Tag Archives: Diversity

The Incredibly Busy Mind of Bowen Bartholomew Crisp – Paul Russell/Nicky Johnston

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Exisle Publishing

Imprint: EK Books

ISBN: 9781925820881 

RRP: $24.99

Without doubt we (as educators) have all met a Bowen Bartholomew Crisp at some point and many of us will remember our first encounter with a neuro-diverse child before we were even fully aware of such diversity. And we also know, that these children are among our most memorable for their completely unique outlook on life and the sparky quirkiness they often display. And then there are those of us who have the daily joy of living with a child who is diverse, making our lives rich and full. 🙂

As a little boy and throughout his life, Bowen has had so much on his mind, and so very much he can share but sadly, does not always get the opportunity, as others are usually too impatient or short-sighted to value his different way of thinking. Thankfully his mum knows exactly what he needs to share his thoughts and know how much they are valued. It is not until he is grown up that Bowen’s special talent for thinking in a different way is able to burst forth resulting in amazing creativity. And as we well know, it is often just this way in real life. Thank goodness for diverse thinkers!

This is a beautifully realised picture book where text and illustrations mesh together perfectly to bring a sensitive portrayal of neuro-diverse children to younger readers. Clearly in a classroom setting we want our children to understand and embrace these differences but just as obviously this is so important for our own children in a home setting.

We can always depend on EK Books to bring us the books that celebrate differences and provide insight for young readers on a wide range of topics and as usualy, I highly recommend this delightful book to you for readers from around 5 years upwards.

What Zola did on Monday – Melina Marchetta. Illustrated by Deb Hudson

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Penguin Australia

June 2020

ISBN: 9781760895150

Imprint: Puffin

RRP: $12.99

This is certainly a departure from Looking for Alibrandi and Melina’s other novels for YA but what an absolute joy it is! From start to finish it ticks every box I love!

Zola lives with her mum and Nonna Rosa in a little house in the suburbs, with her cousin and bestie, Alessandro, living directly behind. Before the two lost their Nonno Nino, he cut a gate into the back fence so they could spend as much time together as possible – whenever Alessandro is not at his dad’s place.

Everyone in the neighbourhood loves their beautiful front garden filled with flowers and Nonna Rosa loves the backyard with its vegetable garden even more. But although Zola loves flowers she certainly does not like gardening!

At school her Year 2 class are temporarily housed across the road from the school, which is being renovated, within the grounds of the much-neglected community garden. Zola’s teacher Ms Divis is keen on gardens, community and sustainability – the perfect combination to inspire her little charges to take on the project of rejuvenating the community garden as well as investigating their neighbourhood’s local history.

Zola does have a knack for finding herself in sticky situations like leaving the back-fence gate open so that Alessandro’s naughty dog causes destruction in the backyard and even worse, ruining the newly planted special seeds Nonna Rosa had saved, given to her by Nonno Nino. But luckily she is also a smart little cookie who can come up with a solution to her various little problems.

This is about so much more than the very important theme of growing our own food (itself so timely at present) and being attuned with nature, it’s about re-connecting with community and sharing care, compassion and concern. There is a rich diversity in families with single parents, same-sex parents, multi-generational families and different cultures.

Thankfully it’s the first in a series – one for each day of the week – so there is more joy to come. Perfect for newly independent readers or for class or home read-alouds, I highly recommend this for little humans from around 6 years upwards.

Nullaboo Hullabaloo – Fleur Ferris

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nullaboo

Penguin

9780143787143

May 7, 2019

Puffin

 

RRP: $14.99

 

We could all use some more fairy dust in our lives. Whether it’s because of the gloom and doom of daily news reports or if (like me packing up house) because of some personal issues. I maintain that a liberal sprinkling of fairy sparkle would be very beneficial for anyone.

Fleur Ferris has demonstrated so superbly her ability to write gripping YA fiction and has now turned her hand to fiction for younger readers with the same ease and expertise.

In a little country community young Gemma isn’t having a terrific time. First there’s the worry of her family being evicted from the farm they all love. Second, the all-too-perfect Nina got butterflies for her special science project topic while Gemma bombed out with March flies – really? March Flies?

But when Gemma captures not a fly nor even a feather in her bug catcher but a real live honest-to-goodness fairy, things in Nullaboo start to go completely crazy! Janomi the fairy isn’t meant to reveal herself to humans but she’s desperate for help after her grandfather, leader of their colony, was captured by the dreadful silver spiders. There’s more than a captured fairy leader at stake though when a secret government agency gets wind of the find and lead by an absolute nutter poses a real threat of extermination to the last fairy colony on Earth.

It’s up to Gemma, her family and the solidarity of their little community to save the day – and the fairies!

This seemingly effortless and straightforward narrative has much scope for discussion with current global topics such as environmental damage, conservation, tolerance, acceptance and embracing differences all able to correlate to the unfolding of events.  And aside from that it’s a jolly fun read!

Highly recommended for anyone who loves a great fairy story – and hopes for fairies in their garden!

fleur