Category Archives: Picture books

We're All in This Together, a picture book by Skye Hughes

We’re All in This Together — a Picture Book by Skye Hughes #readilearn

The refrain ‘We’re all in this together’ echoed around the world in 2020 as we came to grips with the changes that living with a pandemic brought. Teaching online and children learning at home required major adjustments to programs and how they were delivered. Many started talking of the ‘new normal’ while most hoped that 2021 would bring a return to the old familiar ‘normal’. While it may eventually, it is still too soon to get overly comfortable.

Throughout 2020, many were finding creative ways of dealing with the restrictions, lockdowns and changing expectations. Others were using their creativity to help others cope. One of these creatives is Skye Hughes whose beautiful picture book We’re All in This Together illustrates how the changes were shared by many and provides opportunities for discussions between teachers, parents and children that help reduce anxieties and foster empathy.

About Skye Hughes

Skye Hughes was born in Adelaide but spent much of her childhood travelling around Australia in a caravan with her three younger siblings and parents. She is a school teacher, youth program facilitator and big fan of Nutella donuts. Skye currently lives in Melbourne and when she isn’t writing children’s books, looking after her house plants or teaching young people, you will find her travelling the globe and connecting with people from all walks of life. It is these connections that inspire her to keep growing, learning and creating beautiful memories.

About the picture book We’re All in this Together

School friends – Kiana, Amin, Roshan, Casey, Ming, and Tyler all have one thing in common — they can’t go to school. The world changed very quickly and now they have to stay home to keep themselves and their families and friends safe. They discover that even apart, they can find new and fun ways to be together.
At a time when the world looks a little different, this encouraging story promises young readers an opportunity to reflect on their own experience of this unique moment in history while promoting resilience and unity.

The interview

Continue reading: We’re All in This Together — a Picture Book by Skye Hughes — readilearn

book reviews and author interviews from readilearn in 2020

2020 — A Year of Books – #readilearn

 

Books make wonderful gifts at any time and Christmas is no exception. As a child, I loved nothing more than receiving a new book of my own for birthdays and Christmas. While I borrowed and read many books from the school and local library, there was something very special about having a book of my own to enjoy and treasure.

I loved breathing in the smell of a fresh, new book and feeling the smoothness of its fresh, new covers. But even more than that, I loved its promise of escape and adventure. In a book, I could escape the ordinariness of the everyday and participate in adventures at locations and with friends that I would never meet outside its pages.

If you are looking for a book to gift a special child this year, then I’d love to help you choose. In this post, I list all the lovely books I have reviewed or whose authors I have interviewed for the readilearn blog this year. These are only a small selection of wonderful books that are available.

A year of books on readilearn

In this list, I provide you with a short description of each book and a link to the post where you can find further information, including where to purchase the book.

Picture books

Continue reading: 2020 — A Year of Books – readilearn

Introducing Penny Macoun and her picture book Gorkle

Introducing Gorkle and the text message mystery by Penny Macoun – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Penny Macoun and her delightful new picture book Gorkle. This interview is part of a Books on Tour promotion.

Have you ever sent a text message that has taken hours or even days to arrive, or never turned up at all? Gorkle is an imaginative and fun picture book that explains just what might happen to those text messages that go missing in cyberspace.

About Penny Macoun

Penny Macoun was born in Sydney, Australia, and has been writing since when her story about a funnel web spider was printed in a school newsletter. Ever since, Penny has loved the ‘other worlds’ that words create, and hopes to continue to create these worlds for many years to come.  Gorkle is her first book.  When she is not writing or editing, Penny dabbles in various forms of visual arts and enjoys being in the garden.

About Gorkle

Continue reading: Introducing Gorkle and the text message mystery by Penny Macoun – readilearn

Understanding Autism Spectrum and ADHD with Kathy Hoopmann

Cats and Dogs — Understanding Autism Spectrum and ADHD with Kathy Hoopmann – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Kathy Hoopmann and her delightfully humorous and sensitive books that help to explain how it feels to be on the autism spectrum or to have ADHD — All Cats are on the Autism Spectrum and All Dogs have ADHD.

These books are perfect for use in both the home and classroom settings. Children and adults on the spectrum or diagnosed with ADHD will find themselves in the books, and others will recognise and develop understanding and empathy for their fellows who may travel the world on a slightly different path.

All Cats are on the Autism Spectrum and All Dogs have ADHD are updated versions of Kathy’s previously published and successful books All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome and All Dogs Have ADHD. Kathy explains her reasons for updating them.

“I first published All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome in 2006 and All Dogs Have ADHD in 2009.  Fast forward 11 and 14 years and although both books were still selling well, the layouts were dated and some of the text needed tweaking to represent current views and terminology. The biggest criticism I had was that they were written with male pronouns

And, as many girls have ASD and ADHD, they also wanted to see themselves on the page. With these things in mind, I took the opportunity to freshen up the entire books and revitalized them with all new images as well.

