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Are We There Yet? Book Pathway Exploring themes of Australia, Family, and Adventure • By Barb Connell

Are We There Yet? By Alison Lester Join Grace and her family on their adventures around Australia. A warm, heartfelt story based on an actual journey taken by the muchloved, award winning author and illustrator, Alison Lester. (Lester, 2015)


AUSTRALIA

Early Childhood

A is for Australia By Frané Lessac A factastic tour of Australia from A to Z with award-winning author and illustrator Frané Lessac. What is the Fremantle Doctor? Where is Qui Qui? And why are some islands named after days of the week? You’ll uncover these exciting facts when you explore the A to Z of Australia – from Bondi to Kakadu and all the way to Taronga Zoo. Discover why Australia is one of the most amazing countries in the world! (Scholastic, 2015, para. 1)

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Picturebook

I Remember By Joanne Crawford • Illustrated by Kerry Anne Jordinson I remember is an exquisite tale of memory. Set in the Geraldton area of Western Australia, an elderly woman remembers the camping trips of her childhood. As her recollections fade in and out, she is drawn to think about the elusiveness of what she can remember from so long ago. Joanne Crawford moves away from a chronological narrative and skilfully conveys the excitement and anticipation of many camps. Packing up the family car, driving along dirt sand plains, stopping to marvel at wildflowers in bloom, baking damper, fishing, and listening to eerie sounds in the bush at night become memories that last a lifetime. Kerry Anne Jordinson’s illustrations have an ephemeral quality as she offers a glimpse into the beauty of the storyteller, old and young, and her family adventures through the vast West Australian landscape. (Magabala Books, 2018. para. 1 – 3) Joanne Crawford is descended from the Nhunda people of the Geraldton area of WA. She holds both a Bachelor of Arts in Education and a degree in Early Childhood Education,and has worked for many years on developing educational resources for school curriculums. (Magabala Books, 2018)

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AUSTRALIA

Younger Primary Readers

My Place By Nadia Wheatley & Donna Rawlins Starting in 1988 and going back 200 years, we are told the history of Australia by being told the history of one particular place, told by the generations of children who have lived in that one spot. Literary Awards Children’s Book Council of Australia Award for Eve Pownall Award for Information Books & Book of the Year: Younger Readers (1988) (Goodreads, n.d. para. 1)

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Older Primary Readers

Home to Mother By Doris Pilkington • Illustrated by Garimara Janice Lyndon Young readers edition of Rabbit Proof Fence. Molly, Gracey and Daisy are on the run, determined to escape the confinement of a government institution for Aboriginal children removed from their families. Barefoot, without provisions or maps, tracked by Native Police and search planes, the girls follow the rabbit-proof fence 1,600 north, knowing it would lead them home. Their journey reveals a past crueller than we could ever imagine. (University Queensland Publishing, 2007. para.1)

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FAMILY

Early Childhood

Koala Lou By Mem Fox • Illustrated by Pamela Lofts Everyone loved soft, round, cuddly Koala Lou, but her mother loved her most of all and told her so a hundred times a day. As time passed and more little brothers and sisters were born, her mother became too busy to tell Koala Lou that she loved her. Koala Lou grew sad, and oh, how she longed to hear her mother say it once again. Then one day Koala Lou though of a brilliant plan to win back her mother’s love and hear again those wonderful words, “Koala Lou, I DO love you!” The warmth of Mem Fox’s touching story of enduring mother love is perfectly captured in Pamela Loft’s irresistible illustrations of this delectable little koala. (AbeBooks, 2018)

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Click to listen to Koala Lou


Picturebook

Whoever You Are By Mem Fox • Illustrated by Leslie Staub Every day all over Australia, children are laughing and crying, playing and learning, eating and sleeping. They may not look the same or speak the same language but inside, they are just like you. This story weaves its way across cultures and generations, celebrating the bond that unites us all. (Fox, M. 2018. para. 1)

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Click to listen to Whoever You Are


FAMILY

Younger Primary Readers

The Little Refugee By Anh Do Anh Do nearly didn’t make it to Australia. His entire family came close to losing their lives as they escaped from war-torn Vietnam in an overcrowded boat. It was a dangerous journey, with murderous pirates and terrifying storms, but they managed to survive. Life in suburban Australia was also hard for a small boy with no English and funny lunches. But there was a loving extended family, lots of friends, and always something to laugh about for Anh, his brother Khoa and their sister Tram. And eventually for a young Anh, who tried hard to see the bright side of life no matter what the difficulty, there was triumph. The Little Refugee tells the uplifting and inspiring story of the incredible childhood of one of Australia’s favourite personalities. Literary Awards Honour Book: CBCA Book of the Year, Eve Pownell Award for Information Books, 2012 Short-listed Red Dot Awards, Younger Readers category 2013 SG (Allen & Unwin Book Publishers, n.d. para.4)

