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Anti-Bullying Week and World Kindness Day are annual events which take place in November and this year, perhaps more than ever, we need to ensure we spread the message of kindness and tolerance.
The theme for Anti-Bullying Week 2020 is United Against Bullying. The Anti-Bullying Alliance has a full programme of events and activities for the week including Odd Socks Day, a fun opportunity for children to express their individuality, and Stop Speak Support to focus on cyber-bullying.
The Anti-Bullying Alliance has worked with over 300 young people and 100 members of school staff to develop a 2020 manifesto for change:
"Bullying has a long lasting effect on those who experience and witness it. But by channelling our collective power, through shared efforts and shared ambitions, we can reduce bullying together. From parents and carers, to teachers and politicians, to children and young people, we all have a part to play in coming together to make a difference."
Odd Socks Day is on Monday 16th November, the first day of Anti-Bullying Week, and we are encouraged to wear odd socks to school or work (in the home office!) to highlight that we are all unique and to celebrate our differences. There is also a Odd Socks Song courtesy of children's TV star Andy Day and his band Andy and the Odd Socks - you can find the video, plus posters, competition details and flyers at anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk/anti-bullying-week/odd-socks-day.
There are some great resources for these events, written by teachers, suitable for children in both Primary and Secondary Schools, at www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk
And for information on the growing problem of cyberbullying, how it can affect kids and adults, and the ensuing mental health-related problems, visit www.broadbandsearch.net/blog/cyber-bullying-statistics.
World Kindness Day is an internationally recognised shared event introduced by the World Kindness Movement in 1998 to highlight, unite and promote good deeds within the community and in day to day life.
There are many ways to take part and schools and community groups across the country will be holding special events including making kindness cards and encouraging random acts of kindness. In the past Kindness UK has handed out 10,000 free chocolate bars at London Train stations and encouraged a Text Wave that swept through the country.
You can find out what's planned for this year at kindnessuk.com & perhaps plan your own act of kindness!
Celebrate Friendship Friday with Kidscape and Elmer on Friday 20th - download a special Kindness Pack 2020 here and you can also find resources, videos and online activities on Being a Good Friend, Telling Tales and What Makes a Good Friend. www.kidscape.org.uk
Scroll down for a selection of books that tackle both the theme of bullying and also stories about kindness and kind acts, plus we have also a large collection of books that focus on Friends & Friendships.
Anti-Bullying Week runs from from Monday 16th - Friday 20th November 2020.
Follow the Anti-Bullying Alliance @ABAonline
World Kindness Day is Friday 13th November.
For fans of Jon Klassen, this sensitive and impactful picture book from award-winning author-illustrator Christian Robinson is all about seeing the world from different points of view, and the perfect entry point for parents to help teach their little people about empathy and community.
Counting books are very much a staple of the bookshelves at home and nursery but this collaboration between a human rights activist and poet and an award-winning illustrator is so much more than just a tool for learning numbers and could be shared and used throughout the primary age-group for the discussions it will provoke. This is the story of a family that had to run away from an image of a war-torn, smoking settlement. “Hold my hand and count to ten- together we’ll make it better again.” Then the journey begins with 1 boat and 2 hands “lifting us to safety”, then counting through the meals, beds, wishes and books which help them on their way to the 7 days “celebrating our first week in a new land”. With the “gifts” that surprise them with “things they like and need” in the relief parcels and the welcome notices at their new school to the 10 new friends they make there, this is a hopeful and uplifting journey. However, the images powerfully capture the full gamut of emotions the refugee family experience, as well as the love and support they give each other. The book ends with a challenge to the reader by asking how many ways can they think of to be kind? And there is a reminder of the grim statistics that millions of children are running from war or disaster and many of them have no family to take care of them. The end papers have websites and sources of information for the adult reader, no doubt spurred on by the discussions this book will prompt, who wants to help. Endorsed by Amnesty International, this is an outstanding example of how a deceptively simple picturebook can develop empathy and understanding. Highly recommended.
If bestsellers were decided upon by the number of prestigious awards a book had won then this one, with echoes of Edward Lear would be the blockbuster of all time. Julia really is a past-master of rhyme whilst Axel’s illustrations complement the text quite brilliantly.
