Hollywood needs to stop resisting what the world actually looks like, says actor, director and activist America Ferrera. Tracing the contours of her career, in this Ted Talk she calls for more authentic representation of different cultures in media and a shift in how we tell our stories.
Jenny Lawson suffers from depression. In Broken, she explores her experimental treatment of transcranial magnetic stimulation with brutal honesty. But also with brutal humour.
Advice…it seems to come from everywhere when you are younger and often at times when you’re not really in the frame of mind to listen to it. That’s why we love that YA novels offer little words of wisdom within their pages. Here’s our fav.
Science teacher Tyler DeWitt thinks science textbooks are impossible to understand. He delivers a rousing call for science teachers to ditch the jargon and make science fun in this Ted Talk.
Ahh… children’s books. We love their ability to share big ideas in fun, engaging ways; tell tales of mischief, feelings and friendship; bring characters to life through unexpected adventures; delight budding imaginations and inspire little people to become life-long readers.
We have scoured the internet to find six of the most delightful and heart-warming children’s books that we know you are going to love reading these school holidays.
Oli and Basil: The Dashing Frogs of Travel by Megan Hess
Meet Oli and Basil, the dashing frogs of travel, in Megan Hess’s first World of Claris story! Two frogs dream of flying, but don’t realise that they’ll need each other to take to the skies. Oli is an artist who dreams up wild, fabulous machines, but he doesn’t know how to build them. And Basil is a master craftsman who can build anything from scratch, except he doesn’t know what to build. If only there was a way that these two dashing frogs could become friends. From the beloved creator of the Claris stories comes this heart-warming adventure about the joys of newfound friendship. You can see Megan’s other books here.
Malala Yousafzai (Little People, Big Dreams) by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
When Malala was born in Mingora, Pakistan, her father was determined she would have every opportunity that a boy would have. She loved getting an education, but when a hateful regime came to power, girls were no longer allowed to go to school. Malala spoke out in public about this, which made her a target for violence. She was shot in the left side of her head and woke up in hospital in England. Finally after long months and many surgeries, Malala recovered, and resolved to become an activist for girls’ education. Now a recent Oxford graduate, Malala continues to fight for a world where all girls can learn and lead. This powerful book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the activist’s life. You can read Malala’s own story here.
Bedtime is Boring by David Campbell
Billy Bunny REALLY doesn’t want to go to bed. He’s NOT tired! Not even a little bit. It may be bedtime, but Billy is NOT going quietly… See if Billy wins the bedtime battle in this hilarious sequel to Stupid Carrots, written by (a quite tired) David Campbell.
Maybe…by Chris Haughton
Chris Haughton is a fan favourite in our household. Maybe is another funny, suspenseful and keenly observed cautionary tale about pushing boundaries and indulging your more mischievous, cheeky side (when nobody is looking). Three little monkeys, and their big monkey, are sat high up on their branch in the forest canopy. “Ok, monkeys! I’m off,” says the big monkey. “Now remember. Whatever you do, do NOT go down to the mango tree. There are tigers down there.” Mmm . mangos! think the little monkeys. They LOVE mangos. Hmm … maybe . maybe they could just look at the mangos? That’d be ok, right? You can see Chris’ other books here.
Did you know that feeding seaweed to cows can reduce the methane in their burps and farts by more than half? Or that a forest of kelp absorbs more carbon than a tropical rainforest of the same size? We can even make edible bioplastics from seaweed! Beyond the tideline, there are around 10,000 types of seaweed. An essential ingredient for life on Earth, seaweed has sustained animals and people for many thousands of years. From ancient history and mythology to modern uses in food, health and medicine, discover how seriously cool seaweed is, and how it can even help tackle climate change. Complete with a guide to common seaweeds and foraging guidelines, this charmingly illustrated picture book will educate and inspire, and encourage respect for the natural world.
Reggie Red by Josie Layton
With freckles and curls so big and so red, Reggie felt worried…’Just look at my head! Others have hair that is brown, blonde and flat, How can I make MY hair look like that?’ Reggie Red tells the story of a little girl who discovers that beauty is far more than what you see on the outside.
Our 20s can be wildly confusing, often lonely, sometimes embarrassing and frequently daunting, there’s also a whole lot of magic to be found in the chaos. The Space Between explores these crazy years.
