‘Natural Disasters’ is our latest Unit of Work for Year 5 students in Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS). Units of Work are comprehensive thematic lessons, including printable resources and story suggestions. Ready for the classroom, to be used as a sequence or individually, each lesson is centered around a different story, which helps open up discussion and enquiry into the topic.

Story Box Library’s Units of Work are linked to Australian Curriculum learning areas, making it easier for all educators to adapt and integrate into lesson planning and teaching.

Units of Work Natural Disasters stories


Part of Scholastic’s Natural Disaster series and inspired by the bushfires that have affected many Australians, Fire is a moving and sensitive story of a natural disaster as seen through the eyes of a cockatoo.

A beautiful and timely expression of the strength of the Australian spirit during times of adversity from author Jackie French, and illustrated by Bruce Whatley. Read by Alexandra Schepisi.

House on the Mountain

Written and read by Ella Holcombe, whose family lost their home in Australia’s Black Saturday fires. Ella's prose is lyrical and David Cox's illustrations are stunning, leaving the reader with a sense of hope and admiration at the family's ability to rebuild their lives.

There is a fire coming, and we need to move quickly. 

Mum and Dad start packing bags, grabbing woollen blankets, the first-aid kit, torches, and then the photo albums. 

Dad puts Ruby on her lead and ties her up near the back door. 

My chest feels hollow, like a birdcage. 


Inspired by the 2011 Queensland floods, Flood is a moving and sensitive story of a natural disaster as seen through the honest eyes of a cattle dog that has been separated from his family. Part of Scholastic’s Natural Disaster series, Flood is written by Jackie French, illustrated by Bruce Whatley and read by Radhiah Chowdhury. 

The Bushfire Book: How to be Aware and Prepare

Read by firefighter Kate Faith, this story will help you understand what causes bushfires, introduce you to all the clever people who are keeping an eye on them, and teach you how to be prepared and not scared. 

Written by Polly Marsden and illustrated by Chris Nixon, The Bushfire Book is a practical and reassuring story for children, to help them understand bushfires and what action they can take to feel less anxious and more prepared as Australia faces longer and more intense bushfire seasons. 

Units of Work Natural Disasters

Australian Curriculum links - Humanities and Social Sciences:

  • Year 5 - Knowledge and understanding: Geography

  • Year 5 - Inquiry skills: Questioning, Researching, Analysing, Evaluating and Reflecting, Communicating

Explore similar titles in our Natural Disasters and Humanitarian Crises series on Story Box Library.