Our choice for World Mental Health Day is this lovely book of mindfulness, which encourages children to slow down and connect with the world around them.
Each double page focuses on a sense or emotional state – listening, feeling, relaxing, tasting, touching, discovering, smelling, loving, appreciating and breathing. There is a simple rhyme for each one which encourages your child to stop and anchor themselves in their surroundings or the way they are feeling. Many of the pages also feature a question or instruction which will provoke additional conversation.
The illustrations are both calming and intensely detailed so there are lots of interesting things for your child to take in.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family
Hi, I’m Maxine. I live in Kent with my husband Patrick, our daughter Ava who’s 4, two kittens called Polly & Tigger and a snake called Kaa. I’m a digital marketing consultant for family focused brands and businesses.
What is your son/daughter’s favourite book?
For Ava it’s The Gruffalo and Stick Man by Julia Donaldson – we have read these to her ever since she was super little and The Gruffalo was one of the first books she started to recite by herself at 22 months, she knew all the words – we couldn’t believe it. She loves the stories. Plus going on the hunt for a Gruffalo or following a Stick Man trail if we’re out for a walk. She will always pick up a “Stick Man” to take home.
Marisol is an artist. She loves to paint and has a little art gallery at home where she displays all of her best work. She dresses how she thinks an artist should dress and she wants all of her friends to embrace their creativity too. If you’re a fan of Peter H. Reynolds‘ books you may have already come across her as the encouraging little sister in fab story ‘Ish’.
When Marisol’s teacher announces that the class is going to create a huge mural for the school library she is very excited. She can’t wait to get the paints out and get started! Together the class sketch out a giant picture and they each select a section to paint. Marisol excitedly declares that she will paint the sky.
But there’s one problem – when she gets to the paint box there is no blue paint. Everyone knows the sky is blue, so what on earth is she going to do?
There are so many reasons to love this magical and unique story, not least because it’s the first children’s book I have encountered which features a non-binary character using they/them/their pronouns.
From the moment they are born, little Miu-Lan is different to other children. Neither boy or girl, they are are a magical being able to shape shift at their will from one fantastical creature to another. Miu-Lan changes their appearance at will to reflect how they are feeling – one day they may soar through the skies with wings and feathers and the next have scales and a tail to swim through the ocean. Supported by their amazing mother who encourages them to be whoever they want whenever they want, Miu-Lan is happy.
We were lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this lovely new story which is out today in the UK and we’ve been looking forward to sharing it with you. We’re big fans of Rachel Bright and Jim Field’s previous collaborations (‘The Lion Inside’ is in our all-time top five!) and fortunately this new title is just as good!
The heartwarming tale is about a little wolf cub called Wilf who is extremely strong-willed and independent. He wants to do everything by himself and he wants to do it right now – which will sound very familiar to any parent with a toddler!
When his wolf pack is forced to leave their cave, Wilf wants to lead the expedition to find a new home. But the little wolf soon discovers that life in the wilderness is much tougher than it looks and he finds himself lost in a storm. Too proud to call for help he sits alone on the ice, which at that very moment begins to crack. It looks as though all hope is lost but then a friendly face appears from the depths.
As much as we love Penguin Blue, we have to admit that Grrrrr! is our favourite book from Rob Biddulph.
The heartwarming story is about Fred, a highly competitive grizzly bear, who has won the ‘Best Bear in the Woods’ contest for the last 3 years in a row. He has lots of medal and trophies, but unfortunately he doesn’t have many friends because of all the time he spends training.
Fred excels at every discipline however his extremely loud Grrrrr! is what he is best known for. This means it comes as quite a shock when he wakes up on the morning of the competition to discover that he’s lost his roar! It seems to have disappeared right around the time that Boris, a new bear, arrived in town. Coincidence?
All of the local animals pitch in and help search for the missing growl but to no avail. Downhearted, poor Fred has to start the contest without it. Can his new friends help him win the competition without his Grrrrr! and will the culprit be unmasked?
This uplifting story is about a little girl called Grace who loves stories and has a big imagination. She likes nothing more than to act out the stories she hears. One day she’s Joan of Arc and the next she’s Mowgli!
At school she discovers they are going to be putting on a play and she is desperate to get the lead role of Peter Pan. However her classmates laugh at her and tell her she can’t possibly play Peter because of her gender and the colour of her skin. Deflated, Grace goes home and tells her family – who rally together to show her that she can be anything that she wants if she puts her mind to it.
When Monday arrives it’s audition time and Grace wows her friends with her acting ability. But will she get the part?
This is such a lovely book about finding the strength to follow your dreams. The life-like illustrations are fantastic and Ivy finds them fascinating. She likes to copy all of Grace’s different acting poses!
Hi Ellie! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family
I’m Ellie and I live in South Manchester with my husband and three children: Lucas (6), Aurora (3) and Jake (3). I am a writer and family travel blogger. My dad is a librarian and my mum was an English teacher, so a love of reading is in my genes! I have been a bookworm for as long as I can remember. My dad says I taught myself to read before I even got to school – I just couldn’t wait!
As a child I made my large book collection into a library for my friends, complete with membership cards, a date stamp, and record book. Naturally, one of the things I was most excited about when I had children was sharing books and reading with them.