Being True To Yourself

M is for Melanin: A Celebration of the Black Child by Tiffany Rose

This gorgeous alphabet book is a celebration of black children everywhere.

Each page features an affirmation, beautifully illustrated with happy children who are making their mark on their world. From A for Afro, B for Black, and C for Creative right through to X for Malcolm, Y for You and Z for the Zillion people trying to tell you to be someone else – this book encourages kids to be the best version of themselves.

Every child featured is unique and each has their own special style. We see black skin in a wide variety of hues (including a child with vitiligo and another with albinism) and so much joyful freedom of expression –  I really can’t recommend this book highly enough!

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Red Riding Hood and the Sweet Little Wolf
by Rachael Mortimer & Liz Pichon

What would the story of Little Red Riding Hood have looked like if the wolf was a peace-loving creature with a penchant for frills and fairy tales? Let’s find out! This adorable book takes the well-known traditional tale and turns it in to brand new story which Ivy absolutely loves.

Deep in the woods there lives a family of wolves. The mother and father wolf are very big and very bad, so they’re a little confused by their child’s sweet nature. Their Sweet Little Wolf is happiest when she’s reading books and twirling through the trees decked in flowers and frills. She has no interest in being big or bad at all.

One day they decide the time has come for the Sweet Little Wolf to become a ‘real’ wolf and they send her off with a shopping list for their dinner. Along with the onions, carrots, potatoes and rosemary, she must find a tender and juicy little girl…

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Kamala Harris: Rooted in Justice
by Nikki Grimes & Laura Freeman

When little Eve slams the door on her return from school her Mum instantly knows that something is wrong. She listens carefully as her daughter explains that a boy in her class had laughed at her when she said she wanted to be President one day because “Girls can’t be President, stupid.” Her Mum sits her down and tells her a story about a girl from their own town – a girl called Kamala…

What follows is a detailed but child-friendly look at the life of Kamala Harris, the Vice President-elect of the United States. We learn about her heritage, her childhood and how the quest for justice and peace has been a part of her life since she was a baby. We follow her story as she deals with family separation, moves to a new country, graduates college and fails an important exam. Whatever the obstacles she has to face in her own life, she never stops fighting for the rights of the people around her as she edges ever closer to her dream.

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Only A Tree Knows How To Be A Tree
by Mary Murphy

This gorgeous book celebrates the fact that we are all unique and we all have something special to share with the world.

The joyful pages take us on a tour of some of the wonders of nature and show us how they contribute to our lives. From trees and oceans to dogs and birds, everything on earth has something wonderful to offer and every single one is different. Every tree is different and every bird is different – and only a tree knows how to be a tree, and only a bird knows how to be a bird.

But what about people? There are billions of us on earth and we all function in pretty much the same way – but each of us is unique. We all have different thoughts and feelings – and only you know how to be you.

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Layla’s Happiness
by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie & Ashleigh Corrin

Everything about this beautiful book is joyful – from the sheer poetry of the text through to the bright and bold illustrations. I love stories which focus on specific emotions and this one is really special because it looks at happiness from the point of view of a child.

If you ask an adult what makes them happy then the answers are generally unsurprising – their family, their friends, travel, a good book, a hot drink on a cold day – but kids see the world differently and their answers reflect that.

Seven year old Layla loves life and as we follow her through the pages of this story she shares all of the things which make her happy. She loves the night sky, eating spaghetti with a fork and climbing trees. She loves to listen to her dad tell her stories about his childhood. She loves dancing in the garden, feeding the chickens and picking vegetables to sell at the farmer’s market.

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by Airlie Anderson

If you’re looking for picture books which teach acceptance and encourage children to celebrate their differences then you NEED to have this story on your shelf. It’s such a simple story but it packs a very powerful punch.

In The Land of This and That there are two types of creatures – blue bunnies and yellow birds. Everyone is either one or the other, until the day an egg hatches and out pops Neither.

Neither isn’t a blue bunny or a yellow bird so everyone is a little confused. They see their green body, their bunny ears and their bird-like feet and they demand to know what they are. They cheerfully explains that they’re both but the creatures of the land declare this impossible. They can’t be both therefore they must be neither.

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Songs For Our Sons
by Ruth Doyle & Ashling Lindsay

“So get ready for life, planet earth has been waiting, For the gift that is you and the hope you’re creating.”

Oh my goodness. Where do I start? Reading this book made my heart soar! Written in beautiful rhyme, it explores the joy a boy’s life can hold and encourages them to look to the future and the difference they can make to the world.

Will they be a showman, a sculptor, a nature explorer, a scientist? It doesn’t matter as long as they are always true to their own unique selves.

The message is loud and clear on every page – Embrace your emotions. Honour your heart. Never try to change yourself to suit others. Use words and ideas to solve life’s problems. Be kind. Don’t judge. Breathe.

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Jasper & Scruff
by Nicola Colton

It’s time for another chapter book review and this one had Ivy and I in fits of giggles!

Jasper likes to think of himself as cut above your average cat. He lives in a fancy apartment surrounded by books and fine art and his taste in bow ties is impeccable. Jasper has everything he needs except the ‘right’ kind of friends. He dreams of joining an elite group of felines called ‘The Sophisticats’ because members are invited to all the best parties and dine at the nicest restaurants in town.

He carefully crafts a letter inviting a select group of The Sophisticats to his home for dinner and is over the moon when they accept – but things don’t quite go to plan…

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Elephant Me
by Giles Andreae & Guy Parker-Rees

‘Giraffes Can’t Dance’ is one of our all-time favourite books so we were extremely excited to get our hands on this new one from the same team. I am happy to report that it didn’t disappoint and we’ve been reading it on repeat for days!

It’s the day of the Elephant Games which means that all the baby elephants have to perform for the King. In line with tradition, if they manage to impress him with their special skill then he will award them with their Elephant Name.

Nina goes first and she chooses to display her strength by ripping a tree from the ground with her trunk. King Elephant Mighty is amazed and he names her Elephant Strong. Norcus bellows so loudly that he gains the name Elephant Noisy! As each elephant steps forward in to the limelight, the King spots that one little elephant is cowering at the back of the line. Poor Num-Num hasn’t found his special skill yet and when he tries to perform some tricks everyone laughs at him – even the King!

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Paris Cat by Dianne Hofmeyr & Piet Grobler

Cat lives with her large, noisy family in a smelly alleyway behind a fishmonger’s shop in Paris. Surrounded by fish bones and squabbling cousins, she finds herself dreaming of a bigger life. She wants to see more of this fabulous city and find out what it has to offer.

One night she slinks in to a crowded cafe where she sees Edith Piaf singing to a sophisticated crowd. Filled with confidence,  Cat joins in but is quickly ejected for caterwauling. She finds herself outside in the rain so she climbs a fire escape and sneaks into a nice warm room to sleep.

When she awakens Cat realises she is in an atelier surrounded by busy seamstresses, taffeta, velvet and racks of beautiful dresses. She watches carefully and by the time the workers leave for the day she has formulated a plan. She gathers up scraps of fabric and using her new found knowledge she creates herself an outfit befitting of a high-society cat.

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