Picture Book Perfect- The Heartfelt Edition

It has been awhile since I posted a Picture Book Perfect post but these three books just deserve so much love and praise. Perfect for building empathy, understanding and for relating to characters. Also brilliant at helping children deal with big emotions and issues.

The Hare-Shaped Hole by John Dougherty and Thomas Docherty, Published by Quarto
Be warned- this one packs an emotional punch! Beautifully written and filled with divine illustrations, this is an absolute must have. Hertle and Bertle are best friends, there for each other every day, supportive, kind and loving until one day Hertle is no longer there. A Hertle shaped hole has appeared and we see Bertle traverse the range of emotions as he comes to terms with his loss. The stages of grief are brought to light and are there to help readers understand and empathise. Gerda, a wise old bear, comes to help Bertle and what she helps him to do had me weeping- filling that hare shaped hole with love and memories. This book is much needed in schools as a shared resource for helping families to cope with any loss. It’s stunningly beautiful and one I will read again and again. A completely cathartic experience.
To The Other Side by Erika Meza, Published by Hachette
This book has been getting so much love and attention on Twitter and it is richly deserved. What starts as a game to a brother and sister with rules and a finish line quickly becomes all to real and not so much fun. They dream of what they might win- a new home, school or friends but their journey is long, tiring and fraught with uncertainty. Help is sometimes found, other times not. A richly immersive story about the plight of children refugees, fleeing for safety, for protection or for a better chance at survival and success. Realising the game is real, they stick together and find their way to safety and stability. This is a hugely powerful story, in illustration and text and would be an incredible book to share highlighting the refugee crisis and discussing ways to help. This is another must have book!
The Memory Book by Louise Gooding and Erika Meza, Published by Wren and Rook (Hachette)
There have been a couple of beautiful books featuring dementia and children who are keenly affected by it. The Memory Book is stunning in images and words featuring a family where Grandma is beginning to do some strange things, like put her tea in the fridge or the remote in the bathroom. It is upsetting for her granddaughter, who adores looking through old photos with Grandma. When she can not always remember who the photos are of, the family decide to make a special book labelling and time framing Grandma’s life. The family try to make life easier for Grandma and accept her frustrations with forgetting and the extra help. Beautifully told, sharing both perspectives so readers gain a better understanding of the impact dementia can have on a family. Add it to your bookshelves, it’s wonderful and relevant.

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