Author Archives: Norah

About Norah

Early childhood educator and resource developer.

Let’s Meet Alison McLennan and her Hotel for Bees – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Australian author Alison McLennan and her beautiful picture book Hotel for Bees.

About Alison McLennan

Alison McLennan has written three picture books, Hotel for Bees (State Library of Qld 2020), Growing Pains (EK Books 2021) and Great and Small (Storytorch Press, coming October 2022). Her graphic novel, A Flood in the Village, was published by Library For All as part of their natural disaster education series. Her short stories have appeared in the School Magazine and the Spooktakular Stories Anthology. She is a proud member of SCBWI and Qld Writelinks, a mother of two teenagers and a fur baby. She is also a singer and voiceover artist.

About Hotel for Bees

Continue reading: Let’s Meet Alison McLennan and her Hotel for Bees – readilearn

The Hens’ Party

At the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills has been celebrating completion of 21 months of studying and writing for an MFA.  To help us get in the party mood, and to give herself freedom to celebrate, she gave writers an extra week to respond to the challenge In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about party hens. Who are these chickens and why do they party? Go where the prompt leads!

This is my response. I hope you enjoy it.

The Hens’ Party

The hens cackled with anticipation of their leader’s address, then quietened as the activist took the stage.

“Ladies and ladies,” she began. “We don’t have to take this anymore — all day cooped up, laying on demand, while His Lordship struts about crowing, taking credit for the sun shining. Now it’s our time to shine!”

The assembly fluffed their feathers and stamped their feet. “We won’t take it anymore!”

“Ladies, what do we want?”

“Hen’s rights!”

“When do we want them?”

“Now!”

“First, we slip him a sleeping pill, then tomorrow — we make the sun come up!”

“Hens rule forever!”

Thank you blog post

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

Let’s Get Buzzing for World Bee Day – #readilearn

World Bee Day will be celebrated next week on 20 May.  The purpose of World Bee Day is to celebrate these wonderful pollinators upon whom we are so dependent, and not just for their delicious honey. Without bees, there’d be a lot less, and many fewer varieties of, food for us to eat.

Note: As for all videos, I recommend you watch them first to ascertain suitability before sharing them with your class.

The World Bee Day website contains useful advice and many resources to assist your involvement in the day, including a fun waggle dance challenge you and your children will enjoy.

Continue reading: Let’s Get Buzzing for World Bee Day – readilearn

Blast Off with National Simultaneous Storytime 2021 – #readilearn

In just over a week, on Wednesday 19 May at 11:00am AEST, we will be celebrating the 21st National Simultaneous Storytime (NSS). Are you ready?

The event

National Simultaneous Storytime is an annual event held in Library and Information Week in Australia and New Zealand. The event is organised by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) with the aim of promoting the value of reading and literacy.

Each year an Australian picture book is chosen to be read simultaneously in libraries, schools, pre-schools, childcare centres, family homes, bookshops and many other places around the nations on either side of the Tasman Sea. Selected books explore age-appropriate themes and address key learning areas of the National Curriculum for Foundation to Year 6.

It is free to register for the event. If you do, you will receive various free downloadable material to support your own event on Monday 17 May. You can register right up until the event begins.

The book

Continue reading: Blast Off with National Simultaneous Storytime 2021 – readilearn

Hit the Road Jack #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story using the phrase, “hit the road, Jack.” You can interpret the phrase any way you like — road trip, goodbye, or story. Go where the prompt leads!

I’ve written a nonsense story loosely based on young children as much as on characters from nursery rhymes. Anyone who has tried to get to the truth of a ‘situation’ with young children will recognise the complexities and difficulties involved and realise how quickly it can all be resolved with a distraction. I’ve used an interpretation of the phrase rather than the phrase itself. I hope you enjoy it.

Nursery Rhyme Nursery School

“What’s upsetting you, Jack?”

“Mary won’t let me play.”

“Why are you contrary, Mary? Didn’t Jack build this house?”

“He broke it too!”

“Don’t blame me,” said Jack. “The alligator smashed it.”

“What alligator?”

“The doctor’s. He trampled everything.”

“Don’t blame me,” said the doctor. “Polly said come quick.”

“Because … ?”

“My dolly got burnt from the kettle.”

“Who put the kettle on?”

“I did. But don’t blame me. Jack bumped me.”

“You were hogging pies.”

“You were sticking your fingers in them.”

“Look, everyone! Humpty’s cracked!”

“Who pushed him?”

“Jack?!”

Jack was gone. He’d fled the scene.

Thank you blog post

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

Salih — A Refugee Story of Hope by Inda Ahmad Zahri – #readilearn

Today it is my great pleasure to introduce you to author Inda Ahmad Zahri and her debut picture book Salih.

Salih will tear at your heartstrings and fill you with hope as we follow a journey from a war-ravaged home to a new land of promise.

About Inda Ahmad Zahri

Inda Ahmad Zahri believes in a world of wonder. Her stories are inspired by natural and cultural gems curated from her travels and lovingly added to her Malaysian heritage.

She is also a surgical doctor, swapping her writer’s hat and paintbrush for scrubs and scalpel when duty calls.

About Salih

Like a turtle, Salih carries his home on his back. He must cross a raging sea in search of a safe home. Salih paints his happiest memories and sends them as messages in bottles. Will someone find them and understand? Will Salih find a new home?

