Tag Archives: #Reading

Six Amazing Books That Explain Climate Change to Children

Discussing climate change with children can be both a daunting and an inspiring endeavour. Thankfully we have found six books that creatively show how such a critically important topic can actually be a positive and inspiring chat with the younger generation. If we address what many adults think is a devastating topic with a little hope and an open imagination, we can encourage the younger generation to adopt a positive attitude towards the planet of their future. 

Old Enough to Save the Planet by Loll Kirby

Meet 12 real-life children taking action against climate change. 

Old Enough To Save The Planet shares the stories of twelve children taking action against climate change. In this beautifully illustrated book you can learn about the work they do and discover how the future of our planet starts here. The author Loll Kirby is a primary school teacher and forest school leader, based in Bristol. Inspired by the children she teaches, she wrote this book for anyone who wants to make a difference.

The Story of Climate Change by Catherine Barr

The Story of Climate Change is a wonderful way to introduce young readers to one of the most important issues facing our world today. Combining history with science, this book charts the changes in our Earth’s climate, from the beginnings of the planet and its atmosphere, to the Industrial revolution and the dawn of machinery. Kids will learn all about the causes of climate change, such as factory farming and pollution, and the effects that climate change has on humans and animals across the world. As well as discovering the causes and effects of global warming, readers will discover practical ways we can work together to solve it, from using renewable energy to swapping meat for vegetables in our diet. The Story of Climate Change will give kids the information they need and inspire them to do their part to fight the climate emergency.

All the Feelings Under the Sun: How to Deal With Climate Change by Leslie Davenport,

All the Feelings Under the Sun: How to Deal With Climate Change is a timely, thoughtful workbook that will help young readers work through their feelings of anxiety about climate change. Through informative text and activities, the book gives children age-appropriate information about the climate crisis and gives them the tools they need to manage their anxiety and work toward making change.

Hot Planet: How Climate Change is Harming Our World by Anna Claybourne

Hot Planet offers young readers the perfect, non-alarmist introduction to Earth’s climate change crisis. Climate change is a reality in today’s world. From melting ice caps to forest fires, climate change is responsible for dramatic freak weather events and Earth is now warmer than it has been at any point in the last 650,000 years. Hot Planet aims to raise readers aged nine and up’s awareness of the challenges of climate change in a non-alarmist, yet realistic, way. It explores what climate change is, what is believed to cause it, its current impact on the world and what might happen in the future if it progresses at current rates. It also highlights the social inequality of climate change, as richer and more industrialised countries contribute far more heavily to climate change through their energy consumption, yet poorer, less developed nations are currently much more affected by it. The book looks ahead at how we can all help combat the climate change crisis, from global changes such as investing in sustainable energy sources to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, to green schemes such as carbon pricing, to practical solutions such as eating less meat and using public transport or cycling, rather than driving.

The Australian Climate Change Book: Be Informed and Make a Difference by Polly Marsden

The Australian Climate Change Book is an accessible and reassuring picture book that teaches children about the specific challenges of climate change for Australia so they can be informed and make a difference. Australia is a unique and incredibly diverse natural environment and we are oh-so-lucky to live here. Our country is home to a great number of amazing ecosystems. But things like fossil fuels, greenhouse gases and deforestation are creating imbalances in our ecosystems and causing climate change. Climate change leads to all sorts of crazy weather and damage to our natural environments and wildlife habitats. But it’s not too late to fix it. Even small steps can make a difference and you have the power to help. A practical and reassuring book for children to help them understand climate change and the ways in which they can make a difference.

Kids Fight Climate Change by Martin Dorey

Children can help save planet Earth with these positive, climate-focused missions from best-selling author and eco-warrior Martin Dorey.

Our planet is in trouble. But with the help of this book, every kid can be a superhero making a difference. Sixty engaging missions guide readers through making carbon-saving changes in all aspects of their lives, from gardening to gadgets -even a DIY water-saving device for their toilet tank. Aided by lively illustrations, Martin Dorey weaves crucial climate statistics and helpful resources with stories of positive change already happening, such as the resurgence of the Eurasian beaver due to conservation efforts. Along the way, readers meet other superheroes, both animal and human, who are changing the world too. With advice about speaking up and inspiring others to join in, veteran environmentalist Martin Dorey infuses optimism and encouragement into this essential guide to saving Earth, two minutes at a time.

We have also found this kurzgesagt video a great help in discussing climate change with our children. It gives hope to our children without sugar coating over the seriousness of the issues.

Enjoy!

Biographies: Australian Stories 

What counts as an Australian Story? Australia has a diversity of landscapes, cultures and attitudes; these form the basis of endless unique stories. And more and more of these diverse stories are being shared, so we can learn about each other. Whether you enjoy finding common ground, walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, or sneaking a peek into famous lives, there is an Australian biography that you will love.

