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‘You Will Always Be in My Heart’ by Arlene Nikita Mensah and beautifully Illustrated by Mauro Lirussi is a story about big life changes through a young person’s eyes. Cookie’s Mum and Dad get married and Cookie and her mum move from Trinidad to England so that they can all live as a family. This is the first of many changes for Cookie and each time she remains strong with the help of her faith. This book has a light hand while dealing with a lot of sensitive subjects, from moving to a new country to divorce and abuse. Throughout the emphasis is on keeping faith and hope, with quotes from the International Children’s Bible at the start of each chapter. I felt that this was a well structured and well-written book, with lovely illustrations. I think that this would be an interesting read for any child going through significant upheaval, but I would echo the advice in the Author’s Foreword and use this book as an opportunity to start a conversation with a parent or relative about what’s happening in the story and any feelings brought up by the narrative. A sensitive, autobiographical tale about change, loss and separation, told through the eyes of a young girl with the powerful message that no matter how you're separated from a loved one, they’ll always be in your heart.
Adapted for a younger readership from the author’s celebrated adult book of the same name, this illustrated history of the Silk Roads, bound in a majestic gold and blue package, is the perfect present for fledging historians. The book’s journey leads armchair adventurers along thrilling, far-reaching roads, taking in the history of ancient Persia, Constantinople, Rome, Attila the Hun, the emergence of Islam, Viking slavery, Genghis Khan, Columbus - and more - from a holistic perspective. “You might even think of the Silk Roads as the world’s central nervous system, linking all the organs of the body together”, the author suggests in the introduction, and his engaging exploration of the interplay between politics, science, religion and trade certainly gives this book far greater tang than your standard textbook. Indeed, generously spiced with exquisite illustrations and maps that inform as they enthrall, young history buffs will undoubtedly devour this pitch-perfect treasure, and grown-ups will get much from it too.
You almost know this is going to be a beautiful book by its title. It is described as a Muslim book of shapes, but it is so much more. I have to say I learned a lot from this book and was extremely glad of the informative and helpful glossary. The book offers so much – history, shape and pattern, culture and colour. It is so clever that in addition to the different shapes written about on each page, there are more ovals, or arches to look for in the illustrations, subtly hidden in fabrics and the decorations of the mosque. As with many books for young children the use of rhyming couplets adds a lovely rhythm to the pages, as does the fact that the book tracks a whole day from morning prayer to the night sky. Each page is bright and detailed and all the characters in the illustrations seem to shine with a sense of wonderment as if something magical is happening. There is so much to see and discuss on each page which makes it a perfect book to share.
Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | Published just before Holocaust Memorial Day this book could not be more important or timely. Author Keren David has talked about her own challenges bringing up Jewish children and about Jewishness only being reflected in Holocaust literature. She wanted to write a story in which young Jewish people could see themselves as well as hopefully giving all young people something to think about. She has done a remarkable job with this immensely readable and authentic story. The short, dark and curvy extrovert, Evie, could not be more different from the tall,blonde ,willowy, anxious Lottie. They go to different schools and have very different interests. Their Jewish mother has never discussed their heritage or family history and they follow no religious or cultural customs. But Lottie makes friends with Hannah and not only has her eyes opened to the casual bitchy racism of her classmates but relishes and enjoys the Jewish life Hannah shows her. Of course, the reader is learning alongside Lottie and Hannah is so refreshingly modern, for example challenging gender roles in her faith, that this is a vibrant and positive view of the community. Meanwhile the twin’s mother meets an old friend and her son Noah who have fled racist attacks in Paris. In her new role on radio she decides to announce her Jewish status and denounce racism. The ensuing Twitter storm of abuse and trolling opens Evie’s eyes too, as does Noah’s contacts with young Jews trying to take action to confront racists. Both girls are faced with very real danger and in the aftermath, they attend a talk by Mala Tribich- a very real Holocaust survivor. David very cleverly uses her actual testimony to ensure that readers can distinguish that this is the actual truth and not fictionalised. Mala’s inspiration is just what they need to renew their enthusiasm – for Evie in activism and for Lottie in religion and for their family to finally feel a real part of their heritage and history. While dealing with some intense modern issues, this is a real page- turner populated by some very convincing and engaging young characters that will have absolutely no difficulty in finding enthusiastic readers. Highly recommended.
