The plethora of picture books in my home right now are awesome! As a massive fan of picture books, I tend to read them over and over, poring over imagery, relating to characters and reading aloud my favourite bits! The books in today’s post are exceptional and carry such strong messages for children that I will be gifting these to my schools to be shared in assemblies!
The Comet by Joe Todd-Stanton,
Published by Flying Eye Books
I feel that anything Joe Todd-Stanton pens and designs is always going to be worth reading, and The Comet is no exception. Visually, it is glorious! The story, too, is perfectly penned as we follow Nyla, who lives an idyllic life with her Dad by the sea. When they move to the city, Nyla misses all she had in their home- the night sky, the sounds of waves and her Dad’s time and attention. Nyla’s expressiveness grabs her Dad’s attention but it takes some time for him to understand. This is when the magic starts to happen- they begin to create a home together! Moving can be terrifying and this book accepts those feelings and proves how love, connection and time can make things better! Me, in the Middle by Annette Demetriou,
Illustrations by Angela Mayers, Published by Owlet Press
Owlet Press certainly know a quality story when they see it! This beautiful celebration of families, cultures and belonging should be shared in classrooms and assemblies. Georgie feels uncertain over where her family come from, and it isn’t until she works with her family to discover all the fascinating people and places that make up her heritage, that she sees her place in it. As the class share their families, the teacher brings them for a walk where they discover trees that shape their families, and branches that reflect the varying styles of family. The roots of our family grow deep and the teacher shares, “We are so much more than what can be seen at first glance”! A perfect story to celebrate the diversity in one classroom, or school. This Girl can do Anything by Stephanie Stansbie,
Illustrations by Hazel Quintanilla, Published by Little Tiger
Those of us with daughters will want this book to read to them! Completely empowering and a celebration of strong girls, this charming book is full of Ruby! Ruby is a bold and determined girl ready to face the world and tackle all she may face, both challenges and successes. Completely disobeying the constraints sometimes put on girls, Ruby just climbs, dives and tries again, and is that not something we want for all our children? From the retro and clever illustrations we can see Ruby is “full of beans” and exhausting for her parents but the whole book is full of love, support and encouragement! The use of colours and font styles is superb! The Smile by Marie Voigt,
Published by Oxford Children’s
Something as simple as a smile is the entire basis for this wonderfully thoughtful book. Marie Voigt is no stranger to creating amazing books but this may yet be a favourite. Threaded through the entire book are shades of gold and yellow, generously happy colours. “Every smile starts a wonderful journey”! Smiles are free, easy to find and perfect for sharing. They have the power to diffuse, calm and surprise, and they are never ending, we always have more to share! As we struggle through the current climate of world events, think just how much a smile might mean to someone near or far way! I can imagine sharing this with a younger class and have them pass along a smile to one, who may pass it along to two, and so forth, until the whole class is smiling and laughing! Blue Badger by Huw Lewis Jones and Ben Sanders,
Published by Happy Yak
Badger is having an existential crisis and is searching for key answers. Is he white and black, or black and white? As Badger wonders and wanders, he asks other black and white animals what they think, though none offer anything of concrete value to him. They all like his blue bottom though! When Badger meets Penguin, they share their worries and it helps! Penguin does tell Badger that he is kind, and isn’t that something entirely special to be! The illustrations are simple and beautiful, focused on the colours of the creatures and perhaps the background colours are linked to mood as you read through. A super book to share and prompt discussion about who we are, how we identify and what we would share about our friends. Piano Fingers
by Caroline Magerl, Published by Walker Books
Stunning in both word and pictures, this reads like an ode to musical talent and to those first tinkling of fingers on a piano. Bea has grown up around musical instruments and a talented family but she has yet to find her niche, though she does try. Frustrated with her initial endeavours, Bea retreats to the piano, in which Maestro Gus, the cat, lives. Maestro Gus helps Bea and her sister come together to create something beautiful. Inspired by her daughter’s musical abilities, Caroline created this gorgeous book. It is full of movement, music and poetry, not to mention a certain nostalgia for playing an instrument. Perseverance, patience and positive praise are shown by Bea and her family as she discovers her own music! Elephant Island by Leo Timmers,
Published by Gecko Press
I have always coveted books by Leo Timmers, their vivid imagery and story told without words are brilliant. Elephant Island is the newest title and there are many layers of discovery awaiting the reader. When Elephant shipwrecks onto a tiny island, he makes it a home and as each friend appears, they use every material possible to increase their space. “Good songs travel fast” and before long there is a huge community living on the tiny island! Spending time on each double page spread, readers will find small details and funny objects being used to create living space for all! The bright and bold use of colours is gorgeous and with little in the background to distract, all eyes are on the island as it grows! There is so much to read in the words and illustrations! Small’s Big Dream by Manjeet Mann,
Illustrations by Amanda Quartey, Published by Harper Collins Children’s
A gorgeous book that aims to encourage children to dream big! Small lives a small life in a small house with small shoes, blankets and bags but at night when she dreams, her dreams are huge! She can climb mountains, sail the seas or orbit in space- there is nothing holding her back. Everyday, she hears “Head down and feet on the ground” which is sad as she should be encouraged to use her imagination and to dream big! An empowering story that proves you are entitled to dream big and should aim for the stars, even when faced with adversity! Beautifully illustrated, Small comes to life and shares her dreams with readers in the hopes they too will dream big!
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I am a primary school teacher, turned librarian. Now I have the title Reading Advocate for ASSET Education Trust, based in Suffolk.
I read constantly and have more books than bookshelves, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
I celebrate reading every day at work and at home with my two children, aged 11 and 9.
I sit on the National Executive Committee for the Federation of Children’s Book Groups and run an OU/UKLA Teachers as Readers group!
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