Book Week 2012 – Activities and Ideas for CBCA Shortlisted Books

Book Week 2012 in Australia is coming up this weekend from Saturday 18 – Friday 24 August. The theme for 2012 is Champions Read. Quite appropriate in a very sports dominated culture we have in Oz!

Usually by this time of the year I have made my way through the shortlist for the awards and place reservations at the local library for the ones that are not available. I find it a great way to introduce myself and the kids to new authors and illustrators. This year though for a whole bunch of reasons we only picked up some of the books last weekend from the library and we will wait for others to come in from the reservations we have placed.

You can download a PDF of the shortlist here – Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards Short List 2011.

Below are 5 of the shortlisted books that have online resources that can be used in the classroom by teachers or at home by parents.

A Straight Line to My Heart by Bill Condon – Older Readers Short List 2012

A funny, poignant, heartwarming story of first love, first job, friends, family and the inevitability of change in the first summer out of school.

Online Resources:
A Straight Line to My Heart Teacher notes
The publishers’s Allen and Unwin have comprehensive teacher’s notes which you find here – A Straight Line to My Heart Teachers Notes.

The notes go through:

  • The main characters in the book.
  • Investigating humour in writing and includes a glossary of the different types of humour.
  • Exploration of the key themes, with questions for class discussions or written responses.

Bungawitta by Emily Rodda – Younger Readers Short List 2012

Bungawitta Teacher Notes
Set in a fictional Australian country town, with a raft of colourful characters, Bungawitta is a humorous story for readers aged 8-11.

Online Resources:
Scholastic have a great set of notes for teachers on their website which you can find here Bungawitta Teacher Notes and includes discussion points on:

  • Writing Style
  • Before Reading the Text – suggests to discuss Australian climate, drought etc
  • Reading the Text
  • Questions about the Text – chapter by chapter
  • Creative Activities – ideas for art, performance, writing ideas, music, science and class projects
  • Further Discussion/Activities
  • Further Reading
  • Additional Websites

No Bears by Meg McKinlay – Early Childhood Short List 2012

Ruby wants to tell you a story. A story with absolutely no bears. You don t need bears for a book. You need pretty things like fairies and princesses and castles. And maybe funny things and exciting things but definitely no bears!

A humorous and exciting picture book from Meg McKinlay, with illustrations by Leila Rudge the team that created Duck For a Day.

Online Resources:
Walker Books have produced a fantastic set of class room ideas to explore the book which you can find here – No Bears Teacher Classroom Ideas.

The downloadable PDF includes a word find and colouring page, as well as a page of suggested activities ranging from flow charts to creating a puppet, to creating a venn diagram or writing their own fairy tale.

A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham – Picture Book Short List 2012

A bus called heaven classroom ideas
Bob Graham is one of my favourite children’s authors and I cannot wait until this comes in on reservation from the library!
A broken, old bus appears one morning, sad as a whale on a beach, right outside Stella’s house. On the front of it, held up with packing tape, is a hand painted sign… “Heaven”.

For Stella, this decrepit old vehicle is special -this bus is “ours” – a place for everyone to be together: hold meetings, play games and share stories. But one day, the bus is towed away and Stella must fight to save not just the bus, but everything the community has worked so hard to create.

Online Resources:
Walker Books have also produced a fantastic set of class room ideas to explore A Bus Called Heaven which you can find here – A Bus Called Heaven Classroom Ideas.

The downloadable PDF has notes for discussion while reading the book, starting with the introduction and title, then for each spread. It contains ideas for art, writing and research activities and has a Bob Graham illustrated colouring page.

The Little Refugee by Anh Do and Suzanne Do, illustrated by Bruce Whatley – Eve Pownall Award for Information Books Short list 2012

The Little Refugee
Anh Do’s inspirational story about his family’s incredible escape from war-torn Vietnam and his childhood in Australia, told especially for children.

Online Resources:
Allen and Unwin provide a detailed set of teacher notes for the book which you can find here – The Little Refugee Teacher Notes.

It suggests that this book could be studied in lower primary or even upper primary and lower secondary classrooms and looks at areas of the books with regards to two curriculum areas: Arts (Language and Literacy, Visual Literacy, Creative Arts); and Studies of Society & Environment.

The teachers notes give ideas on how to explore Themes such as:

  • Refugees
  • War and Dispossession
  • Vietnamese Culture and History
  • Racial and Ethnic Difference
  • and to explore Values such as:
  • Compassion
  • Fear & Resilience
  • Hope

At the end it also has a text comprehension quiz and an image comprehension quiz you can print out.

EDIT: A lovely reader who also happens to work let me know of some free resources they have available and they look great:

There are 5 “sample” units available freely to all visitors to our website, and the full set of online units is available freely to our members or can be purchased on their own (outside membership) for $15.00. – an overview of all the units we have created

Free sample units

These resources have been written with primary classroom teachers in mind, however they include a rich array of hyperlinks which may also be useful to parents.

Have you read any of the books on the short list? What would you recommend?