Mother’s Day Book Club in the Kookaburra Ward at The Royal Children’s Hospital

Callum shows off his creative bag he made for his mum, which he later filled with small gifts for her to enjoy on Sunday!

Book Club in May was all about Mothers

KOALA Kids’ volunteers Carly Velik and Grace Kerr worked the Royal Children’s Hospital Education Institute’s early learning educator Sonja Fea to facilitate a gorgeous Mother’s Day book club for the kids in the Kookaburra Ward at The Royal Children’s Hospital. We all enjoyed the lovely warm stories about mothers and their babies, the human and fuzzy ones,  before the kids made and decorated their own Mother’s Day bags in which to hide their gifts in. Callum and Logan got creative with their bags, and had to make sure mum wasn’t peaking at it during the session.
Warmest thanks to Hinkler, Lake Press and Scholastic Australia for their generous donations to KOALA Kids mother’s day libraries, available for families to enjoy for the month of May.

Words By Grace Kerr
Monday Program Coordinator

Mother’s Day Book Club in Monash’s Children Cancer Centre

We had a very special book club session on the 11th of May at KOALA Kids Book Club with Elizabeth, age 2 and Stefan, aged 7. It was a themed book club for Mother’s Day.

Neridah reading with Stefan about baby penguins and their Mums!
Neridah reading with Stefan about baby penguins and their mums!
Elizabeth loved ‘My Mum’s the Best’ by Rosie Smith and Bruce Whatley and ‘Hey Mum, I Love you, by Corinne Fenton. Stefan enjoyed reading ‘Mummy’s Little Monster’ by Dawn McNiff & Kate Willis Crowley. He also loved the classic ‘Owl Babies’ by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson. We also enjoyed ‘My Mum says the Strangest Things’ by Katrina Germein and Tom Jellett and ‘Little Penguin and his Mum’ by Matt Wolf. But by far Stefan’s favourite was ‘Mummy’s Little Monster’ which all made sense when we found out his favourite animals were snakes and sharks! When then did some beautiful artwork of portraits of the children’s Mum’s from the wonderful Five Mile Press Sketchpads. A beautiful morning was had by all.
Words by Neridah McMullin
KOALA Kids Volunteer Book Club Coordinator 

KOALA Kids Cricket Themed Book Club

It was a busy morning at the KOALA Kids Cricket themed Book Club at RCH
on Monday 2nd February.

Neridah McMullin reading her story Knockabout Cricket!
Volunteer Neridah McMullin reading her story Knockabout Cricket!

With excerpts read from chapters of the ‘Kaboom Kid¹ written by J.S Black
and Australian cricket star David Warner, and T20 Melbourne Star, Glenn
Maxwell¹s ‘Lucky Break’ by Patrick Loughlin, the children were regaled
with action packed stories of friendship, adventure and cricketing

Volunteer Grace and Bethany making their own cricket ball designs
Volunteer Grace and Bethany making their own cricket ball designs

This was followed by a reading from Neridah McMullin’s new
picture book ‘Knockabout Cricket’. It’s a true Australian history story
about the legendary Aboriginal cricketer, Johnny Mullagh. With beautiful, vibrant illustrations for the children to enjoy they also learnt some interesting facts along the way. The children were then engaged by Grace Kerr and Neridah McMullin in a ‘Design your own cricket ball or bat activity’ which was loads of fun and the children came up with some innovative and smashing designs.


Children in the Kookaburra ward enjoyed experimenting with watercolors when Kim Fleming was the guest illustrator at KOALA Kids book club last month.kkkk4

“This morning we had five students engaged in a group learning session with Neridah (McMullen, KOALA Kids volunteer, Book Club coordinator), Kim and myself.

Kim read several of the books she has illustrated and then demonstrated some of the techniques she uses when working with watercolour paints to create her imagekkkk2s. Students were provided opportunity to explore these techniques and then created their own paintings inspired by the themes in Kim’s books’.  Sonya Nedovic, early learning educator, Children’s Cancer Centre, The Royal Children’s Hospital Education Institute.    kkkk

Kevin Burgemeestre for KOALA Kids Bookclub!

“Visiting children who are ill always makes you feel humble. Working with them and being able to make them smile or have them become engaged in a story or activity is doubly rewarding. They are such great kids to hang out with. Meeting their families who have so much to think about and to do is confronting, and in spite of this their warmth and welcome is always surprising. Hospital staff and educators are peerless, focused and deeply caring, it’s terrific to see humans so connected. Thanks for the opportunity.” Kevin Burgemeestre, Children’s Author & Illustrator

Kevin Burgemeestre was KOALA Kids guest author for the month of October.

Kevin is an award winning writer and illustrator with over sixty books to his credit. Kevin brought to the CCCs two pieces of unique artwork made for his book ‘B is for Bravo’ which teaches the phonetic alphabet for aviation. These artworks are handmade dioramas using recycled materials that Kevin found in rubbish bins and lying around the place. They were so detailed and looked so real; they were fascinating. It took Kev three years to create this amazing artwork!kkk2

Kevin then read The Old Woman and the Pig. Read with terrific speed and comedic time, the children loved the hilarious ending before engaging in a creative activity where they tore holes in paper to create eyes and then drew expressive faces. They also made tongues! Kev then made some hats with puppy ears and scary looking masks using Posca pens.


KOALA Kids thanks Kevin for coming in. It was a highly entertaining book club.

KOALA Kids also thanks Judith O’Brien from Mortlake and Janet MacDonald from Warrnambool for their generous donations of Posca Pens to Monash Children’s Cancer Centres. They are awesome and will be enjoyed by all of the children who use them for many book clubs to come.


The only risk of infection during Kevin Burgemeestre’s book club appearance was his whacky personality and wonderful sense of humor. Images from KOALA Kids book club at the Children’s Cancer Centres at Monash Children’s and The Royal Children’s Hospital during October.

Our Monday Book Club Had The Kids Going Croc- Crazy!

KOALA Kids September book club was an exciting one with visiting author Diana Lawrenson, read the children at the Royal Children’s Cancer Centre two of her books!

After listening to ‘Crocodile River’ a picture book about a salt water croc named Cranky who struggles through the cycle of growing up as a croc and the fight for survival the group was able to touch real crocodile eggs and teeth that Diana had bought in with her.  They were then able to create crocodile jaws using art material provided by KOALA Kids.ff

After Diana read ‘Paraphernalia’s Present’ wearing her chook’s hat, the children enjoyed more activities

Warmest thanks Diana for your time and enthusiasm, adding to the richness of KOALA Kids literacy program!

KOALA Kids is sure that the children at Monash Children’s Cancer Centre enjoy your visit and have just as much fun when you visit next Wednesday.

You can view more of Diana and Diana’s books on her website by clicking here.

Diana Lawrenson RCH