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Story Box Library is a versatile resource that can be used by all year levels and in various situations around the school. 

1. DURING GROUP STORYTIME

Story Box Library is an AUSTRALIAN resource. The stories selected for our library are all created by Australian or New Zealand authors and illustrators, which means, when viewing them, children are exposed to language and content that relates to their own daily lives.  Children are exposed to a wide range of storytellers (beyond their parents and teachers), all with different backgrounds, voices and storytelling techniques. Each set of Classroom Ideas provides engaging discussion questions and activities to further explore the themes.

For some entertaining stories (and incredible storytelling), try What’s Wrong with the Wobbegong?, Little Lunch, Pig the Pug, Macca the Alpaca, Rodney Loses It!, Once Tashi Met a Dragon, The Brothers Quibble, The Queen with a Wobbly Bottom or Yak and Gnu.

2. DURING PLANNED LITERACY SESSIONS

Students can independently access our stories for Viewing and Listening Posts that might make up the structure of your Literacy Block. The QR codes on our Classroom Ideas PDFs and our Play Queue feature allow teachers to direct students to specific stories if preferred. It is also important to note that students will be able to safely navigate our site without encountering advertising or inappropriate content.

Some of our favourite stories for independent viewing and listening for younger children include Bear Make Den, I Got This Hat, I’m a Dirty Dinosaur, What’s Up Top?, Kick with My Left Foot and Mopoke.

3. USING OUR STORIES AS MENTOR TEXTS

SBL is the perfect resource for modelling specific text structures and language devices because the big screen allows details to be easily seen and discussed in class or group settings.  The media format of SBL also makes it easy for teachers to pause and replay parts of the story that they or students wish to highlight for discussion.

For some wonderful and unique examples of text structure and language devices, we recommend Fox, The Patchwork Bike, My Two Blankets, The House on the Mountain, The Last Peach, Once a Shepherd, The Duck and the Darklings, Anzac Biscuits.

4. FOR LESSONS IN LEARNING AREAS OTHER THAN ENGLISH

In addition to the themes presented in the book, Classroom Ideas are prepared for each story in our library, helping students meet learning outcomes across most of the Australian Curriculum learning areas.

For books covering mathematical concepts, we recommend Our Last Trip to the Market, Too Many Elephants in This House, How Big is Too Small?, Hickory Dickory Dash, Silver Buttons and The Great Rabbit Chase.

For stories to support Humanities and Social Sciences themes, many of which are aimed at Upper Primary, we recommend I Was Only Nineteen, One Minute’s Silence, Anzac Ted, Greetings from Sandy Beach, Beth: The Story of a Child Convict, Lizzie Nonsense, Tea and Sugar Christmas, All Through the Year, The Treasure Box, Suri’s Wall, A River, Feather, Ayu and the Perfect Moon, One Step at a Time and The House on the Mountain.

For use in The Arts classroom, we recommend Danny Blue’s Really Excellent DreamMeerkat Choir, Gezani and the Tricky Baboon, Steve Goes to Carnival, Herman and Rosie, Shake a Leg, The Super Moopers: Dramatic Dom or watch any of our short films to embark on an illustrator study.

Even Health and Physical Education teachers need a good story to share with the kids. Try Kick with My Left FootA Walk in the Bush, Little Piggy’s Got No Moves, Why I Love Footy, Cowzat, Slow Down World, Maxx Rumble: Footy and Sporty Kids

5. AS A RESOURCE FOR YOUR STEM PROGRAM

Stories provide great inspiration for Makerspace projects or STEM-focused activities because they can pose questions, plant ideas, invite exploration, or students might be even feel compelled to test a theory or event presented in the story. They also allow students a creative and investigative way to connect to the story by viewing a story before setting a related STEM-based task or by displaying a device (set to one of our stories) alongside materials in a Makerspace environment; thereby creating an open-ended invitation or challenge to students.

Some recommended books for use in a Makerspace include Brobot,, A House of Her Own, Blue, the Builder’s Dog, Wendy, My Dead Bunny, The Windy Farm, The Patchwork Bike, Sticks and Stones: Animal Homes, Queen Alice’s Palaces and Owl Know How.

6. AS A RESOURCE FOR YOUR STUDENT WELLBEING PROGRAM

There are many stories in our library that model positive friendships and promote health and wellbeing. Whether you’re a Kidsmatter, Better Buddies or Resilience Project school, these stories will no doubt complement the health and wellbeing or peer support program in your school.

To support concepts of friendship, community and healthy activity, try This Girl, That Girl, I Just Ate My Friend, Bird and Bear,Maudie and BearHark, It’s Me, Ruby Lee!, Banjo and Ruby Red, The Ricker Racker Club, Molly & Mae, Archie and the Bear, Once There Was a Boy, The Ghost of Annabel Spoon, The Pros and Cons of Being a Frog, Macca the Alpaca, Too Much for Turtle, Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade and, of course,  Mr Huff.

7. TO ASSIST IN CELEBRATING NATIONAL LITERACY EVENTS

You can take part in Australia’s biggest literacy events with a Story Box Library subscription. We love to work in partnership with organisations to provide access to stories for events such as World Read Aloud Day, National Ride to School Day, National Simultaneous Storytime and The Reading Hour.