They are definitely beautiful books and delightful to look at, filled from cover to cover with cute cat and dog images.  However, the books are more than just that. Kathy shines a positive light on the sometimes-quirky behaviours that are endearing in pets and helps us recognise the beauty and joy we can discover in diversity. She encourages us to accept ourselves and others just as we are.

A recommendation by Haley Moss

The updated version of All Cats are on the Autism Spectrum has a beautiful foreword written by Haley Moss, Esq., an autistic attorney, author, artist and advocate. Haley writes:

“Me-wow! I was 13 years old when my mom brought All Cats Have Asperger Syndrome home from an autism conference. You’d expect teenagers to think they’re too old for picture books when they so desperately want to be seen as adults, but nope

Continue reading: Cats and Dogs — Understanding Autism Spectrum and ADHD with Kathy Hoopmann – readilearn

Elizabeth Cummings discusses the Sweetest Lollipop Lady in the World

Elizabeth Cummings discusses The Sweetest Lollipop Lady in the World – #readilearn

Today we are talking with Elizabeth Cummings about The Sweetest Lollipop Lady in the World from the Verityville series. This interview is part of a Books on Tour promotion.

I previously introduced you to Elizabeth when I interviewed her about her heart-warming picture book The Forever Kid.

About Elizabeth Cummings

Elizabeth Mary Cummings was born in Manchester, educated in Scotland and has lived in Australia and New Zealand for many years. Starting her professional life as a primary school teacher, Elizabeth’s teaching career has taken her into many different roles, including teaching in both the public and independent sectors, working with refuges, special needs and foreign language teaching. When she moved to Australia in 2008 Elizabeth developed and ran a successful language business before releasing her first picture book in 2015 (The Disappearing Sister- a sibling’s account of anorexia nervosa). Her stories often take a child’s perspective to explain the world and reflect on important life experiences including themes of resilience, grief, equality, the natural environment, kindness, empowerment, anti-bullying and mental health. Elizabeth set up her independent publishing company in 2015 and is also published by Big Sky Publishing.

About the Verityville series

Have you wondered about what other people do? The ordinary, everyday people – the people that make our lives the way they are, those who help us, care for us, look after our town and do the little things that make a difference to our lives. Have you ever caught a little glimpse of their little routines or the daily habits? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be them?

In Verityville there are many amazing folk, all going about their daily business, making the town what it is. Their work and their efforts make Verityville a marvellous place to be, full of wonder, friendship and adventure!

Come take a trip to Verityville and meet some of the wonderful people who live and work there!

Little tales for little folk about real life in a veritably fabulous place…Verityville.

About The Sweetest Lollipop Lady in the World

Continue reading: Elizabeth Cummings discusses The Sweetest Lollipop Lady in the World – readilearn

Creating a positive future with Ethicool books

Creating a Positive Future with Ethicool Books – #readilearn

Today I am delighted to introduce you to a new publishing company Ethicool Books.

When I first heard about Ethicool Books, I was intrigued by the name and the play on words. When I delved a little further into their website, I was delighted to find what they were aiming to do.

The statement on their homepage says,

“Hi! we’re Ethicool. We publish remarkable children’s books about the world’s big issues, encouraging kids to make a positive change.”

I couldn’t find anything to argue with there. Or anywhere, in fact.

About Ethicool Books

Ethicool Books aims to encourage parents to engage children in discussions about issues such as climate change, ocean pollution, poverty and gender equality through stories told in their beautiful picture books.

© Stuart French and Teigan Margetts

As parents themselves, Stuart French and Teigan Margetts, the founders of Ethicool Books, realised the powerful role that parents have in educating their children for a positive future.

“Our little ones have the opportunity to create a different world, right from the ground up. The future is in their hands and if we give them the gift of knowledge and the inspiration to take action, they can create the world of their dreams.”

Ethicool Books.

But Ethicool Books are not only words. They are action also. They have partnered with 1% for the Planet, donating 1% of all book sales to that organisation. They are also eco-conscious and use soy inks in the printing process. You can read a little more about that here.

The Interview

Today, I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Stuart French, co-founder of Ethicool Books and author of the best-selling picture book Remembering Mother Nature.

Continue reading: Creating a Positive Future with Ethicool Books – readilearn

Develop your Kindness Superpower with Super Nicholas

Develop your Kindness Superpower with Super Nicholas by Michelle Worthington

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Michelle Worthington, Australian author with many successful picture books to her credit.

I previously introduced you to some of Michelle’s work when I interviewed Katrin Dreiling, illustrator of Michelle’s fun story The World’s Worst Pirate.

Today we are discussing her beautiful picture book Super Nicholas which presents alternate abilities in a compassionate way that promotes kindness.

About Michelle Worthington

© Michelle Worthington

Michelle Worthington is an award-winning children’s author and international guest speaker on the power of storytelling. A full-time fiction writer based in Brisbane, Michelle credits her three sons for giving her an endless source of inspiration, as well as her wrinkles.
Michelle is dedicated to encouraging a strong love of reading and writing in young children and enjoys working with charities that support the vision of empowering youth through education. As a mentor and editor, she helps aspiring authors find pathways to publication and enjoys working as part of a team in projects that are purposeful, innovative and inspirational.

