Category Archives: Picture books

#Bookreview: Two delightful children’s books by Norah Colvin

I was absolutely surprised and delighted to find a review of my two picture books that have been published by Library For All on Robbie’s Cheadle’s blog Robbie’s Inspiration. Thank you, Robbie. Please pop over to Robbie’s blog to read her reviews.
But before you go, I’d like to tell you a little about Library For All.
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. The stories are often donated by authors, as were my two, or written in collaboration with local people in the communities they support.
You can find out more on their website Library For All or in a post I wrote about them a few years ago when these books were first published Library For All — A Force for Equality through Literacy.
Now, over to Robbie’s.

Robbie's inspiration

I bought these two delightful books for very young children for my two year old nice. The illustrations are colourful and bright and the stories are adorable.

My review of Wombat Digs In by Norah Colvin

Wombat Digs In by Norah Colvin for Library for All

This is an adorable book for small children about a wombat who is struggling to keep up with some of the other animals including the kangaroos who can bounce, the possums who can climb, and the fruit bats who can fly. Wombat is feeling a little dejected, but when Baby Koala falls out of the tree, Wombat’s own special skill of digging comes to the forefront. This little book is illustrated with simple and bright pictures that small children will love.

My review of Let’s Move by Norah Colvin

Let's Move by Norah Colvin for Library for All

This is a delightful little book for teaching very young children about animals and movement. The illustrations are adorable and I particularly liked the snails…

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Picture Books about the Environment — a selection – #readilearn

Sharing picture books with young children is one of my favourite things. Picture books can fill children’s minds with wonder, curiosity and imagination, and their hearts with love. Picture books lead them gently into the world beyond their own front doors. They allow children to explore the previously unexplored in the comfort and safety of their own familiar surroundings, at home or at school.

In this post, I share some books that will help children develop an interest in and concern for the environment through reading and discussion.

Ethicool Books

A good place to start is with publisher Ethicool Books. I recently interviewed Stuart French, the founder, who explained their goal of engaging children in discussions about issues such as climate change, ocean pollution, poverty and gender equality through stories told in their beautiful picture books. While you can find a full list of their books on their website, these are some of my favourites:

Remembering Mother Nature by Stuart French introduces children to the concept of Mother Nature and encourages them to take an active interest in the environment and help to save the planet.

My Rainforest Classroom by Stuart French introduces children to the beauty of the world’s environments and its inhabitants. It shows how easily the environment can be damaged and urges them to take action to protect it.

Continue reading: Picture Books about the Environment — a selection – Readilearn

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

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

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

multicultural children's picture books

Picture it in Books – Our Multicultural World – #readilearn

One of the things that brings most joy to our world, that inspires imagination and sparks creativity, is variety. The richness of our multicultural world is to be celebrated and the current recognition of the need for diverse picture books in which children from every culture and family background can find themselves is long overdue. The collection, though still small, is growing.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day (MCBD) is an organisation that has been promoting multicultural children’s books for the past nine years. Founded by Valarie Budayr from Audrey Press Books and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom in 2012, MCBD has a mission ‘To raise awareness for children’s books that celebrate diversity by getting more of these books into classrooms and libraries. This non-profit also strives to shine the spotlight on the diverse books and authors that often get overlooked by mainstream publishing and media.’

On the last Friday of January each year, Multicultural Children’s Book Day is celebrated with reviews, promotions and other events. I have been delighted to join in the celebration of multicultural books by sharing reviews for the past three MCBDays.

I participated for the first time in 2019 with a review of I am Farmer by Baptiste and Miranda Paul with illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon.

I Am Farmer is the story of Tantoh Nforba, an environmental hero in the central African nation of Cameroon. Tantoh was bullied as a child and nicknamed ‘Farmer’ for his interest in plants, the earth and nature. He now bears the name ‘Farmer’ proudly as he improves the lives of people in his own community, and others, by improving access to clean water and establishing productive gardening practices.