Choose any of our stories to take part in World Read Aloud Day or The Reading Hour or simply use our search bar or theme filter to find selected books for National Simultaneous Storytime and CBCA Book Week.

8. TO INSPIRE YOUR STUDENTS

Our short films can provide creative inspiration or they can provide further insight into the training, history, research and inspiration behind the work and minds of Australia’s best authors and illustrators.

We think our short films also encourage children to get behind the camera too. Using our stories as examples can to help them rehearse, record and edit their own storytelling segments, or they might feel compelled to create their own animation after viewing our song and film clip.

9. AS A LEARNING SUPPORT TOOL

Teachers and students can choose to turn our closed captions by selecting the CC button on each video. There are educational benefits of using closed captions for students who are hearing impaired, speak English as an additional language, have been diagnosed with learning or reading difficulties, are on the Autism  Spectrum, or might otherwise be disengaged from books and stories.

All our stories have a closed caption option but stories in our library with minimal, repeated or rhyming text include Bear Make Den, I Got This Hat, I’m a Dirty Dinosaur, What’s Up Top?, Mopoke, My Dog Bigsy and Kick with My Left Foot

We also include longer texts in our library. Turning on closed captions allows students to be supported and engage with longer stories that they may otherwise not be able to read independently.  Some of these stories include 4F for Freaks, Don’t Look Now, The Tinkler’s Three, Bugalugs Bum Thief, The Littlest Pirate, Henrietta, Mr Badger and Little Lunch.

10. FOR USE AT HOME BY YOUR SCHOOL FAMILIES

Encourage reading at home: Story Box Library is more than just a digital product. Our ACTIVITY TIME resources help children to engage with the stories after viewing through play and art. They also give parents further ideas on how to help children connect to stories, thus later developing their ability to comprehend stories and apply their understanding to their own life.

So send home a notice with log in details to your parents along with hard-copies or links to our Activity Time resources.

11. FOR ENTERTAINMENT DURING LUNCH TIME OR WET WEATHER LUNCH DAYS

Watching our stories is just a wholesome way to spend your time if you’re stuck in the classroom during lunch time. Don’t forget that our Classroom Ideas and Activity Time PDFs will give your students some hands-on activity ideas for after viewing.

Home in the Rain, Little Lunch, Mr Badger and the Big Surprise, The Patchwork Bike, Origami Heart and Slow Down World are lunch-time winners.

12. AS A FUNDRAISER OR SCHOOL- BASED LITERACY EVENT

Host a movie marathon or children’s film festival at your school (during a lunch hour or an afternoon). Try setting up a hall or recreational room like a cinema. Provide popcorn and entry tickets and screen a selection of stories. You could even ask for a gold-coin donation and run this event as a fundraiser.

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As I sit here typing, a rivulet of sweat runs down my back, the curtains are drawn, and the fan blows the hot air around the room. All doors and windows are closed in a bid to block out the scorching Australian sun and fierce wind.

Today is reported to be the hottest day on record Victoria has seen in a century. Almost 10 years have passed since 2009’s Black Saturday bushfires, Australia’s worst natural disaster that tragically left a trail of destruction throughout Victoria. Bushfires are synonymous with the land and as such a part of our psyche, striking fear into our souls.  

The courage that Ella Holcombe has shown in writing her powerful new picture book, The House on the Mountain and then to read it aloud for Story Box Library is an incredible achievement. You see, both Ella’s parents tragically died on that fateful day in 2009. Their Kinglake mud brick house, lovingly constructed over time, was completely ravaged by fire, changing Ella and her twin brothers’ lives forever.

Ella describes her book I the following way;

The story is told by a young girl, who is about 8 or 9 years old. It is the story of a family who lose their home in a bushfire, and their journey of recovery and rebuilding…

At its core, it is a simple story that tackles a terrifying event gracefully. Ella’s prose is lyrical and David Cox’s illustrations are stunning, leaving the reader with a sense of hope and admiration at the family’s ability to rebuild their lives.

We invited Ella to answer a few questions about her striking book.

Q. Children’s books are often used as a vehicle to explore some incredibly challenging topics. This important book is no exception. How difficult was the process for you?

Some parts came easily (such as the scenes where the kids are playing in the bush and on the trampoline) while others were much more difficult. The most challenging part (emotionally) was where the family stays the night in the community centre, and in the morning the Dad has to tell the Mum that the house has been destroyed by the fire. 

Q. Was the decision to put in an afterword regarding the truth of your experience a deliberate one? If so, why?

Yes, this was a deliberate decision, and one which Elise (my AMAZING editor) supported. Personally, it was important that my real story was somehow included, and I also felt that it would have been somehow dishonest to omit it. 

Q. You won The John Marsden Competition in 2005 for your poem ‘The Storm’ and you have had poetry published since. What role has writing played in your life particularly in the aftermath of the Black Saturday bush fires?

I actually stopped writing completely after the Black Saturday bushfires - this is really the first thing I’ve written since, 10 years later. 

Q. The House on the Mountain is your first picture book and your lyrical writing is beautiful and atmospheric despite the subject. Was this a natural progression from poetry for you?

