Monthly Archives: August 2022

Interview with Deborah Frenkel author of Naturopolis – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Deborah Frenkel and her beautiful new picture book Naturopolis with illustrations by Ingrid Bartkowiak and published by Storytorch Press.

About the author Deborah Frenkel

Deb is a human (Homo sapiens). She lives in Melbourne with her young family and a number of ringtail possums (Pseudocheirus peregrinus) who occasionally drop by. When she’s not writing for kids, she’s usually copywriting for TV commercials, billboards, and the labels

of shampoo bottles. Kids, thankfully, are usually more appreciative. This is her first picture book, and her second (with Affirm Press) is due out in 2023.

Find out more about the author from her website: http://deborahfrenkel.com/

About the illustrator Ingrid Bartkowiak

An artist and illustrator based in Brisbane, Australia, Ingrid works in watercolour and oils. Her practice revolves around her fascination with nature and its intricacies. Ingrid completed her Bachelor of Fine Art in 2019 at the Queensland College of Art. Engaging with native flora and fauna, her illustrations are whimsical and encourage an appreciation for nature. They often feature both realistic illustrative elements, merged with abstraction and blocks of vibrant colour. There is a focus on detailing and pattern, with one of Ingrid’s earlier interests being in the visual tropes of the arts and crafts movement. A highly talented artist, this is her first children’s book.

Find out more about the illustrator from her website: https://ingridbartkowiakart.com/

About Naturopolis

Among the steel and stone canyons of the city, nature flourishes in tiny, tenacious ways. Follow the ant (Iridomyrmex purpureus) to discover the scraps of wilderness hiding in plain sight in this lyrical celebration of urban flora and fauna.

Naturopolis is a wonderful acknowledgement of the unseen, and the world that awaits the viewer, eager to connect with nature. You don’t have to go far to find what is waiting for us beneath our feet.

Naturopolis is creative non-fiction that celebrates nature that can be found in our cities. The lyrical text invites children to look closely and stunning hand-painted illustrations show them where to look. Each observation is accompanied by an information tag that provides the reader with fun facts about the fauna or flora discovered. It is a perfect balance of fiction and non-fiction, enough to excite the imagination while at the same time, fostering an interest in exploring and finding out more.

Themes are resilience, community and appreciation of nature.

The Trailer

Continue reading: Interview with Deborah Frenkel author of Naturopolis – readilearn

The One Who Left the Dress #99WordStories

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about “the one who left the dress.” A 1940s-era dress still hangs in an abandoned house. Who left it and why? You can take any perspective and write in any genre. It can be a ghost story. Or not. Go where the prompt leads!

For this story, I tried to write a little more about Sandy and Angus from my story last week. When I did, I wrote a lot more, well a lot more than 99 words anyway, so I’ve had to pare it back and take away a lot of the backstory. I hope that what remains makes sense on its own, and that you enjoy it.

The One Who Left the Dress

The rotten timbers remained upright thanks to the bushes, branches and vines. Grassy tufts sprouted through decaying floorboards where leaves, animal scats and other detritus littered. The only hint of previous occupants was a wardrobe, miraculously still standing. Sandy gasped as its door fragmented as she opened it. Using her phone’s torch, she peered through cobwebs and dust, hoping for treasure. All she found was a dress, completely in tatters, but still hanging.

“Isn’t this your great grandmother’s — the one in the photo in the hall?”

“Could be.” said Angus. “So what?”

“I wonder why she left it here.”

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading, I appreciate your feedback, please share your thoughts.

Note: The collection of stories made in response to the previous prompt Remote, including mine, can be read at the Carrot Ranch.

Dreaming with Eyes Open CBCA BOOK WEEK 2022 – #readilearn

Book Week is almost upon us. It runs from 20 – 26 August. The theme for Book Week this year is Dreaming with Eyes Open.

The beautiful artwork in the poster for this year was created by author-illustrator Jasmine Seymour. You can hear her speak briefly about the artwork and what the theme means to her in this video in which the theme was announced. I think you’ll agree that the artwork is beautiful.

Book Week is an annual event organised by the Children’s Book Council of Australia and has been held every year since 1945. It is a celebration of Australian children’s books, their authors and illustrators. Celebrations take place in schools and libraries across Australia with displays, story telling and reading, competitions and parades. I think the favourite activity for many is dressing up as storybook characters.

Shortlisted books

All the books shortlisted for the awards are listed on the website. A ‘read more’ button beside each book takes you to teaching notes, critiques by the judges, reviews and other activities where available.

