Sunday, 13 March 2016

NEW Australian Literature Unit now on TPT

As promised I've just put my recent Classic Australian Literature unit up on TPT for $5.00.
Here is the link:
The Bush Bandits by Betty Roland.
Set in the early 1960s,The Bush Bandits tells the story of a gang of ruthless wildlife smugglers being thwarted in their evil plans but 3 gutsy kids. The action takes place in a national park and Sydney Harbour. Betty Roland was an interesting character herself. She was married to an internationally renowned communist, smuggled banned literature into Nazi Germany, was a newspaper reporter in Stalin's Russia, wrote comic books and TV plays for the BBC, wrote adult and children's books and was a prominent member of Australia's literary scene in the 1950s-60s.
The Bunyip Hole by the award -winning Patricia Wrightson
The Bunyip Hole was set in northern New South Wales in the late 50s. Like 'They Found a Cave' it tells the story of group of kids who are lucky enough to be able live, for a short time anyway a relatively independent life (independent from adults, although in this book, they are always close at hand if help is needed) in the magnificent, pristine Australian bush. Although they never see a bunyip they do have loads of adventures including discovering a secret waterfall, an encounter with hostile city kids (the bandicoots) climbing, swimming, building and exploring and solving a mystery (who kidnapped their dog and why)
When I was growing up in the 60s-70s I was lucky enough to have bush land and a creek just down the road from where I lived. I spent a lot of time there pretending to be on adventures, building cubby huts, exploring the creek and even 'battling' the kids from the other side of the creek. It was a great childhood experience, I wonder if kids today would be that excited about it?
The True Story of Spit MacPhee by James Aldrich
Spit MacPhee was set in rural Victoria, along the Murray River in a mythical town called St. Helens in the early 1930s. The Great Depression hit hard in Australia, especially in rural Australia. It tells the story of a wild and resourceful boy living with his war damaged grandfather in an old boiler on the banks of the Little Murray River. When the grandfather burns down their home and dies there is a tussle between two families as to who will adopt young Spit......or will he be sent to an orphanage in the city? This award winning book explores life in 1930s rural Australia, the lingering effects of the Great War on families, crippling sectarianism which was destructive and rampant in Australia up to the 1970s and as with the other two books highlights the fun and freedom the Australian bush can offer children. (knowing what we know today about church run orphanages there is an underlying fear as we read the book as to what might happen to Spit if he was sent to the 'Bendigo Boys Home') Because of its setting, this book could also be read as a companion for 'The River Kings' which is also a unit of mine on TPT set on the mighty Murray River. Aldrich wrote another book about St. Helen called 'The True Story of Lilli Stubeck' which won the 1985 Children's Book of the Year which I've just purchased. 
I think all three of these books worked well together in this unit. I have loads of other Classic Australian children's literature units which you could buy and mix and match. I've already mentioned They Found a Cave and River Kings but I also have Storm Boy, Hills End, The Riddle of the Trumpalar and The Nargun and the Stars and others which would compliment these books.

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