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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a one-of-a-kind book of elephant sized opposites—and surprises!

a one-of-a-kind book of elephant sized opposites—and surprises!

a lovely book for all ages
'Opposites' books are pretty great—and not uncommon. They're wonderful for building kids' vocabularies and usually simple enough to keep even the little ones interested. Elephant Elements is a book of opposites, but it's not the common variety—more like one-of-a-kind.

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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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gentle creatures carry children to sweet slumber and peaceful dreams

gentle creatures carry children to sweet slumber and peaceful dreams

ages newborn to 8 years
It’s nice, especially on cool, dark nights, to think about how wonderful it is to dream. To dream about our friends and fun, or dream about places we have never been, or about our hopes and dreams. Dreams that beckon and entice us to a deep and peaceful sleep.

Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey is just the book for that kind of night.  Arrays of ‘animals from long ago’ come to help children on the way to their dreams.

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2 beautiful books to grow creativity, expand art appreciation and increase confidence

2 beautiful books to grow creativity, expand art appreciation and increase confidence

ages 4 to 12 years + parents!
Art is about more than reproduction—it’s about interpretation, vision, and creation—and it’s easy to assume that license to create comes only after mastery of artistic skills.

Henri Matisse famously wrote that "Creativity takes courage" and, for many of us, finding that courage happens most easily with a bit of help

We need some structure, some guidance, and an assurance that our art will be good enough. These two books take exactly those approaches.

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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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an edible (ish) mud farm + a few fave books make for a perfect spring day

an edible (ish) mud farm + a few fave books make for a perfect spring day

ages 0 - 6 years
Spring is finally here and while it's still quite cold in Tasmania, the sun is out and we're loving being outside. I'm always on the lookout for new ways to make mess and have fun with the kids, especially outdoors, and found a bit of inspiration while spring cleaning the shed—a shallow plastic container that looked like the perfect size for a mud farm.

I'd had my eye on a muddy farm sensory play activity from The Imagination Tree for a while, so thought I'd give it a try, with minor adjustments to this original recipe: 

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life lessons about tipping points and the need for balance

life lessons about tipping points and the need for balance

ages 0 to 8 years
It’s like ...who sank the boat!' That’s how my family often describes an overwhelming day, too much of something, or a time when we've gone one step too far.

In this story, there’s ‘a cow, a donkey, a sheep, a pig and a tiny little mouse’ who decide to go for a row on the bay. One by one, they gingerly climb in the rowboat and restore the equilibrium before the next passenger. Finally it’s the tiny little mouse’s turn and so in it jumps. You can guess what happens next I’m sure!

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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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milk, grass and poo—another information-packed George the Farmer story

milk, grass and poo—another information-packed George the Farmer story

ages 0 to 8 years
"I'd say that's udderly fantastic!" - Ruby, agronomist
We’re all fans of the George the Farmer series. Knowing where food comes from and how it’s produced is empowering. Kids and adults alike need to know the process, and ideally we’d all know how to produce a little food ourselves too .... George’s stories are information rich and this time we learn about Ruby .... She’s an agronomist and is called on to help Alex who runs a robotic dairy.

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