Yes, it was. My poetry has never been complicated or overly wordy, especially when I was writing more prose poetry in the years leading up to the bushfires. I like that with poetry you don’t have to explain or describe everything, you can leave things unsaid, and these little holes allow the reader to question and imagine. I feel like this book does this to some extent, too. And to be allowed to write quite sparsely, and then have stunning illustrations alongside your words - well, it’s the best of both worlds, really!

Q. Can you tell us a little about the decision to engage David Cox to illustrate your story?

My publisher, Allen & Unwin paired me with David, and I’m so thankful that they did… From the contact that I’ve had with David he seems like such a warm, compassionate and generous person. I think these qualities shine through in his illustrations, many of which were actually based on my own family photographs. They’re incredibly atmospheric - of the bush, of the fire, and of the family. 

Q. It is an honour to have you read for Story Box Library. What made you decide to do this?

I loved being read to as a child. I love reading to my children. I feel like books and stories come alive when they’re read out loud, so it’s an honour to be asked to read for Story Box Library! 

Q. What do you hope your readers will take away from The House on the Mountain?

This is a big question! Maybe…hope? The joy of the everyday. The importance of family, and of our connection to ‘home’. The possibility/inevitability of loss in life, but at the same time the resilience that’s in all of us. 

You can watch Ella’s reading of her book, The House on the Mountain on Story Box Library. You can purchase a copy of the book through our affiliate bookseller, Booktopia here.

By Nicole Brownlee
Story Box Library Founder/Director

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It’s a new school year in Australia. Last year, I was sending both my girls off to big school for the first time. It was emotional. But they coped better than I did! I still remember my little one disappearing into the classroom, no time for goodbyes. Meanwhile, I stood outside the room, my eyes filled with tears, knowing that I’d reached the end of an era. No more kids at home.

I rattled around the house for a while, wondering what to do with myself. When I picked her up that afternoon, it was all smiles and chatter. I still can’t believe it was only a year ago. How quickly you get used to a new kind of normal.

All kids (and parents) have different thoughts and feelings about starting school. Lucky for us parents, we can access our online forums for advice. We also have access to some wonderful children’s books.

A few years ago, I wrote the first TIGGY AND THE MAGIC PAINTBRUSH story, and decided that starting school was the biggest event in my daughter’s life so far, so would make a good topic for the book. It would also give me an excuse to introduce the other characters in Tiggy’s class.

Observing my daughter made me realise that kids don’t have a single emotion about starting school - they have a plethora. A spectrum, even. Emotions range from giddy, excited, nervous, sad, anxious … and so on. When I visit schools, I ask kids if they can remember how they felt starting school. Most can, and again, most have a range of emotions around the experience. I wanted to tap into this with ‘A School Day Smile’. I wanted to show that being shy and brave simultaneously is possible. So is being excited and nervous.

I also wanted to explore kids’ resilience, and some of the strategies kids use when getting used to an unfamiliar environment. Kids are awesome. I love celebrating that in my stories.

You can watch ‘A School Day Smile’ here

Two new Tiggy books: ‘A Very Wobbly Tooth’ and ‘A Hide-And-Seek Sleepover’ are released this April with Hardie Grant Egmont.

I tapped into my online communities, and asked parents how they helped their kids adjust to starting school. These wonderful people are happy for me to share their wisdom with you here.


First day of school wisdom from parents

“Remember that, even if they cry, they’ll be fine once you leave. Also, go and walk through the school while it’s empty, so they can get used to the size of the buildings.” Pamela Freeman.

“Create a routine for the morning that you’re going to be happy to continue with throughout their school life. Don’t pepper them with questions as soon as they get through the front door at the end of the day. Give them downtime. Asking a couple of questions over dinner is a good way to instigate a conversation. What was your favourite thing today? What are you looking forward to most tomorrow?” Ruth Devine.

“An extra half hour on the first morning means less hurry and stress for everyone.” Christina Loeve.

“Don’t worry about homework. Just cuddle them, feed them and listen to them when they get home.” Hannah Robertson.

“Be prepared to feel anxious! But it settles down.” Jenna Shelley.

“Make time to volunteer at the school – you will meet a lot of wonderful people as well as get to know your child’s new friends and teachers.” Caz Greene.

“Check that they can open the little lunch boxes that you give them. Some have super tough latches that even I struggle to click open.” Lucy Estela.

“Volunteering in your child’s classroom is great because you get a real feel for what it’s like for them all day, what the teacher is like, what various kids in the class are like (they’ll talk about their classmates at home).” Amelia McInerney.

“Morning and after school routines have worked well for our family. What’s more, we talk about everything – sometimes what our child has ‘done’ is not as important as what they felt.” Simone Blom.

“Start building a community straight away.” Lauren Jackman.

“Read lovely picture books about starting school. They can help them to feel prepared and give them a sense of what to expect.” Holly Bidwell.

“Do everything possible to celebrate the little wins in the big pond of school life.” Julie Grasso.

“Packing a ‘school lunch’ in the holidays to ensure everyone can open their new lunch boxes and containers etc. is very helpful. And velcro fasteners for shoes!” Jacinta Froud.

