No birthdays! I went into school today to start the bulk loans for classrooms and given what has been happening in Australia, I went looking for books about floods, because I know they will be on everyone's mind. While there are many that can be used to start discussion, perhaps the best one to look at the reality and hardship of floods from a family's point of view is the picture book Flood by Mary Calhoun and Erick Ingraham. This story about Sarajean and her family is set during the 1993 floods in the Midwest of America, but what it depicts and the events in the lead up to the levee bank breaking could just as easily be alongside a river in Queensland or Victoria.
Another picture book that shows the devastation a flood can cause, but also the strong community response as the clean-up commences is The Children of the Yangtze River by the Danish illustrator, Otto S. Svend. This book is very old, but I cannot bring myself to remove it from the library because of its story. Mei Mei and her friend Chang walk to school every day along the banks of the river in China. One day the river rises swiftly and sweeps houses, trees, homes and people along in its path. There are drastic consequences, but the community pull together to restore their village.
If you want to look at Australian books, look in the library for:
• The Useless Donkeys by Lydia Pender and Judith Cowell. Here the family's donkeys are stranded on an island caused by a flood on their farm and a debate about their usefulness pursues.
• Mike's Bulldozer and the Big Flood by Nan Bodsworth. Here bulldozers are used to hold back a flood.
• The Flood by Nigel Gray and Elise Hurst. Mrs Farmer invites the farm animals into her house during a flood rather than see them get wet.
These three are suitable for all ages, including preschool. The next two which look at how flooding affects desert rivers are for older children.
• The Story of Rosy Dock by Jeannie Baker explains the phenomenon of how flood water can spread seeds.
• Flood Fish Robyn Eversole and Sheldon Greenberg explains the phenomenon of fish being in water where prior to the rain there hadn't been any water.