Drama · English · History · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: A Child of Books

a child of books

Book review: A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston

A Child of Books is a wondeful book about the importance of stories and imagination. As the child moves through the pages and explores her imagination and the different stories she encounters we get an insight into the way a child, or adult for that matter, can be transported through the words of stories.

The clever illustrations support the books message as the artist uses actual words to create the images. The pathways, seas, creatures and sky are often made up of letters and words that convey more stories. This is actually a really hard thing to do well in artmaking and it has been done to perfection in the pages of this book.

This book promotes reading, story telling, imagination, invention and more. A truely lovely book to add to your library at home or at school that will help to build a culture of creativity.

To extend the learning from this book you could:

  • Discuss the importance of story telling in fictional and non-fictional forms.
  • Have you ever felt like the words you are reading in a book become pictures in your head and you are transported into the story?
  • Can you create an artwork or image using letters and words like in the book?

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.

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English · History · music · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: Mamie

Maime

Book review: Mamie by Tania McCartney

Where do I start with this beautiful illustrated story about the childhood of Australia’s sweetheart, May Gibbs (aka Mamie)!

Tania McCartney has brought the little girl ‘Mamie’ to life in this book filled with references to May Gibbs’ original stories and illustrations.

I highly recommend this book for homes and schools that want to encourage a creative culture for two main reasons. Firstly, this book gives children access to the history of an iconic Australian artist and author, which is great for English, history and Art subjects, in a way that children will enjoy. Secondly, the book describes Gibbs’ inspirational creative way of seeing the world. She spends plenty of time playing in nature, using her imagination and practicing her artistic skills. We get to see Mamie sing, draw, paint, dance, play, bake, sew, explore, observe, imagine and dream. These words and images will make the creative types feel like they’ve made a new, kindred friend.

An adorable, whimsy tale of an inspirational Australian child.

To extend the learning from this book you could:

  • Read a May Gibbs book and discuss the similarities and references in Mamie.
  • Explore the other wonderful Australian works by Tania McCartney.
  • Find some gum blossoms and leaves to paint or draw. Perhaps you could turn some of your illustrations into characters.
  • Visit the original home of Mamie, May Gibbs’ Nutcote. 

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.

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Drama · English · Geography · History · Mathematics · music · PDHPE · Science and Technology · Uncategorized · visual arts

Creative learning experiences: Sydney

 

SydneyI think most educators would agree that excursions are a fantastic and fun learning experience. We try to visit the city centre of Sydney, NSW a few times each year and explore all the wonderful things there are to experience and learn from. I think the following activities are worth the time/money and can easily be linked to learning outcomes. This list includes places and activities we have visited as well as suggestions from other educators that we are yet to visit but plan to! Park the car, put on your most comfortable shoes, grab your Opal card and explore! You could also pack a small art diary and some sketching pencils!

You might like to read my post about talking with children about art too.

I have also added cost indicators from Free, $, $$, $$$ to help. I have done my best to make sure this information is up to date and accurate at the time of posting but you will need to do your own research and planning as these things can change any time.

  • Powerhouse Museum – You can spend hours here and there is so much on offer for science, technology, history and art. $
  • Art Gallery of NSW – Fantastic for art, history and geography. Free – $$
  • The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney – Great for science, geography and history. Free
  • Chinese Garden of Friendship – Great for history and geography. $
  • Australian National Maritime Museum – Amazing for history, science, technology, geography and often art. I think its worth paying the extra to get on board the ships as they are fantastic. Talk to the guides on the ships too as they are full of great information. Free – $$$
  • Chinatown – great for geography and history.
  • Sydney Aquarium – Great for science and geography $$$
  • Wildlife Sydney – Great for science and geography $$$
  • Darling Harbour playground – great for fun with lots of interactive play. Free
  • Museum of Contemporary Art – See what programs are currently on offer to suit children and families. Free – $
  • Sydney Opera House – Amazing for music, art, drama, dance and history. It’s free to visit, which in itself is a wonderful experience, but it is definitely worth looking out for a moderate cost family friendly show often on in the school holidays. Free – $$$
  • Sydney Observatory – Great for science, history and geography. Its free to visit but the tour costs a little. The planetarium often travels to libraries in other towns and is an excellent experience. Free – $
  • May Gibbs’ Nutcote – Home and gardens of May Gibbs, now museum. Fantastic for English, history and art. $
  • Pylon Lookout, Sydney Harbour Bridge – Great for history, geography and science. $$
  • Public Transport, especially ferries – Great for science, technology and geography. The ferry is a great way to view the architecture and landscape of the harbour as well. Get the cheap Sunday rates. $$
  • Barangaroo Reserve – wonderful for history, art, geography and science. Free
  • Taronga Zoo – great for science, geography and history. $$$
  • Cockatoo Island – Great for history. $$
  • Wendy’s Secret Garden – lovely for art, history and geography. (Wendy is the wife of the late artist Brett Whiteley). Free
  • ABC Studios tour – $$ cost but needs to be organised in advance
  • Australian Museum – Great for science, history, geography and art. $$
  • The Rocks walking tour – Free app
  • Vivid Sydney – Annual light exhibition

This is not a sponsored post.