December 2019 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2019 | Winner of the 2018 Caldecott Medal | A stunning near wordless picture book which will inspire the story teller in all of its readers. While Matthew Cordell draws on some themes familiar from the traditional Red Riding Hood story he has created a quite different and hugely heart-warming drama about trust and friendship. Dressed in a bright red coat a little girl sets off to walk home from school. Snow is beginning to fall. At the same time, a pack of wolfs, including a young wolf cub, set out into the same falling snow. The snow turns into a blizzard and soon both the little girl and the wolf cub are lost. How can either of them survive? Luckily, they come together so that bth can get home safely.
Fed up with being bullied Willy the gorilla decides to take action and if that means getting fitter and tougher then that's what he does. Suddenly the bullies are running away and even better Willy saves a girl from the bullies, with hilarious results. This delightful new edition celebrates 30 years of this timeless and award-winning picture book by multiple-award-winner Anthony Browne.
September 2012 Book of the Month. This wonderful fantasy tells how a group of mean-minded bullies are seen off by the feisty Origami Girl. When bullies try to steal Joey’s money from selling newspapers they find themselves in for a shock. Suddenly, Joey’s bag whisks into the air and his newspapers are transformed into the remarkable Origami Girl. Wonderfully original and exciting adventures follow as the two follow the bullies and win justice for Joey.
A special 10th Anniversary Edition of this modern classic. A mix up with eggs has a placid duckbill dinosaur being brought up by T-Rex’s – clearly this causes hilarious problems. With Julia Donaldson’s irresistible, rollicking rhyming text and David Roberts’ glorious illustration, this bold and brilliant picture book crackles with wit. Julia Donaldson says: If you’d like some hints on acting out the story at home or in a classroom,you could take a look at www.picturebookplays.co.uk, which is a website I created when I was the Children’s Laureate and which has lots of ideas for dramatising picture books. You can even see a video of a class performing Tyrannosaurus Drip.
There’s a moral to this lively tale for everyone who lives on a small island. The setting is a farm run by animals. At first, all is good: the animals work hard and are friends, free ‘to live and work where they chose’. But trouble is brewing. The geese, who reside with the ducks on a lush little island, start to resent the other animals. Their grumbling gets worse until they decide that the best thing for them to do is to leave the rest of the farm and live on their own. Despite the misgivings of the ducks, the geese destroy the footbridge to the farm. 48% of readers may not be surprised to learn that things don’t work out as the geese expect, but all readers will be glad that by the end of the book the bridge has been rebuilt. Animal farms traditionally have lessons for readers – Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell and Helen Oxenbury for example – and this one is delivered with impact and charm. A book to get everyone talking, but to leave them smiling.
No matter how you start your day, What you wear when you play, Or if you come from far away, All are welcome here. Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcome. A school where children in patkas, hijabs, baseball caps and yarmulkes play side by side. A school where students grow and learn from each other's traditions. A school where diversity is a strength. Warm and inspiring, All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, and they are welcome in their school. Engaging lyrical text and bright, accessible illustrations make this book a must for every child's bookshelf, classroom and library.
August 2019 Book of the Month | Nicola Davies celebrates the forthcoming 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in this beautifully illustrated picture book. Using the metaphor of each child being a song, she explores some of the 54 rights it sets out, from the right to education, to freedom of thought and expression, to the rights of child refugees. Short, lyrical sentences of text will start discussion and conversation and Marc Martin’s rich water-colour illustrations, whether of children, scenes or vegetation, add movement and drama. A book to inspire children to think about the world and their place within it.
The second of 8 great adventures about an ordinary boy with a big heart and a strong desire to work things out even when they’re complicated. When Clarence the class bully tells everyone that Marvin picks his nose even his best friends Nick and Stuart don’t stand up for him. What can Marvin do to get the rumour changed around? Maybe his clever question for the class survey will do the trick!