All Mixed Up by Jason Om

The seed for Jason Om’s memoir was sown when, in 2017, he wrote an enormously moving story about how his father struggled to accept his (Jason’s) sexuality for 16 years, before finally voting “Yes” in the marriage equality plebiscite. Its popularity motivated him to describe more of his life. The award-winning ABC reporter grew up in a multi-ethnic, multi-faith household, with a Cambodian Buddhist dad, a Eurasian Catholic mum, and a Muslim-Malaysian half-sister. When he was 12, he watched his mother die of a heart attack while they were home alone; 20 years later, he was finally ready to process her death, by using his journalistic skills to unravel the family secrets that could explain her sorrowful outlook and often-erratic behaviour. All Mixed Up will make you laugh and cry and laugh again. It is a compelling story about trauma, identity and acceptance; it is also an uplifting celebration of the second-generation migrant experience, and of a son’s love for his mother.

Am I Black Enough For You? (10 Years On edition) by Anita Heiss

“I’m an urban beachside Blackfella, a concrete Koori with Westfield Dreaming, and I apologise to no-one.” Anita Heiss highlights the diversity in modern Indigenous Australians by sharing her own story – she is a proud Wiradyuri woman, yet has pale skin from an Austrian father, grew up in the suburbs, has a PhD and lives an urbane, cosmopolitan life. In her distinctive sassy voice, she challenges stereotypes about what qualifies as “truly” Aboriginal, illustrates the systemic and casual racism against Indigenous Australians with her own family history, and also discusses the growth of her activist consciousness. Am i Black Enough For You? also includes a gripping account of a landmark court case where Anita Heiss and eight co-plaintiffs sued shock-jock Andrew Bolt for doubting their Aboriginality (Heiss and co. won; Bolt was found to have breached the Racial Discrimination Act). Re-released on its 10th anniversary, this is still a powerful yet accessible introduction to understanding Indigenous identity and activism.

Your Own Kind of Girl by Clare Bowditch

When Clare Bowditch was 21, and recovering from a breakdown, she promised herself that she would write down the story of what led to, and how she survived, her nervous breakdown, in the hope that it can inspire anyone who’s ever struggled against their inner critic. Over 20 years later, flourishing and empowered, she has finally found the courage to complete her memoirs. Your Own Kind of Girl reveals a childhood punctuated by grief, anxiety and compulsion, telling how these forces shaped Clare’s life, and how she finally arrived at happiness when she took charge of the stories she told herself.  Your Own Kind of Girl is candid, generous and heartfelt, showing that Clare Bowditch – beloved musician, actress, broadcaster – is a powerful storyteller, in prose as in song.

Good Riddance: Get Rid of your Fears and Doubts. Unleash your Potential by Stacey Currie

Stacie Currie grew up in a chaotic, disadvantaged family and has beaten incredible odds to become happy and successful. Pregnant at 15 and homeless at 17, she was a mother-of-three and family-abuse survivor by age 21. Government authorities gave her a stark choice: turn her life around, or lose custody of her kids. But how to strive for a better, “good” life when you can’t comprehend what that looks like? Stacie realised that she can work backwards – identify what she doesn’t want, and work to get rid of unhelpful thinking that fosters these bad habits. Good Riddance shows how it was done – each chapter focusses on a behaviour she didn’t want, and her advice on how to overcome it. Now a successful businesswoman and motivational speaker, Stacie is committed to paying it forward – using her insights to empower audiences to unlock courage and make positive changes, as well as working with charities that support at-risk children and youth.

Honey Blood by Kirsty Everett

Honey Blood is the evocative title of Kirsty Everett’s memoir, about a childhood and adolescence lived in the shadow of leukaemia. Kirsty Everett was going to be an Olympic gymnast, but her dreams were derailed by a leukaemia diagnosis at age 9. Having survived the experience, she was diagnosed again at age 16. Facing a low chance of survival, she decided to live life to the full – and, after an amazing recovery, still does to this day. Honey Blood juxtaposes vivid descriptions of cancer treatment with the nostalgic story of a girl growing up in as normal a way as her health allows – with sport, school, takeaway dinners and first kisses. This book may offer particular support to anyone touched by cancer; but Kirsty’s courage, resilience and positivity offers inspiration to everyone.

Born Into This by Adam Thompson

Born Into This is actually a short story collection rather than biography, but his characters are so vivid and heartfelt that you can feel they are drawn from life. These 16 stories, about black and white relations, colonialism, class friction, racism and the gradual destruction of heritage and environment, are clearly anchored by Adam Thompson’s ancestry, his work within the Aboriginal community, and his native Tasmanian landscape. A particular highlight is his large cast of distinctive and vividly-drawn characters, who speak to the diverse lived experiences of Indigenous people. Born Into This is dark, funny and confronting, with an in-your-face energy that nonetheless delivers thoughtful messages. A strong debut by this Tasmanian Aboriginal author.