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English · Geography · History · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: Australia Illustrated

Australia

Book Review: Australia Illustrated by Tania McCartney

Tania McCartney is an Australian artist who has illustrated many books. Her journey also includes a lot of other creative ventures, including encouraging others to draw and illustrate. Anyone who helps promote creativity in Australia gets a big thumbs up from us!

Australia Illustrated is a beautifully illustrated book dedicated to bringing the character of Australia to life through McCartney’s whimsy, watercolour images and digital art. Each section of this vast and varied country is explored, from the iconic places we know and love to the quirkier details that make us want to explore it more. From major cities to iconic foods, animals to historic details, Australia Illustrated is a visual feast of learning.

This book is a perfect way to introduce kids to the geography and diversity of this big land. The illustrations are an ideal way to communicate all of the amazing details and both kids and adults will be inspired. It would also be the perfect companion to anyone who is exploring Australia or planning a trip!

Tania McCartney’s website has links to teaching notes that explain all of the ways her book relates to different subject areas. It has quite a few ideas for activities in those different subject areas too.

To extend the learning from this book, here are some extra suggestions for activities.

  • On a map of Australia, plan a trip based on the things from the book you would like to visit.
  • Draw some of your own illustrations of things you think are important for people to know about Australia or another country that is significant to you.
  • Using the illustrations you have drawn from the previous task, create a poster/brochure for your chosen country.
  • Give watercolour painting a go!

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.

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English · Geography · History · Science and Technology · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: Home

home

Book Review: Home by Jeannie Baker (It is also titled Belonging)

Home is one of the many, many books created by collage construction artist, Jeannie Baker. This book is the companion to another book of Baker’s, Window. Where Window creatively documents the urban sprawl of a suburb through the changing view from the window, Home/Belonging documents the hopeful reverse, where the concrete jungle of the city becomes slowly transformed into a lush green community space for the residents and native creatures. You can read more about the ideas of this wonderful book on Jeannie Baker’s website.

If a picture paints a thousand words, then Jeannie Baker’s, often wordless books, speak volumes about community, culture, the environment and changing times. There is a reason they are on the NSW English suggested texts lists for Stage 1, 2, 3 and 4 multiple times. They speak to people of all ages through the different layers of meaning.

Jeannie Baker demonstrates extreme levels of patience with her artmaking method, building up collages, layer by layer after dreaming up the idea, creating the images to work from and sourcing all of the varied materials. We have been fortunate enough to visit an exhibition of her collage works from her books and they are truly inspiring.

To extend the learning from this book, there are so many things you could do.

  • Collect materials and design and make your own collage construction.
  • Look at old photos of your own city, town or environment and see how it has changed over time.
  • Brainstorm ways to include more native plants in your community.
  • Research what the environmental issues are in your local community and think about what you could do to help solve these problems.
  • Write a description of a community from the perspective of two families. One perspective from today and one perspective from fifty years ago.

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.

English · History · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book review: Uncle Andy’s

Uncle Andys

Book review: Uncle Andy’s by James Warhola

Uncle Andy’s has been written by Andy Warhol’s nephew! James Warhola has written and illustrated this wonderful story from his childhood. The beautifully illustrated book takes the reader on an exciting and entertaining journey through the eyes of James as a child, visiting his Uncle Andy and grandmother “Bubba” at their home/studio in the city of New York. The fabulous illustrations include references to some of Warhol’s most famous and valuable works. Seeing the artworks in the home surrounded by family, furniture and pets will really help young readers to appreciate Warhol’s works and relate them to their own lives. Children will have lots of fun spotting all of the 25 cats (all named Sam) in the illustrations.

The book refers to different kinds of artmaking. It obviously refers to Andy Warhol’s works like Campbell’s Soup Cans, 1962 but it also refers to making sculptures out of found objects from the junk yard as well as a reference at the end about how James Warhola was inspired to develop his own artmaking through art classes, a wonderfully messy bedroom/studio and the support of his parents. The final page shows the young boy, James, in his studio, deep in his creative thoughts and drawing a found object, with his mum proudly looking over his shoulder.

To extend the learning from this book it is well worth looking into the works and time period of Andy Warhol’s artworks.

  • Talk about how he took ordinary objects and turned them into priceless works of art.
  • Talk about how screen-printing was used for advertising but Warhol was innovative and used it as an exciting method to create art.
  • Think about what popular, ordinary items of today would be considered new and exciting if you printed them as artworks.

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.