Monday, January 7, 2013

7th January Bushfires

Once again parts of Australia are being ravaged by bushfires. It feels as if there have been so many years in my teaching career when I have gone back to school at the end of January to talk of bushfires and children asking questions about them. There are resources such as this put out by the Victorian Education Department to help teachers and students who have been 'touched' by the fires, but for children who know they have occurred but haven't experienced them first hand what do you give them to read?
I have used these picture books:
• Bushfire by Marguerite Hann Syme and David Cox. This is a picture book for 5 to 8 year olds showing very evocatively a hot blustery day when the sky fills with smoke and bushfires break out. Marguerite lived through the Ash Wednesday fires in 1983 and has relived her experience through this book and a novel for older children called Burnt Out.
Applesauce and the Christmas Miracle by Glenda Millard and Stephen Michael King. This gives children a clear picture of the aftermath of fires, but also shows the sense of community that can develop during and after a crisis.
Where There's Smoke by Robin Lovell and David Miller. This picture book comes with notes. See here for a clear precis and what can be done as follow up.
 Fire Engine Lil by Janet and Andrew McLean. This is old, but gives children an accurate picture of the urgency involved.
Bushfire by Tricia Oktober. This too is old, but may be in your library. Here you get the animals' point of view of bushfires.

I am sure there is more, but as I teach very young children I am not as familiar with books for older children. I thought I could use this newspaper-like article and I can also use other books about firefighters and fireman such as these that I have written about before.


  1. Thank you for this post I will include it with a list of resources for my teachers in a back to school package I am preparing.

  2. I have found a couple of other titles. Wombat goes walkabout by Michael Morpurgo and Edward's magic paintbrush by Sue Robinson. For much older students there is also the classic but very sad Death of a wombat. I have this in my library with an old record. Luckily someone copied the record onto a CD a few years ago. Thanks again for this inspiration. The literature base magazine had a unit of work on this topic in 2002. I can send you a link.

  3. Thank you. I have all of those but had forgotten their content. Will add them to my list.