July 27 2021

Another pile of picture books

Picture booksTitle: The inheritance
Author: Armin Greder
Genre/ issues: Capitalism. Greed.

Title: Flight
Author: Nadia Wheatley
Illustrator: Armin Greder
Genre/ issues: Refugee journeys.

Title: If the world were 100 people
Author: Jackie McCann
Illustrator: Aaron Cushley
Genre/ issues: World issues.

Title: The lost girl
Author: Ambelin Kwaymullina
Illustrator: Leanne Tobin
Genre/ issues: Aboriginal stories. Connection with the land. Family.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

Some more picture books- and Armin Greder continues to cement himself as one of the most profoundly thought provoking picture book artists with his new offering, Inheritance. His stark and grim illustrations examine the impact of multinational corporations who are focused on cementing their own financial legacy, rather than demonstrating any awareness of their impact on the world and its future. A bleak and uncompromising view of corporate greed and power.
I unpacked a box the other day, in the hunt for a document, and found Greder’s collaboration with Nadia Wheatley, Flight. Examining the journey of a couple and their infant child in search of safety, there are initial allusions to the biblical story of Mary and Joseph following the star, but we then see the horror our refugee characters are fleeing from, and the uncertainty they find themselves in at the end of their flight to freedom – a camp, still yearning for freedom and home. A really powerful picture book.
The whole “let’s look at how the world would look if it were just 100 people” isn’t a new concept, but my third picture book for the day does a really wonderful job breaking down this metaphor and conveying it in pictographic illustrations with engaging and accessible text. Analysing proportionate data from appearance to lifestyle, education to environment, and access to resources such as housing, food, wealth and water, it’d be a great way to discuss global community with younger readers from Jackie McCann and Aaron Cushley.
And finally, Ambelin Kwaymullina’s and Leanne Tobin’s The Lost Girl. This was another box find, and its lovely. A young Aboriginal girl gets lost, and until she finds her human family is cared for by her surroundings, her Mother Earth. Rich, vibrant and earthy illustrations support Kwaymullina’s heartfelt and delightful narrative. I’m glad I rediscovered this one!

#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 108, 112-114/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

July 24 2021

Pirate Stew, by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

Pirate Stew

Pirate Stew, by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

Title: Pirate Stew
Author: Neil Gaiman
Illustrator: Chris Riddell
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Comedy.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell are possibly my favourite storyteller/illustrator combination. I heard Neil read Pirate Stew at his show in Perth last February, just before the world went mad, and I knew without question that Chris’ illustrations would be perfect. I was not wrong. A delightful tale of 2 siblings whose babysitters turn out to be pirates, and when dinner time arrives, their go-to recipe is for the eponymous pirate stew. The only problem? When you eat pirate stew, you become a pirate too! This is not what the children want, do they avoid consuming the concoction – but they do go on an epic piratical adventure! A jolly delight.

#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 110/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

July 8 2021

Story Doctors, by Boori Monty Pryor and Rita Sinclair

Story doctors

Story Doctors, by Boori Monty Pryor and Rita Sinclair

Title: Story Doctors
Author: Boori Monty Pryor
Illustrator: Rita Sinclair
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Indigenous stories.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

I usually post a pile of picture books at a time, but this one is worth sharing separately. Story Doctors by Boori Monty Pryor and Rita Sinclair examines the enduring power of stories to unite us and how nature connects us, through the long and deep history of Indigenous connection to and relationship with the

Story doctor image

 land. It reflects on the ability of nature and humanity to heal, both itself and ourselves. The powerful poetic message is supported by rich and evocative illustrations. A wonderful read for #naidocweek.

#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 106/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

June 22 2021

A pile of picture books

 

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

Picture booksTitle: Eyes that kiss in the corners
Author: Joanna Ho
Illustrator: Dung Ho
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Asian representation. Diversity and acceptance.

Title: I am every good thing
Author: Derrick Barnes
Illustrator: Gordon C James
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Black excellence. 

Title: I am perfectly designed
Author: Karamo Brown
Illustrator:
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Family. Self esteem.

📚Eyes That Kiss in the Corners  a love story to family connections and to celebrating oneself. A young girl notices her eyes are different to her friends … but her eyes kiss in the corners and shine glow like warm tea, crinkle like crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future. It’s a beautiful book, and one is highly recommend.

