Snow on the stockman’s hut
Snow on the crows
Snow on the woollybutt
Snow on my … NOSE!
A little wombat takes a stroll across the winter landscape of Australia’s High Country watching the snow on the animals, birds, people and plants – and on himself as well. The snow is fun, but Wombat is happy to snuggle down for a sleep in the only place with no snow – his burrow.
The Snow Wombat is a beautiful picture book featuring gentle rhyming text and divine watercolour and ink outline illustrations. T
The story is simple, with youngsters likely to predict the rhymes on early readings and subsequently remember and join in. Adults shouldn’t mind the repeated rereadings, with the rhyme scanning well. The illustrations bring he winter landscape to life, with the wombat being particularly delightful.
The Snow Wombat, by Susannah Chambers & Mark Jackson
Allen & Unwin, 2016
At Canteen Creek here we live, there are cheeky dogs everywhere.
Mum gets frustrated by the cheeky dogs hanging around the cap and tries to shoo them away – but Grandpa says they help to keep the other cheeky animals away. When the rains come, so too do the other animals – first a gang of goats then a drove of donkeys, followed by horses, buffaloes and camels. Finally, everyone has had enough – especially the cheeky dogs, who growl at the cheeky animals until they go home. Now the cheeky dogs have the camp to themselves – untilt he enxt time the big rains come.
Go Home Cheeky Animals is humorous, delightful book filled with cheeky dogs and, of course, the other cheeky animals, getting into all sorts of mischief around the camp. Kids will love the story but will especially connect with the illustrative style of Dion Beasley whose work is really accessible and simple – yet filled with life, humour and detail.
Children from remote indigenous communities are offered a story here which connects with camp life, while kids form other parts of Australia will enjoy the insight Go Home Cheeky Animals offers, alongside its humour.
To learn more about the collaboration behind this book and its predecessor, Too Many Cheeky DOgs, visit the creators’ website here.
Go Home Cheeky Animals, by Johanna Bell and Dion Beasley
Allen & Unwin, 2016
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Then I see her.
Her eyes. I’ve never seen eyes like hers before. What colour are they? Hazel and green and flecks of autumn and bits of emerald and I’m standing holding my sign and there she is, standing steps away, near the cop, holding hers (It’s Not Illegal to Seek Asylum), and all I can think about is how the hell I’m going to take my eyes off her.
Michael’s parents are the founders of Aussie Values, an organisation dedicated to stopping the boats and preserving the Australian way of life. They worry about Muslims and terrorists taking over the country. Mina is a Muslim and a refugee, too. She and her family represent what Michael’s family is fighting against. When they meet, Mina is sure Michael is racist and unpleasant, but Michael finds himself intrigued, and wanting to get to know her better. In order to do this, he’s going to have to adjust his thinking and find out if what his parents seem to know is actually true.
When Michael Met Mina is a story about values, justice and friendship. Although there is a gentle romance element, the story line deals with the struggles and joys of Mina’s family, and the broader issues of refugees and Muslim Australians, as well as the dynamics of Michael’s family, especially the issue of a teenager holding different political and moral views than his family. Issues of disability, difference, families and more are explored, but the story isn’t crowded out by these issues – rather being enriched by them
Tol through the alternating first person perspectives of the two main characters, When Michael Met Mina is an important, absorbing, read.
When Michael Met Mina, by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Pan Macmillan, 2016
It all started with The Pain. He officially came into my life exactly nine weeks and one day before my Year Ten Graduation Dance.
It was a Friday.
The thirteenth of the month.
Notice anything there?
Maggie Butt is not happy. She started the year determined that everything would go well – but with the end in sight, things seem to be going fro ad to worse. Not only has she failed to make any friends, but she doesn’t have a date for the graduation dance and her marks in English (her favourite subject) are plummeting. But that’s the worst of it. Her mother seems to be letting her new boyfriend – The Pain – into both her own life, and Maggie’s, whether Maggie likes it or not.
The Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy & Me is a funny novel about many of the difficulties of being a teenager – romance, friendship, self-image and family. Maggie has a lot going on with her parents’ divorce having led to her changing schools and not fitting in at the new one. Her mother’s blossoming relationship with a new boyfriend also causes disruption – not the least of which is his ability to scare off the only boy who’s ever shown an interest.
There are lots of laughs to be had but there are also more serious moments.
The Pain, My Mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy & Me, by Michael Gerard Bauer
Omnibus Books, 2016
The animals on Farmer Hayden’s farm talked a lot at night.
The crickets chirped.
The dogs barked.
The cow moo-ed
and the sheep maa-ed.
With all the animals on the farm making so much noise every night, Farmer Hayden is struggling to get any sleep. He calls out to the animals to be quiet – but it’s no good, because they are making so much noise they can’t hear him. Finally, on the verge of giving up, Farmer Hayden goes outside to sit on his verandah. As he looks out across the farm., he sees his sheep jumping a fence. he starts to count them. Soon, Farmer Hayden and all the animals are fast asleep.
