Ella Has A Plan
by Davina Hamilton & Elena Reinoso

It’s the day of the big family party and everyone at Ella’s house is busy getting ready. Kind-hearted Ella can’t wait for her relatives to arrive but she’s also a little bit worried. Two of her cousins, Taye and Jade, have a habit of arguing and bickering and she’s concerned that this might ruin the party for everyone else.

Mum tells her to go and chat to Great Grandad Frank who apparently has a great story about how he once tricked two of his children into playing nicely together. Ella speeds off to find him, but sure enough, a fight breaks out before he gets the chance to share his wisdom.

As Ella steps between Taye and Jade she realises that she needs a plan. How can she get the two cousins to understand that they are more alike than they realise, and that arguments are not the answer?

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by Charles Fuge

If you have been searching for the perfect snuggly bedtime book then you can stop now as I have found it! This beautiful story feels like an enormous hug.

In a vast landscape of ice and snow a polar bear and cub find warmth and comfort in each others company.  We watch as they explore their surroundings, battle snowstorms and find joy in small things. They dream of faraway lands, gaze at the stars in the night sky and master new skills. Life in the snow may be tough at times but they know they will never be lonely as they have each other.

Written in gentle, reassuring rhyme this story celebrates love and kindness. The icy tones of the illustrations are really calming and the bears are depictied beautifully. I find myself drawn to the depth of love you can see in their eyes as they live their lives peacefully side by side.

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City Moon by Rachael Cole & Blanca Gómez

A few weeks ago I shared a collection of books about different kinds of families and a discussion began in my instagram comments about how there aren’t enough books out in the world which depict single mothers. Somebody recommended this one and the author chimed in to confirm that she indeed had single mothers in mind when she wrote the story. Intrigued, I bought a copy and I am so glad I did as it is BEAUTIFUL!

One Autumn evening a young mother bundles her child in to pyjamas, a coat and boots and together they head out in to the crisp night. They are going on a walk to look for the moon! Hand in hand they traverse the city streets, catching brief glimpses of the moon as it hides behind buildings and trees. They talk about stars, reflections, the bustling pavements and the flashes of light from the speeding cars until eventually they return home and the child is tucked up warm and safe in bed.

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Dear Mr President
by Sophie Siers & Anne Villeneuve

Sam shares a bedroom with his older brother and he’s really not happy with the situation. As he watches his sibling break the rules by playing on his phone late at night, he recalls something he saw on television eariler that day. The President of the USA had been talking about building a wall – perhaps this could be the answer to all of his problems?

Told through a series of letters, the story follows Sam as he explores the idea of building a wall through the middle of their bedroom so that he no longer has to deal with his brother. He posts updates to the President every day and we get to watch as the idea evolves in his mind. He thinks about how he will construct his wall, he researches famous walls from around the world and he discusses his thoughts with his parents and friends. The big question is – will the wall ever be built or will he and his brother find a way to work together for a brighter future?

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Coming to England
by Floella Benjamin & Diane Ewen

Hands up if you’re old enough to remember watching Play School when you were a kid? I loved it and just seeing pictures of Dame Floella Benjamin makes me feel all warm and nostalgic! When I saw that she was releasing a children’s book I was very excited and I am so pleased that it is utterly wonderful.

Coming to England is a very personal story about the author’s own experience of the being part of the Windrush generation. The stunningly illustrated pages follow a young Floella as she makes the journey from Trinidad to England in 1960 to start a new life with her family.

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My Family Fart Book
by Buddy & Barney Ltd

Hopefully by the time you read this you will have finished your dinner as this review is all abourt farts. And not just any old farts – we’re talking about smelly ones!

My Family Fart Book is a scratch and sniff board book which is guaranteed to make little ones giggle. Someone has emitted a large bottom burp and it’s up to your child to track down the culprit. Was it Grandad, Grandma, Dad, Mum or even the dog? Lift the flap and scratch the patch to find out…

Fortunately all of the smells featured are pleasant so there are no nasty surprises here! The gassy emissions we encounter smell like mint, cherries, coffee, apple, strawberries and chocolate cake, depending on what each family member has been eating.

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Sleep Well Siba & Saba
by Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl & Sandra Van Doorn

Siba and Saba are Ugandan sisters who are a tiny bit forgetful. They leave their sweaters on buses and their sandals at the beach. They leave slippers at sleepovers and sashes on safaris.  And every evening, when they go to sleep, their dreams are filled with the things they have lost.

But then one night something strange happens. Siba dreams of a silver shilling and Saba dreams of a school uniform. The girls wake in the morning feeling very confused. They have never lost these things, in fact they have never even had these things, so why have they infiltrated their dreams?

In the days that follow Siba and Saba discover that their dreams are now giving them hints of the future instead of the past. A future filled with books, knowledge, travel and adventure. A future beyond their wildest dreams.

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Our Favourite Picture Books About Families

I’ve had quite a few messages recently from parents and teachers looking for books about different types of families, so I have created a list of our favourites.

There are 24 books in total and they cover a really wide range of family groups and family members. There are books about mums, dads, grandparents, siblings and new babies. There are books with two parents, books with single parents and books with same sex parents. There are also books about adoption and foster care, IVF and surrogacy.

Hopefully every child will see themselves represented within the pages of these stories and they will learn a little about other families too.

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Later by Curtis Ackie & Constanza Goeppinger

This beautiful #ownvoices book shows us an ordinary day in the life of one afro-caribbean household.

Mummy is at work but her two children are missing her very much. They trail their father around the house as he does the chores and continuously ask him when she will be back (Later!”).

As the day passes many people knock at the door and each time the kids run excitedly to open it, hoping it will be their mother. Instead they are greeted with Postman Jerry, Old Mr Longfoot, Nana and a whole host of other characters from the community. Each visitor uses a different style of greeting and speech, including some Jamaican Patois. They are all met with enthusiasm from the two children – but when will Mummy be home?

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Noah And The Starbird
by Barry Timms & Faye Hsu

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.

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