Helping kids develop a growth mindset is both tricky and vitally important. They need to learn the power of persistance but their big emotions mean that they are easily frustrated when they don’t get something right the first time.
Recently i’ve received lots of requests from parents for books which tackle this topic, probably because we’ve all been doing a bit more homeschooling than we expected in 2020! The one which I recommend most frequently is this one – The Magical Yet.
Written in beautifully tight rhyme, the story is about a little girl who is learning to ride her shiny new bike. When she struggles to pedal and steer the bike ends up on the ground and she refuses to try again.
We’re very excited to be part of the cover reveal team for this fab new book by Susannah Lloyd and Paddy Donnelly!
Publishing in February 2021, ‘Here Be Dragons!’ is a fiercely funny story about a hapless knight on a dangerous mission to find and slay a dragon.
His friends have all told them that the fiery beasts don’t exist, but he has discovered a map which seems to suggest otherwise. Determined to prove them wrong, the knight sets off into the wilderness.
Wanda’s words have a sneaky habit of getting stuck. Whenever she tries to speak, the words just won’t come out and this makes her feel nervous and small in front of her teacher and the other children. Everyone else just seems so confident so why can’t she be the same?
Wanda struggles along until one day a new girl joins her class. Flo looks nervously at her new classmates before dropping her eyes to the ground and blushing. In the playground Wanda gives her a little wave and a smile and soon the two are playing quietly alongside each other. They slip into an easy and comfortable friendship where few words are needed. The two girls just seem to ‘get’ each other.
Later that week their teacher announces something which terrifies them both – a school magic contest in which they will have perform a spell in front of the class! Flo and Wanda decide to work together but when the big day arrives they are both dizzy with nerves.
You’ll need to get your tissues ready for this heartwarming and truly uplifting book about showing courage and kindness during difficult times.
When Noah’s Daddy is rushed to hospital the little boy is sent to stay with his grandmother. Naturally he is scared and confused but he finds comfort in an old lamp which has been placed in his bedroom. Shaped like a baby bird, the lamp emits a warm and soothing light and Granny lets slip that she thinks it might have magical properties.
Later that night Noah finds himself unable to sleep. He tosses and turns, worrying about his Dad, until something wonderful happens. The glowing bird leaps from its perch and flutters over to the bed. She introduces herself as the Starbird and gently talks to him until he feels calmer. She offers up a glowing feather to help him feel brave and Noah starts to feel a little better.
Chester the raccoon doesn’t want to go to school. He wants to stay safe at home with his mummy and his toys and books. Mrs. Raccoon draws him close to her and explains gently that sometimes we have to do things which seem a little big and scary. Although school might seem strange at first she is confident that he will grow to love it. He will make new friends, play with new toys, read new books and learn exciting new things.
Chester is unconvinced so she lets him in on a little secret – The Kissing Hand. She takes his hand, spreads out his fingers and plants a big kiss on his palm. He feels the warmth run right up his arm and straight to his heart. His mum tells him that every time he feels scared or lonely he just has to press that special spot on his hand and he will immediately be able to feel her love all around him.
I love picture books where the words and illustrations work in opposition and ‘I Will Be Fierce!’ is the best example I have seen.
The pictures show a young girl moving through an ordinary day at school but the words are those of a fierce knight going in to battle, determined to make the world a better place. The result is a powerful narrative which teaches children that they can be the hero of their own story.
At the start of the day we see the protagonist don her armour (a stripy jumper), fill her treasure chest (a rucksack of books) and head out in to the world. On her way to school she fearlessly faces monsters (dogs), giants (older children) and a dragon (the school bus). The day continues in this wonderful manner as we encounter more mythical beasts (like the Guardian of Wisdom – the school librarian) and battle against doubt and injustice.
Tiny is a little girl who lives on the shores of a mysterious lake. She watches the water as it laps on the shore and feels a deep desire to explore it but she knows that first she must prepare. She starts to take swiming lessons and she immerses herselves in books and tv shows which will help her achieve her goal.
Finally the day comes when she feels she is ready to jump in. She packs up the things she will need and heads to her chosen spot. She tests the water with her toe and checks that it is deep enough for her to jump in to and then she carefully climbs a tree whose long branches lean out over the lake.
She has thought about this moment for so long – but suddenly Tiny is filled with doubt. What if she can’t do it? What if something scary lives beneath the surface? What if? What if?
Inspired by the rainbow art which children have been displaying in their windows during the current situation, this story is all about connecting communities with kindness.
Hope is a Rainbow Fairy and it’s her job to spread colour and joy around Fairyland. She loves to wave her magic wand and make her fellow fairies smile with bright yellow sunshine and vivid green trees, but then everything changes when Fairy Flu hits and everyone has to stay indoors.
Hope starts to worry that, without her, the land will be colourless and everyone will be sad. In a bid to cheer people up, she tries sending rainbow lollies to her friends in the mail but they melt en route and when she sets up a colourful quiz online the ‘Wi-Fly’ cuts out. She even tries to magic the Fairy Flu away but her powers just aren’t strong enough.
Jabari has just learned to swim, and he is desperate to try jumping from the high diving board. However, when he gets there he isn’t quite so sure.
He doesn’t want to look weak, so he lets the other children go in front of him and spends a little time stretching and thinking about what kind of jump he might do.
Jabari’s fear is stopping him from doing the thing he wants to do the most.
But all this time, his father is alongside him. He helps his son explore how he is feeling and quietly encourages without pushing. The father shares times when he has felt scared too so that his son understands that he is not alone in his fears. And eventually, in his own time, Jabari takes a deep breath and jumps.
We recently interviewed the author about the inspiration behind this book. You can read what she had to say by clicking here.
When little Sophie starts pondering her future she is too excited to sleep. She lies under the covers, eyes wide open, thinking about all the things she might achieve in life. Excited, she leaps out of bed – she simply has to tell her parents right now!
With her mum and dad listening, Sophie lays out her plans. Perhaps she could be a pilot and fly through the clouds, or an engineer who designs planes. Or how about a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher, a CEO, or a coder? Maybe she could do something sporty and win medals for her country. Sophie truly believes that she can be whatever she wants to be. There are so many options – how will she choose?