a beautiful story of friendship, love, hope, joy and newfound strength—perfect reading for a new year

a beautiful story of friendship, love, hope, joy and newfound strength—perfect reading for a new year

ages 0 to 8 years
Summer is in full swing in Tasmania and everywhere we look trees are laden with fruit. We're closely watching our plum and nectarine trees, eagerly awaiting the first ripe fruit, and I think this is what drew us to Together Always when we saw it in the library. That and the wonderfulness of friendship for the start of a new year.

The opening line is:


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reading with grandchildren who live far away – Imogene’s Antlers

reading with grandchildren who live far away – Imogene’s Antlers

ages toddler to 5-years
Ridiculously, 4 of our grandchildren (including newborn Ezra) live in Cairns and 2 are in Tasmania. That’s pretty much opposite ends of the country and at least a two hour flight each way.  So weekly or even monthly visits just aren’t an option. But Samantha suggested this great app—Marco Polo. It’s probably not the original intention, but it works really well for reading stories.

I record a story (dodgy lighting and shuffling pages are no big deal), it uploads, and the grandkids look at it whenever their parents are ready to give up their phones for a few minutes.

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exploring the delights of home, the blessing of a natural environment, and the strength in compromise

exploring the delights of home, the blessing of a natural environment, and the strength in compromise

ages 0 to 8 years
Books about happy homes speak to our need for security, love, generosity and kindness. Books about happy homes that are different to our own also offer the comforting idea that in the midst of tremendous diversity, there is more that connects us than separates us.

The Tree does all of that while extending those same ideas, thoughts and feelings 

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hiding from life can lead to underestimating our own power—a funny, clever story with an important message

hiding from life can lead to underestimating our own power—a funny, clever story with an important message

ages 2 to 8 years
Because we all have our metaphorical caves and wolves—and actual triumphs and fears—this is a tale that will resonate with adults and children. And make both giggle with delighted relief.

It’s the story of a ‘little creature’ who lives in a cave and refuses to come out because there is a wolf who never leaves the entrance.
The wolf cajoles, entices and begs, but ‘the little creature stays home.’
In the end, it’s a doughnut that does the trick

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a tender ode to the mutual 'ownership' that comes from unhurried and uncomplicated friendships

a tender ode to the mutual 'ownership' that comes from unhurried and uncomplicated friendships

ages 2 to 8 years
Ownership is one of childhood’s most profound experiences. Ownership of treasures found, gifts, emotions, and relationships all contribute to a growing sense of self and a sense of interconnectedness.

Jose Saramago*, Portugese novelist, anarcho-communist and political agitator, wrote “Liking is probably the best form of ownership, and ownership is probably the worst form of liking.” That strikes a familiar chord when thinking about children and 

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mistakes (oops!) = opportunities to make something beautiful

mistakes (oops!) = opportunities to make something beautiful

ages 3 to 10 years
Do your kids ever get frustrated or angry when they make a mistake? Mine do all the time. It’s the end of the world when they're trying and trying to do something but just can’t manage it. And, if I’m going to be completely honest, it’s the same for me more often than not. The need to get things ‘right’ all the time can be difficult and stressful, leading to a multitude of negative feelings.

Beautiful Oops! has been a wonderful comfort

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a beautifully illustrated call to be wary of first impressions—and to seek out the best in life

a beautifully illustrated call to be wary of first impressions—and to seek out the best in life

ages 2—8 years
There’s a scene in Emma (by Jane Austen), where Emma is talking to her friend (or plaything depending on your viewpoint) Harriet about a proposal. Emma says, ‘You must be the judge of your own happiness.’—and then proceeds to tell her how to judge her happiness!

Most of us are spared an Emma in our lives—we mostly judge our own happiness and find our own way. But sometimes we can be so secure in our current happiness that it becomes difficult to envision a different happiness.Children are prone to this too.

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a tender hearted look at dementia and the beauty of a life lived with simple pleasures

a tender hearted look at dementia and the beauty of a life lived with simple pleasures

ages 4 to 12 years
Angela—who gets up before daybreak—waits for a special visitor. As she waits she bakes shortbread cookies, the ‘lovely sweet smell’ reminding her of her childhood. ‘That’s why she makes them so often.’

She becomes anxious as she waits and, with ‘her heart lurching in all directions’, she tries playing along to a quiz game on television. ‘That’s when she hears a small voice behind her 

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a heart tugging look at how it feels to be different and a call to be more accomodating

a heart tugging look at how it feels to be different and a call to be more accomodating

ages 6 years to grownup
Everyone knows what it is to feel different or misunderstood. It's part of modern life—we meet many people in many circumstances and we don’t always ‘click’. And that’s fine, mostly we just do what needs to be done and move on until we come to a place we really do fit. But, for some people, being different or misunderstood is a constant. Ivan is such a child and he tells us that he is, in fact, a crocodile:

I look like a boy but, inside, I am a crocodile. It’s not something you can see, of course, because it’s inside.

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the life-changing value of speaking up—for yourself or for someone else

the life-changing value of speaking up—for yourself or for someone else

ages 2 to 8 years
When I read this book to four-year-old Ivy, she sat in silence, then, at the last page, said, “Let’s read that again.”

Twig is that sort of book—beautiful to look at, with a story that's relatable and full of interesting ideas to process. 

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