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Older Primary Readers

Matilda By Roald Dahl • Illustrated by Quentin Blake Matilda Wormwood’s parents are stupid and nasty and fail to see the potential in their gifted daughter; they think she should be watching more TV and reading fewer books! Matilda’s headmistress Miss Trunchbull is even more horrible and dislikes small children. Luckily Matilda is an incredibly clever child with a mind that can move things, and a few tricks up her sleeve. Literary Awards Federation of Children’s Book Groups Award (UK 1988) Voted “Nation’s Favourite Children’s Book” in BBC Bookworm Poll (UK 1998) (Dahl, 2018, para. 1)

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ADVENTURE

Early Childhood

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt By Michael Rosen • Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury Go on a bear hunt and do the actions with this award-winning picture book classic. Follow and join in the family’s excitement as they wade through the grass, splash through the river and squelch through the mud in search of a bear. What a surprise awaits them in the cave on the other side of the dark forest. Literary Awards Mumsnet Best Award 2011 West Sussex Children’s Favourite Picture Book Award 2008 (Walker Books, 2017)

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Click to listen to We’re Going On A Bear Hunt


Picturebook

The Snail and the Whale By Julia Donaldson • Illustrated by Axel Scheffler One little snail longs to see the world and hitches a lift on the tail of an enormous whale. Together they go on an amazing journey, past icebergs and volcanoes, sharks and penguins, and the little snail feels so small in the vastness of the world. But when disaster strikes and the whale is beached in a bay, it’s the tiny snail’s big plan that saves the day. The Snail and the Whale is a delightful tale of adventure and friendship by the unparalleled picture-book partnership of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, creators of The Gruffalo. This edition features the classic story with a stunning, redesigned cover and beautiful finish, making it a must-have addition to the bookshelves of all Donaldson and Scheffler fans - big and small! Literary Awards Early Years award for the best pre-school book 2004 Blue Peter award for Best Book to Read Aloud 2005 (Pan Macmillan Australia, 2018)

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ADVENTURE

Younger Primary Readers

Super Fly Guy By Ted Arnold The second book in a humorous, award-winning series about a boy and his pet fly is now available as a Level 2 reader! Fly Guy loves the school lunchroom. But when the lunch ladies discover there’s a fly in the cafeteria, chaos ensues! Using hyperbole, puns, slapstick, and silly drawings, bestselling author/illustrator Tedd Arnold creates an easy-to-read story that is full of fun and excitement. (Scholastic, 2018)

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Click to listen to Super Fly Guy


Older Primary Readers

The Secret Garden By Frances Hodgson Burnett When Mary Lennox is sent to Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody says she is the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen. It is true, too. Mary is pale, spoilt and quite contrary. But she is also horribly lonely. Then one day she hears about a garden in the grounds of the Manor that has been kept locked and hidden for years. And when a friendly robin helps Mary find the key, she discovers the most magical place anyone could imagine. (Penguin Books Australia, n.d., para. 1) Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849-1924) was an English playwright and author. She is best known for her children’s stories, in particular The Secret Garden (published in 1911), A Little Princess (published in 1905), and Little Lord Fauntleroy (published in 1885-6). She was born in Cheetham, England and in 1865 emigrated to the United States, settling near Knoxville, Tennessee. (Britannica, 2018. para. 2)


RATIONALE STATEMENT

Australia Inclusion of an Australian theme in childrens literature contributes to developing students’ understanding and knowledge of the uniqueness of Australia, as their home and part of a global community. With a focus on introducing a variety of Australian authors and their renowned works, students will develop an appreciation for the personal, historical, social and cultural contexts of Australia, over all grade levels (Australian Curriculum & Reporting Authority, 2018). An Australian theme provides opportunities to engage in text reflecting the nation’s history. Children develop ideas and viewpoints about significant events and characters, expressed by authors in many forms of text. With childrens literature spanning an extensive range, student diversity is accommodated for in the form of poetry, novels, picture books, multi-media text, works of fiction and film. Aligning these forms of literature to an Australian theme creates opportunities to embed works by notable Indigenous authors, bringing to life Aboriginal peoples culture, stories and song, broadening childrens perspective and understanding of Australia’s traditional land owners (ACARA, 2018). The Australian curriculum English- Literature strand is designed to interact and enrich other areas of the curriculum in a creative and flexible way, for example, HASS, ICT and the Arts (ACARA, 2018). Through cross curricular engagement children will connect and interpret text aligning to students’ background and personal experiences (McDonald, 2018). Australian themed literature connects to the achievable standards throughout the curriculum as students examine, evaluate and discuss the many facets of Australia and what it means to be Australian (Seely-Flint, Kitson, Lowe & Shaw, 2014).


