We are big fans of this brightly-coloured book which introduces the concept of a metaphorical ‘love umbrella’.
The neon images throughout the story show a diverse group of children encountering situations out in the world which may make them feel sad or uncomfortable – like being afraid of the dark, feeling shy around other children, moving house or starting a new school.
The lovely rhyming text explains that even if the child is on their own, their loved one is always with them ‘under their love umbrella’. They may not always be physically present but they are right there with them in spirit to help them through, because of the strength of their love.
This is a really comforting read and it’s definitely a good one to snuggle up with before bed. There are so many scenarios in which this book could be helpful to a small child – from being worried about being left at nursery for the first time right through to the loss of a loved one.
Little Oliver is feeling sad. His family have moved from the countryside to the big city and everything feels strange. He misses the wide open spaces but most of all he misses his friends, and he hasn’t made any new ones since he arrived.
One day Oliver heads outside on his own to explore and in amongst the crowds he spots a dog called Patch who seems to be lost. Oliver befriends him and together they have lots of fun in Oliver’s new neighbourhood. For the first time he doesn’t feel lonely and the city doesn’t seem as scary after all.
But Oliver is old enough to understand that Patch is not his dog and that somebody out there must love and miss him very much. He sets about making some posters to help Patch find his way home, even though in his heart he wants him to stay.
In a quirky little world called Jumble Wood there lives a multitude of cute little creatures. Each of them has a thing they carry around with them which makes them happy. There are creatures with flowers, creatures with balloons, creatures with sunglasses or hats and even creatures with scooters and skateboards!
But there is one little creature called Pod who doesn’t have a happy thing, and this makes her very sad. She decides that the thing that will make her happy must be hiding out there somewhere so she sets off on a journey to find it. Along the way Pod meets Peach and Worm who help her in her quest
Together they venture in to the deepest and darkest part of the wood in search of the hard-to-find thing which will finally make Pod happy. Will they find it? Or will Pod realise that a happy thing doesn’t have to be a thing at all?
I’m a big fan of books which helps children recognise and understand their feelings and this one does a fantastic job of showing how moods can affect you and the people around you.
The main character in this story is called Ed and he is in a bad mood. He’s been in bad moods before but not like this one. It starts off as something tiny, but instead of addressing the way that he feels he just ignores it, stares at the ground and pushes on through until his mood becomes worse. His feelings take hold and little Ed is no longer in control of his emotions. The bad mood takes over and starts to affect the people around him. Eventually the bad mood is so big that it affects the whole town.
Can Ed regain control of his emotions, and if so will he learn how to stop this from happening again?
Our choice for World Mental Health Day is this lovely book of mindfulness, which encourages children to slow down and connect with the world around them.
Each double page focuses on a sense or emotional state – listening, feeling, relaxing, tasting, touching, discovering, smelling, loving, appreciating and breathing. There is a simple rhyme for each one which encourages your child to stop and anchor themselves in their surroundings or the way they are feeling. Many of the pages also feature a question or instruction which will provoke additional conversation.
The illustrations are both calming and intensely detailed so there are lots of interesting things for your child to take in.
There are so many reasons to love this magical and unique story, not least because it’s the first children’s book I have encountered which features a non-binary character using they/them/their pronouns.
From the moment they are born, little Miu-Lan is different to other children. Neither boy or girl, they are are a magical being able to shape shift at their will from one fantastical creature to another. Miu-Lan changes their appearance at will to reflect how they are feeling – one day they may soar through the skies with wings and feathers and the next have scales and a tail to swim through the ocean. Supported by their amazing mother who encourages them to be whoever they want whenever they want, Miu-Lan is happy.
If you’ve been following us for a while you’ll know that we are big fans of picture books which take on big emotions and break them down in a way which makes it easy for children to digest. Me And My Fear by Francesca Sanna is one of the best we’ve seen.
The book is about a little girl who has moved to a new country and is starting a new school. She has always lived with fear, who is depicted as a little ghost-like creature who goes everywhere with her – but the prospect of this new school causes her fear to grow so large that it takes up more space than she does. It fills her whole house and stops her from leaving her home. This super-sized fear doesn’t want her to go to school and doesn’t want her to make new friends. As a result the girl is lonely and her experience at her new school is a miserable one.
We discovered this gem in our local library about 18 months ago and Ivy loved it so much that I bought us a copy that same week. The story is beautiful and I’m not ashamed to say that I bawled my eyes out the first time I read it!
This lovely book is about a little girl whose Mummy makes her a set of 5 paper dolls. She gives them names, plays with them constantly and invents a little song for the dolls to sing about their friendship.
In the girl’s vivid imagination the paper dolls do battle with dinosaurs, tigers and crocodiles. They explore magical islands (on the breakfast table) and dance through forests (in the garden).
Together they come through every adventure unscathed. Until one day they encounter a little boy with a pair of scissors and suddenly the dolls are no more.
There’s something incredibly special about Oliver Jeffers. All of his books seem to work on two levels. Children love them because the stories are simple and the illustrations are beautiful – but there is something deep in each story which really resonates with adults too. When I pick up one of his books and read it for the first time, I know that it’s probably going to make me feel a bit weepy and this one affected me more than any of the others.
The story is about a little girl who loves life. She loves to explore, she loves to learn and she sees wonder everywhere she turns. Pictured beside her (but not mentioned in the text) is her grandfather. Then one day she discovers an empty chair in her house, and the grandfather is no longer there.
In the last few months we’ve read some fantastic self-published books and ‘Lauren Koala’ (which was recommended to us by one of our Facebook followers) is one of our faves.
The story is about a little koala called Lauren who loves to make people feel better by giving them a hug. All of the animals in the jungle know that if they feel sad Lauren will be there to comfort them. As a result, it’s a happy, joyful place filled with love.
One day, Lauren Koala hears about a rhino who is very sad because his mummy died when he was little. Determined to help, she sets off on a long journey to find him, cuddling lots of other animals along the way.