📚I Am Every Good Thing is a powerful celebration of Black boyhood, of all the amazing features that make each individual special and unique and wonderful. Stunning artwork, and a powerful emphasis on the importance of recognising your place in the community of strong men who have come before you.

📚And continuing the theme of “books which celebrate YOU”, I am Perfectly Designed. Super sweet illustrations with a diverse range of skin colours represented, it tells the story of a conversation between a father and son reminiscing on their past experiences together, and about how perfectly designed they are for each other and for the role they play in the world. So lovely, it’s be a wonderful text to read with someone you love to remind them how special they are.
Picture books setTitle: Oona
Author: Kelly DiPucchio
Illustrator:
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Fantasy. Exploration

Title: Ernest the Elephant
Author: Anthony Browne
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Exploration. Family. 

Title: Small in the city
Author: Sydney Smith
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Isolation. City life.

📚Oona is a fabulous mermaid with an appetite for adventure, by @kellydipucchio and @rizzyfig. She spends her time treasure hunting with her pal Otto, and she’s got her eye on a particularly sparkly treasure, but it lurks too far down in the deep for her to reach. Does she look like that’s going to stop her, though? I adore this book, and I’m always enthralled by illustrations that are obviously 2d but convey such a sense of movement and life. This is a gem!

📚The Shape Game by Anthony Browne is one of my favourite picture books to teach, so when I saw Ernest the Elephant I knew I’d be adding it to my pile. Ernest is on a trek with his family when he spots the forest, and despite warnings from his mother, he decides to go exploring … but of course he gets lost! Vibrant, engaging, and as full of life and hidden adventures as you would expect from this master artist.
📚Small in the City, by Sydney Smith. Wow. It’s hard to capture in a brief description what this book is about, because the deceptively simple narrative about being lost in the city is so multilayered and complex. It’s visually stunning, and lends itself to a number of rereadings as you get lost alongside our protagonist. This could definitely be a favourite for the year.
I didn’t select these three books to be posted together for any particular reason, but now I’m realising that they all have the overarching theme of finding your way in your world as someone small – in the ocean, forest or city, there’s always a place for the littlest of us. If you’re after a book for a little person in your life, you can’t go wrong with any of these, but I’d perhaps recommend Smith’s as suitable for older readers as well. It’s be a great text for visual analysis in an upper primary context I think!

Picture booksTitle: Where the heart is
Author: Irma Gold
Illustrator:
Genre/ issues: Picture books. True story. Environment.

Title: Hike
Author: Pete Oswald
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Worldless. Family. 

Title: Leilong the library bus
Author: Julia Liu
Illustrator: Bei Lynn
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Libraries. Stories.

Title: The art of words
Author: Robert Vescio
Illustrator: Joanna Bartel
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Words and language.

📚Where The Heart Is, by @irma.gold and @oh.susannah.illustration is the beautiful story of Bindim, a young penguin who washes up on the beach in Brazil and is rescued by Joao who nursed him back to health. Based on a true story, it’s a lovely celebration of the power of friendship, and it’s so beautifully illustrated!
📚Hike by @peteoswald follows a father and son on a hike. Almost completely wordless apart from some onomatopoeiaic words, it’s utterly lovely, displaying both the beauty of nature and of the bond between parent and child. Stunning.
📚I can’t resist a picture book about libraries. A dinosaur library book? Hell yes! Leilong the Library Bus by Julia Liu and Bei Lynn sees Leilong try to join his friends at Storytime – but he doesn’t have a library card and is too big to successfully follow the rules! A super cute book which emphasises that libraries are for everyone.
📚The Art of Words by Robert Vescio and Joanna Bartel is my favourite kind of book – one that celebrates the magic and power of words, with a nod to the important role that punctuation can play in how we engage with words. An absolute gem.

#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 85-94/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

May 19 2021

Give me some space!, by Philip Bunting

National Simultaneous Storytime

Give me some space!, by Philip Bunting

Title: Give me some space!
Author: Philip Bunting
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Space.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

I love @alianational’s National Simultaneous Storytime, and it was extra exciting this year to be able to tune in to Storytime from Space! As well as the #1MillionKidsReading in schools and libraries around Australia, NASA astronaut Shannon Walker read @philip.bunting’s Give Me Some Space from the @iss. It’s a thrill to add this to my #2021readingchallenge tally. If you missed it, it’s not too late – check out the recording on YouTube!