In 2020, I reviewed two books: The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree written by Angeliki Stamatopoulou-Pederson and illustrated by Tety Swlou, and Ribbon’s Traveling Castle by Elizabeth Godley with illustrations by Paige M. Leyh.

The Secrets Hidden Beneath the Palm Tree is about Jacob who hears with the assistance of hearing aids. Jacob tells his friends how the aids help him hear better, just as glasses help people see better. He explains what they (the children) can do to help him hear and understand them better. As children’s understanding grows, so does their friendship.

Ribbon’s Traveling Castle is the story of a girl called Ribbon whose father was uncomfortable with the constantly changing world. He hitched their castle to a truck to take her somewhere happier. On their travels, Ribbon meets a cast of characters, all of whom are scared of changed. She invites them into her castle where they learn to accept change and find that life can still be fun.

This year, I once again had the pleasure of reviewing two books:

Continue reading: Picture it in Books – Our Multicultural World – readilearn

improving children's mental health with picture books by Michelle Worthington

Improving mental health with picture books by Michelle Worthington – #readilearn

Reading picture books to young children is one of the best ways I know of adding joy to the day. Anything that increases joy must be good for mental health, right? But for some children, the joy is momentary as they grapple with worries and other issues. Sometimes, it’s useful to find books that help children identify and discuss the things that trouble them in order for them to find a way out.

In this post, part of a Books on Tour Promotion, I share two books written by Michelle Worthington and illustrated by Adyna Ferre. The books are published by Daisy Lane Publishing for the Willing Kids Program which aims to improve literacy through improving mental health and mental health through literacy.

About author Michelle Worthington

Michelle Worthington author

Michelle Worthington is an international award-winning author and screen play writer. Two-time winner of the International Book Award and finalist in the USA Best Book Awards, Michelle also received a Gellett Burgess Award and a Silver Moonbeam Award for her contribution to celebrating diversity in literature. Michelle addresses mental health through literacy with her picture books.

I previously introduced Michelle to you when I interviewed her about Super Nicholas, a picture book about a little boy with a big heart and a kindness superpower.

About the books

Continue reading: Improving mental health with picture books by Michelle Worthington – readilearn

Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess by Deedee Cummings

Plan to Follow Your Dreams on Multicultural Children’s Book Day #ReadYourWorld – #readilearn

Today, the last Friday in January, is Multicultural Children’s Book Day. I am delighted to participate once again by spreading the word about Multicultural children’s books.

In this post I review the picture book Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess, which will be released in the northern spring of 2021 by Make a Way Media, publishers of diverse books.  The book can be pre-ordered from their website. The author gifted me a copy to review.

About Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess

Kayla: A Modern-Day Princess, written by Deedee Cummings and illustrated by Charlene Mosley, was inspired by the life of Deedee’s own real-life princess, Broadway actress Kayla Pecchioni.

Kayla’s mum is a busy working mum. She wakes Kayla before she leaves for work in the mornings and asks her about her plans for the day. She tells Kayla that plans give you hope and hope gives you dreams. Often, Kayla doesn’t see her mother again as she gets home after Kayla has gone to bed.

But one day, Dad tells Kayla she can stay up late because her mum has some exciting news. When her mum tells Kayla that she has received a promotion that she worked hard to earn, she also gives Kayla a tiara and tells her that it is to always remind her that she is special, regardless of what others might do, say or think. Kayla went to sleep believing the world to be a magical place and knowing that, with a plan, she could make her dreams come true.

This book is the first in a five-part series about Kayla.

What I like about this book

I wasn’t aware of Kayla Pecchioni before reading this book but am delighted to learn about her and her determination to be successful. The story shows the importance of family in developing confidence and providing opportunities for young people to be who they want to be.

Like many, Kayla’s mother felt guilty about not having more time to spend with her daughter. However, the book shows that love and encouragement and being a good role model is equally important as time.

As author Deedee Cummings says, “Daughters learn their place in the world by watching their mothers claim theirs.”

