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


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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English · PDHPE · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book review: The Dot

the dot

Book review: The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

The Dot is the story of Vashti, who somewhere along the line has lost her confidence in her drawing abilities. Thankfully, she has an understanding art teacher, who has most likely taught many students with this same view.

(As an art teacher, I have taught many students who have announced that they couldn’t draw. One of those students went on to become a recognised artist for their drawing ability!)

Vashti, in frustration, jabs the paper and creates “The Dot”. With encouragement and determination, she goes on to explore the basic shape as an artmaking theme and creates bigger and more exciting artworks each time she creates. Her confidence grows and she encourages others with their drawing as well.

This is a beautiful book about not giving up, keeping it simple, developing skills, having a go, growing in confidence and encouraging others. We are dedicated fans of author and illustrator Peter H. Reynolds and highly recommend his books, particularly the others in this set, Ish and Sky Color.

To extend the learning from this book you could have a read of the following activities.

  • Discussion: Do you sometimes feel like drawing is difficult like Vashti did? Do you have a go anyway?
  • What artworks could you create using just dots?
  • How important is encouragement to you and do you like to encourage others?
  • Yayoi Kusama is a popular artist who uses dots in her work. Have a look at this white room in a gallery that visitors were able to stick coloured dot stickers onto the walls, floors and furniture!*

For more creativity inspiring book suggestions, visit our library.

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*Note: We do our best to make sure any external links are suitable but a supervising adult will need to do the research first to check that the content is suitable for students. Many artists have a wide range of artworks and although some artworks may be suitable for children and families, other artworks may not be. Supervising adults are responsible for ensuring that the content is appropriate.


Summer Holiday Creative Challenge: Daily creativity workout


If you’ve been following our Facebook page you would know that today we are launching a fun Summer Holiday Creative Challenge. Everyday we will add a challenge to this list that is designed to engage the creative thinking parts of your brain. The activities are fun and help you to “think outside the box” of what daily tasks your brain may normally do. Most challenges don’t require special materials. The majority of activities are easily attempted by kids through to adults and it’s not all art related. Let the creative challenge begin!

  1. How many words can you make from the letters of SUMMER HOLIDAY (or WINTER HOLIDAY)
  2. Listen to a style of music you wouldn’t normally listen to.
  3. Draw 3-5 random lines and shapes and give it to someone to turn it into a picture. Have them draw lines and shapes for you to turn into a picture too.
  4. Observation task: Name every colour you can see right now. Be as descriptive as possible.
  5. Make up your own signature dance move.
  6. If you were to write a book, what would the title be?
  7. Daydream
  8. Describe how you think the world will look in 100 years from now.
  9. If you owned a shop, what would it sell?
  10. What would your dream super power be?
  11. Think up a new and unusual ice cream flavour.
  12. Illustrate the following words using only pictures. Sight, sound, taste, smell.
  13. Create a drum rhythm using things around you.
  14. Draw your house plan from memory.
  15. Name something you are passionate about.
  16. Make a flip-book animation.
  17. Try and guess what another person is thinking.
  18. Get out into nature.
  19. Sketch a cartoon version of yourself.
  20. Build a robot out of LEGO or cardboard.
  21. Invent a new animal by drawing a combination of 2 or more existing animals. Give it a scientific name.
  22. Make up a humorous poem.
  23. Look at the sky and find a cloud that resembles something.
  24. Cut or rip up a piece of paper and try to put it back together like a puzzle.
  25. If aliens exist, what would their planet look like?
  26. Draw half a monster character, fold over most of it and give it to someone to draw the other half of the monster character without them knowing what your half looks like. 
  27. Imagine you are a bird and write a diary entry about your day. 
  28. Make up a song/jingle that you could imagine being used on an ad for….
  29. Play charades.
  30. Change the lyrics to a well known song or tune to make a funny version.

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English · Science and Technology · Uncategorized · visual arts

Book Review: Australian Birds

Australian birds

Book review: Australian Birds by Matt Chun

This gorgeous book is by artist Matt Chun. I’ve included this book in my recommendations as not only is it a wonderful gathering of beautiful artworks but it is also a fantastic introduction to facts about Australian birds that is great for children. This would be a valuable book for any library.

The illustrations are so lovely and really capture the personality of each Australian bird. Opposite each artwork is a few paragraphs describing the life, habitat, diet and nests unique to each bird family. It is written in a way that is easy to understand and yet still interesting.

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

  • Take notice of the birds around your home and see if you recognise any of them from the book.
  • Find some photos of native birds and create your own illustrations.
  • What other birds are native to your area? Write a short description about their nest, habitat and diet.

This is a great book for art and science.

For more creative learning book suggestions, visit our library.

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