Book Week 2013 – Activities and Ideas for CBCA Shortlisted Books

I have written a post specifically with activities and ideas for the last few years based on information I can find online. If you are after more ideas and activities for the kids with books, you can also check out the previous year’s posts here:

You can find the full list of shortlisted books on The Children’s Book Council of Australia website. Book Week for 2013 is from Saturday 17 – Friday 23 August. It is run by The Children’s Book Council of Australia with the following aim:

Each year, many schools and public libraries from all over Australia spend a week celebrating books and Australian authors and illustrators. Classroom teachers, teacher librarians and public librarians develop activities, offer competitions and tell stories relating to a theme to highlight the importance of reading. The theme in 2013 is… Read across the universe

Older Readers Short List 2013

These books are for mature readers.

The Wrong Boy by Suzy Zail

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The Wrong Boy by Suzy Zail is the story of a Jewish girl sent to Auschwitz with her family. She falls in love with the wrong boy the German son of the camp commander.

The Walker Books website has great information to work from here. You can:

  • Download a sample chapter if you are yet to read it.
  • Download Discussion Questions and Activities which cover – Setting and Context, Life in Auschwitz, Exploring Character and Themes.

Friday Brown by Vikki Wakefield

{If you are reading via email click through here to see a video of the author Vikki Wakefield reading from the book.}

Seventeen-year-old Friday Brown is on the run—running to escape memories of her mother and of the family curse. And of a grandfather who’d like her to stay. She’s lost, alone and afraid.

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Friday Brown is published by Text Publishing and they provide the following activities and resources:

  • A chapter extract you can download here.
  • Teaching notes you can download here. The teaching notes are very comprehensive including a synopsis of the book, exploration of the key themes from the book with questions and activities for each, writing activities, arts activities and essay questions.

Younger Readers Short List 2013

Intended for independent younger readers.

Pookie Aleera Is Not My Boyfriend by Steven Herrick

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Pookie Aleera Is Not My Boyfriend stood out to me when I was going through the list as I loved the inclusion of baked goods in the description! It is

Award-winning author Steven Herrick’s latest book is a heart-warming tale about friendship, grief and the importance of baked goods.

Steven Herrick writes poetry and verse-novels for children, young adults, and adults. You can check out his work at his webiste here.

The University Of Queensland Press has teaching notes which can be downloaded here and they include:

  • Exploration of the themes in the book
  • Study notes with page references for questions to ask related to the text.
  • Broader activities to actively engage children in writing poetry and creative writing.

The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk (The Kingdom of Silk Series) by Glenda Millard

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There are six other books in the Kingdom of Silk series by Glenda Millard and they include 1. The Naming of Tishkin Silk 2. Layla, Queen of Hearts 3. Perry Angel’s Suitcase 4. All the Colours of Paradise 5. Plum Puddings and Paper Moons and now 6. The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk. The series is illustrated by Stephen Michael King.

As the title suggests Saffron is the main character of the latest instalment – The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk:

Flame-haired Saffron is the youngest of the five Silk sisters. Her family know that she has a talent for becoming Anne of Green Gables or Cleopatra, and that she loves reading myths and legends. But they don′t know about the firebirds that come to warn her of terrible headaches. And Saffron doesn′t know how to tell them.

In a big family, it′s easy to be overlooked. But when Saffron is sent to the city to see a specialist, she learns that her family′s love for her is deeper than she ever imagined. And that when you′re a Silk, miracles are never far from home …

You can find out more about the author Glenda Millard on her website and more about the illustrator Stephen Michael King on his website.

Scholastic have teaching notes you can download here and they include:

  • Synopsis
  • Thematic activities and discussion points
  • Writing style activities and discussion points
  • Interpretation and reading comprehension activities and discussion points
  • Visual literacy and illustration activities and discussion points
  • Creative arts activities and discussion points

Early Childhood Short List 2013

Intended for children in the pre-reading to early reading stages.

The Pros and Cons of Being a Frog by Sue deGennaro

{If you are reading via email click through here to see a 1 min trailer video for the book.}

Sue deGennaro is both the author and illustrator of The Pros and Cons of Being a Frog.

Camille speaks in numbers and Frogboy likes to dress up. With Camille’s help he finds that dressing up as a frog is perfect for him, but when he tries to convince his friend to be a frog too, his plan goes terribly wrong. A beautiful story about true friends and how to keep them.


A fab set of teaching notes can be downloaded from Scholastic. These notes cover discussion points and activities for:

  • Theme topics
  • Language literacy
  • Visual literacy
  • Mathematics and numbers
  • Creative arts

It also contains at the end some printable activities that would be perfect for parents who would like to explore this book with their kids.

Picture Book Short List 2013

Intended for an audience ranging from birth to 18 years range (Some books may be for mature readers).

Too Many Elephants in this House! by Ursula Dubosarsky


Ursula Dubosarsky is a favourite author in our house.  My kids have especially liked The Word Spy seriesToo Many Elephants in this House! is aimed at a younger audience though.

In Eric’s house there were too many elephants – in the living room, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, even in his bedroom! The elephants take up a lot of space, but Eric loves every one of them. So when his mum says they have to go, Eric comes up with a clever solution to a very BIG problem.

From the author’s website you can download the following activity sheets (click on the image to go to the site to download full size picture to print out).
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Eve Pownall Award for Information Books Short list 2013

Python by Chris Cheng Illustrated by Mark Jackson


Python is a narrative non-fiction book about obviously – a Python! This story works on many levels so can appeal to a broad age group of primary school children.

It s morning in the bush. Python stirs and slithers out from her shelter. She warms her head and smells the air with her forked tongue. Python is a beautiful snake, but also dangerous and she is looking for a meal.

Key themes and ideas in the book are:

  • Reptiles
  • Natural habitats
  • Life-cycles
  • Environment

The publisher Walker Books has great teaching notes which have been based on the Australian National English Curriculum and have a strong focus on multimodal learning and use of web 2.0 tools. They can be downloaded from Walker Books website here and cover:

  • Literature and Literacy questions and ideas
  • Language activity ideas on areas of text structure, grammar and vocabulary and visual and multimodal features
  • A giant snake template to print and colour
  • A springy hanging snake to print, colour and hang up.

Tom the Outback Mailman by Kristin Weidenbach


This picture book tells the story of the real outback postman Tom Kruse, and how from 1936-1963 he traversed the Birdsville Track. It’s a tribute to Tom, but it’s also a tribute to the many people who don’t think about how extraordinary their work might be, but who do it, because they know it’s got to be done.

While Tom the Outback Mailman is a picture book it relates to themes and curriculum topics for upper primary or secondary school students.

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Published by Hatchette Australia, they have provided fantastic resources to go along with the book, which can be found here.

Teaching notes include activities and discussion points on the following:

  • Iconic Australian Heroes
  • Australian Outback
  • Postal Delivery
  • Geography andClimate of Birdsville Track
  • Droughts and Floods
  • Social History
  • Values
  • Plus creative arts ideas and topics for further research and discussion.

The fab blog The Book Chook also has a great post on Children’s Book Week 2013 too – Activities for Children’s Book Week, 2013.

Do you have a favourite book from the shortlisted books by The Children’s Book Council of Australia for 2013?