The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) launched a Shadow Judging Program in 2022. Year 2 reviewed and judged each of the CBCA Early Childhood Shortlist books. Using A3 paper, a review chart for each of the books was completed by all students. Due to the tight deadline we had to read and review two books each lesson. Unfortunately due to clashes with special events we were not able to meet the deadline to submit a collective vote to the Shadow Judging Program. Forward planning I would start the exercise at the end of Term 2 to ensure that we can meet the deadline.
The creative activity was to design a diorama for each of the Shortlist books. Students were split into teams and shortlist books were randomly allocated. The fist step was planning, it was helpful focusing on a page within the book to help streamline ideas. Students were assigned different tasks including:
designing the top piece which included the book title, author and illustrator, an image from the book, group names and class
creating a background or back drop for the diorama
designing a floor to place the inside items
designing and creating items to stand or hang from the ceiling, items included characters, objects, and symbols from the story
Students were provided with a range of craft materials and created delightful representations of the stories. The diorama boxes were sourced from Clever Patch.
The CBCA Shortlist book Walk of the Whales by Nick Bland stirred curiosity and concern. Each page revealed a new problem for the whales who had walked out of the water, and unusual complications for the people.
There was a great sense of relief at the end of the story, an understanding of why the whales did what they did and strong connection to the important message in the story.
Kindergarten responded to Walk of the Whales by creating a whale using a paper plate and template to construct the whale, and designing a collage background for the ocean. The whale templates were sourced from Super Fun Pintables which provided a template for a Blue Whale, Humpback Whale, Killer Whale and Narwhal.
Year 1 responded to the CBCA Shortlist book Jetty Jumping written by Andrea Rowe and illustrated by Hannah Sommerville. The artworks were inspired from attending the Zart Art Book Week professional learning online workshop. The girls imagined they had just jumped off the jetty feeling proud of their achievement.
During Book Week the K-2 library ran competitions linked to picture books.
Can you guess the book?
Five objects were placed in a box, children were able to open the box, handle the objects and submit an entry form. Wonderful discussion, nifty catalogue searching and book checking was witnessed. You could feel the excitement when a student made the connection.
The objects included:
Do you know who the book character is?
Children were able to look through the peepholes and enter the guessing competition. Once the competition ended the characters were revealed.
Amira’s Suitcase written by Vikki Conley and illustrated by Nicky Johnston provided an interesting discussion for Kindergarten. After reading the story we discussed ideas of why Amira needed to hide, where she moved to, and what changed for Amira during the story. The idea of time passing as the plants grew and the friendships she made also offered ideas to explore.
The book was a Children’s Book Council of Australia Shortlist and won the Honours award. Kindergarten illustrated plants and flowers they would like to grow if they were in the story with Amira.
Winston and the Indoor Cat by Leila Rudge is one of the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Shortlist books – Early Childhood category.
This was the first book out of the six read to Kindergarten. They really enjoyed the story which opened a discussion about having a friend and how we may enjoy different things. The girls enjoyed illustrating their own cat template and imagining if they would be an indoor or outdoor cat.
The cat template is from Walker Books Read to Us Storytime Kit Term 3 & 4, 2021. The kits offer a wealth of ideas and inspiration linked to a superb selection of picture books.
This year I have created a guide for colours and symbols as some students struggle relating colour and understanding a symbol as one object linked to the story. Past examples of the CSI summaries can be found here.
Each year The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) promotes and celebrates children’s books with the major event of Children’s Book Week during August. The CBCA short list books offer schools an abundance of opportunities to engage with reading, responding to, and celebrating literature. When responding to the theme for Book Week Reading is my Secret Power, children in grades K-2 suggested that reading helps you learn, builds knowledge, and gives you the power to relax and be in the book.
Engaging with the short list books builds students’ literacy skills through incorporating rich, objectively selected, and aesthetically valuable texts. Leading up to Children’s Book Week the six Early Childhood Books were shared with classes in Years K-2. In Year K, we discussed the main character of each book and will be creating a book character bunting based on the books. Year 1 focused on the thinking routine – Step Inside the Character and will respond to the books with drawing and writing. Year 2 discussed and wrote about story elements such as setting, messages, symbols and connections. They will be creating a diorama in small groups to represent the books. Students in Years 3-4 were introduced to the short list Picture Books which were selected for their artistic and literary unity of text and illustrations.
A highlight of Children’s Book Week was an exhilarating K-3 Book Week Assembly. The atmosphere was set with an outstanding opening performance of Pure Imagination by the Primary School Choir. We sat back and relaxed as we enjoyed viewing I am Jellyfish by Ruth Paul on Story Box Library, a captivating story set in the deep blue sea. Children in Years K-3 sang Oompa Loompa and bopped to the tune. The book character parade allowed each student to parade across the stage and display their stunning designs. It was truly magnificent to see such a wide variety of book characters appear from favourite books and show their true style.
This year we had three author’s visit us to share their stories and insight. Years K-2 met Lesley Gibbes who read her award-winning book Scary Night to Year K. Years 1 and 2 learnt behind the scenes information of the characters in the book series Fizz – a fluffy white dog who wants to join the police force. Lesley’s recently published book Searching for Cicadas was written from memories of searching for the Black Prince cicada in her garden. Lesley’s advice for writing great stories was to always think about ‘What if?’
Years 3-4 met Deborah Abela who informed us that for her ‘every week is book week.’ Deborah shared stories of her childhood and hinted how her own experiences and personality are imbedded in her stories. The Spelling Bee book series was inspired from her experience with spelling when she was in Year 4 where her teacher introduced a Spelling Olympics each Friday where the girls versed the boys. Deborah’s concern and passion for the environment inspired the book series Grimsdom, New City and the newly released book Final Storm – Deborah had us sitting on the edge of our seat as she read extracts from this action pack series. Deborah also provided advice on writing an exciting story – she highlighted that it is vital to always consider ‘I wonder what would happen if?’
Lian Tanner presented to Years 5-6 and shared stories from her life experiences and how she was able to take aspects of these and weave them into her books. Lian indicated that she enjoys writing exciting action scenes with characters getting into trouble. A wealth of ideas of writing inspiration are provided on her website. Lian’s advice for writing was to take notice of what is happening around you, use your senses to imagine what it might feel like, choose interesting words, and to allow time to daydream and stretch your imagination.
Thanks to The Children’s Bookshop Speakers’ Agency for the superb author visit recommendations. It is always encouraging to see the author’s books leave the library instantaneously as hot property after we have had the pleasure of meeting the author and having them read to us.