Being True To Yourself

Violet’s Tempest
by Ian Eagleton & Clara Anganuzzi

Violet is usually a cheerful, bubbly little girl but right now she feels a little lost. She’s recently discovered that she will be playing one of the lead roles in her school play and she’s plagued with worry. Learning the lines isn’t a problem for her but she’s really nervous about public speaking. What if she messes up? What if she freezes? What if everyone laughs at her?

As Violet’s emotions swirl, her family and friends surround her with love and support. Her grandmother provides cuddles and patiently sews her a costume, her uncles suggest ways she could feel more confident on stage, and her teacher calmly and quietly reassures her at every rehearsal. Everyone knows she is capable of doing a fantastic job but all Violet feels is doubt. Why did they choose her? Why didn’t they select someone ‘better’?

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The Greatest Showpenguin
by Lucy Freegard

Poppy’s family run a circus and performing is all she has ever known. She has taken part in shows since she was a tiny little penguin, mastering all the skills needed to wow the crowds and make her parents proud. She can unicycle, juggle and trapeze like a pro. She’s a master at magic and regularly finds herself being shot out of a cannon or leaping through a ring of fire – but Poppy has a secret.

To the outside world it looks like Poppy is living the perfect life, but deep down she really doesn’t like performing. She dislikes the lights, the crowds, the noise and the attention but everyday she pretends she is happy because she is scared of letting her parents down.

One day it all becomes too much and the little penguin realises that something needs to change. She wants to be part of the circus but she doesn’t want to be in the spotlight anymore.

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Big Boys Cry
by Jonty Howley

We live in a society which tells boys that they need to be strong, that they need to be leaders, play sports and show no fear. However, these behaviours don’t come naturally to most, so what does it mean for the majority when they don’t think they measure up and then aren’t able to share how they feel?

Toxic masculinity is a very real phenomenon and boys need to be reassured that they can show their emotions – especially right now.

Big Boys Cry is about a little boy who is nervous about starting school, unaware that his father is much more worried than he is. It’s a moving look at how our words can affect our children, and why we need to choose them carefully.

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Lily and the Magic Comb
by VV Brown & Kate Hazell

It’s Lily’s birthday and her Mum has given her a beautifully wrapped box with a resplendent yellow bow. What could be inside? As she unties the ribbon and tears the paper Lily wriggles with excitement. She knows Mum’s present will be very special – and she’s right!

Inside the box is a sparkling wide-toothed comb decorated with pink stars. As she stares at it in wonder her Mum explains that this is not just any old comb. This is Lily’s special comb and it is filled with history and magic. Using it will transport her anywhere her imagination wants to take her!

As Lily pulls the teeth of the comb through her abundant curls she wiggles her nose to activate the magic and whooosh! She finds herself flying through space and time, taking tea with an astronaut, dancing on the rings of saturn and eating cake with aliens.

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How Frank Helped Hank
by Suzanne Hemming & Jacquie Hughes

If you’ve read ‘She’s Not Good For A Girl, She’s Just Good‘ then you’ll probably recognise the central character in this story. Back then, Frank had some pretty outdated views about how girls should behave, shaming his friend Florence at school because she wanted to be good at sports. Now Frank is back and we get a sneaky peek at his home life, which offers some interesting insight into how these thoughts were formed.

Hank, Frank’s Dad, was raised to believe that boys should behave in a certain way. They should play sports, have ‘boy’s toys’ and they definitely, definitely aren’t allowed to cry. These beliefs are so firmly ingrained that he parents Frank in the same way. When Frank bangs his head he is told to ‘Man up’ and his request for a shimmering butterfly wand is met with derision. As a result, Frank has learned to hold his feelings inside, no matter how much it hurts.

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The Littlest Yak
by Lu Fraser & Kate Hindley

Ivy and I read A LOT of books together, so when one comes along which truly captures her heart I know that it must really be very special. She is utterly entranced by ‘The Littlest Yak’ and I have to say I think it’s one of the best books we’ve read this year.

The gorgeous story follows a tiny little yak called Gertie who is fed up of being the smallest animal in the herd. She looks at the big yaks with their big horns and their big hooves and she wants to be just like them – but growing up takes such a long time!

Determined to speed up the process, Gertie comes up with a plan. She exercises, eats lots of vegetables and practises clip-clopping up mountains. She even reads lots of books to try and make her thoughts grow! But despite all her efforts, she remains the same size.

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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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