“Practice run of the toilets! Or public toilet lock practice … Getting ready routine list on the fridge and practice run. Starting school books. Drawing a matching heart button on my hand and hers comforted her – press and each other will feel the love.” Michelle Wanasundera.

“If they need a day off and you’re able to be there don’t worry about what everyone else will think. Trust your parenting style.” Penelope Pratley.

“Be prepared for extra tiredness and crankiness to begin with. And if they are excited, expect that to wear off within a couple of weeks. It takes time for them to settle into a routine and cope with the demands of school, so it’s a good idea not to do any extra-curricular activities for the first term or two.” Pamela Uekerman.

“Teachers are your teammates.” Artelle Lenthall.

“Draw a picture on the brown lunch bag each day with a little motivating message like ‘You’re a star!’” Kim Langfield.

“Don’t stress about it too much as children pick up on how parents are feeling.” Katja Bertazzo.

“After a long, hot summer wearing thongs, try and wear new school shoes an hour a day. Blisters and boo boos on your first day of school, on top of everything else … not good.” Macarena Smartt

“Buy an extra hat and leave it in the car. Label everything, even undies.” Jo Staker.

“From a primary school principal’s perspective, I always encourage the prep parents not to do everything for their children (carrying school bags in, unpacking their readers and getting their desks at up etc).” Riss Leung.

“Advice for parents: be brave! Smiles and cuddles for your kiddies, ugly cries for after school drop-off.” Renee Price.

“New routine for the family with a child starting big school for the first time will take time to settle. I’d give it at least term 1, if not longer for things to settle down.” Katrina McKelvey.

“I put a little smiley love heart note in their lunch box so they get a surprise at snack time.” Rosalie Street.

“Another way to connect at the end of the day is to ask what their favourite thing for that day was rather than ‘what did you do today?’” Cate Whittle.

“Arrive for pickup a little early so you have time to meet and get to know the other parents/carers. This is useful in developing a support/friend network for you and your child. There’s a wealth of knowledge and experience among the parent/carer network, and future friends to be made.” Julie Murphy.

“1. Keep the first term free of most other extra curricular things as they get used to the routine of school. 2. Don’t be surprised by Week 6 of the first term they have a complete melt down, it is completely normal as exhaustion sets in and the reality that school is now life 3. On the first day, don’t linger. Say goodbye on a positive note and leave… it’s ok to have a little cry in the car but don’t let them see it!” Anna Partridge.

“My youngest is starting this year & we’ve been reading Meredith Costaintain’s My First Day of School; Davina Bell’s Lemonade Jones & Barbara Park’s Junie B Jones. Lots of opportunities to have a laugh & a bit of a chat about expectations. A Novel Prescription for Kindergarteners!” Zewlan Moor.

“Be prepared to feel like they’ve just joined the army and then realize that your child is more capable than you would ever think!” Bethany Tyson.



Thank you, parents, for all your wonderful advice! I hope it helps …

Will be thinking of all those littlies, with their big backpacks, and black school shoes very soon! Oh, and all the crying mums. Don’t worry. I know all about it!

Zanni Louise has published several picture books, an early reader series and has a junior fiction series coming out in 2019. She is passionate about inspiring kids and their adults to write, and read. Learn more about Zanni’s books and workshops at www.zannilouise.com.

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Fun Ways that Public Libraries are Spreading the Word about their Story Box Library Subscription

We love it when public libraries let us know how they’ve been engaging their communities with Story Box Library, whether it be in-house programs, fun displays or digital promotions. Thinking you may wish to see what some public libraries are up to in other locations, we’ve gathered a selection of these ideas to share.

Storytime

One of our taglines is “Storytime. Anytime.” so why not make it a part of the actual storytime programming?

Gabbi Wyllie from City of Ryde in NSW shared this photo of Story Box Library being incorporated into their storytime when they launched their subscription to our website in 2017. They now include Story Box Library in their storytime sessions at least once a month, not only to promote the website to their patrons but to also enhance these storytelling sessions. 

Woollahra Library in NSW also utilises Story Box Library for their storytime sessions. After their librarian is finished reading a story to the children in attendance, they’ll then play a video from Story Box Library that complements the book that was read while they set up their end-of-session craft activity.

Displays

Various eye-catching displays have helped for some libraries to generate awareness amongst patrons of a library’s Story Box Library subscription.  

Take a look at Campaspe’s display at their Kyabram branch.

As Jenny Mustey, Library Services Manager at Campaspe Regional Library in VIC, previously shared with us, “Our library is thrilled to be able to share the love of reading to all of our families by providing the Story Box Library to its members. There are so many wonderful stories that come to life on the screen, which can be viewed anywhere and at any time. From the terrific story readers and clever animations there is a lot to love about Story Box Library!” 

Shoalhaven Libraries in NSW conceived a clever display, with arrows and footprints leading patrons through the library to their children’s department and ending at a display with a large focus on Story Box Library, complete with our poster and postcards, plus created their own red story boxes with some of our original character illustrations. 

And at Moonee Valley Libraries in VIC, this colourful display at the Niddrie branch alerts patrons that Story Box Library is one of the many beneficial resources available to their community. 

Social Media

Perhaps once of the easiest ways to spread the word about a library’s Story Box Library subscription is by sharing one of our social media posts or even creating one that is unique to a library itself.

