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.
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!
Only four more sleeps until Christmas! YAY!We’re pretty sure Santa is still taking last minute requests so we thought we’d ask for world peace, a life time supply of gingerbread and a self-cleaning house, please.
With only two weeks left to get onto the ‘nice list’ we thought we’d give you a little hand. Surely the way to Santa’s heart is through food right? This week on the blog we are spotlighting Jamie Oliver – the King of Christmas cooking.
It’s that time of year with just over two weeks left to frantically wrap parcels and pop them under the tree. This year has been somewhat bonkers and so we thought we would show you how to have a Clever Christmas shopping from your sofa and let the postie wrestle with your gift delivery instead…no matter where in the world you’re shipping to.
Here’s a little table we whipped up for you to remind you when the postie will be making his final rounds.
Handy Hint: If you are sending parcels overseas and have missed the dreaded cut off dates, fear not! You can simply change the location setting at the top right hand corner on the Booko website and shop like a local in that country.
We have made you a clever guide stepping you through the process which you can read here.
Stuck for gift ideas? Not to worry, the Booko team has been keeping an eye on which books have been popular this festive season for all ages. Sit back, have a read and then get clicking.
Mary Berry’s Simple Comforts by Mary Berry
Mary is always a crowd pleaser and her baked creations never fail to delight. While you may want to keep this for yourself, if you do gift it, then there is always a chance that the recipient will invite you back for dinner! Win win.
Mary Berry shares over 120 of her ultimate food recipes, all made simply and guaranteed to get smiles around your kitchen table in her new cookbook. Mary’s utterly reliable recipes are perfect for days when you want tasty and dependable food. Come home to the delicious simplicity of a Whole Roasted Squash with Garlic and Chilli Butter, or a warming Spicy Sausage and Red Pepper Hot Pot. Treat your family to Slow Roast French Lamb with Ratatouille, and spoil everyone with a decadent Frangipane Apple and Brioche Pudding. Featuring all the recipes from Mary’s new series, plus many more fresh from Mary’s kitchen, every single dish is accompanied by a photography of the finished food, so you know exactly what you’re making. Each recipe includes Mary’s trademark no-nonsense tips and techniques for getting ahead, and has been rigorously tested to make your cooking stress-free.
Nadiya Bakes by Nadiya Hussain
Here’s another gift that may offer you a dinner (or possibly dessert) invitation. Nadiya Bakes is one series on Netflix that our family binged during our first lockdown and inspired the children to hop into the kitchen and whip up a storm.
At last, Nadiya returns to baking. This is her long-awaited reunion with her true love incredible cakes and bakes that we can all achieve at home. It’s a fact that baking makes us happier and this book is bursting with recipes that will bring a little sunshine into your world and the lives of your friends, family and neighbours. Nadiya explores all areas of baking, conquering cakes and tray-bakes, no-bake bakes, tarts and pies, desserts, celebration bakes, biscuits and buns as well as breads and savouries. Recipes include Money-Can’t-Buy-You-Happiness Brownies, Baked Chilli Churros, a beautiful Baked Rhubarb, Rosemary and Olive Oil Polenta Cake and a wow-factor Layered Honey and Soured Cream Cake. Yummo!
Guinness World Records 2021 by Guinness World Records
All aboard Guinness World Records 2021 for a life-changing journey of discovery! This year, there is a chapter devoted to the history of exploration, starting with the story of the very first circumnavigation, along with a “History of Adventure” timeline, featuring a host of remarkable achievements. The fully revised and updated best-seller is packed with thousands of incredible new feats across the widest spectrum of topics, providing a whistle-stop tour of our superlative universe. Travel through the Solar System and see the planets come to life with a free augmented-reality feature. Encounter the cutest, weirdest, most dangerous and exotic creatures on our home planet. Meet the world’s tallest, shortest, hairiest and heaviest humans. Marvel at the latest high scores, speed runs and players at the top of their game in eSports and beyond. Get the lowdown on the world’s most successful and prolific actors, musicians, TV stars and influencers. Review the greatest sports achievements from the past year and celebrate today’s top athletes.
Code Name Bananas by David Walliams
David Walliams’ stories are a delight to read, and always make us giggle. Code Name Bananas is his newest book and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Eleven-year-old Eric spends his days at the place that makes him most happy: London Zoo. And there’s one animal in particular he loves: Gertrude the gorilla. With bombs falling all over London, Eric must rescue Gertrude. Together with his Uncle Sid, a keeper at the zoo, the three go on the run. But while hiding out at the seaside they uncover a top-secret Nazi plot… Join David Walliams on this action-packed, laugh-out-loud adventure for all the family!
Brickman’s Family Challenge Book by Ryan McNaught
We’re slightly biased with this book (ahem…Booko has a new website in the family www.bricko.info in case you need to buy for a LEGO fanatic).
Challenge each member of your household to a building competition that is the brainchild of Brickman himself, star judge of smash hit TV show LEGO® Masters and a LEGO Certified Professional. Each of the 30 challenges can be attempted at beginner, intermediate or advanced levels. So whether you’re 5 or 105, an infrequent brick builder or a huge LEGO fan, these challenges will get you off your screens and get your creative juices flowing with even the most basic of LEGO collections. Including: Maze runner: build a maze with obstacles and design themes, Get crazy: roll a die to determine which hybrid model you need to build in under 2 hours – a Supersonic Banana Plane, anyone? Self-portrait: one of the hardest things to build with LEGO is curves, but Brickman helps you crack the techniques for building a recognisable 3D portrait of yourself. Packed with pro tips and suggestions on how to take your builds to the next level, as well as a ‘know your bricks’ glossary, this book will turn you into a Master LEGO Builder in no time. Do you know someone up to the challenge?
Stuff You Should Know: An Incomplete Compendium of Mostly Interesting Things by Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant
From the duo behind the massively successful and award-winning podcast Stuff You Should Know comes an unexpected look at things you thought you knew. Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant started the podcast Stuff You Should Know back in 2008 because they were curious. Curious about the world around them, curious about what they might have missed in their formal educations, and curious to dig deeper on stuff they thought they understood. As it turns out, they aren’t the only curious ones. They’ve since amassed a rabid fan base, making Stuff You Should Know one of the most popular podcasts in the world. Armed with their inquisitive natures and a passion for sharing, they uncover the weird, fascinating, delightful, or unexpected elements of a wide variety of topics. The pair have now taken their near-boundless “whys” and “hows” from your earbuds to the pages of a book for the first time. Featuring a completely new array of subjects that they’ve long wondered about and wanted to explore. Each chapter is further embellished with snappy visual material to allow for rabbit-hole tangents and digressions, including charts, illustrations, sidebars, and footnotes. Follow along as the two dig into the underlying stories of everything from the origin of Murphy beds, to the history of facial hair, to the psychology of being lost.
Asking for a friend 😉Happy Monday everyone, we hope your weekend was full of fun and cheer and you have a cracker of a week planned.
We think this shopping phenomena needs an official term…surely we’re not the only ones with an uncanny knack of finding gifts that would be perfect for us when we are meant to be shopping for others. Happy Monday everyone!
You need social skills to have a conversation in real life but they’re quite different from the skills you need to write good dialogue. Educator Nadia Kalman suggests a few “anti-social skills,” like eavesdropping and muttering to yourself, that can help you write an effective dialogue for your next story in this animated Ted Ed lesson. Click to watch.