#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 62/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

May 11 2021

Where’s My Cow? by Terry Pratchett

Where's My Cow?

Where’s My Cow? by Terry Pratchett

Title: Where’s My Cow?
Author: Terry Pratchett
Genre/ issues: Picture book. Discworld. Comedy.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

I mentioned a little while ago that Where’s My Cow was the only book I’d not tracked down for my #discworld collection. Today, it arrived in the mail – an unbirthday gift from Jacob’s mother as part of a special collection of assorted presents for Jacob and the kids. It gave me such joy to open it, and to read it before we headed in to campus this morning.
A story about a story that turns into another story – Sam Vimes delights in reading Sam Jr his favourite bedtime book, but soon gets frustrated with how far removed it is from Sam Jr’s reality. So, like many parents before him, he makes some slight …. modifications to the tale.
I love Vimes, and I was delighted to see Lady Sibyl make an appearance in this. Thank you, Belinda Hill, this is a much-loved addition to my collection.

#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 54/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

April 26 2021

Middle grade picture books

The Lost Child of Chernobyl, and The Rock From The Sky

The Lost Child of Chernobyl, and The Rock From The Sky

Title: The Lost Child of Chernobyl
Author: Helen Bate
Genre/ issues: Historical fiction. Graphic novel.

Title: The Rock From the Sky
Author: Jon Klassen
Genre/ issues: Picture book. Mystery. Friendship.

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

A couple of middle grade graphics – and I’m caught up! (For now anyway)
📚The Lost Child of Chernobyl by Helen Bate is a fictional narrative about the impact of the Chernobyl disaster on the families, communities, land and animals in the surrounding areas. It’s beautifully illustrated, and whilst it deals with some potentially confronting content, it portrays this sensitively and appropriately for upper primary or lower secondary readers.
📚I love Jon Klassen’s art style, and The Rock From the Sky is fantastic. Quirky, witty and wryly humorous, it’s a great tale about friendship, things from outer space, and trusting your gut. Loved it!

#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 43-44/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

April 25 2021

Exploring through picture books

Rajah Street, Little Lion, When You Go To Melbourne, and Anisa's Alphabet

Rajah Street, Little Lion, When You Go To Melbourne, and Anisa’s Alphabet

Title: Rajah Street
Author: Myo Yim
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Outside my window.

Title: Little Lion
Author: Saroo Brierley and Bruce Whatley
Genre/ issues: Non fiction. Illustrated narrative. Family. 

Title: When You Go To Melbourne
Author: Maree Coote
Genre/ issues: Picture book. Non fiction. Melbourne life. 

Title: Anisa’s Alphabet
Author: Mike Dumbleton 

Illustrator: Hannah Sommerville
Genre/ issues: Picture book. Refugee stories. 

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

4 more picture books, and 4 very different journeys.
📚 Rajah Street by @myo.yim.drawing tells the story of Junyo, who explores the world outside his window, waiting desperately for Wednesday. Why? Because Wednesday is when the garbage trucks come! Lovely engaging illustrations, and a super sweet story.
📚Little Lion is illustrated by the incredible @whatleybruce, and tells the story of Saroo Brierley that we’re familiar with from the blockbuster movie Lion, for younger readers. I don’t have to tell you how stunning the artwork is, and it reflects perfectly the moving story of finding a new family, then finding your birth family again.
📚Whilst we can’t travel much in real life right now, we can certainly travel on the page, and When You Go To Melbourne took me back to one of my favourite cities! The grungy artwork really echoes the exceptionally cool vibe of Melbourne’s iconic laneways and landmarks. A great find-a-feature book for anyone missing Melbourne.
📚Anisa’s Alphabet. Sigh. My heart aches after reading this book. For many refugees, the alphabet is the first step towards learning a new language and building anew future, but Anisa’s alphabet tells the story of her journey from her war-torn home, fleeing to find safety, boarding a boat to cross the ocean, and her eventual limbo in a refugee camp, dreaming of her new life.
A diverse range of style sand experiences in this bunch- great stories, all.