The Twelve Days of Christmas is as much a part of the festive season as sleigh bells jingling and Lara Hawthorne brings the song alive in this gorgeous picture book, filling beautiful scenes with the cavalcade of gifts and giving it all a sense of movement, joy and celebration. The trappings of Christmas are present in each spread – spot the holly, the paper hats, and the Christmas baubles on each page amongst the birds and leaping musicians – but the background outdoor scenes are green fields, particularly suited to her folk-art style illustrations. There’s so much to look at and each turn of the page presents a completely different scene – I particularly liked the ten lords, who go a-leaping right across the roof of a house, so that they’re almost flying across the page. The full lyrics are repeated in the final pages along with a special author’s note about the poem too. A Christmas book to be enjoyed all year round. You can find more wintry & festive stories in our Best Books for Kids this Christmas collection!
We first met Mrs Noah in Mrs Noah’s Pockets whilst the family were all on the Ark. Now the Ark has made land and whilst Noah makes the Ark into a home, Mrs Noah sets about planting a garden in the fresh new earth. Her always deep pockets furnish all the seeds needed for the job, the ark provides the trees they have nurtured along the way and she enlists the children to help her tend the new garden. A deceptively simple story –it is in the illustrations that we see the development of the garden as the pictures move from a dark rocky palette, to a more organised series of garden terraces, with colour gradually growing in each spread as we progress through the book – until at last we have a wonderful explosion of plants and animals for all the birds, bees and humans to share. A wonderful celebration of the joys of planting and growing, I can see it being used to seed discussions around how you might create a garden – in school or at home. Plus, as the publisher points out, it provides a positive way of encouraging discussion around migrants and refugees – as Mrs Noah and her family build a new home in a foreign land. I can see this becoming a firm favourite in classrooms all over the country.
This collaboration, between the first American Olympic medallist to compete wearing a hijab and an award-winning Muslim YA author, is a beautiful story of sisterly love as well as a thoughtful depiction of the significance of wearing the hijab. Expressed in terms of family pride and self determination rather than in terms of faith, makes the message particularly accessible to all young readers regardless of their background. Faizah is excited for her first day of school, with her light up shoes and new backpack, but even more excited for her older sister, Asiya with her brand-new blue hijab. As Faizah walks to the school she admires her sister who looks like ‘a princess’ in her blue head scarf. Their mother has prepared the girls with wise words, which they remember as they encounter different reactions, and these are shown on dreamy spreads of Faiza’s thoughts and their mother’s words. When the kids in the school bully Asiya, she remembers her mother’s advice to not carry hurtful words as “they are not yours to keep. They belong only to those who said them” The bullies are cleverly depicted as faceless, raceless, anonymous shadows thus avoiding apportioning blame to any one sector. The vivid colour and expressive illustration are just as powerful as words in conveying the passionate message of how to be proud of one’s culture, individuality, and religion and how to stay strong protected by the armour of family love. This is an excellent book about identity and self-confidence for young readers who can see themselves in Asiya or know someone like her and essential for Empathy collections.
This is a superb well written in simple language for young children and superbly illustrated with a lovely drawing that will appeal to youngsters. This is a small book covering a large range of everyday topics that are currently occurring every day. The author has written about dealing with death, deforestation, extinction of animals and other similar topics in a first-class way that can allow grown-up to approach the subjects with a child with a positive perspective instead of the difficulty of explaining the sad things in life that some grown-ups may feel difficult to approach. A great book for children who are both dealing and not dealing with the topics covered in the book and allow youngsters and grown up to be able to discuss the topics openly Superb book and expertly written. Catherine Bryce, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
Experience 13 special days from cultures around the world! Rhyming text and vibrant illustrations throughout encourages beginning readers, while educational notes at the end brim with facts about the special days for older children to explore. Complete with a calendar to reinforce learning, Let’s Celebrate! makes for a fun and informative companion to the award-winning Barefoot Books Children of the World.
If you are of a certain generation, you may remember reading, or having read to you, the original Grimm's Fairy tales. This collection of stories took me back to those childhood days. They are a little bit dark; somewhat unusual in their content, but very readable. I found the endings of some of them unsatisfactory, and I question how appropriate it is for a nine year old to read about a premature birth, in quite a bit of detail. Some of the stories have an Aesop's Fables slant to them, they certainly have a message to deliver, and I personally felt uncomfortable reading the Christian based tales, but that's just me. What I really liked was the dictionary at the end of each story which explains some of the more unusual, less common words. Each story is aimed at a particular age group, from age 9 to age 12, but that of course is just a rough guide. Each story is just long enough for a child to read at bedtime, and the collection provides a range of stories from different genres and cultures. An interesting change from some of the more generic short stories on offer today.
Aru is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love's bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn't playing Cupid. Instead, they're turning people into heartless fighting-machine zombies. If that weren't bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn't find the arrow by the next full moon, she'll be kicked out of the Otherworld. For good. But, for better or worse, she won't be going it alone. Along with her soul-sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy wholives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they'll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover that their enemy isn't at all who they expected.
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