Once Upon a Whoops! — Teaching Ideas – #readilearn

In this post I share some ideas for using Once Upon a Whoops! in the classroom.

Once Upon a Whoops! is a collection of over 40 fractured fairy tales and ridiculous rhymes written and illustrated by Australian authors and illustrators and published by Share Your Story in 2021.

The activities suggested in this post support teaching of the literature strand of the Australian Curriculum F-2. The list not comprehensive as there are too many stories to go into detail for each one. Instead, I provide some general ideas and reference just a few stories for each suggestion.

Of course, in addition to these, the stories can be used as a stimulus in art and technology units if children make props and other objects to support retellings, puppet plays and performances. Many of the stories also provide opportunities for mathematical discussions.

Once Upon a Whoops! is available from Amazon and other online bookstores.

Please note: this book is now also available in Dyslexia font.

Many of the stories have been recorded by the authors. The videos are available on YouTube by following this link.

My stories Silverlocks and the Three Bears and The Three Alpha Pigs are also available on the readilearn YouTube channel. Click on the titles to follow the links.

Once Upon a Whoops! — what’s in the book

Continue reading: Once Upon a Whoops! — Teaching Ideas – readilearn

Whispers #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot RanchCharli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that includes whispers. It can be beautiful or creepy and any genre. Where are the whispers, who are they from, and what do they say if they say anything at all. Go where the prompt leads!

This is my response. I hope you like it.

Whispers

She watched from the side, longing to join in, fearing being ignored. Or worse, banished. Determined to beat her shyness, she’d shuffle one step forward, then the old insecurities would immobilise her, reminding her she didn’t belong. One foot forward. Stop. Another foot forward. Stop. She was almost there when the game paused, and they looked directly at her. She froze. They feigned whispers hidden behind hands. She didn’t need to guess. She ran and hid behind a tree, wishing for invisibility. “I’ll never belong!” Soon one face appeared, then others. “Please come and play with us,” they chorused.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

Australia Remembers Len Waters Boundless and Born to Fly by Catherine Bauer – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to share with you the inspiring story of Kamilaroi man Len Waters Boundless and Born to Fly, the third in the Australia Remembers Series published by Big Sky Publishing. This post is part of a Books on Tour promotion.

I previously shared information about the first in the Australia Remembers Series, Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials written by Allison Paterson in this post.

The second, Customs and Traditions of the Australian Defence Force was also written by Allison Paterson.

About Catherine Bauer

Catherine Bauer is the author of the 2019 Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Dreaming Soldiers, a moving story about the friendship of two boys from different cultures. Her picture book, Colourful Memories, was inspired by her father’s journey from post-World War II Germany to Australia in the 1950s. She has also written three children’s plays, all with Aboriginal themes.

Catherine has worked as a news and political journalist and features writer for various newspapers and publications and has advised both government and the corporate sector on media management and public relations. She is now working with the State Theatre Company, South Australia.

Her love of writing and storytelling began as an eight-year-old, when Catherine wrote and illustrated her first book about a mermaid. She aims for her stories to spark all or one of the following three reactions in readers: ‘that’s me’; ‘I wish that was me’ or ‘I’m glad that’s not me’.

Catherine lives in Adelaide, South Australia, with her three sones. She loves art, history, fitness, cats, chocolate and reading.

About Australia Remembers

Len Waters may have been born behind the gates of an Aboriginal reserve, but his big imagination and even bigger dreams took him soaring well beyond the reach of those who tried to confine him. Kamilaroi man Len Waters dreamed of taking to the skies. It was an unlikely dream at the time, but during WWII he beat the odds to become Australia’s first known Aboriginal fighter pilot.

Rules and restrictions controlled much of Len’s early life. Born in the 1920s, Len had a basic education and life was lacking in luxury. But Len had a sharp mind. He had a boundless work ethic. Len also had big dreams and a family who supported them. Australia Remembers 3: Len Waters – Boundless and Born to Fly takes readers on Len Waters’ soaring journey from making his home-made model aeroplanes at his kitchen table, to flying RAAF fighter jets in the south west Pacific in World War II.

Len was a history maker, a young man who didn’t let society’s prejudice, his culture or skin colour stand in his way. But when WWII was over, Len sadly discovered that his service and courage did not result in equality. Len once said that, out of his RAAF uniform, he simply ‘returned to being a black fellow’. Today, decades later, Len’s determination and achievements are recognised and honoured across Australia.