#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 39-42/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

April 24 2021

Picture books about stories and words

The Lost Library, Dinosaurs In Love, The March Of The Ants, and Poo! And Other Words That Make Me Laugh

The Lost Library, Dinosaurs In Love, The March Of The Ants, and Poo! And Other Words That Make Me Laugh

Title: The Lost Library
Author: Jess McGeachin
Genre/ issues: Picture book. Fantasy. Stories.

Title: Dinosaurs In Love
Author: Fenn Rosenthal
Illustrator: Hannah Jacobs
Genre/ issues: Picture book. Libraries and why they matter.

Title: The March Of The Ants
Author: Ursula Dubosarsky
Illustrator: Tohby Riddle
Genre/ issues: Picture book. Stories.

Title: Poo! And Other Words That Make Me Laugh
Author: Felice Arena
Illustrator: Tom Jellet
Genre/ issues: Picture book. Word fun. 

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

Can you guess what I’ve been reading this week? More picture books!
📚 I’m a sucker for a book about a library – even moreso when the narrative focuses on the journeys that stories can take you on. This one reminded me of a children’s version of The Starless Sea – which I’m sure I don’t need to tell you is a HUGE compliment. The Lost Library by @jessmcgeachin is a delightful trip through a secret library, showing all the things you can learn from the stories around you. And the illustrations inside are as gorgeous as you’d expect from that cover!!!
📚If you’ve not seen the music clip of Dinosaurs In Love, stop reading right now and go and search for it on YouTube. Written by 3 year old Fenn Rosenthal, it is such a joy, and this picture book version of it is super sweet.
📚March of the Ants was written by @ursuladubosarsky as part of her tenure as Australian Children’s Laureate, and has been available online since then, but I love this picture book version of it by @booktrailpress. A fantastic story about an ant who brings a book on a long journey. Initially he’s mocked by his fellow ants, but they soon realise the importance of stories to sustain them on the long march ahead.
📚I love books that give you opportunities to play with words. Poo! And Other Words That Make Me Laugh is an excellent example – lots of words that are fun to wrap your mouth around, and are fun and funny to say. I also love the glossary at the end that gives you the definitions of all those hilarious words. A fab fun book from @fleech and Tom Jellett.
All of these are going straight to the study and into my collection. Super cute and fun to read!

#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 34-37/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara

 

 

April 23 2021

Picture books about learning something new

The Katha Chest, Courageous Lucy, The Couch Potato, and Florence and Fox

The Katha Chest, Courageous Lucy, The Couch Potato, and Florence and Fox

Title: The Katha Chest
Author: Radhiah Chowdhury
Illustrator: Lavanya Naidu
Genre/ issues: Picture book. Family stories. 

Title: Courageous Lucy
Author: Paul Russell
Illustrator: Cara King
Genre/ issues: Picture book. School stories. Finding Courage. 

Title: The Couch Potato
Author: Jory John
Illustrator: Pete Oswald
Genre/ issues: Picture book. How to spend your free time. 

Title: Florence and  Fox
Author: Zanni Louise
Illustrator: Anna Pignataro
Genre/ issues: Picture book. Friendship. Sharing. 

Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.

Another picture book post.
📚The Katha Chest is a beautiful story about the stories that are woven into the kathas – Bangladeshi quilts made out of cotton saris that have stopped being useful as clothing. I love the intricacies of the illustrations, drawing on both the author and illustrator’s family saris and kathas. Stories passed down through families – this is my kind of picture book!
📚Courageous Lucy is about a little girl who likes to worry, but soon discovers some things are worth being brave for. Can’t relate. I mean, who would worry all the time about every possible thing? “Hi, my name’s Tamara ….” A super cute book for your little (and big) worrier.
📚The Couch Potato feels like another “personal attack” picture book. This tech-savvy spud learns that there’s nothing wrong with finding a balance between screen time and the world outside. Apparently. Super cute!
📚And finally, Florence and Fox tells the story of two friends trying to figure out what the rules of Sharing Day are. Friendships can be tricky!
Picture books. They really are the best. Thought-provoking ideas, presented in super-accessible formats, able to be absorbed while you’re waiting for the kettle to boil. For kids of all ages.

#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 30-33/2021

Happy reading,

Tamara