The Internet is like a puddle

Five Mile Press, Victoria, 2014
ISBN 9781760064167


For children aged 3-6 yrs








A cautionary tale

Don’t let the wide-eyed animals in “The internet is like a puddle” lull you into thinking all is calm. Expect a serious message. There are loads of fun things to do and games to play on the internet. Look out for a crocodile with plenty of teeth idling in the puddle but don’t be deceived. This book will help adults communicate a cautionary approach to internet time and start conversations with young children about safe internet play.

The internet can be a bit tricky

There’s lots of games and splashing fun to be had in a puddle, the water may appear to be shallow but can be deep and mirky underneath. In this picture book koala is absorbed stepping out with his mobile phone, rabbit and bear are on a lap top, ipad or ‘device’, mouse looks on holding a red polka-dot ball. The first inkling of difficulty comes when frog jumps head first into the pond, the internet can be “a bit tricky”. 
The first inkling of difficulty comes when frog jumps head first into the pond

Child-friendly story about online safety

Young children in many Australian families may not ask “what’s the internet?” Going online is just part of daily life. This little gem of a book is going to be helpful for adults wanting to create awareness about internet safety from a child’s perspective. 
Shona Innes, the author, uses words like “deep’, ‘stuck’, ‘trouble’ and ‘tricky’. Awareness is raised about safety and chatting to strangers, also health and wellbeing. Bears eyes droop from playing too long.
Feelings and reactions are explored, the internet is fun to play with and because of this it can be hard to say ‘no’. This validates feelings children may have if they are asked to say ‘no’ to the chance to dip into the ‘internet puddle’. It might seem unfair when ‘everyone else gets to play’.

Role of a parent or carer

Big bear holds Little bears paw at the edge of a pond. Duck is happily floating in the “puddle”. Then something doesn’t look right, a large crocodile with lots of teeth and a menacing smile waits in the pond with an inflatable purple floaty ring. The message is clear, a safe person needs to be there to make sure children don’t go in too deep and if this happens, they know what to do next. Notes for parents and teachers about technology use, setting limits and being internet safe are at the back of the book. Shona Innes, is a qualified clinical and forensic psychologist.
This book has engaging illustrations with thoughtful text and provides a wonderful means for communicating with children in a child-friendly way. It is one of several books from the Big hug series featuring expressive and warm animal illustrations and sharing emotional challenges.

Please get in touch if you would like to read The Internet is like a puddle, You are like you or Worries are like clouds. I purchased copies from The Children’s Bookshop they can also be purchased online. Recommended retail price is $14.95.

Crocodile, Freshwater Station, Cairns

More on internet, cyber or online safety?

World issues: Staying safe online is a recent book for primary students, with plenty of photos and accessible text.  Parents can link to Australian Government’s Office of the Children’s eSafety Commission, for guidance and strategies in the home, including managing technology. The publication A parent’s guide to online safety is available 5 languages. Life Education, visits schools to empower children and young people to make safer and healthier resources through education. Parents can find out about how to start conversations with their children.
Your feedback is valuable. Do you have any children’s 
resources that have helped explain internet safety?

Jillian Rattray

AWCH librarian
Email: Jillian@awch.com.au
November 2016

Who’s got a normal family?

By Belinda Nowell and illustrated by Miša Alexander
Little Steps Publishing, Glebe 2016.  ISBN 9781925117752.

“I read the book three times… it makes people feel okay about the type of family they have”, said one primary school reader

Who’s got a normal family?
‘Who’s got a normal family?’ a delegate at the recent ACWA* conference read out loud.  “Well whose family is normal?” she asked, laughing. It’s not hard to see why this recent Australian book caught the interest of many who came by our ACWA resource booth.

With two hats on, one friendly delegate working with children in out-of-home care, had also recently become a foster parent. She said how helpful this book would be for a sibling adjusting to a new family member.

Welcome to a new foster child
The story is about Alex, an easy going boy. It is news time at school, Alex is greeted with classroom cheers when he tells the children his new baby foster sister has arrived. That is all except one boy, Jimmy Martin, who has a “stomp in his step and upside-down smile”. He yells “babies are boring” and “she’s not your real sister”.

Alex is sad and asks his mum about “normal families” when he gets home from school. She pulls out his class photo and they talk about the families at school. Alex’s mum is a supportive adult presence who helps sort through Alex’s difficult emotions.

Different but unique 
This picture book entices readers with its character-filled illustrations. Each school child is introduced with their family. Alex is a foster child, Alir came to Australia for safety with his large family, Eva has a daddy but not a mummy, Henry has two dads, etc. With an upbeat tone, Alex chats about what makes each child and family unique. There’s a sense of fun and acceptance which makes this book enjoyable to read.

Something to share
Alex finds a way, with the help of his mum, to connect with Jimmy. He realises Jimmy is sad because his daddy doesn’t live with him anymore. Alex shares what he has just learned about “normal families” with Jimmy, as well as showing him his hidden blue-tongue lizard family and all ends well.
Who might like this book?

Families with infant school children, the book is aimed at children 5-7 years. Younger children and older independent readers may also find this book engaging and helpful.

More resources

  • Dhiiyaan is a beautiful reading App written and illustrated by Elaine Russell, for grandparent kinship carers to share with their kids.
  • Healthcare professionals may want to look at Out of homecare and healthcare pathways, by NSW Health.

You are like you and The Internet is like a puddle A Big Hug Book Series, recent Australian resources displayed at our ACWA* conference booth.

Have you found a children’s resource promoting child wellbeing to recommend? If so, please let us know.

 * Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) is the NSW non-government peak body representing the voice of community organisations working with vulnerable children, young people and their families.

Jillian Rattray

AWCH librarian

September 2016