May 2018 Book of the Month | | Interest Age 5-8 | | The villagers in this charming story rely on their telephone for different reasons and when the local line is damaged in a storm they are all affected. Margaret can't organise her May Fair, Jean can't keep in touch with her family and Will's mum might miss the latest naughty escapades her son has got up to! After the telephone company arrives to fix the wires things get more complicated as the houses are mistakenly connected to the wrong number and confusion reigns. But as the neighbours have to relay messages to each other the community starts to grow closer. Based upon true events this is a heartwarming tale of friendship and solidarity borne out of adversity, with the uplifting message that co-operation and kindness brings the highest rewards.
May 2017 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2017 | A glorious romp of a story full of confusion and chaos but with a strong message about trusting yourself and standing up to bullies. Terrorised by Monty Grabbe, the very nastiest school bully you can imagine, Ben hides under the rubbish bin – one of the bullies favourite places of persecution – and finds himself in a twisting tunnel that leads him to somewhere quite unrecognisable and apparently a long, long way away. Now in the land of King Coo, a bearded female ruler, Ben enjoys some stinky, splotchy, squelchy adventures in which he also defeats Monty. Told in words and pictures, Adam Stower’s hilarious story is beautifully presented in this hugely attractive hardback. ~ Julia Eccleshare Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for May 2017 The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue King of the Sky by Nicoloa Davies A Story Like the Wind by Gill Lewis King Coo by Adam Stower The Tale of Angelino Brown by David Almond Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman The Big Bird Spot by Matt Sewell
Chosen by Cressida Cowell, Guest Editor May 2020 | Young readers will have great fun on planet Omar! Our hero's tales of everyday life with his family and at school will keep everyone amused. Omar is worried because the family have just moved house - will he make friends at school? He does of course, but Daniel the school bully seems to have it in for him. A school trip to the Science Museum sees the two of them lost in London, but Omar knows just what to do and in the process realises that maybe he'd got Daniel wrong. The real pleasure of this book is Omar - his imagination, the pleasure he finds in ordinary things, his infectious zest for life make this irresistible reading. The book also offers insight into the life of an ordinary Muslim family, something we don't often get, and indeed, Zanib Mian has said that she wrote the book to counter negative stereotypes of Muslims. It's another reason to recommend this book, and I'm already looking forward to a new story and a return to Planet Omar. Our Guest Editor, Cressida Cowell said, "this is a very funny, illustrated series which has characters with heart who you really care about. I’d say if you’re a fan of Wimpy Kid and Tom Gates, you’d like this series…"
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2016 | A pacey new story set in Storey Street featuring a cast of outrageous characters doing a host of amazing and extraordinary things. Masher’s dad is determined to get his greedy hands on the space in the street where a house was stolen from so that he can sell it for loads of money. But the kids in the street have a different idea. Can they and the performing Jessops, who turn up in the nick of time, defend the special place? Mayhem, magic and a certain amount of trickery follow is this bubbly adventure which adds a great new chapter to the Storey Street series.
How can three friends look out for each other? Daisy and Phoebe are worried about their friend Erika. She’s good at everything and very popular but someone seems to be giving her a hard time. Each of the three girls tells their part in unravelling the story in an easy to read and chatty style.
Interest Age 8-12 Reading Age 8+ | How do see off the school bully? Sick of being picked on and called ‘chicken’ the narrator of this story thinks up a dare to show up Darren Bishop, the school bully. A farm boy himself he is quite at home with the big bully Olly and he dares Darren to come up close too. When Darren Bishop flees from the field his bullying days are over but there’s a twist in the tale…Is anyone really safe from the bully? A gripping story with a surprising ending.
I know I can't change the way I look. But maybe, just maybe, people can change the way they see Wonder is a true modern classic, a life-changing read, and has inspired kindness and acceptance in countless readers. Now younger readers can discover the Wonder message with this gorgeous picture book, starring Auggie and his dog Daisy on an original adventure, written and illustrated by R.J. Palacio. With spare, powerful text and richly-imagined illustrations, We're All Wonders shows readers what it's like to live in Auggie's world - a world in which he feels like any other kid, but he's not always seen that way.