About Super Nicholas

When a little boy with alternate abilities is born into a family of super heroes, it can be tough to make everyone happy. Nicholas has a heart as big as the sun and he can shine just as bright, even without super strength, super speed or being able to fly. His superpower is kindness and when it comes time to save the day, it’s the most powerful of them all.

What I like about Super Nicholas

Promoting kindness is one of our key values here at readilearn  and many resources can be found in our collection focusing on friendship skills.

One of the things I really appreciate about Super Nicholas is that it challenges the superhero stereotype and suggests to children that showing kindness to others can be the most effective superpower.

It also shows the importance of accepting and appreciating differences in others, as well as ourselves. Stories like this have an important place in every home, school and library collection and I am happy to recommend Super Nicholas to you. Most of us feel a little different from those around us at times and all of us will find something to love in Super Nicholas.

The Interview

Michelle, you are a prolific and accomplished children’s author. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I have always made up stories in my head but I wasn’t very good at writing them down. I am not very good at spelling and I was too scared to make a mistake, so I didn’t write any of them down until I was in Grade 5. My Grade 5 teacher encouraged me to start with writing poetry to get my confidence up and I started writing from then and have never stopped!

Continue reading: Develop your Kindness Superpower with Super Nicholas by Michelle Worthington – readilearn

interview with Caroline Tuohey author of Skadoodle & Snug's Magnificent Plan

Meet Caroline Tuohey author of Skadoodle & Snug’s Magnificent Plan – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Caroline Tuohey author of the delightful picture book Skadoodle and Snug’s Magnificent Plan.

I previously introduced you to some of Caroline’s work when I interviewed illustrator Muza Ulasowski about another of Caroline’s beautiful books Forest Wonder. But today we are talking about the adorable Skadoodle and Snug.

About Caroline Tuohey

© Caroline Tuohey

Caroline Tuohey is a children’s writer and poet whose main interest is picture books.  She has five published picture books in print with a sixth due out with Ford Street Publishing in October 2020.  She has also been published in children’s literature magazines in Australia and Ireland as well as in anthologies and poetry sites online.  She enjoys holding story time sessions at libraries, schools and preschools and conducts workshops for both school students and adults.  Her other interest is bush poetry – which she writes and performs.  She lives on a farm in the Riverina region of New South Wales, with her husband, two children, several dogs and a horse or two.

About Skadoodle and Snug’s Magnificent Plan

Continue reading:  Meet Caroline Tuohey author of Skadoodle & Snug’s Magnificent Plan – readilearn

Meet author Diana Harley and her springtime picture books

Meet author Diana Harley and her springtime picture books – #readilearn

Today it is my pleasure to introduce you to Diana Harley as we discuss her three beautiful picture books that are perfect for sharing at springtime, or any time.

Here at readilearn, we have quite a fascination with minibeasts, especially butterflies, and have quite a variety of teaching resources that focus on them. Naturally, we are attracted to other resources which encourage children’s interest in minibeasts and the environment.

Diana Harley, Australian picture book author

About Diana

Diana Harley is a writer, author, poet and playwright living and working in the Bega Valley of NSW. Diana has written a number of fiction and non-fiction books for children, has had two adult poetry anthologies published and has won numerous awards for her poems and short stories. Many of her poems and stories have been included in various anthologies.  She has done a few blogs and two of her short plays have been produced and performed in regional NSW. She has run writing workshops for both adults and children and enjoys getting writers writing! She is a chocoholic, loves wedgetail eagles and reading is her favourite hobby.

About the books

Continue reading: Meet author Diana Harley and her springtime picture books – readilearn

Getting creative with Karen Hendricks and her book Go Away Foxy Foxy

Getting Creative with Karen Hendriks and her book Go Away, Foxy Foxy – #readilearn

In this special Books on Wednesday post, I am delighted to introduce you to Karen Hendricks and her lovely new picture book Go Away Foxy Foxy.

 In this post, written by Karen, she explains how creativity is explored in the picture book and suggests conversations you can have with children to encourage their creativity. The post is part of a Books on Tour promotion.

About Go Away, Foxy Foxy

© Karen Hendriks

Go Away, Foxy Foxy is a delightful story of three little bunnies who decide to sleep out in a tree house one night. Outside in the dark, Foxy Foxy prowls. He’d like nothing better than to make a feast of those little bunnies. The bunnies show different levels of fear and bravery and use their intelligence, without having to resort to using the Mummy bell, to scare the fox away.

Children will easily identify with the different emotions displayed and will be encouraged to discuss different ways they may respond to the situation and solve the problem.

About Karen Hendriks

Continue reading: Getting Creative with Karen Hendriks and her book Go Away, Foxy Foxy – readilearn