives them a choice - keep all they have chosen, or buy a new wheelchair for their Nana Claire, whose wheels have fallen of her old wheelchair. A mixture of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Mr Magorium's Wonder Emporium, this book is full of stunning illustrations that invite the reader to look again and again to see what they can find. Even on the very last page there's a secret code to decipher! Kindness, being mindful of the choices we make, and putting others needs before your own, are the themes embedded within this lyrical rhyming story and, as the wizard so eloquently says, 'A simple act of giving is the most magical of all.' A delight for younger readers and a must have for all library collections.
Kindness, empathy, disabilities, toys, wizards, book characters, money, inventions, board games, gardening, plants and coding could all be linked as teaching ideas for the classroom from this beautiful picture book.
Find out more about Mitchell Toy here.
Published 2021 by Five Mile Press.
ISBN 9781922514486 (HB)
Recommended for ages 3 - 7
'I'm afraid I have some bad news.' Ms Burns, the librarian, is about to tell twins, Sassafras and Alcatraz (Sass and Traz for short) not just bad news, but the worst possible news EVER! Mayor Carter is going to demolish the town library and Ms Burns will have to leave! The twins love their local library and its librarian. There is no library at school anymore, and this is one of the few places away from the hustle and bustle of life where they both feel comfortable - especially Traz. They try to think of a way to help but it seems Ms Burns has tried everything. 'You can help me pack?' suggests Ms Burns. Sass heads down to the storeroom to bring up some packing boxes for the books, leaning on the old, dusty library card catalogue shelf to steady herself, and her anger, in the dim light. As she does so, a drawer abruptly throws itself open, and cards start to pop up as if to say 'pick me!' As she reads out the book information on the highest card, Sass hears a scream from upstairs. She doesn't know it yet, but Sass has just brought one of the books and it's swashbuckling characters to life! She races back upstairs, and what follows is an hilarious and magical journey through time and literature, as the library itself begins to fight back. Well known author Michelle Worthington's new book is a fast paced, fun filled adventure, with some of our favourite and most famous book people as the unlikely heroes. This story will captivate and engage young readers as well as highlight the special place libraries have in our communities.
Find out more about Michelle Worthington here.
Released 20 October, 2021, by Daisy Lane Publishing
ISBN: 9780648819356 (SC)
ISBN: 9780648819363 (eBook)
Recommended for ages 7 - 12
This book was in my school library but not in my own, and I am thrilled to finally have a copy for my home library. There are so many layers to this beautiful story, and much that can be taught and expanded upon for use in the classroom. A young child becomes separated from family in the aftermath of a huge storm. She calls out for them, but no answer comes back. She runs to the beach hoping they might be there, but instead finds a baby seal who is also alone and frightened. She sees an abandoned boat and pushes the two of them out to sea, desperate to get away in case the storm comes back. They journey together for many days and nights, through cruel and kind weather, providing warmth and comfort for each other. One day, another seal appears, and mother and baby are reunited, and guide the young girl towards land. At first, she is lonely without the baby seal, until she is reunited with her family and feels safe again at last. Robert's heartwarming, poignant text is brought to life by Anna's stunning illustrations. The power and destruction of the storm, the changing moods and vastness of the sea, and the joy of both reunions are captured perfectly in the palette of ocean colours and facial expressions evident on each page. Friendship and hope, refugees, immigrants, marine animals, global warming, geography (islands nations) and extreme weather could all be linked as teaching ideas from this gorgeous book. A must have for any school or home library.
Find out more about Robert Vescio here.
Find out more about Anna Pignataro here.
Published 2021 by New Frontier Publishing Pty Ltd
ISBN 9781922326294 (HB)
Recommended for ages 3 - 6.