Biographies: Business and Innovative Ideas 

Successful businesspeople are a great source of life lessons, even if you don’t have entrepreneurial ambitions of your own. This week’s pick of business biographies combine terrific, candid storytelling with thought-provoking discussions around ambition, passion, resilience, and the importance of values. Enjoy!

We Can All Make It: My Story by Sara Davies

Sara Davies was still a university student when she founded Crafter’s Companion, a craft supplies company. Through passion, ambition and sheer hard work, Sara has grown her business to a multimillion-pound company, become the youngest female entrepreneur on the Dragons’ Den, mentored businesswomen, as well as become a media personality. Like Sara, We Can All Make It is vivacious, determined and full of wisdom. Sara’s story of learning to juggle a young family, managing a company, and an investment portfolio – all the while training to compete in Strictly Come Dancing as well as writing her book – is sure to offer inspiration to budding entrepreneurs everywhere.

Future You: Be Curious. Say Yes to Change by Frances Valintine

Frances Valintine is a futurist and entrepreneur who helps people and organisations learn new technologies and adapt to technological change. She understands that change is hard to embrace – even when you know it will be better for you in the long run. Future You draws upon her personal as well as business experience, to show you how to overcome self-doubt, pass less judgment, break away from routine and take risks. If you have ever imagined a different life – Future You will empower you to take the steps to make it happen.

Nice is Not a Biscuit: How to Build a World-Class Business by Doing the Right Thing by Peter Mead

You may not have heard of Peter Mead, but you have probably seen his work – as a founder of advertising agency Abbott Mead Vickers, Peter has been at the top of the advertising industry for over 40 years. In Nice is Not a Biscuit, Peter Mead shares 100 business lessons with a contrarian message – that, unlike a stereotype of ruthlessness, decent behaviour makes commercial sense. He cites niceness as the secret of his and his firm’s success – that it creates an environment of calm and well-being that allows creativity to flourish, fostering a sustainable business with unbelievable loyalty and commitment. At a time when the work / business landscape is going through enormous change, his upbeat advice will both challenge and enlighten you.

Authentic: a Memoir by the Founder of Vans by Paul Van Doren

When skate- and surf-culture went mainstream in the ’70s and ’80s, it also made Vans sneakers a household name, beloved for its cool, artsy, laid-back vibe. Authentic celebrates the rise of a blue-collar kid, with no higher education nor retailing experience, into an all-American success story. Memoirs and business lessons are intertwined because Paul Van Doren is a hands-on entrepreneur whose personal and professional lives became blurred. Read fascinating stories about his innovations (including setting up sneaker-only stores, selling single shoes and designing with user-input), as well as the importance he places on deep-rooted values and on vision, which has culminated in the muc-admired, people-oriented culture of his company.

Walking Through Honey: My Journey with Parkinson’s Disease by Brian Sherman with A M Jonson

“Walking through honey” describes Brian Sherman’s experience of Parkinson’s Disease – the daily struggle with moving, the inability to get your body to do what your mind wants. For the last ten years, Parkinson’s Disease has been the biggest challenge for Brian, who has had 50 years’ of success as a business leader, animal rights activist and philanthropist. The fragmented diary format, illustrated by artworks and multi-exposure photographs, vividly evokes his experience of illness. Walking Through Honey is a raw and candid memoir that offers Brian Sherman to regain control over his narrative, while helping readers understand the impact of Parkinson’s Disease.

Unprecedented: Canada’s Top CEOs on Leadership During Covid-19 by Steve Mayer

Unprecedented is not only a business book, it is a documentary record as well as a fundraising effort towards Canada’s COVID recovery. This collection of essays by the CEOs of Canadian businesses – including Lululemon, Air Canada and Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts – are deeply personal accounts of what they have experienced, and what they have learnt, during the current pandemic. These companies – including airlines, nursing homes, grocery stores and banks – have been on the frontline of the health crisis and have had to make sudden and unprecedented changes to how they operated. These candid stories – full of humour, compassion, and plenty of fear and struggle – offer us remarkable insights into top-level decision-making that overcomes adversity.

World Book Day Celebration: Our favourite 6 books on the market now

We love a good World Celebration Day; International Ice Cream Day (17 July), International Hot Chocolate Day (28 January), International Star Wars Day (4 May), World Gin Day (12 June), World Pizza Day (9 February), International Cookie Day (4 December). It will be of no surprise that we also love World Book Day… which just happened to be last Saturday (23 April). 

So while we like to throw ourselves into the various festivities (usually tasting and drinking all of the delights) we also dove into the world of literature and found six of our favourite books that have recently hit the bookstores. 

