My 6 year old has been quite nervous about fire since the bushfires that burned across Australia last summer – worrying about it even during the winter months. I wasn’t really sure how we would deal with moving into the upcoming summer and fire season, so I was really pleased to receive a copy of The Bushfire Book: How to be Aware and Prepare from Lothian Children’s Books – it was one of the books on our Aussie Bookstagang Best of 2020 picture books shortlist. The book is described on the back cover as being “a practical and reassuring guide to bushfires for kids so they can be prepared not scared” – and I felt like it does exactly this.
I love that the book starts by talking about how bushfires have been part of Australia’s natural environment for millions of years, and that it is ok to be scared of bushfires, because we all are. It then goes on to explain the facts about why we don’t need to be scared, including facts about how fires start and what they need to burn, as well as the fact that there are lots of people who know how fires behave and whose job it is to watch out for bushfire conditions. Finally it talks through how to be prepared for bushfires, including both where to get information about the risks and what to do when there is a risk, before reiterating that it is ok to be nervous, and encouraging the reader to talk more to family or friends about how they are feeling.
I think my favourite thing about this one is the way it lets a child’s concerns be heard, and gives that reassurance about it being ok to be worried about fires, rather than brushing it off. It is so factual and practical, and I think hands some control back to the reader by helping them prepare and plan for what to do when there is a risk of fire. So far The Bushfire Book seems to have resonated with my daughter – I have no doubt we’ll be pulling it out regularly over the next few months. I really think this one is a wonderful resource, and definitely worth checking out if you have kids.
The Bushfire Book! by Polly Marsden and Chris Nixon
Out now from Lothian Children’s Books
Source: Copy kindly sent to me by the publisher as part of the Bookstagang Best of 2020 Picture Books awards (thank you!). All views are my own.
Category: Non-fiction , bushfire, environment
Format: Hard cover picture book (includes pull out poster)