Category Archives: Parental Musings

Celebrating Children’s Literature

I came across a great collection of historical children’s literature at the University of Florida’s Digital Collection. You can search on Geographic Area and a whole range of other categories.

For me, as a Librarian and passionate advocate for reading, it heartens me to see that these books are being made available digitally for future generations to look back on as historical snapshots of our ancestors.

To enter the world please visit: Baldwin Library of Children’s Literature

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Bookmark & Bookplate for #BookGivingDay 2018

Get behind International Book Giving Day and change the world – a book at a time!

International Book Giving Day 2018

14th February is fast approaching.

Elys Dolan, official illustrator for #BookGivingDay2018 has created a wonderful bookmark and bookplate.

These are FREE to download, print and tuck into the books you gift on #BookGivingDay.

Tag us – @bookgivingday & @elysdolan – on Social Media so we can see what you’re up to!

Bookplate Elys Dolan #BookGivingDay

{Click to download printable version (PDF file) }

#BookGivingDay - Bookmark - ElysDolan

{ Click to download printable version (PDF file) }

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My year in review…..

What three words best describe your year?

Challenging, exhausting, inspiring

What achievement(s) are you most proud of?

  • Continuing to nurture a creative, free thinking and reading child
  • Graduating Uni (again!)
  • Securing a permanent ongoing job in an Academic Library
  • Marched the Streets of Ballarat in the Reclaim the Night, with my dear family.
  • Securing the role of a judge in the Aurealis Awards.
  • One of my students winning an Australia wide prize for her Book Review.

What are you most thankful for?

My love of my life: the rock that I hold onto when we enter treacherous waters, who always steers us clear. My friends who are my family – they are the ones I choose to have in my life and I will treasure forever.

What new thing(s) did you learn about?

  • Library Advocacy
  • Library Research
  • The fact I am a survivor.
  • Menopause is not a life sentence.

What new thing(s) did you do?

  • Entered my school for a book review competition – and one of my favourite students won!
  • Networked like there was no tomorrow
  • Joined a committee to become a better Library advocate – ALIA Children’s and Youth Services
  • Designed my son’s hat for his school performance of the Lion King (I can be artistic…)
  • Volunteered at School Libraries (giving back to the communities)
  • Research library website accessibilities.
  • Took part in an interview about menopause for a PhD student’s research
  • Took my child to his first midnight movie opening, and having him say to me I’ve found my community – Star Wars fans of Ballarat I love you!!!!

What activities made you lose track of time?

  • Doing creative projects – knitting
  • Reading
  • Gardening
  • Hanging out with my family

What was the year’s funniest moment?

My son bursting into Let it Go! in his Lion King performance – he got the laughs and I was so proud of him for choosing to sing it and singing it….

What little things made you happy on a day-to-day basis?

  • My family
  • My cat Venom – the great smoocher of cats
  • My dog Rhoady – friend of all, and the best friend a child can have
  • My friends
  • My garden
  • Wearing clothes from op-shops
  • Picking fresh produce from my garden
  • Having a strong body that continues to weather menopause with me
  • My lovely friends
  • Good books
  • Libraries

How was your head? What was your most common mental state?

How am I going to fit this all in and still be the mother, lover, friend that I need myself to be?

Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary?

Will I be able to finish all my goals this year? Yes I can, but only when I stop procrastinating and get on with it.

What was the biggest challenge you faced?

My stomach – oh the joys of low Fodmaps, gluten, dairy, soy, yeast free living. Everyday I’m not sure what will happen, and each day I try to be more mindful of what I eat. So introducing a mantra I say each morning – May I be mindful of what I eat today.

What was the biggest problem you solved?

How can I eat out – it’s hard for me being unable to just choose items off a menu, without going can’t eat this, can’t eat that. So I’m now focusing on what I can eat, and letting everything else get sorted.

What was your year in review?

Season’s greetings and thanks for being with me on this year of discovery!

Raising a low tech child

My son is low tech, has been since he was born. He’s not plugged into anything apart from an hour of computer games in the morning on his school holidays – which he uses to play Age of Empires or Minecraft.

Apart from that, he plays with his lego, army dudes, dinosaurs, toys or he reads books. Real books – ones that you lay on your bed, couch or in your beanbag to read. He’s a reader, because we’ve modeled reading to him. It’s not hard, ever since he was born, he’s been read to, and we’ve sat and read with him. In the early days it would be simple picture books, and he would sit cuddled up and watch as I read to him. His dad would sit and read to him, and we would discuss the books.

We didn’t set out to teach him his alphabet or his numbers before school, but when he started primary, he was equipped with a love of learning. His reading was helped by his decision to participate in the MS Readathon when he was aged six. He set his goal for 100 books in a month. He achieved that, by sitting and reading up to six picture books a night, and interspersing that with longer Geronimo Stilton books that took several nights to finish. But he did it, and it was amazing the leap forward that made across his subjects.

His ability to read has helped across all of his subjects. There is a direct link to literacy and learning in the research being published…. He’s the kid who gets excited when the teacher says it’s quiet reading time, and to get out your books. He carries books with him to read when he’s having to wait anywhere – and he’s not attached to a screen to be entertained. He’s following in my footsteps, I’m the person who you see on public transport happily reading a book, and not immersed in the digital world, but actually reading a hard copy book…..