The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan

Every mother has a bad day… Frida Liu is a struggling mother. She remembers taking Harriet from her cot and changing her nappy. She remembers giving her a morning bottle. They’d been up since four am. Frida just had to finish the article in front of her. But she’d left a file on her desk at work. What would happen if she retrieved it and came back in an hour? She was so sure it would be okay. Now, the state has decided that Frida is not fit to care for her daughter. That she must be re-educated. Can this mistake cost her everything? The School For Good Mothers is an explosive and thrilling novel about the pressures of perfectionism, parenthood and privilege.

Atlas of the Heart by Brené Brown

This major new work from the international bestselling author of Gifts of Imperfection and Dare to Lead examines the 87 emotions and experiences that define us, and provides a compelling framework to help us all become more emotionally fluent and connected. In her latest book, five-time #1 New York Times bestselling author Dr Brene Brown, writes, “If we want to find the way back to ourselves and each other, we need language and the grounded confidence to both tell our stories, and to be stewards of the stories that we hear. This is the framework for meaningful connection.” In Atlas of the Heart, Brown takes us on a journey through 87 of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. As she maps the necessary skills and lays out an actionable framework for meaningful connection, she gives us the language and tools to access a universe of new choices and second chances – a universe where we can share and steward the stories of our bravest and most heart-breaking moments with one another in a way that builds connection. Over the past two decades, Brown’s extensive research into the experiences that make us who we are has shaped the cultural conversation and helped define what it means to be courageous with our lives. Atlas of the Heart draws on this research, as well as Brown’s singular skills as a researcher/storyteller, to lay out an invaluable, research-based framework that shows us that naming an experience doesn’t give the experience more power, it gives us the power of understanding, meaning and choice.

Ten Steps to Nanette by Hannah Gadsby

Multi-awardwinning Hannah Gadsby transformed comedy with her show Nanette, even as she declared that she was quitting stand-up. Now, she takes us through the defining moments in her life that led to the creation of Nanette and her powerful decision to tell the truth – no matter the cost. Gadsby’s unique stand-up special Nanette was a viral success that left audiences captivated by her blistering honesty and her ability to create both tension and laughter in a single moment. But while her worldwide fame might have looked like an overnight sensation, her path from open mic to the global stage was hard-fought and anything but linear. Ten Steps to Nanette traces Gadsby’s growth as a queer person from Tasmania – where homosexuality was illegal until 1997 – to her ever-evolving relationship with comedy, to her struggle with adult diagnoses of autism and ADHD, and finally to the backbone of Nanette – the renouncement of self-deprecation, the rejection of misogyny, and the moral significance of truth-telling. Equal parts harrowing and hilarious, Ten Steps to Nanette continues Gadsby’s tradition of confounding expectations and norms, properly introducing us to one of the most explosive, formative voices of our time.

A Good Day to Bake by Benjamina Ebuehi

Going through the ritual of bringing out the measuring scales, pouring out flour, whipping up the eggs, stirring the batter and impatiently slicing up warm cake is a beautiful thing that deserves to be enjoyed all year round no matter the day, season or occasion. This is a cookbook that embraces simplicity, mindfulness and the therapeutic comforts of baking. The Great British Bake Off‘s 2016 contestant Benjamina writes so warmly about cakes and her recipes speak to a natural, seasonal and down-to-earth way of baking. Chapters include Herbs Tea, Stone Fruit, Berries, Vegetables, Best of Beige, Spice Cupboard, and Chocolate. Because every day is a good day to bake.

Pink House Living For People Cheating on Fashion with Furniture by Emily Murray 

Pink House Living is a beautiful, practical guide to decorating with pink by Emily Murray of the award-winning The Pink House blog. Emily draws on her recent interiors projects to guide the reader through their own rose-tinted renovations and includes case studies on well-known interiors experts that reveal their use of pink, their go-to paint shades and where they glean ‘pinkspiration’. Pink House Living is not about decorating your home in pink from rooftop to rugs, but a look at how the colour can be used alongside other hues – sometimes sparingly, sometimes in spades. Divided up by room, the book uses the colour pink and its history as a starting point from which to discuss the decorating process. Readers will be entertained by Emilys interiors insights and witty turn of phrase while gaining invaluable advice on adding pink (and colour in general) to their homes.

Megan Hess: The Little Black Dress by Megan Hess

The Little Black Dress is an illustrated love story about fashion’s most enduring and chic uniform, celebrating the designers, the women and of course the dresses. A piece of fashion is so much more than an object. To the designer who created it, the muse who inspired it, the fashion lover who lusts after it, the stylist who is lucky enough to own it, or the star who made it iconic; that fashion piece is part of a story. Introduced by Coco Chanel and made famous by Audrey Hepburn, the little black dress redefined how women dress and remains one of the most elegant and versatile pieces in any wardrobe. Vogue said it would become ‘a sort of uniform for all women of taste’, a prophecy that has more than come true. And this little book is the perfect accessory. Filled with fascinating information and stunning illustrations from Megan Hess, and packaged up in a beautiful hardback, Megan Hess: The Little Black Dress is a timeless love story, and the first in Megan Hess’ new Ultimate Fashion Wardrobe series.