April 2020 Book of the Month | Twelve-year-old Ross is dealt a devastating blow when he’s told he has an extremely rare form of eye cancer and is likely to lose sight in both eyes. Based on author Rob Harrell’s personal experience of eye cancer, and spiced with his cool comic-strips of Ross’s Battbutt and Batpig characters, Wink has all the freshness and pitch-perfect narrative voice of a Louis Sachar story, with its own unique warmth and wit.As Ross struggles with the strangeness of undergoing immediate radiation treatment, he also faces a terrible time at school. Cruelly called the “Cancer Cowboy” on account of having to wear a hat, he’s also the subject of malicious memes. While Ross’s personal plight is at the huge heart of this novel, it’s equally as powerful in its portrayal of the wider impact of devastating diagnoses, most poignantly when Ross’s friend Isaac distances himself from their Oreo-sealed friendship pact. But as Isaac retreats, he makes life-changing new friends as a result of his treatment. First there’s fellow patient Jerry, a wise-cracking old guy who rebuffs Ross’s desire to be normal. According to Jerry, “Different moves the needle. Different is where the good stuff happens. There’s strength in difference.” Then there’s Frank, the adorable radiation tech guy who teaches Ross to play guitar, which has tear-jerkingly transformational effects.What an authentic, emotional, amusing and all-round awesome read this is.
Winner of the 'Best of the Best' children's category at the Independent Bookshop Week Awards 2016. Chosen by Stylist magazine as one of the Cult Books of 2012. Frank, powerful, warm and often heart-breaking, Wonder is a book you'll read in one sitting, pass on to others, and remember long after the final page. This is a wonderful debut from a storyteller with a great future if this book is anything to go by and her characters are intensely likeable. You can discuss what you think of this book on Twitter - #thewonderofwonder.
Full of well known names but avoiding macho stereotypes Instead it celebrates qualities of the individuals that make them worthy of respect, such as kindness and compassion. Well written, and very positive throughout.
Awarded the Amnesty CILIP Honour from the Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist 2018 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2018 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2017 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | Award-winning A.F. Harrold blends reality and imagination in a moving and thought-provoking story about friendship, loneliness and being brave when things are difficult. Bullied at school and unsupported at home, Frank makes an unusual friendship with Nick, the weird boy in her class who everyone else shuns. After Nick rescues Frank from the bullies, she goes round to his house where she discovers something very unusual. What should Frank believe about what she sees? And should she keep Nick’s secret? Levi Penfold’s illustrations add to the illusory feel of this story that tests imagination and belief and leaves the reader wondering.
February 2017 Book of the Month | From the creator of the hugely popular Dork Diaries series comes a hapless new hero and new set of comic adventures. Max Crumbly promises readers ‘wacky humour, thrilling action, nail-biting suspense and cool raps’ and delivers pretty well on all of them. He describes his days at school, including a series of unfortunate run-ins with the school bully in short, sharp bursts, accompanied by frequent illustrations, and his view of life is definitely shaped by his love of comics. His exploits are more fantastic than those of Dork diarist Nikki, but are still firmly rooted in experiences that will be familiar to kids everywhere and his misadventures will certainly keep pages turning. Readers who like their fiction funny, fast-moving, and cartoon rich will also enjoy the Tom Gates series by Liz Pichon and Jeff Kenney’s phenomenally popular Wimpy Kid books.
UKLA Longlist Book Awards - 2019 | There are two sides to every story Dan is angry. Nothing has been the same since his big brother left, and he's taking it out on the nearest and weakest target: Alex. Alex is struggling. His severe OCD makes it hard for him to leave the house, especially when Dan and his gang are waiting for him at school ...Then the boys' mums arrange for them to meet up and finish building the raft that Dan started with his brother. Two enemies stuck together for the whole of the school holidays - what could possibly go wrong?
This collection features poems by three of our best-known and best-loved children’s poets, Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens. Between them, using a range of poetic styles and voices, they cover lots of topics – friendship and togetherness, difference, tolerance, bullying. Some of the poems make their point through humour while others, particularly those about the refugee experience, are necessarily bleaker; some even contain direct advice about where to go or who to turn to in specific situations. All do what poetry does best, that is they will make readers think, engage and look at things, even situations or feelings that may be really familiar, with new eyes. An excellent collection that will be read and read again. ~ Andrea Reece
It's hard to be the new girl but for Ella things are even more complicated. She has recently moved to a new area - and a new school - with her mum and brother, and a big secret. Ella has a talent for art, particularly photography, and joins the art club where she grows her friendship with Lydia, the school queen bee. But Lydia isn't all she seems and her motives behind her friendship with Ella are unpleasant. Soon Ella realises she is under Lydia's control but why? And what does Lydia hold against Molly? This is a pacy story of secrets and lies but it also carries a heartwarming message of friendship and finding the inner strength to be who you really want to be.
