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The books in this section are a mix of fiction and non-fiction, exploring the teachings and customs of our World Religions and how religious beliefs influence our lives.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | Award-winning author Keren David returns with another perfectly pitched teen story in Say No to the Dress. Celebrating Jewish identity and tradition while exploring the pressures and challenges that come with being fourteen, Say No to the Dress follows the hilarious and chaotic tale of being a bridesmaid for not one, but two weddings. Keren’s narrative captures the unique anxiety and frustrations of being a teenager, as Miri finds her footing with everything from identity and self confidence to family relationships. Funny and authentic, this is a perfect pick for reluctant teen readers. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic teen readers
50 Goddesses, Spirits, Saints and Other Female Figures Who Have Shaped Belief | Using photographs of objects from the British Museum collections beside bold, bright, clear illustrations of the female characters, the stories and animals often associated with them. This is most definitely a book to dip into repeatedly. Each double page spread looks at a specific person, their legends, the stories that have altered over time and their often-multiple names. The book is arranged into five different sections covering Ruling and Guiding figures, New Life figures, War and Death figures, Love and Wisdom figures and Animal and Nature figures. The whole of the history of beliefs seem to be covered from Africa to Wales, Aztec to Maori, Far Eastern to Norse to name but a few! The Introduction shares thoughts on the way the word Goddess has changed its meaning over the years and Dr Ramirez shares a very useful Glossary of unusual terms as well as indexing individual goddesses – always a huge benefit that unfortunately some authors and publishers fail to appreciate. A beautiful book I can imagine being included in many topic boxes and school libraries.
Once upon a silent night, a stable stood. A star shone bright. It is midnight on Christmas Eve, and a child is about to be born in a stable. How can the creatures help? First, the cow offers up his manger, and the donkey gives his hay. The doves will sing the babe to sleep, the trees will watch over him, and the moon will fill his dreams with silver light. It's a moment of magic, as a little child enters the world and brings with him the most precious gift of all: love. A beautiful and timeless retelling of the nativity story, with a lyrical rhyming text and luminous illustrations, this book is the perfect Christmas gift.
A whistle-stop tour through some of the more iconic stories in the bible. ‘XII’ by Robin Bennett tells in only 12 chapters some of the most well-known bible stories. Including the story of Creating, Noah and his ark and the life and death of Jesus, this book has been created to engage teens and older readers in order to spark or re-ignite an interest in the Bible. I really liked the colloquial and conversational tone used throughout the book. I found that this writing style made the stories more engaging and I could see it appealing to a 13+ audience. I liked that the author used some of the more well-known bible stories, and understand that this book has been created as a “gateway” to further Bible study. However, as stated by the author in the Epistle, the Bible is “not light reading”, and perhaps this could be an opportunity for a series and for the author to share some of the lesser known stories in the same approachable and accessible manner. ‘XII’ is well-written and I can see the narrative voice could be used effectively to engage with even more Bible text. I think that ‘XII’ is an entertaining collection of stories that is quick to read and could be used to explore and educate about Christianity and the Bible in a more effective way than initially just reading from the tome itself. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador
October 2021 Debut of the Month | From the window of a cosy house in a seaside town, a little candle looks out onto the world. As the seasons roll by, she observes families celebrating, lighting up dark nights with love for Chinese New Year, Diwali, Hannukah, Ramadan and Christmas. It makes Little Glow wish to be bigger, until the realisation comes that small moments and the smallest lights are just as important as big ones. Revelling in comfort and light, this story was made to be shared in the winter nights while its message of hope and togetherness will warm hearts all year round.
November 2021 Debut of the Month | From the window of a cosy house in a seaside town, a little candle looks out onto the world. As the seasons roll by, she observes families celebrating, lighting up dark nights with love for Chinese New Year, Diwali, Hannukah, Ramadan and Christmas. It makes Little Glow wish to be bigger, until the realisation comes that small moments and the smallest lights are just as important as big ones. Revelling in comfort and light, this story was made to be shared in the winter nights while its message of hope and togetherness will warm hearts all year round.
‘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.
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