As the bushfire swallowed up the world they knew, a wombat shared her burrow with other animals. The Fire Wombat is a delightful tale by Jackie French.
Australians are spoilt for choice when it comes to children’s literature – Aussie authors have been punching above their weight for decades, creating iconic works, and winning literature awards from around the world. From Ivan Southall, Libby Hathorn and Mem Fox; to Bob Graham, Shaun Tan, Sonya Hartnett, Philip Bunting and many more, Australian authors have been capturing funny, beautiful and distinctly Australian stories for and about our children. Here are some latest ones worth celebrating, from both established and emerging authors:
My Shadow is Pink by Scott Stuart
This warm story about a father-and-son uses lively rhymes to introduce big topics to a young audience – being true to yourself, challenging stereotypes, and celebrating differences. Our main character is a young boy with a pink shadow – unlike the rest of his manly relatives, whose shadows are blue. His pink shadow loves ponies and sparkles and things “not for boys”, which worries the boy because he so wants to fit in. One fateful dressup day, everything changed… Scott Stuart wrote this story based on his experiences supporting his young son, who loves the character Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. He now actively promotes self-expression and challenges gender stereotypes as an author/illustrator and via Tiktok.
Hello Jimmy! by Anna Walker
Hello, Jimmy! works on so many different levels – it is a warm story about a father-and-son rediscovering their emotional connection to each other; it is a sensitive portrayal of a family going through separation, and is a good conversation starter about sadness, loneliness, navigating change, and diverse families; and Jimmy the parrot , being a cranky and irrepressible character, makes this a lively read-aloud. Once again, Anna Walker has taken familiar events from daily life, and used her distinctive style to create jewel-like moments brimming with drama and emotion.
Sing Me the Summer by Jane Godwin and Alison Lester
What a partnership! Jane Godwin and Alison Lester are successful and beloved authors in their own right; in Sing Me the Summer they have combined their powers to produced a wonderful ode to the seasons. The gentle rhymes and bright pictures celebrate the changing colours and fun activities of different seasons – picnicking on the beach, stomping through fallen leaves, bonfires on cold nights, and playing in lush springtime grass. Also watch out for cameo appearances by beloved characters Noni the Pony, and My Dog Bigsy!
The Fire Wombat by Jackie French and Danny Snell
Jackie French knows a lot about wombats, as her bestselling Diary of a Wombat series can attest. The story of Fire Wombat was inspired by a wombat she saw during the devastating 2020 bushfires. In the hot dry countryside, the bush animals can see and sense the encroaching smoke and flames. Led by a small wombat, they eventually find safety in the cool underground tunnels of a wombat burrow. Fire Wombat has vivid imagery and is an ultimately hopeful story about resilience, courage and friendship. It is also a great conversation starter about bushfires and their aftermath.
Our Home, Our Heartbeat by Adam Briggs, Kate Moon and Rachael Sarra
Our Home, Our Heartbeat celebrates Indigenous achievements across different eras, professions and communities. Adam Briggs, better known as Briggs, is a rapper/comedian/writer/actor from the Yorta Yorta nation. He wrote this story, based on his song “The Children Came Back”, to normalise Indigenous success, inspiring and informing all children of the contribution of Indigenous people to Australia. Like many of great stories, this is one Briggs wished he had when he was growing up. The vibrant illustrations show children doing the things they love, and convey a huge sense of fun and energy.
Bluey: The Creek by Bluey
Bluey is the little Aussie series turned worldwide phenomenon, for all the best reasons. It has been praised for its relatable characters, realistic storylines, and for healthy depictions of emotions, gender identity and parenting behaviours – and last but not least, for being funny and adorable! The Creek is inspired by an episode of the same name. When Dad takes Bluey, Bingo and Mackenzie to the creek to play, they discover that it is a beautiful place with lots to discover and explore. Enjoy the story for itself, or use it to inspire your little ones to enjoy and investigate nature.
Wakadoo! When Bluey, Bingo, and Mackenzie are tired of playing at the playground, Dad takes them to The Creek instead!
Australia has so many wonderful children’s authors who delight little people with the sweetest of stories. Which Australian children’s book do you always reach for?