We all want our children to be happy and resilient, but may not realise that they can be taught skills to make them happier people. Written by a psychologist with the charity Action for Happiness, this book explains ten keys to happier living and sets out practical, fun activities for children to do that will make a real and lasting difference to their lives. The text is friendly and reassuring, broken down into easily accessible paragraphs or charts while bright graphics with animated characters make it attractive to look at too. Each of the ten chapters has tips for children to use in their everyday lives, including a section on developing mindfulness. Happiness really matters, and the more children and adults who read this book, the better. ~ Andrea Reece
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 | Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 Former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman tells a gripping adventure story of a school trip that goes horribly wrong. Sam longs to go on the school trip to the Highlands but he is sure his parents will say no as he has a long term sickness - sickle cell disease – which means he needs to be looked after carefully. When they surprisingly say yes, Sam is thrilled. But his delight soon turn to fear as he realises that the class bullies are planning something that is designed to humiliate him but which will end up putting them all at risk. How Sam deals with the bullies, including showing incredible courage in rescuing one from real danger, and how he deals with his own illness with another kind of bravery is all brilliantly captured in Malorie Blackman’s vivid drama.
September 2019 Debut of the Month | Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2020 | Ten-year-old Frank loves code and numbers; they’re a way to make sense of the world, as well as providing secret languages to share with his friends and his mum. Frank’s five-year-old brother Max is autistic and for him the world is often a scary place, when anything unexpected, too loud or too bright can cause him to have a meltdown. The story is narrated by Frank and every reader will understand his frustration at the unfairness of life. We know that he loves Max, but we know too how hard Max makes life for all the family. Frank is then faced with something even more terrible when tragedy strikes. With the help of those around him we watch Frank find a way to make sense of what has happened and the bravery to cope with the different world. Katya Balen has worked with neuro-divergent children and there’s a powerful sense of truth and understanding in her beautifully told story. If they like Wonder by R. J. Palacio they'll love The Space We're In. The Branford Boase judges said : ‘an important book, beautifully written’; ‘so powerful, it enables us to see right into Frank’s mind’; ‘the insight into the family relationships is excellent’.
Action-packed adventure in which three friends bite off a whole lot more than most kids can chew when they take flight from a bully, and crash land into a criminal underworld of drug dealers. Largely due to a bullying “cyber-slimebag”, Steve and twins Fran and Dan have decided that “the sooner they get away from here the better”. With almost Blyton-esque instinct, they’ve built a raft and are now ready to go. But it’s not long before they lose the raft and are forced to take shelter in a cave. While this does offer cosy protection, it also exposes them to unimaginable dangers when they discover a kitbag containing over £30k. And a gun. With their lives now in danger, fearless Fran steps up and deploys immense nerve in an effort to extricate them from this hugely hazardous situation. The sharp, snappy style combined with criminal-themed content (not forgetting the white-knuckle ride of an escape scene…) put me in mind of Alex Rider, only with the action rooted around three small town heroes-next-door, rather than an international hi-tech hero. As such, this pacey page-turner will surely appeal to 10+ year-olds with a thirst for high-octane escapades, but also has enough grit to keep older – and perhaps more reluctant – readers on the edge of their seats.
Interest Age 11+ Reading Age 8+. Brand new edition of a bestselling teen novel ideal for girls - an original tale of romance and growing up. Lily dreads going back to school after the summer - will the bullying this year be as bad as the last? Hiding away from reality, she forms an unlikely alliance with the crows in the woods. With them on side, she gains the confidence to make herself noticed at Kyle Hooper's Halloween party, showing everyone she exists. Award-winning publisher Barrington Stoke have a decade of experience in publishing books for the dyslexic, struggling and reluctant reader and have sold nearly 3 million books worldwide. Their tried and tested easy-to-read layouts ensure accessibility for all reluctant readers.