Shortly after Redland Libraries in QLD began their subscription, they shared the following on Instagram:

This year at Story Box Library, we developed web banners for our subscribers to utilise for their online purposes. We’re delighted whenever we see them used and Wodonga Library in VIC was one such library to take advantage of them in promoting their subscription on Facebook as a school holiday solution. 

And Upper Hutt City Library in NZ used their Facebook page not only to remind patrons of their new Story Box Library subscription but to also share one of our recent story releases at the time. 

Library Screens

Another easy way to catch a patron’s eye could be playing a Story Box Library video or preview on any screen in the library, whether it is a computer or whiteboard within the children’s section, or one that showcases the library’s offerings at the library’s entrance. Don’t forget that a Story Box Library subscription permits you to play our stories on any device within the library – large or small – that has Internet access.

At Whitsunday Regional Libraries, they’ve used an eKiosk at their Proserpine branch for this purpose.  Here’s Robyn Batman, Team Leader at Proserpine, showing off their interactive screen in action.

Materials for promoting Story Box Library can be found online at our Resources page, or you can receive our posters and postcards by contacting storybox@bennett.com.au. And if you have any feedback that you’d like to share, or ideas on resources that you’d be interested in us providing in the future, please contact amy@storyboxlibrary.com.au

Please do let us know what your library and community are up to with Story Box Library – we love to see the love that you have for our stories!

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We were lucky enough to record our video of Alpacas with Maracas for National Simultaneous Storytime 2019 at Stanton Library in North Sydney. And we became even luckier when we had the opportunity to chat with Stanton’s children’s librarian, Yasmin Greenhalgh (plus have her read a future story for us). Here, she offers her insights on creating a love of literature amongst children and shares her experiences as a Story Box Library subscriber.

How do you use Story Box Library in your libraries?

For us it’s been an excellent resource to directly promote to patrons. It’s one of our favourites and draws the most looks of delight from patrons when librarians are showing it to them. For example, recently all of the copies of all of the Aaron Blabey titles were checked out of the library, and it helped satisfy this demand; to be able to find it and more of his titles available immediately online.

How do you promote Story Box Library to your community?

We promote face-to-face and do it very regularly. It’s a favourite with staff and on the top of our eResources list. And it’s so simple to log on with their barcode number. We do a lot of recommending during baby and toddler rhyme times as well.

When having conversations with parents and carers about screen time, we’re able to promote it as screen time with a different value. The parents and carers enjoy that there is a literature focus. They feel like they’re sharing something of value with their child.

What’s a favourite anecdote that you’ve heard from a patron?

Recently, a grandparent was excited about Story Box Library having Australian stories. Their grandkids are overseas and they loved that they could share the stories with them without sending a clunky package. And it was similar to the Skype experience that their grandkids are already used to.

What do you find to be the biggest benefits of Story Box Library?

You can read the book then the kid can watch someone else read it as well, connecting them in. It’s the way I promote it the most often. If a patron is asking for a book, we tell them, “If you look it up here, you can get Nick Cave to read that to your kids,” for example. It’s a good way of getting people to have a look.

It’s wonderful to have another avenue for kids to discover and interact with picture books. It’s a different way to hook them in to a love of language and literature. Picture books can be seen as something alive and wonderful, not just “Here’s a physical book.” And to actually see someone enjoying this book as well is something kids pick up on. The first thing that I say to parents and carers when looking for guidance on what to read is “choose something you’re excited by”, because kids respond to that excitement. If they’re actually seeing that enjoyment of books on the screen, it’s providing further evidence for them that books, reading and stories are exciting. It’s a delightful reinforcement.

How do you find resources like Story Box Library assist in supporting the message of National Simultaneous Storytime?

It feels like a given that Story Box Library would support National Simultaneous Storytime. It just makes sense that they just fit together. You have all of these people being part of National Simultaneous Storytime in schools, child care centres, family day cares, and libraries around the country. But what if you can’t get to library, are home sick or away travelling? It’s fantastic that Story Box Library can make NSS more accessible. You’ve got kids who can’t make it, families that don’t have the book, but they can still watch it being read aloud at 11am at the same time as everyone else. Libraries can create that level of accessibility. With a library card number, they can still log in and be a part of National Simultaneous Storytime. Even if the family is out and about they can stop, get out the phone and log in. I also love that when you have something as big as NSS it helps create community connections. The same as workmates talking about TV shows at work; children and their parents and carers can share they have both read or heard the same book and voila! a shared story is a connection made!

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We are always excited to add a new Gus Gordon story to our library. As well as meeting his delightful anthropomorphic characters, we believe his work provides such a rich resource for classrooms as they consistently provide a variety of literary devices, language techniques and a strong visual imagery to assist children in developing visual literacy skills.

On a recent visit to meet Gus, the team noticed an unassuming blackboard sitting in Gus’ studio. On it was Gus’ list of ‘Must Have Ingredients’ for all his new books. It certainly explains the success of Gus’ books.  

 Take a look at Gus’ studio for yourself by viewing our short film on Gus Gordon. You might also like to write your own recipe for a successful story.

 And, don’t forget to view Gus’ stories on Story Box Library for examples of dual narrative writing, character development, onomatopoeia, mixed media illustration and thoughtful themes.