The books are organised into different categories for the awards:

  • Book of the Year: Older Readers
  • Book of the Year: Younger Readers
  • Book of the Year: Early Childhood
  • The Picture Book of the Year
  • Eve Pownall Award (a focus on factual material)
  • CBCA Award for New Illustrator

We eagerly await the announcement of the winners.

Australian School Library Day

This year, to coincide with Book Week, the first annual Australian School Library Day will held on 24 August 2022 (the Wednesday of Book Week). The purpose of the day is to highlight and celebrate school libraries. What a great combination of celebrations of children’s literature, reading and libraries. The Australian School Library Day (ASLD) website has suggestions of how you can join in the celebration.

The following information was provided by Students Need School Libraries in their promotional brochure for the day.

“Did you know?

The School Library Association of Victoria first developed School Libraries Day as far back as 1994. It was an official day for lobbying for school libraries by targeting principals and politicians. By 1999, School Libraries Day went International and was adopted by the International Association of School Librarianship. 
It now exists as International School Library Month (ISLM), where each nation is encouraged to select their own day in October to celebrate school libraries.  This year’s ISLM theme is Reading for Global Peace and Harmony
How fantastic to see our Aussie school library staff having a global impact!”

I agree! I’m sure you do too.

Other great resources

Continue reading: Dreaming with Eyes Open CBCA BOOK WEEK 2022 – readilearn

Someplace Remote #99WordStories

When Charli Mills at the Carrot Ranch prompted writers to Write a story that features someplace remote in 99 words (no more, no less). It can be a wild sort of terrain or the distance between people. What is the impact of a remote place? Go where the prompt leads!, I thought it would be easy.

You see, I’ve visited remote places, I’ve holidayed in remote places, I’ve even lived in remote places. But none of these were the remote wilderness places that make wonderful settings for the excitement of adrenalin-pumping adventure stories. But maybe they could be if I wanted to set a story there?

Anyway, this is a combination of places I’ve been and teenagers I’ve known. I also tried to throw in a bit about names. I find it amusing when names fit the person’s personality or role in some way. I’ve also been amused (but only slightly) to see so many country boys named Angus (including cousins, so, sorry cus). I guess if Sandy was named after the soil where her mother grew up, then Angus could be named after the cattle his parents breed. I hope it works. See what you think.

The End of the Road

Sandy coughed, gagged, groaned, and complained in the unbearable heat as the car slewed along the track with air-con and windows locked to keep out the dust, failing as miserably as Sandy’s attempts to convince her stupid parents to go home. No phone. No internet. No nothing. Might as well be dead.

“When I was your age, there were no mobile phones or internet. You’ll survive. We did.”

Don’t punish me for your deprived childhood.

Finally, they arrived. Mum did the introductions.

“Good name for yer,” said the boy, grinning.

“I guess you’re Angus,” Sandy snapped. “Aptly named, too.”

Thank you blog post

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

Looking at Glass for National Science Week 13 – 21 August – #readilearn

The theme for National Science Week, which runs from 13 – 21 August this year, is Glass: more than meets the eye.

The theme supports the UN International Year of Glass and links to the Chemical sciences curriculum looking at materials, their properties, uses and the ways they can be changed as well as technology and sustainability.

Glass was chosen for an International Year to celebrate its essential role in society.

The National Science Week website has a lot of information for schools, including a free downloadable book of resources produced by the Australian Science Teachers Association. The book contains First Nations activities with links to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures Cross-curriculum priority, and has five different activities for Foundation to Year 2 classrooms:

  • Sugar glass decorations
  • Explore with a magnifying glass
  • Turn a window into a mirror
  • Make a kaleidoscope
  • Glass at home

These activities bring fun and meaning to the science curriculum and encourage children to ask their own questions for further investigations.

You can even put in your postcodes to discover what events are being held near you.

Properties and uses of glass

There is a great video about glass available on YouTube at this link: https://youtu.be/A6ZEaWvlz6k?t=255

Although the video may be too long and at too high a level to show our F – 2 children, it is useful for reminding ourselves of the many amazing properties and uses of glass. There are speeches at the beginning and end of the video which you may wish to listen to. However, I have set the link to begin where the information about glass begins (about 4.15). The information ends at about 22 minutes.

Twelve facts about glass

Continue reading: Looking at Glass for National Science Week 13 – 21 August – Readilearn