One of our Books of the Year 2016 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award There’s something appealing just about the format and feel of this book – a small hardback, it looks inviting and eminently readable. And it is just that. Alex is getting by at school through the simple expedient of making himself invisible. But the balance of power there changes with the arrival of mysterious notes from someone calling themselves Icarus, promising to fly. As excitement spreads, and Alex learns who Icarus is, the knowledge is both thrilling and troubling – after all, Icarus’s flight ended in tragedy. Ultimately, though it considers some of the most depressing and depressingly familiar aspects of human behaviour, this is a story of hope, with a little nod to magic in it too. ~ Andrea Reece From the same publisher, and in the same pick-up-able format, the Costa shortlisted Jessica’s Ghost takes a similarly thoughtful and life-affirming look at friendship.
I don’t think Raúf has put a foot wrong so far with her novels to date – and this is no exception. Told from the interesting perspective of the bully in school, Hector gains our sympathy quite unexpectedly – we can see how and why he gets the blame, often deservedly, but also when it’s not really his fault. But when a prank on a homeless person gets out of hand this leads to Hector being befriended - somewhat reluctantly at first, by Mei-Li – who introduces Hector to the shelter she helps in and thus to an understanding of some of the pressures and causes of homelessness. An important social message for all – but this book is also a who-done-it trying to solve mysterious, slightly odd crimes whilst the graffiti left at the scenes of these crimes seem to indicate that homeless people are involved in some way. Can Hector and Mei-Li get to the bottom of these crimes? Can Hector’s new understanding help him be less of a bully? Could Hector turn out to be a bit of a hero? Written with great empathy, this book has themes of friendship and kindness whilst celebrating the fact people can change – and often for the better. Another success for Onali J Raúf.
September 2019 Debut of the Month | Jo is the kind of open, honest, amusing character readers immediately care about. Told through her wittily illustrated diary, Jo’s tale begins with a(nother) upheaval. She and her family have just moved to their new Chinese takeaway, but her hopes for a fresh start are immediately dashed when she sees there’s no living room, and she has to share a room with little sister Bonny while big brother Simon lives with their grandparents. Jo’s experience of feeling “doubly different” is poignantly portrayed – she’s an outsider at school because she’s Chinese, and an outsider among her wider Chinese family because her own family is dysfunctional, and because she doesn’t speak the same language. Thank goodness, then, that she forms a friendship with fellow outcast, Tina the Goth, who stands up to racist school bullies. But while Jo begins to feel hopeful about her future and takes steps towards realising her dream of working in fashion, she and Bonny are increasingly neglected by their parents, and then there’s Dad’s aggressive outbursts. The mid-1980s setting prompts many amusing references, from ra-ra skirts and Gary Kemp’s perm, to sending drawings to Take Hart and going to Wimpy for a Knickerbocker Glory - but above all this is a highly readable, highly empathetic, impactful novel about familial abuse and neglect, trying to fit in, and finding your way in the world. Based on her own experiences, author Sue Cheung’s big-hearted story will chime with readers of 12+ who know how it feels to fall between cracks and dream of a different life.