 Herman and Rosie

Big Pet Day

Somewhere Else

Wendy

The Last Peach

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We create and publish a set of Classroom Ideas for each of our story segments; These are available to all of our school subscribers and help teachers to make the most of the stories in our library, linking where relevant to the Australian Curriculum learning areas of English, Maths, Humanities, Science, Health and Physical Education, The Arts and Technologies.

To celebrate Book Week 2018, we thought we’d help teachers ‘find their treasure’ by sharing a sample of our Classroom Ideas. There are a number of CBCA Book of the Year shortlisted titles in our library. Below you will find a small selection of the tasks you would find on the Classroom Ideas for these stories.

A printable version is also available here.

Of course, if you like the sample, be sure to subscribe your school to view all our stories and access our FULL SET of Classroom Ideas. Find information about School Subscriptions here. 

A Walk in the Bush
  • Create thought bubbles to show what Iggy might be thinking in one scene of the story.
  • Maybe it’s a secret message.’ Create your own code and use it to write a secret message for a grandparent or friend to decode.
  • Spot and name the animals that feature in the story. Use books and the internet to find pictures of these animals and use these to create a mural or collage of Australian animals.
  • Create a soundscape for one of the illustrations in the story
Florette
  • Create a treasure box of your favourite items from home. Bring it to school to share with your class.
  • What do you think is behind the Florette window? Draw, write or tell a story set behind the window.
  • What makes home special to you? Use these to help you write a real estate advertisement for the perfect home.
  • Draw a map to show how you get from your house to your local park.
  • Plant and cultivate a seedling in a jar or in a small cardboard box to create a cardboard box garden in your classroom.  Discuss what is needed to care for and grow a plant. Create a ‘Mae’s Garden’ in your

 

I Just Ate My Friend
  • He was a good friend…’ Create an A-Z List of attributes you might find in a good friend.
  • Create a Wanted Poster or Job Advertisement for the perfect friend.
  • Identify the adjectives in the story. List objects you could describe using each of these adjectives.
  • Draw or pack a lunch box for the monsters that would stop them from eating their friends.
  • Add foods to a Traffic Light template to show foods you can eat Every day (green light), Sometimes (amber light), Rarely (red light), Discuss where friends would go on this traffic light?
Hark, It’s Me, Ruby Lee!
  • Find examples of alliteration in the story.
  • Draw and describe your own imaginary creature that might live in your school playground.
  • As a class, play a game of Broken Telephone, passing a message around a circle of classmates in a whisper, testing whether the message remains or becomes distorted when it reaches the end of the circle.
  • ‘Oh for goodness sake, take this note!’ Send an email or use a classroom messaging app to send a message to a classmate.
  • Create a Helping Hands Wall in your classroom with each classmate writing on an outline of their hand, five ways they could be helpful in the classroom.

Mopoke
  • This is a wombat’. Add a thought bubble to this illustration to show what the wombat might be thinking.
  • Identify the antonyms used in the story. Choose another set of opposites and use them to write additional sentences and illustrations for the story.
  • This is a highpoke. This is a lowpoke.’  Identify the words used in these sentences that describe the position of the mopoke. Describe the position of other features in the illustrations (e.g. mopoke is on the branch, the turtle is near the mopoke).        
  • ‘This is more pokes.’ Count the number of mopokes on this page.  Include this number in valid number sentences using more than (>) and less than (<) symbols.

 

Rodney Loses It!
  • Use the information provided in the story to create a LOST poster for Penny.
  • ‘He searched to left and then to right.’ Hide something in the classroom and help a classmate to find the item using directions and positions.
  • Based on a time you lost something special, write and illustrate your own story that starts with the line, One day disaster struck…
  • ‘While working at his drawing desk his pen just…disappeared.’  Plot this event on a catastrophe scale. Discuss other ‘disasters’ and plot these onto the catastrophe scale.
  • ‘I must begin my masterpiece before a second passes!’ Create a gallery wall in your classroom of drawings and masterpieces by classmates.
  • Design and create a storage device to help Rodney keep his pens and/or other items safe in once place.
The Great Rabbit Chase
  • Create a comic strip showing Mum buying the rabbit.
  • Caption the last illustration.
  • Count the number of rabbits in the story.  Draw, model or write number sentences to help you calculate the number of ears and feet they have in total.
  • Using information presented in the story and from additional research, label a diagram of a rabbit to highlight its attributes, habitat and diet.
  • Draw a map of your town, including special places, landmarks and where your neighbours live.  
  • Create an obstacle course in the classroom or playground to assist in re-enacting the story. For e.g. ‘We tiptoe across the Kirkpatricks’ backyard.’

 

The Very Noisy Baby
  • In a little pink house on the edge of the town.’ Identify the noun, adjectives and prepositions in this sentence. Describe your own house using a noun, adjectives and prepositions.
  • The cockatoo and he could talk’. Add talking bubbles to a screenshot of this illustration to show what he might have been saying.
  • Write, perform and record a news report on the story, ‘Stripy the Tiger Escapes from the Zoo’
  • ‘KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK, they tapped at the door.’ Draw a map of your street and show where your neighbours live.
  • ‘…and all of the others skipped in a line…’ as class, play a game of Follow the Leader. Take turns at being the leader and leading the class through the school yard using different movement sequences (use the movements of the animals in the story as inspiration).