My response to Salih

I was captivated by the blurb (shared above).

It immediately tugs at our hearts. We feel Salih’s pain and his need, his hope upon hope that someone will understand and that he will find a new safe home.

When there are so many displaced people in our world, our communities and our classrooms, this book provides us all with an opportunity

Continue reading: Salih — A Refugee Story of Hope by Inda Ahmad Zahri – readilearn

For Earth Day #Flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about earthing. Put a character’s hands, feet or body and soul into the earth. Who needs recharging? What happens between the interaction? Go where the prompt leads!

The prompt coincided with Earth Day which, celebrated on 22nd April each year, is the anniversary of the beginning of the environmental movement in 1970.

In her post, Charli says, ‘Earth Day is a good time to talk about earthing. Also known as grounding, earthing describes interacting with the earth barefoot and bare handed.

It made me think of childhood days of playing in the dirt and making mud pies. As long as we were having fun, we never minded how dirty we got. I think now that maybe Mum may not have been so thrilled.

There’s nothing like children for being totally absorbed by something they enjoy and for making the most of opportunities that arise.

This is my response to Charli’s prompt. I hope you enjoy it.

For Earth Day

“They’re very quiet,” said Dad.

“For a change,” said Mum.

“Suspiciously quiet,” said Dad. Mum didn’t stir — no way she’d abandon her match-3 game mid-level to investigate.

“Hmpf,” said Dad, marking his page. He slid into his slippers and shuffled to the door.

“What’re you doin’?” he yelled.

Two small mud-spattered bodies frolicking under the sprinkler in his freshly-prepared garden bed froze.

“Nuthin’,” said one.

The other gaped.

“Sure don’t look like nuthin’,” said Dad. “Git yerselfs outta there.”

He killed the sprinkler and fun in one.

“We thought you made it for us—”

“—for Earth Day.”

Thank you blog post

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

Innovating on the nursery rhyme Row, Row, Row Your Boat – #readilearn

Innovating on familiar nursery rhymes and songs is an easy and fun way to encourage children to think creatively, to develop their writing skills and extend their vocabularies. There are many ways in which Row, Row, Row Your Boat can be used for these purposes. In this post, I share just some of them.

Rhyming words

stream/dream

What other words rhyme with stream and dream? List them.

beam, cream, gleam, meme, ream, seem, team

row

What other words rhyme with row? List them.

bow, blow, crow, dough, flow, go, hoe, Joe, know, low, mow, so, slow, show, tow, though, woe

Synonyms and alternatives

Substitute synonyms or other words to sing or write new versions.

Continue reading: Innovating on the nursery rhyme Row, Row, Row Your Boat – readilearn

Seeds of Generosity #flashfiction

This week at the Carrot Ranch, Charli Mills challenged writers to In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that seeds generosity. Who is generous and why? Think of generosity as planting a future outcome. Go where the prompt leads!

As for many other qualities and values, I think the seeds of generosity are sown in early childhood. The rewards are reaped throughout life, both for the giver and the recipients of the generosity.

I expected it to be easy to write a story about generosity. However, as with every other prompt, it was a battle to find an idea that wanted to work. When I finally found one and wrote it down, it was over 300 words!

I don’t think I’ve ever written that many words when composing flash before. It’s usually only about 150 words I have to whittle down.

Writing flash fiction is like writing a picture book manuscript. You tell just the bare bones and leave the rest up to the illustrator. However, with flash fiction, there is no illustrator.

Slowly, through six revisions, I condensed the story to 99 words. I hope it still makes sense and that you can paint in the gaps.

The Racing Car

Jamie was spending his birthday money—a rose for Mum, gum for Dad, balloons for Baby and a racing car for himself.

Mr Green counted Jamie’s coins. “You’ve only enough for three.”

Jamie pushed the car aside. “These three, please.”

As Jamie left, Mr Green called, “Wait!” He held out the racing car. Jamie beamed.

Nearly home, Jamie saw a little boy crouched beside a drain. A car, just like Jamie’s, lay far below.

“Foolish boy,” said the mother. “I warned you.” She dragged the howling boy away.

“Wait,” called Jamie, holding out his racing car. The boy beamed.

Thank you blog post

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

The Importance of Daydreaming and Imagination — a Guest Post by #Josh Langley – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Australian author and illustrator Josh Langley who advocates for children’s mental health, including developing their self-esteem, friendship skills and creativity through his books and online course. These topics are close to my heart and regularly appear in our readilearn posts and feature in our teaching resources.

With next Wednesday 21 April being World Creativity and Innovation Day, I thought now was the perfect time to share with you Josh’s recent post Why It’s More Important Than Ever to Let Kids Daydream.

First let me tell you a little about Josh.

About Josh:

Josh is author of the award winning ‘Being You is Enough’ books series for kids and promotes positive mental and emotional health messages for kids through his books, presentations, primary school talks, videos, charity work and courses, like ‘Here I am!’.

Josh says,

After suffering childhood trauma, I feel driven to make sure kids don’t ever have to feel like I did. That’s why I want to give them the emotional and mental skills to be resilient to what is thrown at them and the inner knowing that they are ok the way they are. And the only way I can do that is in my own fun and unique way! Thankfully parents and kids love it.”

About Josh’s Books

Continue reading: The Importance of Daydreaming and Imagination — a Guest Post by #Josh Langley – readilearn