August 2016 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: ways to change the world Joseph is not classic super-hero material: he’s asthmatic and rubbish at sports, bullied regularly and nicknamed Wilco because he always complies when someone demands he does their homework. Imagine his surprise and excitement therefore when he develops special powers including telekinesis. Could this be his chance to get his own back on the bullies, impress the gorgeous Indira and even join super-heroes unlimited the Vigils? Well, yes and no. The story that follows is a sharply-observed comedy of teen life, with a serious undertone. Amongst the comic-book action Burstein shows what heroism - the kind that calls for real courage – really is, and reminds readers that heroes and villains too are often those we least expect them to be. ~ Andrea Reece
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 7+ Muhammed Ali’s life story provides daily inspiration for a young boy, also called Ali, who takes on the bigger lad who bullies him. The setting for their confrontation is the boxing ring. Barrington Stoke novels are written and produced specifically with reluctant and dyslexic readers in mind and this will be a real page turner for all. Gibbons uses short sentences to tell the story, each one of which directly moves the story on, with no extraneous details. The blow by blow account of young Ali’s fight is gripping, while timelines of Muhammed Ali’s fights intersperse chapters, breaking up the text but also throwing more light on what is happening in the ring. A really effective piece of writing for young readers, particularly boys. ~ Andrea Reece Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
16-year-old Holly feels like an outsider, except when she’s swimming at her local pool: “Under the surface, deep in the blue-lit water, nobody can see me. There’s nobody to judge the clothes I wear, or the way my hair frizzles”. It’s at the pool she meets Ed, who’s “not like the boys at school who are either geeky or cocky and smart-arsed and think they’re all that. He’s different”. While romantic feelings, evoked in all their dizzying wonder, swell poolside, at home the seas are stormier. Struggling with depression, Holly’s mum has “become so inward-looking that she hasn’t a clue what I do with my time”. But as Holly’s home-life begins to brighten, Ed reveals that he’s grappling with a serious domestic situation of his own. Warm-hearted, highly readable and romantic, with the bleaker elements of both teenagers’ lives handled with a sensitive lightness of touch, readers will undoubtedly root for Holly and Ed to find their happy ever after.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | In English teacher Louise Reid’s first venture into the verse novel, she uses the form magnificently using layout and different font sizes and styles to show as well as tell Lily’s story. We meet her in the opening poem, Roadkill at her lowest ebb. Bullied at school and battered and abused outside it, betrayed by childhood ‘friends’ and mentally trapped in a self-critical prison. This is an unflinching portrait of a girl who does not fit in and who hates herself. But it is also a picture of a family in poverty and the link between poverty and obesity is well known, but not often acknowledged and ‘fat shaming” is a particularly insidious and dangerous form of bullying where the victims are often blamed. The author also gives a voice to Bernadette, the loving mother equally trapped in her own misery, overweight and virtually housebound and to Lily’s feelings for her which veer back and forth from love to shame and blame. The layers of characterisation and backstory are subtly and delicately revealed in this beautifully paced narrative. Equally touching is the depiction of her father, quiet, loyal and desperate to help. It is at his suggestion that Lily takes up his old hobby of boxing. With training and the gym comes fitness, but more importantly other support structures and tentative friendships and Lily’s bravery helps Bernadette take some positive steps too. Their journey is not easy but never anything other than utterly convincing and psychologically authentic. This important novel has home truths for both sexes to ponder and a cleverly neutral cover and the highly accessible verse format means that it can be promoted to even the most reluctant of readers.
May 2014 Debut of the Month | *** This book contains a strong storyline which centres around teen suicide A gripping and thought-provoking story that goes right to the heart of the extremes to which the powerful emotions of adolescence can lead. A teen suicide and the bullying that seems to have gone before it must be explored and explained even if everyone thinks they know how it happened. When Emma hangs herself Sara Wharton is blamed. Not for the action but for being a central cause of it. But was she? Sara her own way of looking at it; she is sure of where blame lies. But, she tells her story, Sara begins to consider the events differently.
This compelling read tells a familiar story of the authority figure ( a popular teacher here) who behaves inappropriately and when his victim comes forward, she is not believed and her life takes a real turn for the worse, including in this case, work being marked down and university applications scuppered by the same teacher in revenge for her speaking out. What makes this book stand out is the complexity and authenticity of Marin’s internal dialogue and the fact that the dilemmas she faces and the choices she makes are all too believable. The book really gets to the heart of how difficult it is for girls and women to make sense of this kind of violation, and brilliantly explores the way they doubt themselves and the way that predators exploit these feelings. Marin’s experience opens her eyes to things that had previously passed unnoticed- the casual sexism of classmates and the institutional sexism of a school dress code and of an English curriculum which featured only male authors and even her own lack of awareness of what life is like for outsiders. While English teachers will celebrate Marin’s decision to express her protest in print via her student newspaper editorials, librarian’s will relish the feminist book club she also sets up ( and the excellent book recommendations that are given) This is an important book for both sexes to read and one which will hopefully start lots of conversations about equality, sexual harassment, and those unwritten social norms that govern our behaviour.