Tag Archives: Recycling

Ella and the Useless Day – Meg McKinlay/Karen Blair


Walker Books

August 2022


Australia RRP:$25.99

New Zealand RRP:$28.99

Imprint:Walker Books Australia

Even though many of us have been banging on about Reduce/Reuse/Recycle and being more sustainable for years, dare I say since the arrival of the dread pandemic a slower, more thoughtful approach to being waste-free has become more evident. Perhaps it was a side-effect of the having to do without many things for sustained periods or maybe because our customary lifestyles seemed so threatened, whatever the reason I feel many people have turned again to slow living, cottage lifestyle – call it what you will.

Children will happily enumerate countless ways to save the environment but it’s not always so many ways to re-purpose they can imagine. This fun book with its very practical meaning will be a super adjunct to any classroom, or home, discussions around this topic.

Ella and her Dad realise they have just too much stuff and lots of it is USELESS so together they have a big clear-out and all the jumble goes into the trailer, destined for the tip. Along the way however, friends and neighbours spot various pieces of the ‘junk’ that is just the thing they have been looking for. By the time the pair get to the tip, they have nothing USELESS left at all.

There is much to love about this book. For a start, I love that it’s Ella and her father doing the clearing out – we don’t see a mother, perhaps there isn’t one but I do like that it suggests that fathers are equally as good at organising and de-cluttering. I love the colour palette used by illustrator, Karen Blair, the soft pastels evoke a real sense of homely-ness and comfort, peace and emotional warmth. Along with that the neighbourhood houses are so cottage-y and the entire setting like a traditional village, that immediately one feels the sense of connectedness and community. Everyone in the neighbourhood puts their piece of junk to creative and imaginative use from giant decorative flowers to a terrarium, and a scarecrow to fairy garden. It’s just a lovely, feel-good way to spread the word about re-purposing, upcycling and reducing landfill.

If your school, like so many, has a program in place to encourage sustainable living this is a must-have and even without that it is definitely a valuable addition to your classroom curriculum program or home school.

Highly recommended for children from Prep upwards.

If you live in Brisbane – check out Reverse Garbage where you can not only source great materials for upcycling but book presenters for workshops. I feel sure that other localities will have similar co-ops.

The Tindims of Rubbish Island – Sally Gardner and Lydia Corry


Harper Collins Australia

September 2020

  • ISBN: 9781838935672
  • ISBN 10: 1838935673
  • Imprint: Head Of Zeus – Zehpyr – GB
  • List Price: 12.99 AUD

This is not only a terrific story for newly independent readers to enjoy on their own but if your junior classes are planning an environmental or recycling unit this would make a super introduction to some serial reading – with a chapter per session. This is particularly so as each chapter focuses on a different character and part of the whole in turn.

The Tindims (sorry but every time I looked at the cover, I immediately thought Tim Tams! haha!) are little people not entirely dissimilar to humans except for one very striking difference. The Tindims don’t throw rubbish, especially plastic, willy nilly all over the place. In fact, they rescue and recycle trash into creative and useful everyday objects. As a matter of fact, their entire island has been constructed from discarded waste acquired over hundreds of years.

In modern times however, the Tindims are facing a huge problem. The amount of plastic washing up on their island is becoming too much for them to re-purpose and they have no idea how to persuade the Long Legs (humans) how to change their ways.

As the book doesn’t offer a solution to that problem, I think there must be more in the pipeline but in the meantime, little ones will enjoy the creativity of the Tindims, their quirky personalities and will, no doubt, be able to come up with many ideas of their own.

Recommended for readers from around five years upwards.

Peppa Pig: Peppa Loves our Planet



Penguin Australia

March 2020

  • ISBN: 9780241436721
  • Imprint: Ladybird
  • RRP: $14.99

It seems that everyone loves Peppa – whenever I share a new book about the popular pig and her family it is always so well received.

I love this one because not only is it a fun and informative book for little ones as simply that but it is a perfect addition to a classroom unit of work revolving around care for our world.

This topic is far and away one of the most popular in classrooms not only in Australia but globally as we strive to empower our little people to become environmentally aware world citizens. This book puts so many simple ideas into a context with which little ones can connect as Peppa and George engage in activities such as recycling, saving water, and reducing fuel consumption as they create scrapbooks for Love Our Planet Week at playgroup.  A very natural follow-up to this is for your own kiddos to similarly create their own scrapbooks filled with their ‘earth aware’ initiatives.

It is indeed perfect to begin this topic from as early as ELCs or Prep classes and I recommend it heartily to you for your Foundation classes.

All Peppa Pig books are printed on paper from responsibly managed sources. This Peppa Pig book is printed with environmentally friendly vegetable inks and a water-based finish on the cover.

How to Save the Whole Stinkin’ Planet – Lee Constable




June 2019

ISBN: 9781760890261

Imprint: Puffin

RRP: $19.99

With the world’s attention on Mighty Girl Greta Thunberg and her activism for drawing attention to the critical state of the globe this book will be a timely addition to your collection whether for general borrowing or for your own environmental group (we have Champions for Change at our college – our very dedicated Year 5 cohort).

