Hands up who has a little worrier? Both Ivy and I have a tendency to be a bit anxious and the current situation has definitely exacerbated this. Who knew there were so many things to stress about?
Jeremy knows all about worries. From morning till night all he can think about is the potential danger swirling all around him, from shoe-eating worms and too-crunchy crackers right through to runaway dinosaurs and evil squirrels. His biggest fear is the wind though – so he tries not go outside on blustery days just in case.
But then one day fastidious Jeremy meets Maggie. With mismatched clothing and trailing shoelaces, she seems an unlikely friend but the two hit it off straight away. Maggie’s mantra is ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ and fearful Jeremy is determined to show her!
Families come in all shapes and sizes and this gorgeous board book celebrates the ones which we often don’t see in mainstream books.
The brightly coloured pages show happy families enjoying life together whilst the words explore the different ways in which people can show their love.
We see two children waking up their dads in the morning by shaking maracas and banging a drum. We see a family with grandparent carers baking and sharing cakes. We see single mums finding lost objects and single dads jumping in puddles in the park. We see a group of children reading stories by the light of a torch with their two mums. I particularly like the inclusion of a dad wearing a baby carrier as i’m not sure i’ve seen this in any of our other picture books!
What wishes do you have for your child’s future? I have far more than I could ever put into words, which is probably why I am drawn to this heartwarming picture book (and why it made me cry the first time I read it!).
A love letter from parent to child, the beautifully-illustrated pages outline a myriad of hopes and dreams. Unsurprisingly, the narrator wishes for health and happiness, joy and wonder but the clever word play injects an element of fun.
Ivy’s favourite wishes are “I wish you more bubbles than bath” and “I wish you more WOO-HOO than WHOA!”. Personally I am drawn to “I wish you more hugs than ughs” and “I wish you more stories than stars”.
2020 will be remembered as the year we found ourselves separated from friends and family, but in many ways it brought people closer together. Our local community banded around to make sure everyone had food and shelter and there was a huge surge of support for our precious small businesses. Kindness was everywhere and I really hope that this continues into 2021 and beyond!
This gorgeous little ABC book is a great way to introduce the concept of kindness to small children. Each letter of the alphabet is illustrated with a tangible act which is easy for toddlers and pre-schoolers to understand. You can Brighten someone’s day with a smile. You can Stand up for someone else. You can Thank others and make them feel appreciated. You can Understand that everyone has their own way of doing things. Each suggestion is a small thing which costs you nothing but the positive impact it has is clear to see.
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.
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.
The majority of Christmas books focus solely on the good things about the day – family, food, presents – but as parents we know it can actually be quite stressful. There’s so much to think about and for many people Christmas can be tinged with sadness because of an empty chair at the table or the financial strain. 2020 has been awful in so many ways so these issues will no doubt be exacerbated this year.
This is why i’m glad we discovered ‘The Christmas Next Door’. It celebrates the joy of the festive season whilst acknowledging that sometimes things don’t quite go to plan!
When Grandad arrives to spend Christmas with his family everyone is very excited, but he has a few challenges to overcome before the big day arrives. Autistic Lily is anxious about being in the school play, Max is stressed about visiting Santa’s Grotto because he thinks he might be on the naughty list and Mum and Dad are running around trying to get everything prepared.
When little Lily declares that she wants to be a Superhero her Mum presumes she wants to dress up in tights and a cloak – but how wrong she is!
Lily doesn’t want to be a *silly* Superhero, she wants to be a real Superhero. So who are the real Superheroes that she looks up to? They are the key workers who help to make the world a better place.
She could be a doctor, a firefighter, a teacher or a carer. Perhaps she’ll fly an air ambulance or drive a recycling truck. Or maybe she’ll be a vet or a scientist. There are so many Superhero jobs that the possibilities are endless! Each page delves in to these different roles and shows children what the jobs involve and the impact that they have.
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.
Yesterday I dug out all our Christmas books and added them to the towering pile of new titles sitting on my desk. We have so many lovely ones but as I flicked through them one thing was immediately obvious – an almost total lack of diversity. It seems that white boys have a monopoly on saving Christmas, white girls are all about the gifts, and black and brown people barely feature at all.
So I’m kicking off my Christmas books with this little gem which we have only recently discovered. It features an Indian Santa and a Black Mrs Claus and the story highlights the fact that the reindeer are all female!
It’s December 23rd and Mr Claus is 100% prepared for Christmas. Hooray! But naturally, this doesn’t last long and his peace is shattered when a fault is discovered with the rockets on his sleigh. With no way to deliver the presents it looks like Christmas will have to be cancelled!