Enjoy!

Boredom Busters: The Best Picture Books to Read These School Holidays

While the school holidays are almost over here in Victoria we know they are just beginning in other parts of the world. One of our favourite Winter school holiday activities was finding (or making) a spot to curl up in and read all day long. We’ve currently having a cold snap here in Melbourne so it’s the perfect reading weather. We’ve also found 6 super fun picture books that we know your little ones are going to love spending the day reading in a fort made of all of the couch cushions and blankets. 

A Sprinkle of Sadie by Lana Spasevski

Say hello to Sadie … a superstar baker with a big heart! In this book, Sadie needs to throw a surprise birthday for her mum, help out at the Cookgrove fundraising day, and welcome someone new to her class. But Sadie’s sweet intentions do not always go to plan! Her vanilla ice-cream cake for Mum is as flat as a pancake. Her cupcake stall has tough competition. And her welcome treat is not welcomed! Can Sadie find a way to save the day? In these three sprinkle-filled stories (complete with recipes!) the unstoppable Sadie shows that any problem can be solved with generosity, kindness and, of course, a delicious baked treat.

Water: Protect Freshwater to Save Life on Earth by Catherine Barr

Water is a ground-breaking global introduction to water that includes sharing and protecting freshwater worldwide. Water is life! Freshwater bubbles, flows and floods with the most wonderful life on Earth – and all of us rely on it to stay alive. BUT today, because of pollution and climate change, it is becoming more and more difficult for people and animals to find the clean freshwater they need to survive. It’s time to act! Water tells the story of freshwater around the world. Discover the history of water, how the water cycle works, learn about the different kinds of water and about the amazing variety of wildlife that freshwater is home to. Then find out what happens to water because of climate change and global heating; the importance of clean water for health; the worldwide problem of water pollution and the devastating impact of water shortage on children’s lives and education. Catherine Barr challenges us to take action, to use water wisely and protect freshwater to save our planet.

Building a Home by Polly Faber

Building a Home is a beautifully illustrated picture book guide to exactly how an old building can become a brand-new home. With action-packed artwork from Klas Fahlen and a gentle narrative text by Polly Faber, find out all about the people, machines, processes and tools involved in breathing new life into an old building. Packed with builders, cranes, diggers, cement mixers and a host of other exciting tools and machinery, follow a crumbling old factory on the edge of town as it goes from being an empty shell to something entirely new… a home.

The Book Family Robinson by Jonathan Emmett

A bookish family shipwrecked on a treasure island faces off against a fearsome pirate crew. The keen-reading Robinsons set out to sea, their boat barely afloat with all their books, until a storm strikes down their holiday plans. Shipwrecked on a mysterious island, they gather their soggy books up and research how to survive – completely missing the treasure littered all around them! But the Bloodbucket pirates remember it all too well, and when they find the Robinsons have taken their turf, it’s time to walk the plank. With only Silly Monkey Goes to the Toilet left to hand, can the Robinsons read themselves free from a watery doom?

Maybe… by Chris Haughton

From Chris Haughton comes a 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?

Amazing Activists Who Are Changing Our World by Rebecca Schiller

Discover the stories of 20 amazing activists who are caring for our planet and its people. Fascinating facts about each activist’s life and times are accompanied by bright and accessible illustrations, making this book ideal for young children wanting to learn about incredible people who through their brave actions have changed the world for the better. Positive, uplifting and packed full of information, this book will show children that no one is too small to make a difference. Activists featured: Sonita Alizdeh; Rachel Carson; Favio Chavez; Mahatma Gandhi; Jane Goodall; Helen Keller; Martin Luther King Jr; Nelson Mandela; Wangari Maathai; Aditya Mukarji; Emmeline Pankhurst; Autumn Peltier; Boyan Slat; Gareth Thomas; Greta Thunberg; Harriet Tubman; William Wilberforce; Ai Weiwei Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah; Malala Yousafzai.

Enjoy!

Return Yourself to the Library these School Holidays 

Need some ideas for what to do during the school holidays ? Your public libraries can help! Libraries are a great source of low-cost and no-cost activities and educational and entertainment options for all ages. Whether you want to attend organised workshops and activities in-person, or borrow materials – including books, DVDs, even console/board games or robotics toys – to create your own activities at home, libraries have you covered.
In my home state of Victoria, public libraries are running a campaign called Return Yourself to Your Library. As libraries return to full services following disruptions caused by the pandemic, they would love to remind their members (past, present and future!) of the wide range of services they offer. Not only are they a great source of borrowable and/or downloadable materials, they can also support your entertainment and creativity needs, as well as being welcoming spaces where you can make new friends and feel part of a community.
In today’s blogpost I am highlighting some activities offered by libraries around and beyond Victoria, to show the diversity of events available. I hope this inspires you to contact your nearest library to see what they have to offer. From story times and craft workshops to robotics and dance sessions, library events can add some welcomed variety to your school holidays!