Monkey was going on a holiday. He was given a very special present to take with him. He’d never been on a holiday before or owned a camera. Monkey begins packing immediately for an adventure like no other, as he travels by plane and boat to reach the famous floating city of Venice. When he arrives, he meets Clarabella the cat, who offers to take him on a tour of the city she knows so well. They walk across small bridges over the canals that connect the city, take a ride on a gondola and stop for some yummy pizza! At the end of a fun filled day, Monkey cannot resist taking just one more photo but – uh oh! Something happens to his camera and then Clarabella disappears and he’s left all alone. Will Clarabella come back? And what exactly happened to his camera? Monkey’s Great Adventures: Afloat in Venice is a charming story of adventure and friendship by Australian artist and author Tina Wilson. Tina uses her own beautiful photographic images of this iconic city to accompany the playful text. The hand knitted toy characters, made by Tina’s mum Joan Wilson, are immediately loveable and most certainly add to the appeal of this heart warming story.
Not only is Matt Ottley an amazing author and illustrator, but he is also an accomplished and talented composer. His music is the perfect companion to Monkey’s adventures in Venice. There is a childlike quality to the opening, and the interaction between clarinet, horn and strings when Clarabella and Monkey first meet is reminiscent of early singsong nursery rhymes. Different time signatures, tempos, dynamics and instruments are employed to reflect the varying moods and movement of the characters as they explore the city. Most children recognise the sound of a piano, and using this instrument as the connecting and supporting thread for the other instruments, makes for a clever and well-constructed musical accompaniment that creates a wonderful aural and visual experience for the reader and listener.
This is a must have story for preschool and early primary school library collections, and one for your own collection too if you have young ones at home. It is the first in a series of adventures for Monkey, and I can’t wait to see what he gets up to next!
The knitting patterns for the characters and a CD of the music and narration are included at the end of the book. Tina has included some fantastic teaching notes which are available for download on her website. You can also download and listen to the story and music on Matt’s website
Find out more about Tina Wilson
Find out more about Matt Ottley
Due for release September 1, 2021. Published by One Tentacle Publishing
ISBN 9780648511960 (HB)
Recommended for ages 3 - 7
Award winning Australian author Libby Hathorn is passionate about poetry. So it’s not surprising she’s teamed up with renowned watercolour painter and portraitist Sadami Konchi, to create this beautiful story about Haiku and the 17th Japanese master Matsuo Basho. We Children and The Narrow Road to the Deep North takes us back in time to a small village at the beginning of the Edo era in Japan where three children – Izumi, Ren and little Yoshi - eagerly anticipate a visit by the master poet. Their father has told them Basho is walking a long way to ‘. . . look at things.’ Their mother adds, ‘And then he writes his poems, special poems that will last forever.’ There is great excitement as friends gather that evening in the house of the village poet to listen to Basho’s stories about his journey and hear some of his precious Haiku’s read aloud by the master himself. The next morning before they leave Sora, Basho’s travelling companion, gives each of the children a small drawing as a gift, along with three brushes, to encourage them to capture their own images. Basho’s gift is a special poem for little Yoshi about the small boy’s pet frog, now set free to live in its pond home.
Libby’s gentle and thought-provoking text highlights the emotive nature of words, and how poetry can capture so succinctly the essence of our world. The story is brought to life by Sadami’s gorgeous watercolours that eloquently depict the simplicity of life in 17th century Japan. An important book to have not only as an introduction to Haiku and Matsuo Basho, but also as a reminder that, in our fast paced world words matter, and it’s good to slow down, quietly take note of what’s around us, and enjoy life’s journey.
Find out more about Libby Hathorn
Follow Sadami Konchi on Instagram
Published in 2021 by IPKidz an imprint of IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd)
ISBN 9781922332684 (HB); ISBN 9781922332691 (eBook)
Recommended for ages 7 - 10
‘What’s wrong?’ asked Mrs. Wren. ‘You look very, very sad today.’ Mr. Wren is feeling blue and a bit sorry for himself because he can’t do what all the other magnificent birds he knows can do. He can’t laugh like Kookaburra or soar up high like Eagle, and he certainly doesn’t have a sharp beak like Magpie. But Mrs. Wren knows just how to cheer him up, gently explaining all the things he can do, and helping him appreciate the wonderful things already around him like his family and his forest home. Trevor Todd’s simple, uncomplicated text about being thankful for what we have is beautifully brought to life by the stunning real-life bird images of Mark Eatwell.
