Category

Diverse Representation

Tiny Jumps In
by Inshra Sakhawat Russell

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?

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Freedom, We Sing
by Amyra León & Molly Mendoza

This powerful picture book encourages children to think about the concept of freedom and whether they are truly free.

A mother and her child dance through the pages as they discuss the world around them. Sometimes this world feels small as we wrap ourselves in the love of those dearest to us and othertimes it seems vast and unknowable.

In lyrical rhyme the child speaks to us of the lessons they have learned from their mother – that there are millions of children and parents under this same sky with different lives and different skin colours. Some people’s lives are more difficult than others, like whose who must escape from war to protect their families, but they all have hearts which beat the same way.

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Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

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.

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Stella Brings the Family
by Miriam B. Schiffer & Holly Clifton-Brown

Stella has two dads. This has never been an issue but when her teacher announces they’re going to be throwing a special Mother’s Day party she finds herself in a bit of a pickle. She doesn’t have a mum so who is she supposed to invite?

As the other children play, Stella finds herself worrying about the party. She can’t concentrate on anything and she doesn’t want to eat. She doesn’t know how to explain that she doesn’t have a mum to bring to the party.

Eventually her friends ask her what the matter is and she tries to explain. The children are surprised and they have lots of questions. If she doesn’t have a mum then who makes her packed lunch? Who reads her a bedtime story? Who gives her kisses when she hurts herself? Stella explains that her two dads do all of these things for her and more. Plus she has Nonna, Aunt Gloria, Uncle Bruno and Cousin Lucy. She has a whole host of people who love her – but she still doesn’t have a guest for the Mother’s day party.

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That’s My Daddy by Ruth Redford & Dan Taylor

This diverse and inclusive picture book encourages children to think about all the things which makes their dad unique.

Is your dad grumpy in the mornings? Does he have big feet? What colour is his hair? Does he give you a bath? What fun things do you do together? How does he get to work? Every page poses a question and then the lovely illustrations give your child lots of options to choose from.

The book features a huge variety of different father figures. There are dads from different cultures and races, dads in wheelchairs, dads in glasses, gay dads, beardy dads and tattooed dads. There’s even a dad with a blue mohican!

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Sisters by Harriet Evans & Andrés Landazábal

This gorgeous little hardback book celebrates the joy of having a sister.

The gentle rhyme takes us on a journey through siblinghood, highlighting all of the ups and downs. They may steal your toys, make you cry and drive you a little crazy at times but a sister will always be there for you through thick and thin. They will brighten you up on dark days, share your adventures and celebrate your successes.

The simple but heartwarming illustrations show siblings from different countries and cultures as they move through life together. It also references how friends can become like sisters because of all the experiences you have shared together.

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A Boy Like You
by Frank Murphy & Kayla Harren

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 kids when they don’t think they measure up and then aren’t able to share how they feel? Boys need to be reassured from a young age that it’s ok to show their emotions and that they can be whoever they want to be.

This beautifully illustrated book celebrates the uniqueness of every individual and encourages you to stop thinking about strength as something purely physical.

The pages follow a young boy as he learns about himself and his own strengths. He is encouraged to try a wide variety of activities and to always be curious about the world around him. We see him baking cakes, planting vegetables, reading books and playing instruments.

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My Daddy Rules The World by Hope Anita Smith

This beautiful book of poetry is a celebration of dads everywhere.

From dancing and wrestling to bedtime stories and learning to ride a bike, each of the 16 poems highlight the joy of the little meaningful moments we share with our dads as children.

He’s tickly like an octopus and wise like an owl. He snores when he sleeps but he makes breakfast like a pro. He makes you feel brave and he teaches you new skills. He knows the names of all your friends and he knows just what to do when you have a problem. Your daddy rules the world.

The poems are touching and poignant. Some make you laugh out loud whilst others encourage you to pause for thought. All of them are wonderful but there are two which stand out for me. The first is ‘Love Letter’ where we see a child writing to a father who is far away. The second is ‘Some Dads’ which has a beautiful line about stay at home fathers.

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The Perfect Shelter
by Clare Helen Welsh & Åsa Gilland

The sun is shining, the picnic has been laid out and a family of four are enjoying the perfect afternoon in the woods near their home. When Mum and Dad reach for their books, the two sisters decide to build a den. They gather sticks and leaves and they sing joyfully as they work.  But as the younger girl adds the final touches, she realises there is something wrong with her sister. She looks pale and she doesn’t have the energy to finish their game.

The little girl learns that her sister is sick and soon visits to the woods are replaced with hospital visits and waiting. The perfect shelter which they had built just a short while ago falls in to disrepair as the seasons change.

When the snow comes her sister seems a little brighter, even though she must stay in her bed and wear a scarf on her head. Together they cuddle and whisper, making secret plans in the way only sisters can. They might not be able to build the perfect shelter outdoors right now, but if they work together they might just be able to create something even better…

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Interview: Esther Marshall,
Author of ‘Sophie Says I Can, I Will’

Hi Esther! Thank you so much for chatting to me about your new book ‘Sophie Says I Can, I Will’. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?

Thank you so much giving me this platform to talk about my book, Sophie Says I Can, I Will. I am also a first-time mum to little Asher who is now 20 months old. I am the founder of a charity called sTandTall which aims to help anyone who has been through abuse and bullying get back on their feet and sTandTall again. I am a keen advocate for equal rights and equal opportunities and have a passion for Diversity and Inclusion which is what I do for my day job.

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