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The books in this section cover a range of PSHE topics including bullying, disability, family issues and mental health. There are both fiction and non-fiction titles and cover age ranges from Toddler to Older Teen.
We all have feelings and, as parents, it’s very important to discuss or explain them to young children. Katie Abey’s book is an excellent means to doing just that. Over bright, lively and inviting double page spreads, a host of friendly animals demonstrate different feelings, the ones that make us feel good and those that do the opposite. Short accompanying text explains what’s happening and asks questions, ‘when do you feel calm?’ or ‘do you sometimes feel shy?’ It’s a simple but clever way to open relaxed and meaningful conversations about feelings and explain how to understand and manage them. The animals themselves are quite comical and so appealing that you’ll find yourself pausing over each page to point things out or do some counting games, and it offers lots of excellent opportunities for interactive learning. A fun, funny and very useful book.
Beautiful and inclusive illustrations by debut artist Nia Tudor are as warm in tone as this gentle but thought-provoking story of child agency. Only our young narrator pays any attention to the old lady and her dog, who live on a deserted plot at the corner of her street. Adults hurry by trying not to see this social nuisance, but this little girl stops to talk and imagines all the adventures this ‘Queen’ must have had to lose some teeth ‘in battle’. She persuades her Mum that it is very easy to lose your ‘palace’ and young readers will want to talk about how people fall into poverty and homelessness. So, this Queen needs some care and attention and they start to bring her tea and toast. Our narrator tells herself that the Queen is protecting their street as she looks out on her at bedtime and indeed that is exactly what the Queen does when she sees a fire start and then wakes up the whole street just in time. (Another highly topical note with fires all around the world an increasing problem and very vividly captured by stunning images) Our young heroine makes sure that everyone knows the Queen saved the day and at long last the community rallies round to provide her a home. If only in real life we could listen to empathetic young people speaking up for social justice. This lovely story will encourage young readers to believe that they can make a difference and will reinforce the belief that we all have a duty of care for ‘others’ .
This eye-catching book is a compendium of inspiring women who dared to stand up for what mattered to them and to do things that those around them said they shouldn’t or couldn’t. In words and pictures - equally lively and informative – Kate Pankhurst tells fifty true-life stories of artists, writers, doctors, scientists, champions and campaigners. To put them in chronological order (and a handy timeline at the end does just that), she features great women from Hatshepsut, Egyptian Pharoah in 1479 BCE, to NASA scientist Katherine Johnson, who died just last year. Each has a double page to themselves, cleverly laid out to be visually appealing while delivering large amounts of information. Bringing together Pankhurst’s individual volumes but adding new faces too, this is a must read for every young person, and will fascinate their parents too.
Full of a sense of tenderness but also possibilities, Songs for our Sons contains every wish you could have for a young boy growing up today, from ‘Never change, fib or follow, just to try to fit in./Be proud, free and happy in your own, unique skill’, to ‘Keep a still place inside, that you can call home/ and know how to find it, wherever your roam.’ The text is touching, heartfelt and always uplifting, while Ashling Lindsay’s illustrations depict children playing in a range of settings, from green fields to desert cities and magic trees, bold colours and shifting perspectives making every turn of the page an adventure. Giving this and receiving it, both will be a real joy.
From the creator of some truly original, heart-warming picture books (among them The Suitcase and Out of Nowhere) comes this moving seasonal story about a small reindeer who does a big deed to help a little girl remember her granddad. Being so very small, Tiny Reindeer can’t help but feel like he doesn’t fit in, not least when Christmas comes around. While all the bigger reindeer are busy helping Santa, Tiny can’t help but make a right mess of things, from getting tangled in reins, to falling into water bowls. But then, on the eve of Christmas Eve, Santa suggests that Tiny Reindeer does one last check of the Post Room. Here he finds a letter from a girl who would love a little wooden reindeer to go with the sleigh her grandad made for her - sounds like the perfect job for Tiny Reindeer. Toddlers will love the sense of adventure as Tiny goes on his secret seasonal quest (especially when Santa steps-in to lend a hand), and the illustrations are packed with atmosphere and characterful Christmas detail.
This book results from a unique, direct collaboration with children and young people aged from 8-18, where Alex Strick, co-founder of Inclusive Minds, asked them what they would say to their younger selves to inspire, reassure and enthuse them about the future. Their responses have been worked into a truly remarkable text, which follows 14 characters from babies to toddler through to young adults. Each character is brought vividly to individual life by the beautiful, richly detailed illustrations of Steve Anthony and reflects a truly diverse range of different interests, identities and friendships. Each vignette tells a continuing story as they grow and change, and a clever and subtle use of colour enables even very young readers to track their development. The language is beautifully paced and the scenes depicted are absolutely redolent of authentic life experiences. Inspirational, aspirational, reassuring and hopeful, this important book deserves a place in every classroom and will truly allow every child to feel seen, heard and respected.