From the gorgeous front cover of the blue wren to the last page where the sun’s rays break through the misty forest, this book is a delight. A new way of bringing a traditional story to life, and a great introduction for younger readers to some of our amazing Australian birds.
Find out more about Trevor Todd
Follow Mark Eatwell on Instagram
Published in 2021 by IP Kidz an imprint of IP (Interactive Publications Pty Ltd)
NB: David P. Reiter Kookaburra image pg. 10.
ISBN 9781922332721(HB); ISBN 9781922332738 (eBook)
Recommended for ages 3 - 5
‘Tell me a story Babushka,’ asks Karina
‘Maybe one of those stories about a princess and monsters, Baba’.
The story opens with young girl asking for a story from her Babushka (grandmother). Babushka begins the tale of a young girl happily tending her flowers and cabbage patch until the day she finds herself and her family caught up in Holodomor, the ‘terror famine’. Mass starvation and confiscation of food and property across the country is happening at the hands of the monsters - Baba’s term for the soldiers. Many families, including that of the young girl, are sent to camps in Siberia. Upon arrival, the children and adults are separated, with neither knowing what will happen or if they will ever see each other again.
Whilst in the camp, the girl finds a matryoshka (a small set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside the other) under her mattress. She wonders how they came to be there when there are not even any pillows for the children to sleep on, and certainly no toys. She carefully removes one doll after another until, inside the fifth matryoshka, she finds a message of rescue.
As she and some of the other children make their escape with the help of an unknown woman across a frozen forest to a waiting freight train, the girl wraps her scarf around her head, picks up the length of her oversized skirt, and boards the train not knowing where the journey will take her.
As the story concludes, we find out that Babushka was the young girl, and that she eventually found her way to safety and freedom in another land, where she is recounting the story to her granddaughter, Karina.
The Holodomor was the result of Stalin’s decision to collectivize farms and agriculture in the Soviet Union in 1929. Farms, villages, and whole towns in Ukraine were placed on blacklists and prevented from receiving food causing widespread suffering from 1932-1933.
Carola tells the story through simple, gentle and honest text. The strong bond between grandmother and granddaughter is evident from the opening page, emphasizing the importance of generational connections in keeping history alive. Melo’s illustrations are childlike yet evocative, especially the likeness of Babushka to the matryoshka dolls, and the black silhouettes of the soldiers against a blood red background - a stark representation of the cruelty endured by the Ukrainian people.
Stories of war and oppression are never easy to tell, especially to younger children. Tell Me A Story Babushka does so with heart and sensitivity.
I have not read or heard of many books that tell the story of the Holodomor, so this would make a wonderful addition to any library looking to add more stories from the Ukraine and diversify their collections.
Published in 2019 by Carola Schmidt.
Available from Amazon in Kindle and Paperback formats
Recommended for ages 5 - 7
'There is a polar bear in the snow. Where is he going?'
In this new story from Mac Barnett and Shawn Harris, we follow a polar bear as he wakes from his hibernation to explore the snowy landscape that is his home. Through simple yet emotive narration that evokes suspense with each page turn, we learn about this majestic animal's icy surroundings, and meet the others that co exist with him. There is a strong underlying theme of the environmental impact made by humans that runs throughout the story, which is clearly evident when bear meets man and roars 'NO!', scaring him away. As we reach the end of the story we are left to ponder and imagine where the polar bear will go next.
Shawn Harris's illustrations and collages are truly stunning. They capture perfectly the white vastness of the land and the intense, beautiful pristine blues of the ocean of the cold north. The contrast in the smallness of man's footsteps as he runs from the polar bear, and the much larger ones of the polar bear itself on the last few pages, are a subtle reminder of the power and fragility of mother nature.
You can find out more about Mac Barnett from his website.
Shawn Harris's extraordinary artwork can be found here.
Published in 2020 by Candlewick Press
Recommended for ages 3 - 7