There are lots of books out there which teach small children about colours, but this one is definitely our favourite as it also challenges gender stereotypes.
The old adage that pink is for girls and blue is for boys has no place in modern times. Every colour is for everybody and this book illustrates this really well. As we move through the colours of the rainbow we are shown boys and girls wearing each of the colours and partaking in activities which are often seen as gendered.
We see both boys and girls dressed in pink at a fancy party, boys and girls dressed in blue playing team sports, boys and girls dressed in yellow and wearing golden crowns and boys and girls dressed in green running through the grass. It encourages your child to express themselves using whichever colours and pastimes they like best, rather than those which society pushes them towards.
Adapted by his daughter Cedella, this beautiful little board book takes the lyrics of Bob Marley’s much-loved song and makes them accessible to children. The song is about unity and brotherhood and we see this play out in the gorgeous illustrations which accompany the words.
At the start of the book we see a little girl playing with her friends in a green space which is overgrown and filled with rubbish. As we move through the pages we see the people of the culturally diverse neighbourhood come together and make plans for a park. All of the adults and children work hard to achieve this goal and everyone contributes something. They gather up rubbish, they rake the grass, and they bring flowers and seeds to plant borders.
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold & Suzanne Kaufman is a fantastic book about diversity and inclusion which can hold Ivy’s attention for ages as the illustrations are super detailed!
The simple story follows a class of children as they go about their day. We see them arrive at class, go through their lessons, eat their lunch, have story time, play in the playground, get picked up by their parents and then go home for dinner before being tucked up in bed. It’s a very normal day for the average child.
What is wonderful is that each of the 30 children in the class is different and we see those differences celebrated throughout the book and reinforced with the regular refrain that ‘All are welcome here’.
Ladies – I guarantee that when you read this book you will want to buy a copy for each of your childhood friends. It is stunning!
The book is about a group of four little girls who find friendship under an apple tree. Despite having very different personalities, they share stories, adventures and scraped knees, forming a bond that will last a lifetime.
The character traits that we see in the girls as children follow them in to adulthood as we watch them chase their dreams and find love (and heartbreak). Their situations change and they don’t see each other as often as they’d like but their apple tree is always there, getting stronger and growing roots that reach ever deeper.
If you’re a fan of books with strong female characters then this new one from Suzanne Hemming (author of ‘She’s Not Good For A Girl, She’s Just Good‘) is definitely for you.
The story is about a young princess called Florence who has her heart set on becoming a great engineer. She has the brain and the ambition but she has one problem – her father, the King, says that instead of pursuing her dream career she has to marry a Prince and have babies.
Young Flo is devastated. She has no problem with Princes and babies but she also wants to be a great engineer and the King says she can’t do both. She flees the palace and bumps in to her old babysitter, who sits and listens to her woes. The lady tells her that you always have to be who you are, not who other people think you should be. She shows Flo a picture of her wedding day (where she married a Princess) and says that when you follow your heart, some people will accept who you are and some won’t but what matters most is that you are always true to yourself.
Until a few years ago I wasn’t aware that Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe had been friends and that without each other they may never have reached their true potential or become the icons they are today. It’s a fantastic story and i’m so glad this book exists so that I can share it with Ivy.
The empowering tale starts with Ella Fitzgerald, a woman of colour with a truly amazing voice. She tours the country playing in small jazz clubs with her band but unfortunately there are many places where she isn’t welcome. Because of the colour of her skin, many venues refuse to let her play, including the largest and most well-known club of all.
But unbeknown to Ella, she has a fan who is soon to become a friend. An actress called Marilyn Monroe loves Ella’s music so she calls the club and says that if the owner books Ella to play for a week she will personally visit each night and sit in the front row, ensuring the paparazzi and press will be there. The owner agrees, Marilyn sticks to her word and Ella gets the opportunity to play to large audiences every night. She is a hit and becomes a huge star.
I definitely didn’t buy this one just because the little girl in it is called Ivy. Ok – maybe I did! But it turned out to be a good gamble as it’s a really lovely book with gorgeous illustrations.
The story starts with a little raincloud who is feeling lonely. The sun has come out so all his friends have gone away and he has no one to talk to. He sets off in search of a friend but no one seems to want him (and his raindrops) around.
He keeps searching until he spots a little girl who looks just as unhappy about the sunshine as he is. She’s grumpy in the market, grumpy on the tube and even grumpy when she gets home and tends to her garden. He starts to think that maybe the little girl is not really grumpy, just sad. He watches her in fascination as she looks after her plants, which seem to be struggling in the sun, and then he has an idea. If he rains on the plants and makes them grow, is it possible the little girl might smile again?
The combination of dragons and girl power make this one of our favourite collaborations between Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
Zog is a big orange dragon who loves going to Dragon School. He’s really enthusiastic about his classes but he just can’t quite get things right. He bumps in to trees whilst learning to fly, gives himself a sore throat trying to roar and accidentally sets his wing on fire whilst attempting to breathe fire. Fortunately each time he hurts himself a little girl appears with a bag of bandages and plasters and she fixed him right up.
When he gets to Year 4 the dragons have to learn how to capture a princess. Again Zog struggles until he discovers that his wonderful friend is in fact a princess herself. She allows herself to be captured in order to help him out and Zog gets a golden star from the teacher. She becomes a valuable member of the school, tending to the dragon’s ailments with the help of her trusty medical bag.
We adore this gorgeous book about families and have spent many hours poring over the amazingly detailed illustrations.
The lovely rhyme explores the concept of family, showing how they are there for each other in good times and bad. You see daytime routines, hospital visits, holidays, little household disasters and most importantly, love.
The beauty of the book is that the illustrations show ten different families going through all of the above. Each family is different but the book helps children see that although their family may not look like the same as somebody else’s, the experiences they go through and the love that they feel are all essentially the same.
This beautiful little book from Amnesty International and Chris Riddell seems very appropriate right now given all of the things which are going on around the world.
‘My Little Book of Big Freedoms’ is a simplified version of the Human Rights Act with fantastic illustrations which will help your child understand each point. Showing 16 different ‘freedoms’ including family, love, hope, mercy and knowledge, it highlights why our human rights are so important and why we all need to work together to protect them.
The format takes a heavy topic and makes it really accessible for children. For parents it offers a great introduction to human rights and I would imagine it’s also a very useful tool for primary school teachers. It’s definitely one that should feature in school libraries.