Curious Creatures, Wild Minds CBCA Book Week 2020 A Basic Teacher Guide

January 25, 2020

So winning the Honour Book for Black Cockatoo (Magabala 2018) in the 2019 CBCA Awards kind of made us a little more excited about book week… forever!

And guess what… you can keep the excitement running in your classroom too for the 2020 theme Curious Creatures, Wild Minds. You don’t need to wait until the new Covid-friendly date of October 17-23 (it is expected that from 2021 things will return to normal with book week in August) to enjoy letting your students go wild and explore this curious theme.

Integrated Learning

  • Perfect opportunity to link your Science curriculum in and start getting students excited- evolution and adaptation and Mini Beasts would tie in perfectly! Get some ‘curious creatures’ under a magnifying glass or microscope then see if you can create a story about them. Or see if your students can collect some dead bugs from the yard to sort and classify by their ‘curious creature features’.
  • English studies- make Animalia or Where the Wild Things Are one of your feature books, create poems about curious creatures, even just a guided reading rotation with ‘curious creatures’ as your focus. Students might make their own ‘curious creatures’ by photocopying pages from the books and cutting them out and mixing them up! We like the poem based on the theme here. This Youtube video is a poem read about the theme ‘curious creatures’.
  • Geography- look up the strangest animal on each continent. We have a few pretty curious ones in our own backyards- a great chance to look at evolution on an island! Platypus for example! This could be a cool opportunity to look at those weird old books called ‘Atlas’ and ‘Encyclopedias’… us old people will remember them!
  • Art- oh imagine the things that your curious creatures with wild minds could create!

Class Activities

  • Use your wild mind to design made up curious creatures. Mix and match body parts or create your own. You might print examples and cut them up to make new curious creatures.
  • Use your wild mind to design some Australian creature masks. What are out strangest looking creatures? Platypus, stick creature, ghost crab?
  • Research microscopic and megafauna- mix and match, create a new curious creature.
  • Mix and match creatures from books in 2019 years award.
  • Colouring in creatures.
  • Chatter box creatures.
  • Myths and legends that include curious creatures- bunyip, drop bear, whip snake, unicorn, big foot…
  • Strange real word creatures- think sloths, owls, millipedes, tiny vampire bats…
  • Look up curious animal facts- what is the world’s smallest mammal, the animal that lives the longest, the animal whose heart beats the fastest?
  • Face painting curious creatures- Pinterest is your friend for this one like the board here.
  • Corner book marks designed in curious creatures- how to video here.
  • Use the 2019 Curious Creatures Summer Reading Club booklet activities . Okay, okay we are biased because Black Cockatoo was a feature text 😉


  • Wild mind- wild hair, big brain hat, a hat with all your crazy ideas dangling off.
  • Curious creatures- dress as some animal from the Guinness Book of Records, unicorn, Loch Ness monster, bunyip, an extinct animal/dinosaur
  • Obviously as authors of Black Cockatoo (Magabala 2018) we think you should all dress as black cockatoos 😉 Learn how to make a bird mask with this Youtube video. Or use this printable template to colour in and make a mask really easily. Last year we sent signed copies of our books to some deadly little book week black cockatoos we spotted on social media!
  • There are lots of super simple dress up ideas on this website here.

Curious Creature Books From The Noteables 2020

If there ever was a long listed book that totally fit the CBCA theme of the year it would be Tim Flannery’s “Weird, Wild, Amazing”!

The list has some super books this year but these are a few of the others that hit the theme on point… doesn’t mean they will win but it does mean they are easy picks for your theme!

See the full noteable list here:

Curious Creature Books We Recommend

  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • Shaun Tan’s ‘The Lost Thing’, ‘Eric’ and ‘The Arrival’
  • Animalia by Graeme Base
  • Any of the large selection of books with the title ‘Curious Creatures’




Unfortunately for us we don’t have a book in the 2020 CBCA Awards but that doesn’t mean we won’t enjoy celebrating with the theme Curious Creatures, Wild Minds. Meanwhile, stay tuned for the 2021-2022 CBCA Book Awards… where hopefully our new novel Tracks of the Missing (Magabala 2021)and picture book Beautiful Night (Hachette 2021) will be in the running.


PS- If you happen to be a fellow writer with a wild mind we highly recommend our editor Shel Sweeney from A Worded Life. 


PPS- Check out our comprehensive resource pack to help with teaching our book Black Cockatoo here.


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#CBCA2020 #curiouscreatureswildminds #bookweek #ChildrensBookCouncilAustralia



  1. Melanie Is the Wild thing sheets available? Thank you for the ideas.
    July 1, 2020 at 8:05 am · Reply

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