Ages: 6 – 12 years

Subject: RAAF, History

Sample Pages

Continue reading: Australia Remembers Len Waters Boundless and Born to Fly by Catherine Bauer – readilearn

Rainbow Flotilla #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story uses the phrase, “across the water.” It can be any body of water distant or close. Who (or what) is crossing the water and why? Go where the prompt leads!

This is my response. I hope you like it.

Rainbow Flotilla

She wrote a message on each piece of paper and folded them into tiny boats. At the lake, she launched them from the bank, then watched the rainbow flotilla sail across the water. Curious ducks investigated, capsizing one or two, but the rest sailed on. A turtle popped up, knocking one off-course. It smashed on the rocks, but the rest sailed on. A dragonfly alighted on one, enjoying the free ride as the rest sailed on, finally reaching the other side. A child fished one out and opened it to dry. He read the message, then smiled and waved.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

The Adventures of Grandmasaurus — an interview – #readilearn

Today I am delighted to introduce you to the author and illustrator of The Adventures of Grandmasaurus and The Adventures of Grandmasaurus at the Aquarium Rescue Centre published in Canada by Common Deer Press. While most interviews and reviews I share are of Australian authors and illustrators, it is a pleasure to have this opportunity of introducing you to author Caroline Fernandez and illustrator Shannon O’Toole, both Canadian.

About Author Caroline Fernandez

Caroline Fernandez is an award-winning Canadian children’s author. She lives, writes, and bakes in Toronto, ON.

About illustrator Shannon O’Toole

Shannon O’Toole is a Toronto based illustrator, painter and elementary school teacher. She has illustrated Stop Reading This Book!, The Adventures of Grandmasaurus series, as well as The Math Kids Series published by Common Deer Press. Her playful illustration work is inspired by the unique and humorous characters in her life. Aside from illustrating books for children, Shannon has exhibited her artwork in galleries across Ontario. When she is not drawing, Shannon can be found curled up with a cup of coffee, watching old movies.

About The Adventures of Grandmasaurus at the Aquarium

Grandma is at it again! Moonie and I just want to enjoy our class trip to the Aquarium Recue Centre, but Grandma has other plans.

When dust makes her sneeze and turn into different Mesozoic Era marine reptiles it’s up to us to track her down, stop her funny business, and make sure we still have time to finish our field trip reports.

The first Adventures of Grandmasaurus — my review

Continue reading: The Adventures of Grandmasaurus — an interview – readilearn

Imposter Syndrome #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about an author’s chair. It can belong to any author. Where is it located and why? Does it have special meaning? Go where the prompt leads!

I always loved writing with my children at school. It was such a buzz as they put their stories and ideas on paper. They loved making books of their stories and reading them to their classmates and other classes. In fact, to anyone who would listen. I always provided them with as many audiences as I could as, isn’t that the purpose of writing — to be read? They would take their books home to read to their family and pets. Sometimes I would type up their stories and compile them into an anthology for them to take home and share.

In my class, we were all writers, all authors. Sometimes, older siblings felt they had to share their ‘superior’ worldly knowledge and burst their happy balloons. My story is about that and about the fact that sometimes a belief in oneself is more important than what anyone else thinks. I hope you like it.

Imposter Syndrome

When Dave revisited his junior school, he smiled to see the chair in its usual spot.

“Get down,” his big sister had said. “You’re not allowed on there. It’s only for authors.”

“I am an author,” Dave said, holding up the book he’d made in class.

“Not a real author. Real authors have real books published by real publishers, and their feet touch the floor. Anyway, it’s time to go.”

This time, when Dave sat in the chair, his feet touched the floor. The audience hushed as he opened his real book and began to read. Imposter no more.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your comments. Please share your thoughts.

New Books by Norah Colvin at Library For All – #readilearn

This week I received a surprise in the post that I just had to share with you. I received printed copies of 8 beginner readers, all written by me, that have recently been added to the Library For All collection. One of them has even been translated into Tetum, an Austronesian language spoken on the island of Timor that is an official language of East Timor.

While I knew the books were in production, I didn’t realise they were published, so receiving the package was a wonderful surprise. I am absolutely delighted to be able to support the work of Library For All by donating these stories to them. In addition to these eight, two other titles were published in 2019, and there are an additional four titles recently published for which I have not yet received printed copies.