Image Source: City Of Melbourne

Treasure Hunt at the City of Melbourne Libraries
Whether you live in the City of Melbourne, or are visiting for the day, you can drop into one of their five branches (City Library on Flinders Lane, Southbank, Docklands, North Melbourne, East Melbourne, and Kathleen Syme in Carlton) for a treasure hunt! Follow the clues, discover some surprises, find the hidden pictures and collect your treasure! This is a self-guided activity available anytime during library opening hours – speak to a staff member for full details. Also look out for pop-up library spaces throughout the CBD – perfect for a bit of quiet downtime or free internet access.

The Australian Ballet at Yarra Plenty Regional Libraries
One of the biggest library services in Melbourne, Yarra Plenty Regional Libraries is offering an extensive holiday program across its nine branches.  One highlight is its collaboration with The Australian Ballet – ballet storytime for young children (5 years and under) at Watsonia Library, and STEAM dance workshops for 5-12 year olds at Ivanhoe Library.  These workshops encourage and nurture movement, creativity as well as literacy. No dance experience required, bookings essential.  Other holiday activities include movie afternoons, Minecraft and coding.

Little Warriors Yoga at the State Library of Victoria Every Wednesday, you and your preschooler can enjoy a fun and free 45-minute yoga class hosted by Little Warriors Yoga.  Help your little one grow into happy and confident beings with tips on stretching, calmness and wellbeing.  Two sessions available every Wednesday morning, bookings essential.  Part of the Playdate at the Library series of events suitable for 3-5 year olds. And while you are there, why not explore the beautiful spaces in this iconic building, including the famous Dome Reading Room, and the beautifully refurbished, dedicated Children’s Quarter?

LEGO Club at the Geelong Libraries The popular LEGO Club at the Geelong Regional Libraries is running a bricktastic workshop as part of its school holiday program, where you can make new friends and explore your creativity.  These sessions are for parents and children to build together, and can suit diverse needs, especially for children on the autism spectrum.  Sessions are held at the Bannockburn Library and are suitable for 5-11 year olds.

Image Source: Goldfields Libraries

Make a seed bomb at the Goldfields Libraries
The Goldfields Libraries service a number of central Victorian towns including Bendigo, Castlemaine, Gisborne and Kyneton.  The current school holiday program has a Peter Rabbit theme and focusses on hands-on activities including craft, LEGO and robotics.  If you have young people who love gardening and/or messy play, drop into one of their branches and make a Seed Bomb.  Seed bombs are a tried-and-true method of providing an optimal environment for germinating seeds – great for home-use and also as gifts.  All materials supplied.

Laser-cut Jewellery workshop for teens at the City of Sydney Library
Further afield, the City of Sydney Libraries are hosting a range of creative workshops at their Darling Square Library.  Many public libraries offer Maker Spaces with equipment that are free to use and help support your creativity – from sewing machines to 3D printers to design software and even sound studios.  The gorgeous new Darling Square Library is offering a jewellery-making session for adults and older teens.  Suitable for beginners, the workshop will show you how to use Adobe Illustrator software to create a design, that can then be turned into reality using a laser cutter on plywood or perspex.  Follow the link for booking and cost details.

Ted Talk: How to design a library that makes kids want to read

When Michael Bierut was tapped to design a logo for public school libraries, he had no idea that he was embarking on a years-long passion project. In this hilarious talk, he recalls his obsessive quest to bring energy, learning, art and graphics into these magical spaces where school librarians can inspire new generations of readers and thinkers.

Author Spotlight: John Grisham

With over thirty novels published and becoming bestsellers, the American novelist, John Grisham is one of our favourite legal thriller storytellers. 

Grisham began his career working in criminal defence and litigation and only wrote as a hobby each morning before heading to the office. It took him three years to write his first novel; A Time To Kill, and he has since written a book a year. 

Many of John Grisham’s novels have been adapted into blockbuster movies and his fan base (us included) are eagerly awaiting the release of his latest book Sparring Partners (which you can pre-order here). 

Here are six of our favourite Grisham stories.

