Tag Archives: Festivals

Christmas Goodies

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Zola and the Christmas Lights – Melina Marchetta/Deb Hudson

Penguin Australia

October 2022

  • ISBN: 9780143777649
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $19.99

For the entirety of the delightful What Zola did On… series, Melina Marchetta consistently delivered such beautiful and meaningful messages to young readers around diversity, community, empathy, friendship and family, all without once becoming preachy or tedious. It truly was joyful to read each new instalment. Now Zola has her very first (and let’s hope, not last) picture book and once again Zola’s story embodies all that made the chapter books so special.

Before school finished up I had the pleasure of sharing this gorgeous book with at least five different classes from Prep to Year 3 and all not only loved it, but also keenly participated in predicting and postulating. It was a highlight of my last few weeks of casual teaching.

Best of all for the very diverse population of children with whom I shared this, there was not one who could not identify with some aspect of this Australian celebration, from my sweet girl who so excitedly told me ‘we have a lantern just like that for Ramadan and my mum wears [that]’ i.e.a hijab, to the ones who could talk earnestly about some people finding it hard to buy groceries, to the ones who had already put up Xmas decorations. We really did have such fun and such richness from it.

Of course the narrative is beautifully illustrated by Deb Hudson, whose work enhanced the chapter books so ably but now explodes into a perfect riot of colour and detail.

It’s not too late to pick up a copy and share with your own little people – and enjoy the talk about what our various celebrations mean to us all.

Highly recommended for readers from 4 years upwards.

Happy….Everything….

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Happy Dio de los Muertos (my favourite), All Hallows Eve, Halloween 🎃, Samhain, O- Bon Festival and, of course Reformation/Martin Luther Day… Plus a few others 🤣

Check this out for a selection of celebrations around the world!!

The Kid feels too grown up for it now – and as where we are living is very light on with kiddos, not much point even preparing for TrickORTreaters but fun to see all the decorations around town.

I am missing doing my usual Day of the Dead library display 😦

I hope your celebrations, whatever they may be, are total fun!! Tomorrow I’ll be kicking off a month long celebrations of picture books for Picture Book Month – a fresh post every day (because I really love a challenge haha!)

Plume [#3]: Festival Seeker -Tania McCartney

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Hardie Grant

October 2022

ISBN: 9781741177909

Publisher: Hardie Grant Explore

RRP: $26.99

My apologies for that delay between the fabulous interview with the lovely Tania and my promised review of the newest Plume title – released yesterday – but there was a rather inconvenient technical hitch.

Welcome back Plume! Our intrepid Antarctic traveller extraordinaire is taking readers on another worldwide adventure, this time exploring some of the world’s most colourful festivals, proving that life is not just black-and-white for all penguins!

Little Plume has many friends from many different countries – as one would expect for such a gregarious little fellow, and when he receives an invitation from his Scottish friend to join in a special event, he tries to tempt his penguin comrades to join him. Alas, they are still very set in their penguin ways but that doesn’t deter Plume. He and Ava, of the Albatross Express, spend a year travelling to various countries each month to celebrate with the locals and enjoy the colourful culture of each.

As with the previous Plume exploits there will be some names with which children connect. There will very likely be children who know of, or indeed celebrate, Diwali, Holi or even the Rio Carnival, but I daresay none (nor adults) who have heard of the Up Helly Aa festival from the Shetland Isles or the Boryeong Mud Festival in South Korea. The inclusion of Easter and Christmas helps even the youngest of readers to relate these lesser known celebrations to those they might encounter in their own lives as a matter of course.

Needless to say Plume’s penguin buddies remain quite obstinate in their reluctance to try anything new – well at least, until it comes to one particular festival that caters exactly to their tastes!

Once again, Tania’s exquisite rendering of sympathetic and engaging text matched with her superlative illustrations will not fail to engage your readers and, as with the earlier Plume books, this is one that sits perfectly not only on personal bookshelves but in classrooms to accompany curriculum units such as those which look at cultural events and festivals (Year 3 HASS) and diversity.

As always, Tania’s work really needs no recommendation, as its superiority speaks volumes for itself, but in any case, I give you my heartiest recommendation for children from Prep upwards (I recently shared Plume: Global Nibbler with a Year 6 and, rather as Plume would with lovely food, they gobbled it up with delight!).

Congratulations Tania on another beautiful creation, and I know I eagerly await Plume’s next outing.

Check out Tania’s Plume Book Birthday post over at Insta – it’s just the cutest!!!

Download Tania’s Plume Festival Seeker colouring page here

What do You do to Celebrate? Ashleigh Barton/Martina Heidnezek

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Harper Collins Australia

October 2021

ISBN: 9780733341595
ISBN 10: 0733341594
Imprint: ABC Books AU
List Price: 19.99 AUD

I’m pretty sure that in our current situation when many are feeling despondent or fearful, there are many people who have not felt much like celebrating. Personally, I’m of the opinion that we still have plenty to celebrate at this time of year and have endeavoured to make our own family festive season meaningful for us all.

And just as it is important for us to rejoice at the blessings we do have, whether large or small, it is equally vital for us to impart cross-cultural perspectives to our children.

This picture book is part of a series that focuses on families and their similarities and differences ( What do You Call Your Grandma? What do You Call Your Grandpa?) and offers children insight into how other families around the world celebrate at the end of one year, beginning of another.

Many years ago when I first started teaching (actually in one of my prac blocks) my focus was on this very topic and the Year 2 class I was working with explored the end-of-year traditions of many cultures around the world including gift-givers and New Year traditions. This was a theme I returned to consistently and still to this day. continue to promote wherever possible. With our increasingly multi-cultural society (not to mention the insidious growing swell of intolerance/hate in some quarters) it behoves us to ensure that we do all we can to actively promote inclusive attitudes and behaviours in our kiddos.

With engaging and fun books such as this, it is no hardship to bring these ideas to our audience and I congratulate Ashleigh and Martina on their collaboration which ensures that not only will children be invested in the narrative but keep it in mind.

Highly recommended for small humans from pre-school upwards.