Introducing an absolutely fabulous new series for your newly independent/emerging readers that will take them all over Australia to meet a diverse array of characters and visit iconic destinations.
Not only will this be the perfect share for those units on Australia for Junior school kiddos but is a superb introduction to diversity, inclusion and current topics expressed in an easily relatable manner.
Aussie Kids: Meet Zoe and Zac at the Zoo – Belinda Murrell/ David Hardy
From a NSW Zoo to a Victorian lighthouse, or an outback sheep farm in WA to a beach in QLD, this junior fiction series celebrates stories about children living in unique places in every state in Australia.
8 characters, 8 stories, 8 authors and illustrators from all 8 states!
Published: 4 February 2020
First up let’s meet Zoe and Zac – two ‘almost twins’ as they share the same birthday who are from Dubbo. (Fancy that, I lived there for twelve years and two of my daughters were born there!). These two lucky kids live within the well-known Western Plains Zoo and for their 7th birthday they will spend the day with Zoe’s zookeeper mum helping out with all the animals.
It sure is a lot of fun and also hard work feeding the hungry lions, giraffes and meerkats and poop-scooping large mounds of elephant dung but the most exciting part of the day is discovering why Amali the lioness has not turned up for her food.
Who better to write this first instalment than Belinda Murrell who grew up in a vet surgery and whose love of all animals shines through in so many of her highly popular titles? David Hardy’s illustrations are exactly right for the intended readership full of life and just a little on the cheeky side.
Aussie Kids: Meet Taj at the Lighthouse – Maxine Beneba Clarke/Nicki Greenberg
Published: 4 February 2020
Set in Victoria, Taj and his family have not long been in Australia and like so many refugees have their own struggles both in leaving their homeland and also in settling into a completely new country, community and society.
When Taj gets despondent about feeling out of place, his Mama reminds him to ‘believe’. It’s very hard to do so at times and Taj doesn’t even want to wear his favourite lightning bolt t-shirt, which has given him his nickname. His Dad is worried as well as he can’t find work – any work – but again Mama is there to reassure and urge him to ‘believe’.
Gradually things start to improve, Mama is learning English at the local library (Yayy! For libraries!) and Taj is beginning to enjoy his new school. They are starting to adapt to different foods and different sounds and different people but Dad still can’t find a job.
Until one day Dad comes home and suddenly the little family is packing up excitedly and driving a long way south along the Great Ocean Road until they arrive at their new home and Dad’s new job – a lighthouse and Dad is the new lighthouse keeper!
The new community welcomes the family and soon Taj is not only wearing his favourite shirt again but also a life-savers cap as he joins the local Nippers.
Again a terrific story introducing young readers to the wealth of diverse cultures and people in our big beautiful country. Maxine and Nikki have created a warming and relatable story for migrant and Aussie born kids alike.
At the end of each book is a double page of fun/interesting facts – in the first about animals in the second about lighthouses.
This is going to be an outstanding series to get onto your shelves and into the hands of your readers from around 7-9 years.
Highly recommended for Junior libraries and personal collections!