The Firm  

He thought it was his dream job. It turned into his worst nightmare. When Mitch McDeere qualified third in his class at Harvard, offers poured in from every law firm in America. Bendini, Lambert and Locke were a small, well-respected firm, but their offer exceeded Mitch’s wildest expectations: a fantastic salary, a new home, and the keys to a brand new BMW. Except for the mysterious deaths of previous lawyers with the firm. And the FBI investigations. And the secret files. Mitch soon realises that he’s working for the Mafia’s law firm, and there’s no way out – because you don’t want this company’s severance package. To survive, he’ll have to play both sides against each other – and navigate a vast criminal conspiracy that goes higher than he ever imagined…

The Pelican Brief  

Two Supreme Court Justices are dead, their murders unsolved. But one woman might have found the answer. Darby Shaw is a brilliant New Orleans legal student with a sharp political mind. For her own amusement, she draws up a legal brief showing how the judges might have been murdered for political reasons, and shows it to her professor. He shows it to his friend, an FBI lawyer. Then the professor dies in a car bomb. And Darby realises that her brief, which pointed to a vast presidential conspiracy, might be right. Someone is intent on silencing Darby for good – somebody who will stop at nothing to preserve the secrets of the Pelican Brief…

The Client  

A US State Senator is dead. Only Mark Sway knows where the body is hidden. And he’s eleven years old. The FBI want him to tell them where it is, regardless of the risk to the boy and his family. The killer wants to silence him permanently. Reggie Love has only been practising law for five years, but she agrees to represent Mark pro bono, knowing she’s his best hope for survival. Against the twin threats of the cold-hearted American state and the schemes of a cold-blooded killer, Reggie must fight the case of her life. Or it might be the last case of her life.

The Chamber  

There are some cases you have to take. Adam Hill is a rookie lawyer at a top Chicago firm. The world is at his feet. So why does he volunteer to represent a KKK terrorist under threat of execution? And why is the defendant happy to put his life in a novice’s hands? The answer lies twenty years in the past, but there are darker, more shocking secrets to be uncovered

The Rainmaker  

The Rainmaker is a gripping courtroom thriller. Rudy Baylor is a newly qualified lawyer: he has one case, and one case alone, to save himself from his mounting debts. His case is against a giant insurance company which could have saved a young man’s life, but instead refused to pay the claim until it was too late. The settlement could be worth millions of dollars, but there is one problem: Rudy has never argued a case in court before, and he’s up against the most expensive lawyers that money can buy.

The Runaway Jury  

When justice is for sale, every jury has a price. In Biloxi, Mississippi, a landmark trial begins. There are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake and soon it swerves mysteriously off course. The jury is behaving strangely, and at least one juror is convinced he’s being watched. Soon they have to be sequestered. Then a tip from an anonymous young woman suggests she is able to predict the jurors’ increasingly odd behaviour. Is the jury somehow being manipulated, or even controlled? If so, by whom? And, more importantly, why?

Enjoy!

Best New YA Reads

Last week Team Booko checked out popular children’s series; this week it’s all about the latest in YA (young adult fiction). Our picks span many hot trends, including cli-fi (literature themed around climate change); diversity (gender / sexuality / ability / ethnicity); verse novels; and social issues such as mental health and sexual consent. YA continues to be a vibrant publishing space for narrative-driven fiction that does not shy away from challenging existing norms nor examining current issues – worthwhile reading for both teen and adult readers.

The Trial by Laura Bates
A group of seven teens are washed up on a deserted island after a plane crash. What first appears to be an adventure with Lord of the Flies vibes, turns into a psychological thriller when the teens’ survival efforts are sabotaged by someone looking for justice. What happened at the party on the night before the crash, and why is nobody willing to talk about it? The Trial is a tense thriller with a thought-provoking message. Laura Bates, an award-winning author and gender equality activist, uses this novel to pose timely questions around consent, coercive control, victim-blaming and male entitlement.

Tough As Lace by Lexi Bruce
Lacey Stewart seems to have it all – she’s a talented and popular high school athlete – but deep down she feels like a mess. Her parents are dismissive of her achievements and she’s constantly feeling overwhelmed about how to juggle schoolwork, part-time work, sport, and preparations for university entrance. Lacey eventually realises that she has clinical anxiety, and needs to work out where and how to seek much-needed help. Tough as Lace is a compelling reflection on adolescent mental health. The verse novel format (story told in poem form) adds succinct, punchy power to Lacey’s voice.

Green Rising by Lauren James
In a near future approaching climate catastrophe, three teenagers from different backgrounds are thrown together when they develop the ability to grow plants from their skin – a superpower suddenly appearing in young people around the world. To use this power for good – and to prevent it from exploitation by corrupt and greedy corporations and politicians, Gabrielle, Hester, and Theo must learn to work together. Can they pull off a “green rising” and save the world while navigating first love and family expectations? Green Rising is a fast-paced and suspenseful story with wit, romance, well-rounded, diverse characters; it is a terrific new addition to to the burgeoning cli-fi scene, and relates to many issues that young adults are passionate about.

Serendipity: Ten Romantic Tropes, Transformed edited by Marissa Meyer
Watch ten of the hottest, award-winning YA authors have fun with, and put their unique spin on your favourite romantic tropes. Serendipity is a collection of 10 short stories, each written by a different author and featuring a different trope, including The Secret admirer, The Fake Relationship, and The Best Friend Love Epiphany. These totally swoon-worthy stories are joyous, surprising, diverse and inclusive. Contributors include Marissa Meyer (author of The Lunar Chronicles), Sandhya Menon (When Dimple Met Rishi), Julie Murphy (Dumplin) and Abigail Hing Wen (Loveboat, Taipei).