BUT, WAIT! THERE’S MORE.

Spread the word! Let your families know that they can also view our stories at home with your school log-in code. We currently have our Activity Time instructions for our CBCA shortlisted books available for free viewing and downloading. What a great way to extend Book Week into the home of your school families.Download instructions for these family-friendly Activity Time sessions here.

 Don’t forget you can also download our printable Treasure Hunt Maps for use during Book Week. Find the download link and tips for using the maps here.

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Families all around Australia are enjoying the stories we bring you each week.

But did you know that we also create a simple play or art-based Activity Time for each of our story segments?  Family subscribers and local library card holders have access to all of the Activity Time instructions, and they can be downloaded and printed to help extend favourite Story Box Library stories.

To celebrate Book Week 2018, we thought we’d share a sample of our activities with ALL Australian families to help you FIND YOUR TREASURE by ‘playing’ with a selection of this year’s CBCA Book of the Year shortlisted books.

Find links below to access Activity Time instructions for each title.

Of course, if you and the kids enjoy these activities, be sure to subscribe to Story Box Library to view all our stories and access our FULL SET of Activity Time instructions. Find information about Family Subscriptions here.

A WALK IN THE BUSH

Download our ACTIVITY TIME instructions for A Walk in the Bush

FLORETTE

Download our ACTIVITY TIME instructions for Florette

I JUST ATE MY FRIEND

Download our ACTIVITY TIME instructions for I Just Ate My Friend

HARK, IT’S ME, RUBY LEE!

Download our ACTIVITY TIME instructions for Hark, It’s Me, Ruby Lee!

MOPOKE

Download our ACTIVITY TIME instructions for Mopoke

RODNEY LOSES IT!

Download our ACTIVITY TIME instructions for Rodney Loses It!

THE GREAT RABBIT CHASE

Download our ACTIVITY TIME instructions for The Great Rabbit Chase

THE VERY NOISY BABY

Download our ACTIVITY TIME instructions for The Very Noisy Baby

Don’t forget you can also download our printable Treasure Hunt Maps for use during Book Week. Find the download link and tips for using the maps here.

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Did you know that when we launched in 2013 we started with just 20 stories?

It would have seemed unimaginable that 5 years later, we would have a library that has grown so vast with a list of outstanding authors, illustrators and storytellers.

Of course, it’s all due to the phenomenal team behind Story Box Library who work exceptionally hard to give our valued subscribers such a superb range of quality Australian children’s literature in such an engaging and accessible way.

Our stories and storytellers are first rate, and there truly is something on Story Box Library for everyone.

Whether it’s Ali McGregor reading Tashi and bowling you over with her beautiful singing, or Andrew Hansen’s reading of What’s Wrong with the Wobbegong. Andrew’s voices are absolutely hilarious – just how does he remember each voice for the numerous characters in the story?

Possibly Boori Monty Pryor’s reading of his and Jan Ormerod’s book, Shake a Leg made your heart swell? After all, Boori is a master storyteller and an exceptional human being.

And speaking of master storytellers, Danny Katz’s readings of his and Mitch Vane’s Little Lunch stories are a delight. No matter how many times you watch these, Danny continues to make you laugh out loud.

But which stories are the favourite of the Story Box Library team?

Asked to choose only one favourite proved to be an almost impossible task, or in the words of our Educational Consultant, Jackie Small:

“OMG! I don’t think you’ve ever set a harder task. I’m really having trouble. I love so many for so many different reasons. I THINK I’ve narrowed it down to Bella’s Bad Hair Day, I Got this Hat or My Dead Bunny. BUT I NEED MORE TIME! I’m going to take a walk and clear my head and hopefully then I’ll have one favourite for you!”

In the end we came up with a very special list of stories that have touched each member of our team in some way. In fact, Mat wanted two. Well, everyone did, but Mat was the only one who assumed I would add his second choice and sent it through to me anyway. Cheeky!

Nicole – Director/Founder

The Bunyip of Berkley’s Creek Read by Nick Cave

As a child, I adored this book and still consider it one of the best Australian picture books of all time. My adolescent years saw me as brooding, gothic teen enamoured with Nick Cave. His music continues to be a part of my life, with one of his songs being played at my and my husbands wedding. Nick Cave was hands down my ultimate storyteller. So imagine the shock and delight I experienced when Nick agreed to read this book for us. Our library has many, many wonderful stories, but nothing quite beats this perfect pairing. And Nick kissed me on both cheeks. Winner! 

Mathew – Videographer

“Can I have 2?”

1. Rodney Loses it Read by Lyall Brooks

Sometimes we really nail the combination of the right book with the right reader. I love how Lyall brings all of Rodney’s craziness out. This was the first story we shot with Lyall and had no idea what we were going to get and about half way through I was just thinking, “OMG, OMG, OMG, this is great, this is great, this is great!”

2. The Queen with the Wobbly Bottom Read by Dolly Diamond

I’ve had so much fun shooting for Story Box library over the years and this shoot was absolutely hilarious, Dolly Diamond really brought the “Queen” to “The Queen” her voices are absolutely amazing. Her voice, especially for the Poet character is magical.

