Using picture books with Upper Primary students
24 Apr 2023
Educators at all levels can use picture books to engage students with important themes, especially as springboards for discussion around difficult topics. Story Box Library’s diverse and growing collection covers a broad range of topics, and our educator resources suite includes activities and printables for students to engage further with texts, themes and narratives. Watch the recommended titles below with Upper Primary students, or discover more on Story Box Library here.
First Nations’ Stories
- Come Together is a heart-warming story from pop artist Isaiah Firebrace, inspired by his petition to the Australian Government calling for Aboriginal history to be taught in every classroom. In this essential book, Isaiah, a Yorta Yorta and Gunditjmara man, establishes a foundation of First Nations knowledge with 20 key topics. Alongside bright and contemporary illustrations by Mununjali and Fijian artist Jaelyn Biumaiwai, Isaiah connects us to each topic through his own personal story and culture, from the importance of Elders to the Dreaming. Shortlisted for CBCA’s Book of the Year 2023, in the Eve Pownall category.
- Join Uncle Kuu as he takes us out on Country and explains cultural burning. For thousands of years, First Nations people have listened and responded to the land and made friends with fire, using this knowledge to encourage plants and seeds to flourish, and creating beautiful places for both animals and people to live. Watch Looking After Country With Fire: Aboriginal Burning Knowledge with Uncle Kuu.
Identity and diversity
- My Shadow is Pink is a beautifully written rhyming story that touches on the subjects of gender identity, self acceptance, equality and diversity. Inspired by the author's own little boy, 'Shadow's' main character likes princesses, fairies and things 'not for boys'... he soon learns (through the support of his dad) that everyone has a shadow that they sometimes feel they need to hide.
- Written by Jessica Saunders, Be Your Own Man and Love Your Body encourage kids to embrace and love all aspects of themselves, helping them feel more free to celebrate their unique qualities, regardless of gender.
Emotional wellbeing and resilience
- Everyone has feelings … sometimes we just don’t know what to do with them! Happy, sad, lonely, angry, anxious, proud, scared – they’re all feelings and emotions and they’re all OK! Yes – every single one of them!
- In this bright and heartening story, Josh Langley helps kids get to know and make friends with their feelings. Watch It’s Ok to Feel the Way you Do.
- How To Make A Bird is a moving and visually stunning story that celebrates the transformative power of the creative process from inception through recognition to celebration and releasing into the world.
Climate change and anxiety
- Author Jackie French and Bruce Whatley collaborated on the three books, focussed on climate change devastation, and building life back in the aftermath. Watch Flood, Drought and Fire.
- An iceberg is born into spring and travels through the seasons before dying in a new spring. A stunning, lyrical story for our times. Winner of the CBCA Picture Book of the Year 2022 and read by storyteller favourite Angourie Rice. Iceberg is available to watch now.
New story writing resource for middle & upper primary classrooms
Story Tools is a newly-launched story writing series that helps Middle and Upper Primary students (Years 3-6) master the mechanics of storytelling.
Developed to fill a gap in narrative storytelling curriculum content, featuring Australia’s most visionary and diverse children’s book creators, Story Tools is delivered via short video tutorials with accompanying resources, supporting student creativity and literacy and inspiring and creating confident storytellers. Find out more about Story Tools and try a free lesson now.
"Open ended, so versatile across year levels"
- Jackie, Primary educator