Our Broken Earth by Demitria Lunetta
Our Broken Earth is a tense adventure story set in a world made dangerous due to climate change. Mal lost his family in a storm and now lives with a group of young people who banded together in order to survive. Faced with the threat of rising water and illness, Mal and his friends must travel across the country to reach safety. Our Broken Earth is a verse novel written in a High-interest, Low-vocab (HiLo) format to make it accessible to more readers.  Interest level aimed at Grade 9+ (age 14+), with reading difficulty at approximately Grade 2-3 level.

Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee
Loki: Trickster. God of Asgard. Brother. Before the days of going toe-to-toe with the Avengers, a younger Loki is desperate to show he is heroic and capable, while everyone around him seems to suspect him of inevitable villainy. Wanting to prove himself to his father, Loki accepts a mission from Odin to go to Victorian England to investigate rumours of Asgardian magic on Earth – and becomes entangled in a rash of mysterious deaths. Where Mischief Lies is a fresh, exuberant origin story for Loki, and the first of three YA stories focussing on the antiheroes of the Marvel Universe. Mackenzi Lee – author of the riotous Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue  is a great fit for the witty, action-packed story of this teenage, bisexual God of Mischief.

Learning to read: six great books for early readers

Children’s books are a delightful genre of books. The topics they cover are fun, silly, heart warming, insightful, cheeky and full of adventure. There is something rather special about hearing a child giggle aloud, or even chat to the characters of a book they are enjoying. With so many children heading back to school this month we wanted to share a handful of new books that we know will find a spot on the bookshelves both at homes and classrooms across Australia. 

We love hearing which books your children enjoy, and which ones you enjoyed as a child, please feel free to share in the comments below or over on any of our social media channels; instagram, twitter and facebook

The Museum of Marvellous Things by Kristina Stephenson

Sensible, serious Norbert Norris knows all the important things: dinosaurs, planets, shapes and sums. But when the Museum of Marvellous Things is in trouble, Norbert doesn’t know what to do. Only magic can save it – and he knows nothing about magic! Norbert must learn to believe, because when you imagine incredible things, almost anything can happen. This story is a joyful celebration of imagination and creativity, from the author of the bestselling Sir Charlie Stinky Socks books, Kristina Stephenson.

Scaredy Bath by Zoë Foster Blake

Bath-time is fun! There’s the bubbles, the bath toys and lots of splashing of course. But have you ever wondered what it’s like for the bath? Scaredy Bath does not like bath time . . . the piping hot water, the gooey muck and especially not the small boisterous grubby ones that shout and splash and make Scaredy all mucky! What’s a bath to do? Will Scaredy Bath ever enjoy bath time? Scaredy Bath is a delightful new addition to Zoë’s much-loved brand of picture books (you can find the other books here) that celebrate the ups and downs of family life.

Did you take the B from my _ook? by Matt Stanton

OK. Two things you need to know before you read this book. Firstly, your favourite thing in the whole world is the letter B. And secondly, you’re about to sneeze and all the Bs are going to be blown out of the book. So until you can get your favourite letter back, you’re about to sound really, really silly … And the kids will love it!

Abigail Fig: The Secret Agent Pig by Megan Hess

If you are a fan of the Claris books you are going to love this new character Megan Hess has dreamed up. It’s actually not in stores yet, but you can pre-order it. Clever and curious Abigail Fig has a real nose for details, tiny and big. But when a strange disappearance catches her eye she’ll need to think fast and act like a spy! Abigail Fig is a very curious pig. She’s full of questions, which can sometimes be a little annoying. But one day, her observation skills come in handy when she witnesses a pignapping – can she follow the clues to find her friends? This is destined to delight fashion-obsessed readers of all ages!

Thunderstorm Dancing by Katrina Germein

Thunderstorm is a rollicking rhyming story about a family who dance up a storm while the wind and rain swirl outside. Rhythm, rhyme and family mayhem. Perfect for reading aloud, this playful, energetic story will have young children leaping into action. When a sunny day at the beach turns stormy, a little girl runs for cover. Her daddy and brothers are wild in the wind and lightning, and her poppy is as loud as thunder. They fill the house with stamping and crashing while Granny plays piano to their riotous thunderstorm dancing. until the storm passes and they all fall down. Then, in the stillness, the girl is ready to play. What will she be, now that the rain has stopped and there’s a glimmer of sunlight? 

Bella The Brave by Rebel Wilson

Bella has so much to say, but she’s just too shy. If only she could be more like her confident sister, Stella. Then one day Bella’s mum brings her to the local choir. Could it finally be Bella’s time to shine? An empowering book about finding your voice from one of Australia’s best-loved stars, Rebel Wilson.

Enjoy!