Many young children will be able to identify with Kayla’s situation and be encouraged to feel the same sense of worth, determination and possibility as Kayla does. I especially like the focus on growth and determination to achieve your goals and dreams.

About Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Children's Book Day
Used courtesy of Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Continue reading: Plan to Follow Your Dreams on Multicultural Children’s Book Day #ReadYourWorld – readilearn

learning about gender pronounds on Multicultural Children's Book Day

Learning about Gender Pronouns on Multicultural Children’s Book Day #ReadYourWorld – #readilearn

Today, the last Friday in January, is Multicultural Children’s Book Day. I am delighted to participate once again by spreading the word about Multicultural children’s books.

In this post I review the picture book Jamie and Bubbie, recently published by Free Spirit Publishing and gifted to me to review.

About Jamie and Bubbie

Jamie and Bubbie, A Book about People’s Pronouns was written by Afsaneh Moradian and illustrated by Maria Bogade. In a gentle way, it introduces children and adults to the appropriate use of pronouns when another’s gender is unknown.

Jamie loves his great grandmother Bubbie and, when she comes for a visit they go for a walk around the neighbourhood. On the way, they meet some friends and strangers. In her references to or about the people, Bubbie often uses an inappropriate pronoun. Jamie gently explains why the pronoun is inappropriate and what she could use instead.

What I like about this book

Jamie and Bubbie is a book for our times, and a necessary one. It not only educates us adults about the appropriate use of people’s pronouns, it helps us explain them to children in simple language and easy-to-understand ways. I like Jamie’s gentle and tactful approach, and also that it is the child who does the explaining to great grandma in the book.

However, even more than that, I like the notes for teachers, parents and caregivers in the back of the book. The notes explain the importance of using the names and pronouns that individuals choose to use about themselves. They include suggestions for finding out those pronouns and what to use if you don’t know them. Advice for discussing pronouns with children is also provided as are suggested sources of further information.

I think the information provided in this book is important for all of us to know.

About Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Children's Book Day
Used courtesy of Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Continue reading: Learning about Gender Pronouns on Multicultural Children’s Book Day #ReadYourWorld – readilearn

interview with Brooke Graham author of Go Away, Worry Monster

Go Away, Worry Monster! — Interview with Brooke Graham #readilearn

It is not uncommon for children to experience some level of anxiety or worry when beginning a new school year or starting at a new school. Many adults experience it too when faced with a new situation. It is important to keep the worries in perspective to avoid having them grow uncontrollably until they take on monster proportions.

Today I am interviewing Brooke Graham, author of a beautiful new picture book called Go Away, Worry Monster! that is not only a tool for discussing these worries with children but also shares strategies they can use independently to chase those worry monsters away.

About the author Brooke Graham

Brooke Graham author of Go Away Worry Monster

Brooke Graham is a children’s author, primary school teacher and mother. She enjoys writing emotive stories that help children cope with life’s ups and downs. Brooke is a member of The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), The Australian Society of Authors, and Write Links, a Brisbane based writers’ group. Brooke teaches in primary schools part-time. She also does author visits in schools and kindergartens. In her spare time Brooke enjoys reading, bike riding, bush walking and spending time with family and friends.

About the book Go Away, Worry Monster!

Go Away Worry Monster, a picture book by Brooke Graham

Worry Monster loves ‘helping’ Archie worry, especially on the night before he starts at a new school. Archie feels so anxious that his head hurts, his tummy flutters and his heart pounds. He soon realizes that the only way to feel better is to make Worry Monster go away. He does his belly breaths and challenges his inner fears by facing facts, and Worry Monster is forced to leave Archie alone! Go Away, Worry Monster! gives children useful strategies to cope with their anxieties and stress, showing them how to make their own Worry Monsters leave, even in highly stressful times.

What I like about Go Away, Worry Monster!

Continue reading: Go Away, Worry Monster – Interview with Brooke Graham – readilearn