October 2021 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2021 | When Boastful Brandon brags that he can count to 10 Million no-one believes him. It sounds absolutely impossible. But once Brandon has started, nothing is going to stop him! He counts all through school – and gets into trouble for doing so. Even when he is sent to the furious head teacher who has never seen such disobedience, he doesn’t stop counting. He counts at home, through meals and all through the night. Soon, his extraordinary feat becomes a money making sensation…Award-winning author Melvin Burgess creates a vivid adventure out of an absurd situation and pokes gentle fun at all kinds of rules as he does so.
December 2021 Book of the Month | Gritty, authentic and inspirational, Jennifer Mathieu’s Bad Girls Never Say Die explores the tangled aftermath of an assault with incredible power. There’s tragedy, there’s heartache and, above all, tremendous love felt through this story of a young woman who bravely resolves to forge her own path (“I refuse to live my life for someone else”). In short, it’s the perfect coming of age novel. Like SE Hinton’s The Outsiders (on which this is based), Bad Girls Never Say Die is set in the sixties against a backdrop of deep social divide. Evie and her friends are from the wrong side of the tracks - bad girls who are seen as “trash.” But when Evie is assaulted by a rich kid, she’s saved by one of his kind - beautiful, wealthy Diane, but her sisterly action has tragic consequences. Though set some decades ago, the themes of Bad Girls Never Say Die remain as resonant today - class division, class conflict, and the bad that comes from making judgements on the basis of background and appearance. Then there’s the friendship, peer pressure, loyalty, and falling in love. The unfair family expectations, troubled home-lives, and the fact that it’s “different for boys”, who are afforded greater far freedoms than girls. Gripping, relatable and emotionally engaging, Bad Girls Never Say Die is a triumph.
October 2021 Book of the Month | A guide to being the best – and happiest – person you can possibly be, this book takes a highly original approach and advises readers to learn lessons from animals. Author Carlie Sorosiak has gathered lots of examples of animal behaviour that demonstrate the importance of being yourself, of being brave, finding friends, being resilient. These range from meerkats who stop bullying and stand up for one another to wombats who shared their burrows with other animals during Australia’s bushfires. A particularly effective example is that of a racoon stuck in a storm drain for hours before eventually being released – the moral: all this will pass. It’s quirky, absorbing and enticingly do-able while Sorosiak’s cheerful, positive approach sets the perfect tone. Full of warmth and wisdom, this is a book to recommend to stressed young people.
The authors of this excellent book have been friends since school and the book grew out of their own experiences of life as teenagers, the things they wish they’d known or been told. They write as if they are addressing younger sisters, recognising the extra challenges their readers will face growing up as Black girls, and that makes this an extraordinarily direct, authentic and empowering guide. There are chapters on subjects such as identity, friendship and understanding your body, as well as on hair, make-up and feeling your best, plus an excellent section on managing your finances. Quotes, anecdotes and advice from other influential Black women is included too, making the book even more effective and inspiring, and establishing a wider sense of community. “My wish is that this book can be the safe space you turn to when you need inspiration or comfort” says Natalie A. Carter in her introduction and the book is all that, and more.
From award-winning picture book funny-man Russell Ayto comes this laugh-out-loud tale of friendship and acceptance. Bush Baby is so lonely - nobody wants to be her friend. Giraffe thinks she's too small. She's not pink enough for Flamingo. Lion, however, thinks she is just right to be his friend. And he'd never be so rude as to eat a friend. Is Bush Baby very brave, very foolish, or just very, very lonely?
Winner of the Klaus Flugge Prize 2021 | The Klaus Flugge judges said: ‘A visual treat and the text and illustrations work very well together; it’s full of detail but never cluttered; pace is cleverly controlled; just the right balance of fun and fright!’. Flavia Z. Drago introduces us to Gustavo, a gorgeous little ghost who is so shy he’s literally invisible. Her folk-art style with its palette of orange and Rosa Mexicana creates a distinctive playground for Gustavo as he suddenly and unexpectedly makes new friends. Flavia Zorrilla Drago joined prize founder, Klaus Flugge, the Chair of Judges, Julia Eccleshare and Judge Posy Simmonds to discuss with the importance of the Klaus Flugge prize at the LoveReading LitFest. The event is free to view and you can find out more here.
Little Nook is small, gentle and rarely speaks. She likes to sit quietly with something safe and solid to lean against. Her little classmates accept this, and a small hollow in a tree in the playground becomes known as Nook’s place. When someone else arrives, who doesn’t or won’t understand it, Nook feels her panic rising. But it’s OK because her friends have got her back, and suddenly she no longer needs the reassurance of the hollow. This is a thoughtful and effective depiction of shyness and vulnerability and the kindness shown by Nook’s little friends carries real weight. Garland’s illustrations of Nook and her classmates are beautifully done, capturing every emotion. A lovely story to share and discuss.
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