Author: Jackie French | Age: 3+ years
If you are based in Perth, the story of Fire Wombat may be a way to start a conversation about the bush fires and to talk about any concerns the children may have, while in other areas of Australia children may still have memories of past bushfires or anxieties about future ones.
The story allows the children to immerse themselves fully into the journey of the wombat who flees the fire, searches for food and water and eventually finds nourishment and a way home. You can talk about the colours, the smells and all the feelings they evoke. How does the ground feel underneath the animals’ paws? What can the animals hear as they are fleeing the fire?
The gloomy atmosphere is resolved when “slowly the bush regained its songs” in the end and the rain brings regeneration. It may be healing to explore the emotions that this story brings and talk about the emotions we experience when listening to the description of the animals’ escape. How does our environment make us feel? How important are the smells and sounds that surround us? What makes the wombat feel safe in the end? Is it the support from strangers, food, finding home, having companionship? What makes us feel safe?
With our book recommendations, we want to spark an interest in children to discover STEM in their everyday lives. Most books go beyond the obvious STEM connections and can be a great starting point for exploring children’s questions and ideas further.