Sunday, 28 April 2013

Little Free Library

I recently came across the amazing concept of the Little Free Library.

Such a simple idea, but has the potential to make such a difference. Their motto is 'Take a book...return a book.' Simply borrow a book to your liking and either return it when you have finished or exchange it with one of your own.

Building a sense of community while simultaneously supporting literacy. What could be better than that?

How cute are these?

Thursday, 25 April 2013


I remember visiting a large book store a few years ago, with my bouncing little baby, and being delighted in all the wonderful books in the children's section. I remember the smell, the sights, the feel of all those enticing books, the soft cushions and oversized story book characters. Hundreds of books were just waiting for you to pick them up and go on a journey far, far away.

Soon after we were joined by a grandmother and her two grandchildren, equally delighted in all the engaging sights and tales. Picking up books, turning the pages, smiling at what lay within. These boys were so engaged...until the grandmother took the book from the child's eager grasp saying loudly, 'You can't have that book. It's got words in it and you can't read.'

While the book evidently had them, I was lost for them. 

I felt so terribly sad for this little boy, even more so I felt sad for this woman. What were the experiences with books like in her lifetime that brought her to that point in time?

Words...if only everyone could fill the bath with them and sink down into their depths to enjoy their sweet, warm caress.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Story telling in the shadows

A story can be told in many different ways...

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Love is in the air...

Written by Harry Vanda and George Young
Illustrated by Shane Devries
RRP$26.99 with bonus CD performed by John Paul Young

Who could forget the strains of John Paul Young’s ‘Love is in the air’ on the Strictly Ballroom soundtrack?

Quintessentially Australian, this song conjures up many  long held and treasured memories. Bad hair and lay over 80’s clothes are perhaps some that we would rather forget though!

Scholastic brings us ‘Love is in the air’ with bonus CD just in time for Mothers’ Day.  The classic song as been re-birthed into a delightful story about a baby polar bear who leaves his mum to go on an adventure to see the wide world.

After his worldwide travels, he returns to the arms of his mother knowing that it’s something that he must believe in…and it’s there when he look in her eyes!

Love is in the air!

Friday, 12 April 2013

ANZAC Biscuits

Written by Phil Cummings
Illustrated by Owen Swan
Hardcover RRP $24.99

Published just in time for this ANZAC Day, ANZAC Biscuits is a hauntingly beautiful read. A young family, torn apart by war, are brought back together through the humble ANZAC biscuit.

Each double page spread alternates between the ravages of war and the warmth of the family kitchen. The story cleverly flows from one scene to the next with linking text. The illustrations add to the overall gentle feel of the book with Swan's subtle use of watercolour and pencil.

A moving story about war for young and old.

Highly recommended for 4 years and older.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

There is nothing quite like a real book...

...and there's nothing quite like a good independent book shop! 

Special thanks to books@stones for their wonderful support. 

Great books, great staff, great community.

A short video to celebrate book shops everywhere! 

Bookshelves for kids

Great ideas for storing all those wonderful stories.

Let's Read campaign

Let’s Read is an early literacy initiative that promotes the importance of reading with children from birth. 
Developed by Australian early childhood professionals, Let’s Read is based on research demonstrating the importance of early literacy promotion and the best available evidence on programs to engage families and enhance early literacy promotion. Check out their website for a wealth of information on reading.

Books and bubs

Snuggling down with a baby and a book is one of the most delicious ways of spending quality time with kids. Time so precious.

Research has overwhelmingly indicated that kids who are read to every day are well on their way to becoming readers themselves, before they even step foot into a classroom.

Reading is the most highly valued skill in the world.  Rightly or wrongly, literacy skills are probably the most definitive indicator of social class and future success; more so than any other discipline in the world of education.

I recently went to an event at the State Library where renowned children’s book author Mem Fox spoke about reading to children. Her enthusiasm and passion for reading is infectious.  So much so that on leaving one of her sessions you could be excused for abducting some poor unsuspecting child just so that you could read to them!

During her intro, it was revealed that 6 out of 10 children in Queensland are read to regularly. Mem celebrated this statistic – exclaiming how wonderful it was. But how wonderful would it be if it was 10 out of 10!