While the entire collection of digital books is available to download free from Library For All through a free Android app, the purchase of printed books from the collection helps to support the work of Library For All.

I first introduced you to  the wonderful work of  Library For All in the post Library For All — A Force for Equality through Literacy. You are welcome to find out more by heading back to the post or exploring their website.

Briefly, Library For All is an Australian not for profit organisation with a mission to “make knowledge accessible to all, equally” through a digital library of books that is available free to anyone anywhere in the world. The focus is on providing high quality, engaging, age appropriate and culturally relevant books to children in developing countries and remote areas.

Printed copies are also available and catalogues of titles can be browsed in the shop.

My titles can be found on my Amazon Author page.

Continue reading: New Books by Norah Colvin at Library For All – readilearn

Introducing Belly Button Fluff by Dave Atze – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Dave Atze and his hilariously delightful new picture book Belly Button Fluff which he both wrote and illustrated.  The book is published by Big Sky Publishing. This post is part of a Books On Tour promotion.

About Dave Atze

Dave Atze illustrates amazing books for kids that sell all over the world, including Cat Spies Mouse, the Max Booth series, the Nursery Crimes series and books about a kangaroo from Uluru! During his time as an illustrator, he has worked for some amazing clients. Some of which include Scholastic, Moose Toys, Zuru Toys, Natures Organics, Ford St Publishing, Redgum Book Club, Big Sky Publishing, EB Games and Silver Sun Pictures.

When he’s not busy drawing up a storm you can find Dave spending time with his wife Ashleigh and daughter Ella, watching movies, running, renovating and taking photos out in the wild.

About Belly Button Fluff

A super-cute, icky adventure brimming with curiosity and fun.

Scarlett Von Scruff is a little girl who loves to collect weird stuff. Now she’s discovered something fluffy, soft and a little bit smelly in Dad’s belly button and she wants to find more.

No belly is safe as Scarlett goes on a fun-filled fluff gathering adventure.

So, kick off your shoes and lay on the couch, let’s have a look in your tummy pouch.

What I like about Belly Button Fluff

Continue reading: Introducing Belly Button Fluff by Dave Atze – readilearn

The Big Black Horse

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a Big Black Horse. It can be a horse, a metaphor or an interpretation of KT Tunstall’s “Big Black Horse and a Cherry Tree.” Go where the prompt leads!

This is my response. It is based on a picture book manuscript I am working on at the moment, hoping to submit to a publisher soon. Fingers crossed. That story is based upon another 214-word story I wrote earlier in the year, which you can read here. All three are the same but different. I hope you like it.

The Big Black Horse

The riders considered the available horses. Fergal chose the big black, Valentina the silver. They mounted their steeds and entered the arena. Fergal cantered to one end and Valentina the other. They steadied their mounts and faced each other.

“Let the contest begin! Charge!”

The contestants galloped towards each other.

Nearing the centre of the arena, Fergal’s black steed balked, tossing him off. Valentina wheeled her horse around, dismounted and raced to Fergal’s side.

“You okay, Fergal?”

“It’s only a scratch.”

“I’ll get a plaster from Miss.”

“It’s okay. Let’s go again. Can I have silver this time?”

“Okay.”

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts.

Linking Science and Literacy with Picture Books – #readilearn

Last month, I was invited by the Science Teachers Association of Queensland (STAQ) to present a talk about using picture books in science lessons as part of their Growing Science webinars in the lead up to Science Week. What a great opportunity — picture books and science. What’s to not like? Picture books are one of the best ways I know of turning young children onto two of my favourite things — reading and learning.

You can find out more about the webinar series and access recordings and free resources on the STAQ website here.

Below is a brief version of the article I wrote as the basis of my presentation.

You can access the entire article in the zip folder Using Picture Books in Science Lessons, which also includes other handouts I provided to support my talk.

You can listen to the talk via this link or watch it below.

Linking science and literacy

Language is as important to the science curriculum as it is to the English curriculum. Science is another context in which language is used and must be learned.

In this article I’m going to show you some ways of including picture books in your science lessons.

Many of the skills required by science are also literacy skills; skills such as:

 

Continue reading: Linking Science and Literacy with Picture Books – readilearn