Tag Archives: Change

Real Me. Real You? – Glenn Manton

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Glenn Manton

May 2020

RRP: $17.99

Glenn Manton is not afraid to tackle big questions for young people and in the past twenty years he has done so as a well-known speaker. Those of us in secondary schools, in particular, have observed first-hand the confusion and misinformation that many of our students hold and in the past few months, I think it would be fair to say, that this has escalated.

I know that my Senior school coordinators have been keen to acquire resources to support their pastoral care program and I will have no hesitation in recommending this one to them.

Glenn poses questions and pairs these with anecdotes and links to articles, social media, films, song lyrics – all is grist to his mill as he explores the topics that most consume our youth.

50 gritty and sometimes confronting questions will provide provocations for any group of students (or indeed adults) and spur on deep and meaningful conversations, reflections and actions – and certainly without doubt vigorous discussions.

I’d have to say he pretty much had me when I saw the suggestion to watch Eddie Izzard’s Death Star Canteen clip (Can People Choose their Sexuality?) :-).

All in all this is a winner – I would suggest that if you intend to use it with middle school students (depending on your school’s ethos) you will want to select your topics but for senior students I think this is a fabulous resource that will resonate with all – even the most reluctant, resistant or recalcitrant. Highly recommended as a valuable addition to your pastoral care suite.

Morphing Murphy – Robert Favretto/Tull Suwannakit

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Morphing Murphy PB Cov PRINT.indd

Ford St Publishing

February 2020

ISBN 9781925804324

RRP: $16.99

Whether you’re looking for a twisted fairy tale, a fictional take on the metamorphosis of frogs or perhaps simply a story that illustrates changes and adaptation, this will be a fabulous addition to your collection.

Murphy doesn’t quite understand the changes that are happening to him but when they are complete he decides he rather likes his new self. There’s just one problem. Despite all his ‘bonk bonk bonk’  (Murphy is actually an Eastern Banjo Frog, commonly referred to as the Pobblebonk!) calling he’s lonely until finally he finds his true love and therein lies the twist.

This is delightful with some lovely language and evocative illustrations with a healthy dose of humour which will engage young readers immediately. It certainly reminds me of a large classroom mural my Year 1 class and I once created to illustrate the lifecycle of frogs. Using the same colour palette as the book would look totally fabulous on any wall!

Favretto’s inspiration was his childhood passion for small wildlife and how many little people do we all know who have that same love? I know that The Kid here was always picking up lizards and frogs – and though she  now considers her teen self too old for such pastimes continues to love observing them.

Highly recommended for EC and Junior kiddos with a focus on science as well as themes of change and resilience. Find teaching notes here.

Finch – Penny Matthews

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finch

Walker Books

ISBN: 9781760650759
Release Date: August 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $16.99

Even in holiday mode it’s a big ask for me to read a book in one sitting but this one is a corker!

At once a coming-of-age story and a beautiful reflection on accepting differences its country setting along with an environmental theme provides a strong contrast for city dwelling readers and a point of real engagement for those in rural areas.

Audrey knows she doesn’t fit in; even her little sister calls her ‘Nerd Girl’. Her passion for birds including knowing so many of their scientific names is just one aspect that sets her apart. Even so, leaving her old city school when her parents relocate to a country vineyard is fraught with misgivings about how she will even attempt to blend in with new school friends and country ways.  Her father is filled with optimism about the new venture having spent a long time unemployed. Her mother has left her legal secretary job which has kept the family and is far less enthralled with their new prospects. Little sister Chloe is excited and happy and has no trouble at all being accepted into a crowd of new friends.

Then Audrey makes a secret friend, a boy hiding out in a nearby cave with his little dog. Finch and Snowy connect with Audrey in a way no one else has done before. Although rather surprisingly her elderly neighbour Mavis becomes more and more like a friend as well. And somehow there appears to be a ‘bird’ connection between all three. The mystery surrounding Finch takes Audrey into a new awareness of herself and ultimately also into an inner resilience she didn’t know she possessed.

This is just delightfully written with excellent and resonant characterisations and a truly great theme of adapting to new circumstances and embracing one’s own differences.

Highly recommended for readers from around Year 5 to Lower Secondary.