This is an excellent guide for children who are keen to make a difference and shape the future of our fragile world. It contains scientific knowledge (in readily understandable format), DIY projects, and suggestions for action plus loads more.   Each section deals with a different aspect of the mission our young people are facing and as they progress through each they are moving up another Waste Warrior level until the finale of ‘Graduation’.

The addition of James Hart’s humorous illustrations along with the ‘gross’ factor of information provided makes this is a fun read as well as informative and children of all ages will relish the projects and actions suggested.

Whether the challenge is as simple as learning to sew on a button to salvage an article of clothing or more complex such as being able to create successful compost systems children will be able to find something that fits their abilities and interest.

Starting with an informed and active approach to waste management is a terrific beginning for kids who are keen to prove themselves worthy champions of the environment.

Highly recommended for children from around 8 years upwards.

Benny Bungarra’s Big Bush Clean-up – Sally Morgan/Ambelin Kwaymullina



Magabala Books

Author:Sally Morgan

Illustrator:Ambelin Kwaymullina

Published:Jun 2018


RRP: $16.99

What a great way to kick off NAIDOC week! This is a terrific new book which mixes animals and vivid colours into a powerful message for little people about caring for our environment and our animals’ habitats.

Benny Bungarra is very busy as one by one his bush friends, Olive Python (hehe!), Colin Crow and Kathy Kangaroo, find themselves in real difficulties after encounters with dangerous rubbish left behind by humans. Once Benny has helped them all to free themselves from their respective dilemmas, he and his friends work out strategies that will help keep their bush home safe for all.  Recycling and reducing and using rubbish bins are all great ideas for humans but Benny takes things a step further when he suggests that he and his friends have their own big clean-up.

Before the invasion of white people and the now proliferation of people who disrespect our natural surroundings the First Australians managed country with wisdom, knowledge and respect for all that it gave them.

We have a responsibility to educate everyone to share this same respect and what better way than to start with our youngest readers who will need to manage the environment of the future.

Highly recommended for readers from Kindy upwards and a wonderful way to start a discussion on action that can be taken by anyone and everyone.

Glitch – Michelle Worthington/Andrew Spark


Glitch PB HR Cov RGB

Ford St Publishing

July 2017

Author: Michelle Worthington

Illustrator: Andrew Plant


ISBN 978192527271


RRP $16.99


Here is a really lovely picture book about friendship, self confidence, and persistence, upcycling, overcoming anxiety and being positive.


Glitch is a twitchy little bug who lives in the dump and just loves recycling junk into useful things especially billy carts. Every year he builds a billy cart and his best friend, calm and kind June is the driver. They never win because in Glitch’s twitchiness he has usually mucked up something.


This year they have their fastest billy cart ever but in a practice run that goes awry, June’s antenna get bent. She won’t be able to drive like that but she insists that Glitch can. His nervousness almost gets the better of him but June, like a true friend, supports him and gives him just the boost of confidence he needs.


Andrew’s illustrations as always are so striking in each double page spread and Michelle’s text combines some lovely techniques like alliteration and assonance to make a really readable and rhythmic piece.

As well as all the above it’s a fabulous story that underlines that winning isn’t everything!

 Highly recommended for your little readers from around 5 upwards.



Minton Goes – Anna Feinberg/Kim Gamble



Allen & Unwin Australia

ISBN: 9781760111960

Australian Pub.:January 2015

RRP $19.99

Can you imagine my delight when, coming so soon after reviewing the latest Tashi book, I receive the complete series of Minton books in which to also revel?! Oh pure joy!

Many of you will be familiar with the clever little salamander, Minton, who first appeared in The Hottest Boy Who Ever Lived which of course is the first book in this compilation.  When Hector, the hottest boy, finds happiness at last in the frozen North, Minton returns to their sunny beach where he meets a friend and begins his own adventures. In each subsequent story, Minton becomes smitten with a different form of transport and using recycled materials builds his own (instructions for the reader’s own at the back). In my experience, kids around Year 2/3 love these stories and they are of course, so useful for supporting the ‘Transport’ unit in whichever form it takes, from a library perspective. Each week with Year 3 we would read another story, discuss other similar vehicles to that featured and in small groups, the children worked on their own design plans for a “Minton” style vehicle. All the while, bringing along hordes of recyclable materials for the grand building sessions at the end of term, after which the vehicles and designs went on display.

As Small and I were so absorbed with all our Christmas books up until a few days ago, I didn’t get a chance to start sharing this one but will be doing so on her next sleepover. She is going to love Minton (she has her own pet blue tongued lizard) and she will love the construction idea as well as she is always making things.

Despite being the 7 books in one volume, this is not too chunky for smaller hands – though chubby it is not tall and so a comfortable size. What a wonderful present for someone who is just about to leap into series!

Highly recommended for primary school libraries, readers and lizard lovers of all ages from around               6/7 years up!

Check out some handy teaching ideas here!