Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Book help

I know I am the one always recommending book to you, but this time I need you to suggest books to me.  I have been a bit undecided about what we were going to study next and have been taking the time to do some catch-up on regular school work.  But I think I have a plan.  It makes sense to continue with our geography theme and move from the Pacific Ocean and islands on across to Australia.  We've never really studied that continent before and I see a whole host of opportunities, but I need a book or books.  It works really well for us to base our studies off of what we are reading, either fiction or non-fiction, but I need titles!

So, what books do you know of that are 1) appropriate for many ages, 2) have to do with Australia (either past or present) and 3) are good reads?  That's not too tall an order is it?  I know I have quite a few Australian readers of this blog... what would you recommend?  What parts of Australia do you think are important to learn about?  In my experience, Australia is a continent much ignored in our part of the world unless we happen to learning about kangaroos or koala bears.

We're ready to begin!


Anonymous said...

"Magic Pudding" Norman Lindsay
"Lizzie Nonsense" Jon Ormerod
"Ready to Dream" Donna Jo Napoli
"Koaloa Lou" Mem Fox
"Diary of a Wombat"
"Diary of a Baby Wombat" Jackie French
"Onion Tears" Diana Kidd- This is a Vietnamese adoption story which you might want to screen before a read aloud.


sandwichinwi said...

Red sand, Blue Sky is a Sonlight book about Australia.

We also have Toad Rage and its sequels (pre-read this. I haven't read the whole thing although my kids have) about a family of those frogs that have taken over Australia.

I can't think of the title, but there's also a book about that expedition that explored Aus with camels (and all the explorers died). I think the book centers on the camels.

How's all that for vague recommendations?

Netflix instant streaming has a Deadliest Dozen episode on dangerous animals of Australia.


comemorning said...

"walkabout" was so good but not appropriate for little ones.

Christina said...

"Lizzie Nonsense" is a lovely picture book about an outback (i.e. frontier) family. My 2 year old daughter loves it, and never fails to get excited when the Papa comes home at the end of the story.
For beautiful, realist illustrations of Australian animals, Christian Birmingham's "Wombat Goes Walkabout" is good, but probably more evocative than educational.
"The Silver Brumby" series by Elyne Mitchell is about wild horses in Australia's Blue Mountains. I haven't read these for years, but I found them to be exhilarating when I read them at about 10-12 years of age.
"Snugglepot and Cuddlepie" by May Gibbs is an Edwardian classic.
A friend of mine (homeschooled - as was I) recommends the Billabong series by Mary Grant Bruce. I think these are also from the Edwardian era.
I would personally stay away from "Seven Little Australians" and its companion stories (by Ethel Turner) as it portrays a very dysfunctional family (by Victorian standards at least!).
You might enjoy "We of the Never-Never" by Mrs. Aeneas Gunn. This is a memoir by a woman who went as a newly-wed to a place of extreme remoteness in Northern Australia, in the 1890s, I think.
Anyway, let me take this opportunity to say how much I enjoy your blog. We live in Tasmania, so if you have any questions about our little island, I'd be happy to oblige!

Christina said...

Oh, I almost forgot! I would *highly* recommend reading the Australian Bush poets, especially Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson. Their poetry is rhythmic, superbly-crafted and very entertaining. Great for children! (Hilariously, my 2-year-old has memorized the first stanza of "Mulga Bill's Bicycle" by Banjo Patterson!)
There is a fun illustrated book of that poem by Kilmeny and Deborah Niland. Other standout poems by Patterson that children will enjoy are "Clancy of the Overflow" and "The Man from Snowy River". And you can do some fun research to decode the slang. ;)

thecurryseven said...

Thanks everyone for your suggestions... I am developing quite a nice list of books about Australia. I'll share it with you once I get (and read) all the books.

Christina--I may take you up on your offer. Thank you!


TJC said...

Rowing to Alaska, by Wayne McLennan, is a book of autobiographical stories that I've used with 12th graders in adventure lit. (So it would be for M and B.) As the title suggests, it isn't set entirely in Australia, but a couple of the chapters give a very interesting picture of a very non-touristy slice of Australia. If I can find it, I'll send you copies of the relevant stories.

Aidan said...

Are you specifically looking for non-fiction or fiction? Or both?

thecurryseven said...

Either one.


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