Tag Archives: Environmental issues

Jelly-Boy – Nicole Godwin/Christopher Nielsen



Walker Books

February 2020

ISBN: 9781760651237
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99


Thirty years ago today the Clean Up Australia event started and has gone from strength to strength helping our country become cleaner. Though the world at large is struggling under the massive impact of increased populations and waste there are still ordinary people doing extraordinary things to help redress the dire predicament in which we find ourselves. Witness the success of Boyan Slat and his Great Ocean Clean Up idea and Greta Thunberg’s impact on a world audience and we can have hope that the current generation will continue to work towards a cleaner healthier planet.

What better place to start then than with our little people and that’s where a gorgeous picture book like Jelly-Boy comes in. The littlest Early Childhood readers will be able to grasp the import of the dangers of plastic in the natural environment in a way which is not ‘preachy’ but rather an usual love story which is further elucidated in the facts page at the end of the book.

A little sea jelly decides that the new Jelly-Boy in the ocean is both attractive and special but before too long realises that this newcomer is not alone and in fact, is just one of a dangerous influx that poses a real threat to the natural ocean ecosystem.

I well remember living in the ACT when plastic bags were first banned and the ridiculous furore that ensued – repeated here in Queensland in the past year or so. But for some of us rejecting single use plastics as often as possible was not only de rigeur but just plain commonsense.  Luckily the majority of citizens have realised the good sense of such innovations and our children are growing up with not only an acceptance but an understanding of the reasons for such moves.

If you are working on units that encompass care of the environment, recycling or similar – or perhaps simply as an adjunct to your teaching small humans the meaning of being responsible in their world this is a superb book on which to base your discussions.

Highly recommended for all readers from around 3 years upwards.


Bugs in Danger – Mark Kurlansky



Bloomsbury Australia






Bloomsbury Children’s Books

RRP: $20.00

I think there are many of us who are looking out for books that will both engage our students as well as inform them with the intention of developing their environmental conscience. I think there would be many who are already hanging bee motels and hopefully more who will be growing flowering plants and other garden activities to encourage the continued survival of our minibeast wildlife.

We all know the plight of the bees but it’s not just those vital insects disappearing. Numbers of ladybirds, dragonflies and butterflies have also been declining and it’s imperative that we all play our part in not only protecting them but encouraging their numbers to re  -build.

This book with its black-and-white line illustrations and fun chapter heading like: Honey I’m Home, Why Bees Boogie, The Vanishing Act and Meet the Beetles outlines a history and the importance of insects in our world. It concludes with What Can I Do? so that readers can enact their own action plan for a backyard blitz on bringing back the bugs.

Young readers and adults alike will enjoy this and find it interesting, informative and inspiring.

Recommended for readers from around 10 years up to any age!

How to Save the Whole Stinkin’ Planet – Lee Constable




June 2019

ISBN: 9781760890261

Imprint: Puffin

RRP: $19.99

With the world’s attention on Mighty Girl Greta Thunberg and her activism for drawing attention to the critical state of the globe this book will be a timely addition to your collection whether for general borrowing or for your own environmental group (we have Champions for Change at our college – our very dedicated Year 5 cohort).

This is an excellent guide for children who are keen to make a difference and shape the future of our fragile world. It contains scientific knowledge (in readily understandable format), DIY projects, and suggestions for action plus loads more.   Each section deals with a different aspect of the mission our young people are facing and as they progress through each they are moving up another Waste Warrior level until the finale of ‘Graduation’.

The addition of James Hart’s humorous illustrations along with the ‘gross’ factor of information provided makes this is a fun read as well as informative and children of all ages will relish the projects and actions suggested.

Whether the challenge is as simple as learning to sew on a button to salvage an article of clothing or more complex such as being able to create successful compost systems children will be able to find something that fits their abilities and interest.

Starting with an informed and active approach to waste management is a terrific beginning for kids who are keen to prove themselves worthy champions of the environment.

Highly recommended for children from around 8 years upwards.

Nullaboo Hullabaloo – Fleur Ferris





May 7, 2019



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!


Backyard – Ananda Braxton-Smith & Lizzy Newcomb



Walker Books Australia

ISBN: 9781925381177
Imprint: Black Dog Books
Release Date: August 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99

As educators we are always seeking new ways to switch on our youngsters to awareness and a responsibility towards the environment and we sometimes overlook the smaller picture for the larger. This book with its focus on the amazing diversity found in our own backyards will help us to keep the perspective – and action – local and personal.

The text is both lyrical and resonant with figurative language that will immediately engage young readers and inspire them to seek out other examples. Reminiscent of Dylan Thomas portraits the phrasing such as “sleep-moony child”, “sweet-tooth bats” and “last-light dragonfly” literally infuse the book with the life and energy of all the creatures that may be found in a child’s own environs.

Accompanied by glorious vividly hued and detailed illustrations – and absolutely wonderful endpapers (again!) this will be a delight to share with all little people from around Prep to Year 3.

This makes me think of the many times, pre-library times, when I would take my class of Year 1s or 2s out into the school yard for an environmental explore using all our senses. With the curriculum so crowded these days sometimes these magical moments become scarce but what riches we can bring to children’s attention by doing so.

Highly recommended for your Junior school particularly as a vital component of environmental based units.

Benny Bungarra’s Big Bush Clean-up – Sally Morgan/Ambelin Kwaymullina



Magabala Books

Author:Sally Morgan

Illustrator:Ambelin Kwaymullina

Published:Jun 2018


RRP: $16.99

What a great way to kick off NAIDOC week! This is a terrific new book which mixes animals and vivid colours into a powerful message for little people about caring for our environment and our animals’ habitats.

Benny Bungarra is very busy as one by one his bush friends, Olive Python (hehe!), Colin Crow and Kathy Kangaroo, find themselves in real difficulties after encounters with dangerous rubbish left behind by humans. Once Benny has helped them all to free themselves from their respective dilemmas, he and his friends work out strategies that will help keep their bush home safe for all.  Recycling and reducing and using rubbish bins are all great ideas for humans but Benny takes things a step further when he suggests that he and his friends have their own big clean-up.

Before the invasion of white people and the now proliferation of people who disrespect our natural surroundings the First Australians managed country with wisdom, knowledge and respect for all that it gave them.

We have a responsibility to educate everyone to share this same respect and what better way than to start with our youngest readers who will need to manage the environment of the future.

Highly recommended for readers from Kindy upwards and a wonderful way to start a discussion on action that can be taken by anyone and everyone.

Finch – Penny Matthews



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.