Del – School Liaison

Bear Make Den Read by Anne Edmonds

I love everything about this. From the simple and heart-warming story by Jane Godwin and Michael Wagner, to Anne Edmond’s hilarious reading, costume and props, combined with Andrew Joyner’s delightful illustrations, and the surprise bear party at the end, this story is truly divine.

Amy – Public Library Liaison

Home in the Rain Read by Zahra Newman

I love this story because it reminds me of driving in snowstorms when I was little. My dad always navigated his way through the fiercest of conditions with ease, making our family car seem like a haven of warmth, comfort and quiet togetherness despite what we witnessed outside. Zahra Newman’s reading of Home in the Rain takes me right back to those moments. Her voice is so peaceful and melodic, lending a contented feel to this sweet time between Francie and her mum.

Fiona – Production Manager

Mopoke Read by Tim Rogers

It goes without saying that Tim’s reading is absolutely hilarious and completely sublime (we were barely able to keep it together in the room while we were filming him!) but I also adore the simplicity of the book, as well as the brilliant way our videographer, Mat, edited it with the split screen. A first for Story Box Library!

Shannon – Videographer

The Brothers Quibble Read by Aaron Blabey

I just love this book and I always thought the way Aaron reads it is exactly the way he wrote it. You get to hear the characters come to life and his reading adds an extra layer to the book. From then on that’s exactly how I read the book to my kids too.

Bronwen – Digital Manager

Hark, It’s Me, Ruby Lee! Read by Isabella Clarke

Ruby was very high on our shortlist of baby names so we almost had our very own Ruby Lee! I love Ruby’s imagination and sense of adventure, that she’s eager to help out and try new things, and is a (mostly) great friend. Lisa Shanahan’s story is great fun, Binny’s beautiful illustrations and colour palette always catch my eye, and it’s a lovely reading by storyteller Isabella Clarke.

Jo – Finance & Admin Manager

The Dark & the Ducklings Read by Darren Hanlon

Stephen Michael King and Glenda Millard are my favourite author/illustrator combination and I love this book. Lyrically written about a not so distant future, remembering the past, hope for the future and letting go. Watching the book being read, “sorry drops fell from my eyes” just like in the book. Darren’s reading is simple and warm, allowing the words to weave their magic. The story reminds us that there is always light in the dark.

Jen – Publisher Liaison

When The Wind Changed Read by Colin Lane

I have vivid memories of borrowing and re-borrowing this book from my primary school library, it is one of my all-time laugh out loud childhood picture book favourites. 

Seeing those familiar illustrations after all those years, while watching and listening to the story being told with such animation (those expressions!) by Colin Lane, I got totally swept up and felt like a kid again!

Jackie – Educational Consultant

I Got This Hat Read by Anne Edmonds

I just love the way we brought this short and sweet story to life on the digital screen with clever filming and editing, sound effects and an expressive storyteller (who’s such a good sport too). This story segment is also a fabulous model for extending stories through play with the use of a few simple props. I really think this story encapsulates Story Box Library perfectly.

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Again, the Children’s Book Council of Australia theme for this year’s Book Week cleverly invites children to discover new stories to read. There are some firm favourites on the shortlist for this year’s CBCA Book of the Year awards, and our creative team has been able to bring many of them to life for children to view on Story Box Library, together with our talented Australian storytellers, Tim Rogers, Freya Blackwood, Lyall Brooks, Kylie Bracknell, Isabella Clarke and Emmanuelle Mattana.

We do love a theme here at Story Box Library. We also know that you can’t find treasure without a treasure map, so we’ve created Treasure Hunt Maps to help you explore the 2018 shortlisted books available to view on Story Box Library. Keep reading to download your copy and to read our tips for using the maps. 

DOWNLOAD THE STORY BOX LIBRARY TREASURE HUNT MAP HERE

TIPS FOR USING THE STORY BOX LIBRARY BOOK WEEK TREASURE HUNT
  1. Print or photocopy the treasure maps onto A3 paper.
  2. Ensure you have a QR Code Reader installed on your iPads (Alternatively, if you don’t have a QR Code Reader installed or if you are using a computer, you could create a playlist for your children so the stories will play consecutively).
  3. Facilitate a discussion with your children before you embark on the Treasure Hunt, ensuring children understand each task and the alternative meanings of the word, treasure
  4. View and explore one story per day to allow adequate discussion of each story.
  5. Provide working paper for children to complete their responses to the tasks.
  6. Work collaboratively to complete the treasure hunt. Try working:
  • As a class
  • In pairs
  • With Buddies: Younger children could work with their older buddies for a cross-school activity
  • As a family (if you are downloading the treasure map for use at home)
TREASURE HUNT FOR EARLY PRIMARY

You’re welcome to download our adapted Treasure Hunt if you find the tasks on our original map are too difficult for younger children. Our adapted Treasure Hunt Map is suitable for children in Early Primary,  and simply asks children to find and draw particular objects in the illustrations of the stories. 

DOWNLOAD THE STORY BOX LIBRARY TREASURE HUNT MAP FOR EARLY PRIMARY HERE

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