This story was inspired by an illustration from Yelena Wysling, a Swiss artist I follow on Instagram.
Her work is simply beautiful.
Bee and Flea and Me © Kerry Gittins 2021. All Rights Reserved.
A Birthday Jamboree.
Upstairs in the bedroom Brolga puts on fancy threads. Downstairs in the kitchen Quokka butters fairy bread.
Tassie Devil squeezes lemons for his secret brew. At the door is Kookaburra letting in the crew.
Today is a special day. A party for a mate who is unique and very rare, and who they think is great.
Emu sets out all the games while cockatoo looks cool. Platypus is in his spot as lifeguard of the pool.
Wombat lays the tables, while Wallaby and roo are helping Numbat get things ready for the BBQ.
Bee is busy icing cakes. Possum adds the sprinkles.Lorikeet strings up the lights. Look at all those twinkles!
Dingo paces back and forth. ‘They should be here by now.’ ‘Worry not! She’s on her way,’ shrieks Magpie from her bough.
Echidna is the first to shout, ‘Quick hide! Here she comes!’ Everyone finds just the spot so no-one spoils the fun.
The doorbell rings. A quiet knock. Someone calls, ‘Hello?’ Koala smiles. ‘Come in,’ she says. Down the hall they go.
As they reach the yard out back the friends jump out, ‘Surprise!’ Penny Potoroo stops still. She can’t believe her eyes.
All the creatures gather ‘round. ‘Hip hip hooray!’ they shout. Penny wipes away the tear that’s trickled down her snout.
‘Is this for me?’ she asks amazed. ‘Of course!’ they cry with glee. ‘A birthday party Aussie style. A true-blue jamboree!’
DID YOU KNOW?
A Birthday Jamboree © Kerry Gittins 2021. All Rights Reserved.
We've been wearing masks over here in Vietnam pretty much constantly since February 2020. All our students from 3 year olds to 18 year olds have been wearing them in school without any problems because they understand it's not just for their safety, but that of their friends too. There's been much discussion, with the little ones especially, about emotions during this time, and they were the ones who came up with the idea that their eyes could show us how they were feeling. Out of the mouths of babes. . . . So here is the story sparked by those discussions with concept art by my very talented daughter Anisha.
Moon wears a unicorn mask because unicorns are unique and special just like Moon.
Hasib wears a puppy dog mask because puppies are playful and friendly just like Hasib.
Hai Lan wears a Spiderman mask because superheroes help protect people just like Hai Lan.
Andy wears a dragon mask because dragons are strong and brave just like Andy.
Katie wears a panda mask because pandas are thoughtful and gentle just like Katie.
We wear our special masks because they help stop us from sharing our sneezes and coughs.
But wearing our masks doesn’t mean we can’t share our feelings.
We do that through our eyes.
When Moon is happy, her eyes twinkle like the stars on a rainbow unicorn.
When Hasib is feeling playful, his eyes shine like a puppy waiting for a game of fetch.
When Hai Lan is surprised, her eyes open really wide, just like when a superhero saves you.
When Andy is brave, his eyes look fierce like a knight that has fought many dragons.
When Katie is gentle, her eyes sparkle with kindness.
Our masks help protect us, but our eyes will twinkle, shine, sparkle and smile to let you know that we are okay.
Through Our Eyes: A Pandemic Story © Kerry Gittins 2021. All Rights Reserved.
This picture book is loosely based on the story of a family friend who struggled with dementia later on in her life. The power of music, kindness, and friendship across the generations, are woven into the story.
Aimed at 4 - 8 year olds.
I was going to the park with mum when I first met Daisy. She was sitting on one of the wooden benches by herself, twisting her hands as if trying to remember something.
‘Hi. Have you lost something?’ I asked. She looked up and without replying, looked away. I thought perhaps she hadn’t heard me so I said, ‘Um. . . are you okay? You look sad.’
‘Do I know you?’ she asked softly. ‘I don’t think so. My name is Olive and this is my mum. We live in the house over there.’ ‘That’s nice’ she replied, looking to where I had pointed.
‘Do you live around here too?’ I asked. ‘I’m. . . I’m not sure,’ she frowned. ‘Do you know where I live? I’m trying so hard, but I can’t seem to remember’. Her face was a mixture of worry and hope.
‘I’m sorry, I don’t know. Maybe if you tell us your name?’ She turned away again. ‘I can’t remember my name either.’ A tear started to roll down her cheek.
‘I’m sure my mum and I can help. Why don’t you come home with us and we’ll try and find out for you?’ I looked up at Mum and she nodded her head saying, ‘Yes. Let’s see what we can do.’
I held out my hand and she placed her wrinkled palm in mine.
As we walked back home, I began singing in time to our footsteps. I love music. My grandpa loved music too and the song I sang was an old tune he used to sing to me when I was little.
♪ ‘Daisy, Daisy give me your answer do. I’m half-crazy all for the love of you.’ ♪
Mum and I looked in surprise as Daisy began to sing along. We were almost home when she stopped suddenly and said, ‘Daisy! That’s my name. Daisy Bullock! Now I remember!’ I grinned. ‘Very nice to meet you Daisy.’
Back home, Daisy told us she was having trouble remembering things but when I began singing, her memory started to come back.
Mum made us a cup of tea and Daisy remembered more and more. She remembered she lived on the other side of the park with her daughter. ‘Singing those old songs helped me a lot Olive.’ She patted my hand and smiled.
Mum and I drove Daisy home. Her daughter was so happy to see her and gave her the biggest hug. She explained how Daisy was having trouble remembering things lately. I said that was okay because everyone forgets sometimes.
Before we left, Daisy asked if I would come visit her again. I said I’d like that very much. Now, when we go to the park together, we sing all the old songs my grandpa taught me.
And Daisy remembers everything just fine.
Daisy. © Kerry Gittins 2020. All Rights Reserved.
If I could change who would I be? And should I change from being me?
‘Cause after all it’s who I am but should I change me if I can?
Should I change from being brave and fighting dragons known as Dave?
And climbing up the castle wall to save old Humpty from his fall?
Should I change from being bold and fighting pirates for their gold?
And sailing seas to find the chest beneath the spot that’s marked with ‘X’?
Would I change the me whose friend is different – just because of them?
The ones who say ‘She’s not like you. Her skin’s not right. Her hair’s strange too.’
The ones who think their way is right. The ones whose words are full of spite.
Who say if we don’t act like them we cannot ever be their friend.
But I’m not sure I’d care to be a friend to those who pick on me
The ones who bully, call me names. I do not want to play their games.
I’d rather have my friend who’s brave and not afraid of dragon Dave!
A friend who’s bold and sails the seas in search of treasures just like me!
We’re best of friends that much we know, and yes we’re same but different,
So, I hug her tight ‘cause we can see, that I am her and she is me.
Just Like Me © Kerry Gittins 2020. All Rights Reserved.