Nine Wonderful New Books for 5-13 Year Olds
Literacy, Families and Learning
by Trevor Cairney
3w ago
I hope you enjoy my reviews of four new picture books for children aged 3-6 and five Junior novels for readers aged 8-12. A great collection! 1. Little Axel's Axolotl' by Juliette MacIver and illustrated by Christopher Nielsen This is a very funny and endearing picture book, about a very special pet axolotl; named "Harris Aristotle" by his owner Axel. This is a very spoilt pet! Axel attends to his every wish and want and need and feeds him with the finest cheese, and warms him with the warmest of hats. Axel's fishy feet never touch the ground ... But despite his life of ease, Harris has a sec ..read more
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Transforming School Education 'Inside Out' and 'Outside In'
Literacy, Families and Learning
by Trevor Cairney
1M ago
You have no doubt heard the saying, "it takes a village to raise a child". This saying is typically used to remind us that a person's family is but one aspect of such a "village". Children are also supported in their endeavour by schools, sporting coaches, neighbours and so on. Our hope is always that the "village" will help to shape them for the good. This post tells how one region in Australia is transforming school education in a novel way to achieve these goals. Foundations for Change in Secular Education Above: Cessnock High School I started my teaching career as a Primary school teacher ..read more
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Six Wonderful New Picture Books to Share
Literacy, Families and Learning
by Trevor Cairney
1M ago
 1. 'Mitchel Itches: An Eczema Story' by Kristen Kelly & illustrated by Amelia Jones This lovely picture book is about a boy who suffers badly from Eczema, and how he manages to cope and eventually 'conquer' it. In his Mum's words, he "was born scratching". Even in his baby photos he had socks on his hands to deter him. He grew up putting on skin cream every day and this wasn't fun! Baths helped for a little while, but sometimes the scratching would leave his skin infected, and some of his friends worried about catching it. In frustration, he would tell them "you can't catch it!" Be ..read more
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Can You Identify Something Commendable in Every Student?
Literacy, Families and Learning
by Trevor Cairney
2M ago
I wrote a version of this post for another blog I write ('Pedagogy and Education for Life'). That blog is specifically for teachers in Christian or faith-based schools, but the topic is just as relevant in all schools. Let me first ask a question. Do we believe there is something commendable in every child we teach? In the first week of first term in any school year you won't have much of an idea, but if you're well into the year and you still haven't recognised something it's a problem.  It might just be that we don't know them at all. But I'd hope that after 2-4 weeks we would know som ..read more
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2024 Newbery and Caldecott Awards Announced!
Literacy, Families and Learning
by Trevor Cairney
3M ago
The American Library Association has announced its 2024 annual award winners for books, videos, and other outstanding materials for children and teens. Committees of librarians and other literature and media experts, choose the award winners on behalf of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). The Newbery Medal was named after the eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is presented to the author of the book judged to have made the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. It can be a work of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry. The Calde ..read more
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The Power of Story to Teach, Enrich and Transform
Literacy, Families and Learning
by Trevor Cairney
4M ago
I want to draw attention to the power of story in this post by discussing my work shared in two separate articles over 10 years ago. In 2013 I wrote an article for the 'International Journal of the Book'. In it I discussed the power of literature not just to offer engaging stories, but to actually "Teach, Enrich and Transform" us. The article was inspired by the work of D.W. Harding (1937, p. 257) who suggested “reading, like daydreaming and gossiping is a means to offer or be offered symbolic representations of life”. I quoted Harding NOT to relegate reading, and specifically literature, to ..read more
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Six New Picture Books that are 'Must Reads'!
Literacy, Families and Learning
by Trevor Cairney
5M ago
1. 'Mumma's Love Language: Sometimes Love Tastes Like Hainan Chicken Rice'  by Written by Elisa Stad and Illustrated by Ry Menson (Illustrator) Jade is a girl who lives in two worlds. When one's parents have different cultural heritages, sometimes children can wonder where they fit. In this very sensitive and tenderly written book, Elisa Stad explores something which increasing numbers of families and teachers see each day. Jade is on a quest to understand her identity and where she truly belongs. She feels different from the other kids at school.    Back home, her Dad has an ..read more
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Six of the Best! Wonderful New Picture Books to Share
Literacy, Families and Learning
by Trevor Cairney
7M ago
1. 'Good, Night, Good Beach', by Joy Cowley & illustrated by Hilary Jean Tapper "An evocative and beautiful bedtime picture book that distills the essence of summer at the beach―skin sticky with salt, sandy feet, waves hush-hushing and a shell under the pillow." This simple poem of just 42 words by Joy Cowley and illustrated by Hilary Jean Tapper will transport readers to the seashore and the fun of the beach. It is quite a gift to be able to use so few words and yet, so clearly evoke from the reader the wonderful joy of the beach in summer. The rhythm of the poem reflects so perfectly ..read more
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Two Fabulous Books for Younger Readers
Literacy, Families and Learning
by Trevor Cairney
10M ago
 1. 'Ruby and The Pen' By David Lawrence David Lawrence was a financial analyst, but turned his hand and considerable talent to writing books for children. He has written 13 children's books and 'Ruby and The Pen' is his most recent release. This is a wonderful book for readers aged 10-12 years. The quirky story is so well supported by Cherie Digman's wonderful cartoon style drawings. Ruby is sent off to boarding school for the first time after the death of her much loved father and the arrival of her mother's fourth boyfriend who is determined to move Ruby to a boarding school to get he ..read more
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Children's Book Australia - Awards Announced!
Literacy, Families and Learning
by Trevor Cairney
10M ago
 'Theme - Read Grow Inspire'   As usual, the Children’s Book Council Awards in Australia has had a large number of very worthy books submitted. Sadly, only some can be named as winners and honour books. The CBCA also publishes a list of other 'Notable Books'. This year I have reviewed books for all categories. CBCA Book Week runs from 19-25 August. In 2023 the theme is "Read, grow, inspire".   1. Older Readers (Ages 13-18 years) Entries in this category may be fiction, drama or poetry and should be appropriate in style and content for readers in their secondary years of school ..read more
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