Noisy Nights is a humorous picture book title featuring lots of farm favourites, and noises which youngsters will enjoy echoing. The solution, too, will bring smiles, with its play on the old idea of counting sheep to get to sleep.
The illustrations, using water colour with pencil outlines are also filled with gentle humour.
Lots of fun.
Noisy Nights, by Fleur McDonald & Annie White
New Frontier, 2016
Think you know how to write the alphabet?
We’ll teach you how to DRAW it.
Parents/teachers, if you grew up in the 1980s, you might remember the joy of lettering books, which helped to make school projects and assignments a tad more presentable, even if you weren’t artistic. The Super Lettering Book brings back that joy for a new generation.
With themed alphabets including travel (Going Places), Educational (Cool for School), Food (Snack Time) and more, as wel as tips for using the alphabets as springboard to extra creativity, there is plenty here for the least artistic to trace/copy and the more creative to use as a springboard to their own ideas. There are also templates for common words such as ‘awesome’ and ‘selfie’.
Lots of fun, The Super Lettering Book will appeal to primary aged kids.
The Super Lettering Book
Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016
But if I got a dollar
every time you called me ‘bear’,
I tell you what – and no mistake –
I’d be a MILLIONAIRE.
Koala has had enough. Ever since European explorers first visited Australia, he has been called a bear. And he’s sick of it. If those first explorers ahd done their research, they’d have known that koalas, like kangaroos and wombats, are marsupials.
Don’t Call Me Bear! is a humorous rhyming picture book about Koala’s frustration. There is a gently educational element, but really the focus is on humour, especially with the other marsupials concluding the book by telling Koala that he looks like a bear.
From the creator of books such as Pig the Pug and Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas, will be similarly enjoyed.
Don’t Call Me Bear!, by Aaron Blabey
Maybe it would be soft like his mother’s fur.
He waited with his legs curled high.
Maybe it would be firm like his father’s hug.
he waited with his head tucked low.
Maybe it would be sweet like fresh woodland grass.
Little Bear waited and waited…nothing happened.
Little Bear was awake.
It is time for Little Bear’s first big witer sleep. His moother and father fall asleep quickly, but Little Bear is wide awake. What will the big sleep feel like? And what will happen if he can’t get to sleep? He tries all kinds of positions, but it is only when he snuggles in close to his parents that sleep finally finds him.
Little Bear’s First Sleep is a gentle picture book story about – of course – bears, and sleep, but also about navigating rites of passage towards independence. With his parents asleep, Little Bear must solve his dilemma for himself, but it is with the knowledge that his aprents are close that he finally does so.
The illustrations, using soft colours in watercolour and gouache, are just beautiful, and teamed with the gentle text make this a lovely bedtime story.
Little Bear’s First Sleep, by Lesely Gibbes & Lisa Stewart
Scholastic Australia, 2016
As the sunset spreads it gow
Little brolga’s dancing slow.
The outback hums with twilight sounds
Numbat dreams of termite mounds.
As the sun goes down, desert babies get ready to sleep – quolls cuddled up in dens, frilled-neck lixards hidden in mulga trees and emu chicks snuggled with their father in their nest.
In gentle rhyming text, youngsters are taken through the outback as desert critters prepare for sleep before being invited to close their eyes to dream of outback lullabies
Perfect for bedtime, Outback Lullaby is the third lullaby title from the team of Odgers and Stewart and is perfect for babies and toddlers.
Outback Lullaby, by Sally ODgers & Lisa Stewart
If you want to participate in your community and be heard, you will need to speak out in some way. While this is important for all members of the community, to date, the approximately one-half of the population identified as female has been significantly often less heard than the half that is identified as male.
With less than a quarter of media presenters being female, and men outnumbering women in parliaments worldwide by three to one, women’s voices are not being heard on an equal basis. To dismiss this as women not being interested is simplistic and inaccurate. In other domains, too, women are either underrepresented, or not catered for. In audiences, in education, in sport broadcasts, in managerial positions, the list is almost endless. And from childhood, girls are presented with gendered roles which suggest that cuteness and submissiveness are more desirable in a girl than ‘masculine’ traits such as independence and strength.
Speaking Out: A 21st-Century Handbook for Women and Girls aims to help women and girls to be heard – on the stage, online, and in day to day life. From demonstrating how it is that women are both underrepresented and actively discouraged from changing this, to giving practical advice on how to speak in a variety of forums, how to research and write content and how to deal with criticism, this book is a valuable tool for women of all ages and should be essential reading in secondary schools.
Tara Moss is an author, feminist and advocate for women with mover 20 years experience in the public eye. Her words are both practical and passionate, with examples and accessible explanations.
A handbook for every woman.
Speaking Out: A 21st-Century Handbook for Women and Girls, by Tara Moss
Harper Collins, 2016