SYNOPSIS

Early Childhood

Somewhere in Australia By Marcello Pennacchio • Illustrated by Danny Snell Somewhere in Australia, is beautifully illustrated, presenting the Australian landscape and familiar animals, distinctly reflecting the ‘Australian’ theme. The language is descriptive and directly linked to the theme. For example, ‘Somewhere in Australia, in a land of scorching sun’ and ‘In the Blue Mountains of Australia, near a Wollemi pine (Pennacchio, 2014, pp.1 & 18). Pennacchio (2014), has incorporated HASS and Numeracy throughout the text, such as, ‘dingo pups five’ and her little chicks eight (pp. 10 & 15). Younger children will enjoy counting as the story progresses through true representation of the Australian landscape and typical Australian animals. A must on the bookshelf for early years learners. (B. J. Connell, personal photography, May 12, 2018)

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SYNOPSIS

Picturebook

I’m Australian Too By: Mem Fox • Illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh One of Australia’s most loved childrens authors Mem Fox, presents a rhyming book celebrating the history of Australia’s multicultural communities. As the pages turn the bold illustrations reflect the many cultures who now call Australia home. For example, ‘My family came from Ireland back in 1849. A million hungry people died but now we’re doing fine’ (Fox, 2017, p. 6). The story is told by children, describing their unique family experiences. For example, ‘My country is Afghanistan- we fled when I was small. Our boat capsized, but we were saved- now we’re Australians all’ (Fox, 2017, p. 22) and ‘My nonna came from Italy- his family followed after. At first their lives were very hard but now they’re full of laughter’ (p.8). The text and beautiful illustrations reflect the multicultural community of Australia. At the end of the story, Fox (2017, p. 28) writes, ‘We open doors to strangers … Australia Fair is ours to share,’ along with, ‘Together now, we live in peace, beneath the Southern Star’. (B. J. Connell, personal photography, May 12, 2018)

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Younger Primary Readers

Are We There Yet? Written and Illustrated by Alison Lester Are We There Yet? takes the reader on a family vacation around Australia. A beautifully illustrated book with detailed images of the family, the places they visit and the activities they experienced on their trip. Lester writes, ‘Uluru, is the heart of Australia (p. 14), ‘we went walking in the Blue Mountains’, (p. 25) and ‘Over the desert and into the west … Luke surfed on stone at Wave Rock’. (p.7). The story unfolds as Grace, describes, ‘Starting out. The year I turned eight, Mum and Dad took us on a trip around Australia’ (Lester, 2016. p. 1) to the end of their trip, ‘Billy woke up and said, ‘Are we there yet?’ and we were. We were home’ (p. 31). The text presents real experiences children relate to, reinforcing the meaning of the text and encouraging enjoyable conversation for literacy learning. Including, ‘That evening at the camping ground, Mum said Billy had to use the women’s’ bathroom because he was still little’. Also, ‘Mum and I loved the market at Mindil Beach. There was so much yummy food, it was hard to choose’ (p. 16). An essential addition to primary classroom bookshelves. (B. J. Connell, personal photography, May 12, 2018)

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SYNOPSIS

Older Primary Readers

Stolen Girl By Trina Saffioti • Illustrated by Norma MacDonald

Saffioti, draws on conversations with her grandmother who was taken as a child from her family, a ‘Stolen Girl’ (Magabala Books, 2018).

Stolen Girl is artistically illustrated bring visual beauty as the text describes the girl’s life with her mother and traditional cultural practices, together with, Saffioti (2011) cautiously introducing primary readers to Australia’s ‘Stolen Generation’.

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Stolen Girl, is fictional account of an unnamed Aboriginal girl forcibly taken ‘While her mother was buying flour, a man in uniform came and dragged the girl to his car’ (p.8) and sent to a childrens home, where other Aboriginal girls are suffering the same fate. They say, ‘she will get used to this new place, just like they have’ (p.16). Receiving a ‘new white name’, she ‘whispers her Aboriginal name to herself, over and over again’ (p.22). Longing for home, ‘In the evening she softly sings, sending the notes beyond the iron fence far away to her mother’s fire’ (p.22). While witnessing other girls, ‘the lucky ones’, going to live and work as domestic help with white families’ she ‘decides she does not want to be lucky’ (p.30). The conclusion finds the reader wondering if the young girl will return home safely as she secretly leaves the childrens home, bringing shared hope for the girl and the reader. Saffioti writes, ‘And then the time comes … she slips from her bed and walks silently through the halls. With a deep breath, she turns the key in the lock. The door swings open and she takes her first step towards home’ (p.31). (B. J. Connell, personal photography, May 12, 2018)

Barb Connell Book Pathway  
Barb Connell Book Pathway  
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