Tag Archives: Traditions

What do You do to Celebrate? Ashleigh Barton/Martina Heidnezek

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Harper Collins Australia

October 2021

ISBN: 9780733341595
ISBN 10: 0733341594
Imprint: ABC Books AU
List Price: 19.99 AUD

I’m pretty sure that in our current situation when many are feeling despondent or fearful, there are many people who have not felt much like celebrating. Personally, I’m of the opinion that we still have plenty to celebrate at this time of year and have endeavoured to make our own family festive season meaningful for us all.

And just as it is important for us to rejoice at the blessings we do have, whether large or small, it is equally vital for us to impart cross-cultural perspectives to our children.

This picture book is part of a series that focuses on families and their similarities and differences ( What do You Call Your Grandma? What do You Call Your Grandpa?) and offers children insight into how other families around the world celebrate at the end of one year, beginning of another.

Many years ago when I first started teaching (actually in one of my prac blocks) my focus was on this very topic and the Year 2 class I was working with explored the end-of-year traditions of many cultures around the world including gift-givers and New Year traditions. This was a theme I returned to consistently and still to this day. continue to promote wherever possible. With our increasingly multi-cultural society (not to mention the insidious growing swell of intolerance/hate in some quarters) it behoves us to ensure that we do all we can to actively promote inclusive attitudes and behaviours in our kiddos.

With engaging and fun books such as this, it is no hardship to bring these ideas to our audience and I congratulate Ashleigh and Martina on their collaboration which ensures that not only will children be invested in the narrative but keep it in mind.

Highly recommended for small humans from pre-school upwards.

The Storm Keepers’ Battle: Storm Keeper Trilogy 3 – Catherine Doyle

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Bloomsbury Australia

March 2021

ISBN:9781526607966
Imprint:Bloomsbury Children’s Books

RRP: $14.99

I have loved this series from the very start! The premise is so fresh and different, and full of so many wonderful themes, characters and fabulous magic.

Fionn and the Arranmore islanders are under siege from the evil Morrigan, her heinous brothers and her army of SoulStalkers. Black Mountain looms ever more menacingly over the island, threatening all with total annihilation. As the new Stormkeeper, Fionn knows that it is up to him to find some solution but how to do it? His best plan is to find the ancient sorcerer of old, Dagda, but that seems like an impossible ask.

To his aid comes old Rose, who it seems has been hiding her true identity for long ages. She is Róisín, First and Fearless, who fought alongside the mighty Dagda in the battle against Morrigan years and years ago. She tells Fionn how to find the Whispering Tree and thus be led to Dagda, an adventure fraught with tension and danger in itself. To Fionn’s utter astonishment, though he finds Dagda in one sense, it is not so that the ancient sorcerer can come to the island’s aid once again. That it would seem is entirely up to Fionn, as he is pronounced the new sorcerer and the islanders’ sole hope for salvation.

Fionn must learn to control his magic (which is, to his immense surprise, powerful indeed), empower the islanders as Stormkeepers themselves, each to their own clan and wield this combined force to defeat the darkness that is so near to engulfing them. Losing both his friend, Shelby, and his sister, Tara, to Morrigan almost proves his undoing but he digs deep into his newly found magical strength and with the aid of the clans and Róisín, the overwhelming odds are reduced and Fionn is revealed as the great sorcerer Dagda predicted.

The ongoing themes of family, loyalty, tradition, self-belief and selflessness, with references to Irish legends woven throughout, make for a thrilling and marvelous narrative and I am only sorry that we have reached the end of this trilogy.

Readers with a love of high fantasy and thrilling action, both boys and girls, from around 10 years upwards will absolutely love this series and I highly recommend it to you as a remarkable addition to your collection.

Under the Milky Way – Frané Lessac

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1562542914602

Walker Books Australia

January 2020

ISBN: 9781536200959
Imprint: Candlewick
Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99

 

I had the very great pleasure of meeting Frané at the 2019 Voices on the Coast Literature Festival (thank you again for the lovely sketch of Duffy!) and she is such a wonderful and warm, not to mention talented creator.

While arguably it is for her Australian themed books that (for most readers) she is best known, this one focuses on North America – the USA and Canada – and connects these by means of the Milky Way,  the splendour of which is something which we can all appreciate.

Each vibrant double spread focuses on one location and includes special little facts, both scientific and cultural, that will fascinate readers making this a very beautiful factional offering. It concludes with another spread which gives some fabulous astronomical information about our galaxy.

I absolutely adore this book – Frané’s illustrations alone are always such a joy – and there is no doubt in my mind that young readers will feel likewise. The subject matter is one which is somewhat neglected in our collections for kiddos but is certainly one that deserves to be better known.

Beneath a blanket of stars, crowds cheer at Little League games, campers share fireside stories, bull-riders hold on tight, and sled dogs race through falling snow — all under the Milky Way. Vivid artwork, engaging verses, and facts about the United States and Canada will captivate readers of all ages in a joyful offering from Frané Lessac.

Highly recommended for readers from around 7 years upwards.