It is possible to raise children who are literate and still able to navigate the future world. He’s having to use an ipad this year as part of the school program this year, and this I hope will not mean the end to hours spent reading his awesome collection of books. I don’t want to see him sucked into the empty vacuum that exists where there is an overwhelming urge to be connected to the net 24/7. Because there is life in the low tech world, and it’s one that values the communities we live in, where little children can help raise funds for charities through reading…..

 

Low tech child raising in a high tech world

I’m upfront here about my wish to install in my own child a very low tech childhood. Yes I do let him use the computer once a day on school holidays to play computer games for an  hour, or research his favourite television shows – under supervision. But he doesn’t have access to a smart phone, an Ipad or any of the other devices that a lot of other children his age appear to have. (We have a PS2 but that’s rarely used too).

We’re the rare family, who when we go out, we all sit together and talk. No one has a screen at the table, and I don’t babysit my child with a screen. We do have a take away bag filled with drawing paper, pens, textas, crayons, and books to read. So if he does finish early and wants to draw, then we do let him – it gives us that extra few minutes to catch up with him, and finish our meal.

However I look around and see the number of children propped in front of a screen – the parent sits immersed in their digital world and the children each have a screen each. There is no or limited conversation going on. I wonder if they perform this ritual in their own homes and if so how much of the quality face time they give each other. (Or is updating their twitter or facebook posts that important?).

We’ve also read to our child since he was born. Passing to him the greatest opportunity ever – the written word. He thrilled me last year when I walked passed his room and he was sitting on his bed with a book in his hands devouring the pages. This to me was hitting the goldmine.

Call me old fashioned but the book is the ultimate entertainment device. It needs no electricity, no batteries, but it fuels the imagination like nothing else. Transporting you to ancient worlds or far flung universes – it will take you where you want and back again.

I also feel that the jury is still out about what happens when we expose young brains to the high tech devices too early. I want to raise a child who can use his imagination when he’s bored, to pick up a book, play in the sandpit, chase the dog, to transport himself into his imagination. Not be fed worlds to him by a screen. So far my son seems to be enjoying the fact he can entertain himself, and the children who approach our table when we’re out eating, attracted by the child who sits drawing elaborate worlds, who ask if they can draw please, reinforce my belief that we’re on the right track.

Cyborg

So I’m sitting here typing into the computer, and reflecting on a conversation my partner had with his class this week. As he looked around the classroom where all the heads of the students were bent over their computers interfacing with their digital worlds, he asked how many of them thought they were Cyborgs. After some conversation they came around to his interpretation of what a Cyborg is now.

I don’t use social media, so I’m not as connected as most folk. I don’t own a smart phone either. So my own interactions with digital worlds are when I’m sitting down with my child when he needs help establishing a colony in Age of Empires. We grow and build the colony until he’s ready to go off and wage war.

So I don’t consider myself a big C Cyborg – I walk down the street and greet people personally. I live in a small rural town where the majority of folk on the street don’t have their heads down, or ear phones on as they live their digital lives. I live here, now, in the present. Not waiting for the promised lands of the digital environment.

I use the internet but not as a reference tool, as an entertainment tool. (I’m hanging out for the next Star Wars movie but that’s another story). I prefer my interactions to be face to face, but have been known to text and email folk who just need to know that I care and love them. (Usually when they’re going through tough times and don’t want to talk….).

I wonder at the future my child will inhabit if the vast majority of the world is caught in the digital world. How often they will interact one to one, not through the safety of the digital tools, but in person. Will it be better? Or worse. He’s growing up in a world where the internet is the norm, Facebook is everywhere (at least amongst the teens at my school), and Minecraft is what you do with your lunchtime.

Unlike the Cyborgs of the present, I’ll be shutting down the computer soon, and heading out to spend the afternoon gardening in my veggie patch, and watching my child play with the dog. I won’t be waiting for the next Facebook update or any of the other digital “musts” that this age we live in seems to insist we do. Instead it will be me, the earth, and the sky – as I prefer it.

Postnatal Depression Awareness

      When I was a new mum, there wasn’t much information about, we just made do. But it’s so important to reach out to new mothers and fathers and say hey are you doing okay? Is there anything I can do? Because as a parentless parent, it’s so hard those first few months trying to do it on your own with no support from family or firends.


Did you know that 74% of mums who were struggling were ashamed to admit they weren’t coping? Lack of information, fears of being judged and stigma is leaving mums uninformed, unsupported and feeling alone.

COPE: Centre of Perinatal Excellence which have officially launched their new website. Their sensitive, informative website (cope.org.au) provides emotional health advice throughout your parenthood journey – from preconception to pregnancy, birth and your first year with a baby.
Visit their website, and follow COPE on Facebook to be informed, inspired and support others through the many (often unspoken) challenges, that parenthood can bring.

How you can get involved:

You can get involved today by ‘liking’ COPE on Facebook to keep connected and part of their growing community and making a difference.

You can donate to COPE here

https://i1.wp.com/cope.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/COPE-Keyring-300x300.jpgCOPE invites you on the journey to raising awareness and being part of the growing momentum to inform parents, reduce the stigma and help to ‘keep motherhood real’. Be part of ‘keeping motherhood real’ by purchasing this limited edition keyring for you or someone you know. http://ow.ly/EjmAx #keepmotherhoodreal

Priced at just $9.95, all funds raised from your purchase will help us to raise awareness, reduce stigma and support women and men to seek help early
COPE: Because no one ever tells you, how hard it can be.

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