Recommended kids books, news & resources for May
In May we have books that will make you want to play with your food, think about respect, be absorbed in family and friendships, get a little creeped out, and look with fresh eyes at recycling, reusing and reducing.
Find our May picks for YA books here.
FIVE KIDS BOOKS TO READ THIS MONTH
Play with Your Plate! by Judith Rossell
Mix and match to your heart’s content with this fun and innovative board book by Australian author and illustrator Judith Rossell. Play with Your Plate! encourages youngsters to play with their food; there are four separate board books inside that can be flipped open to make an endless array of plate combinations. Do you want tacos and pineapple? Raspberries and eggs? How about sushi, kiwi fruit and pizza? Rossell shares helpful suggestions of ways to arrange your meal – by shape, by food group or by favourites – making for plenty of entertainment.
For ages 2 and up
Respect by Aunty Fay Muir, Sue Lawson & Lisa Kennedy
This tender and thoughtful picture book is the first in a new series, Our Place, which welcomes and introduces children to important elements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. Using spare and poetic text, a young girl is encouraged to respect culture, stories, song, ancestors, Elders, and Country. Authors Aunty Fay Muir and Sue Lawson have previously collaborated on the excellent language book Nganga, and you may know illustrator Lisa Kennedy from her work on Welcome to Country and Wilam: A Birrarung Story. The gorgeous language, universal themes and vibrant illustrations make Respect a truly beautiful book to pore over with little people.
For ages 3 and up
The Year the Maps Changed by Danielle Binks
Grade 6 student Fred has a complicated family life – her mother died when she was six, her Pop has gone away, she lives with her adoptive dad Luca, his girlfriend Annika and her son Sam, and now there’s a new baby on the way as well. When a group of 400 Kosovar-Albanian refugees are settled at a nearby government ‘safe haven' and Luca decides to volunteer there, Fred’s life becomes intertwined with the lives of the refugees. Set evocatively on the Mornington Peninsula in 1999, this is a powerful debut novel from youth literature advocate Danielle Binks, exploring grief, family, friendship, community, fear and ignorance with honesty and sensitivity.
For ages 9 and up
Her Perilous Mansion by Sean Williams
In a strange mansion miles from anywhere, an orphan named Almanac and a twelfth daughter named Etta find themselves working – and bickering – side-by-side in the largely deserted rooms. But soon they realise that the house and its inhabitants are not quite what they seem, and there’s more at stake than just their jobs… Readers are in very safe (albeit spooky) hands with prolific Australian speculative fiction author Williams, as the mystery and the creepiness builds inside the highly imaginative world of ‘Her Perilous Mansion’.
For ages 8 and up
Your Planet Needs You! by Philip Bunting
We’re avowed Bunting fans at Readings, and we’re delighted that Mr Bunting has recently focussed his humorous, quirky gaze on factual subjects such as ants and pre-history. In Your Planet Needs You! he looks at ways to reduce rubbish and waste. Colourful, funny and full of actual practical things for families and kids to do (Compost! Plant seedlings in egg cartons! Upcycle socks!), this is a great read for any environmentally conscious youngster. And interestingly, the artwork for this book was made using mostly recycled paper.
For ages 7 and up
NEWS, RESOURCES & RECOMMENDATIONS
We chatted to debut author Bernadette Green about her picture book, Who’s Your Real Mum?, a funny and imaginative look at non-traditional families. There’s a list of great family read-togethers at the end of the interview.
If you are a truly coo person, then you will already know that coo is pigeon for ‘cool.’ And you will be ecstatic to sign up for the very new and very exciting Super Coo Club – an interactive program of weekly videos and activities from the creators of the Real Pigeons series, author Andrew McDonald and illustrator Ben Wood. Each week, The Super Coo Club will be part talk show, part drawing workshop, part writing book camp, and all-round pigeon appreciation club, complete with videos, live demonstrations, activities and competitions. Strut, waddle and fly to the Real Pigeons website to sign up.
100 Story Building, one of our favourite writing organisations for young people, has live (and very lively!) readings for 7-12 year olds every Thursday at 2pm AEST. Check out their Facebook page to watch past readings, and to participate live.
Ursula Dubosarsky was announced as the new Australian Children’s Laureate back in February (which already feels eons ago), and it’s an opportune time to share that the Australian Children’s Laureate website has some great activities and resources available, designed by Dubosarsky herself.
Way, way over in the UK, the wonderful Book Trust (a charity dedicated to getting kids reading) has developed Home Time – a rolling and expanding collection of videos, workshops, demonstrations, activities, storytimes, quizzes, games and even recipes prepared by well-known authors and illustrators. I’m keen to try my luck at the Matilda quiz.