This blog is my way of giving that statistic a helping hand...

  • Ten minutes a day – that’s all it takes. 
  • Join your local library – they are free and regularly offer storytelling sessions for toddlers and young children.
  • Instead of showering kids with chocolate this Easter – consider buying them a book - oh and a handbag so they can accessorise while reading (upside down!)
  • Get dad or granddad in on the act – or any other significant male to show that boys can read too!
  • Have a selection of age appropriate, inviting, exciting, interesting and wonderful books on hand and within reach – do not squirrel them away for good – books are meant to be thumbed, chewed, slobbered on…it is a sign of love!
  • Read a good night story or five to kids, then leave them with some books to read to themselves in bed.  What a gorgeous habit to foster! (And I guarantee they will fall asleep and have sweet dreams)
  • Love the moment, revel in the beautiful words, bring the book to life with enthusiasm and joy.
But above all, have fun!

Where to start...

The Office for Early Childhood Education and Care have compiled a list of recommended books for young children aged 0-5 years. Check out the suggested booklist here.

Beautiful books for Mothers' Day

Love from Grandma

Written and illustrated by Jane Tanner
2010, Penguin Group Australia, (RRP Paperback $14.95)

Jane Tanner has to be one of the most talented children’s book author/illustrators in Australia. Her picture books evoke incredible emotion, touching all that read them. Love from Grandma is no exception. The beautiful relationship between Emily and her grandmother is truly heartfelt, made all the more real with the wonderful artworks throughout.

Jane Tanner reveals on her own website that Emily and her grandmother are a real family. The little girl was in fact her next-door neighbour.

Emily and her gran do everything together – tea parties, dress ups, dancing, gardening…until one day Emily and her parents have to move to live in a city far away. Grandma gives Emily a strawberry plant to take with her with the promise of when it flowers and fruits that she will visit.

The anticipation is etched on Emily’s face as each day she cares for her strawberry plant, patiently waiting for the day when she will be reunited with her precious gran.

A truly beautiful book celebrating all that is the tender connection between a grandchild and a grandparent.

Recommended for 3 to 8 years

Ben and Duck

Text and illustrations © Sara Acton, 2011
Scholastic Press RRP $24.99 Hardcover, $15.99 Paperback

Ben and Duck is Sarah Acton’s first children’s book and it is a beauty! The water colour illustrations draw the reader into the world of Ben as he heads off to the park to feed the ducks. There was only one duck there on this day…a very large one…who happily ate all of Ben’s bread. Not content with that, Duck decided to follow Ben home in the hope that his new friend might have some other offerings. Follow Ben’s travels as he tries to duck and weave across the countryside! There appears to be no escaping this duck!

A great story about friendship and perseverance, with a warm undercurrent of humour.

Highly recommended for 2-6 years.

The Runaway Hug

Text © Nick Bland, 2011
Illustrations © Freya Blackwood, 2011
Scholastic Press RRP $24.99 Hardcover

For the very first time, popular children’s book author and illustrator, Nick Bland, teams up with highly acclaimed illustrator Freya Blackwood in The Runaway Hug. This book is sure to delight readers, young and old.

Little Lucy asks for a hug before bed from her busy mum, but mum has only one hug left. Promising to return it, Lucy borrows her hug and then shares it around the family. That is, until Annie the dog runs away with it!

The wonderful illustrations in this book beautifully compliment Bland’s storytelling.  It is impossible to resist a wry smile at the turn of every page, as any family with children would identify with the antics of this family.

Highly recommended for 3-6 years.

My Mum’s the best

Written by Rosie Smith
Illustrated by Bruce Whatley
2011, Scholastic Australia, (RRP Hardcover $16.99)

A beautiful picture book for young children all about the best mums around. The wonderful Bruce Whatley brings Rosie Smith’s simple narrative to life. His artwork captures the delight of being a mum and all those little things that you share together. Whether feathered or furry, scaly or slimy, all mums are special.

Why is your mum the best?

A delightful book guaranteed to win over any mother this Mothers’ Day!

Recommended for 0 to 4 years.