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 the majority when they don’t think they measure up and then aren’t able to share how they feel?
Toxic masculinity is a very real phenomenon and boys need to be reassured that they can show their emotions – especially right now.
Big Boys Cry is about a little boy who is nervous about starting school, unaware that his father is much more worried than he is. It’s a moving look at how our words can affect our children, and why we need to choose them carefully.
It’s an unfortunate fact that I get a lot of messages from parents and teachers seeking children’s book about bereavement. This wonderful story by Alan Durant is the one I recommend most often as it is warm and reassuring.
Otter, Mole, Fox and Hare all live together in a wonderful treehouse. They are a busy little family, with Fox acting as a kind of father figure to the group. Life is good, until one day Fox falls ill and goes out in to the woods on his own. His friends find him under an old oak tree, still and cold, and know that he has gone forever. They bury him in his favourite place and then fall in to a deep sadness. Without Fox they can find no reason to smile.
Norman the bear loves honey. In fact, he loves it so much that he wishes he was a bee. Why? Because bees have 24/7 access to honey!
One day, Norman hatches a cunning plan. He pops on a giant bee costume and enrols himself at bee school. Naturally they are confused by the fact he’s much bigger than a normal bee but when he explains that he comes from Giant Bee Land they let him in. He throws himself in to his classes and very soon he can buzz, find smelly flowers and do a waggly dance just like all the other bees.
All of the bees love Norman but there is one bee who is a tiny bit suspicious. Determined to catch him out, she takes him to the honey stores to see his reaction -and that’s when it all starts to go wrong. Faced with jars and jars of honey, Norman just can’t help himself. He throws off his bee suit and eats it all up!
Timothy Pope has a new telescope and he’s taken it to the park to play. The park is nice and tranquil – there are birds in the trees, ducks on the pond and children playing happily. Yet, each time Timothy takes a peek down his telescope he shrieks in surprise as he can see a shark!
The clever paper cut outs let you see the ‘shark fin’ each time and then when you turn the page you can see what it really is. A cat’s ear, a birds wing and even a hair quiff can all look like a shark down the lens of Timothy’s telescope. It’s definitely Timothy’s eyes playing tricks on him because there can’t really be a shark in the park. Can there?
The repetitive nature of this book – and the little visual surprises – make it perfect for reading aloud to toddlers. We’ve now read it so many times that Ivy can anticipate what’s coming next and can recite part of the rhyme!
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’.
This lovely book by Melanie Walsh celebrates cultural diversity in a smart but simple way which is perfect for toddlers.
Each cycle of 3 pages introduces two characters and shows us how they are different but ultimately how they are the same. For example we meet Kavita who wears a sari to school and Jacob who wears snow boots and a big jacket. Their uniforms may be very different because of where they live but they both wear trainers/sneakers for gym class. We also meet Muhib, who rides an elephant and Edie, who rides a horse. their modes of transport are different but they both like to ride skateboards at the skate park.
It’s such a simple idea but it’s so effective. Children around the world may not look the same and their experiences of day to day to life may be very different – but we are all one people and we share this one world.
Ivy loves the cute illustrations and I feel that when she’s a tiny bit older it will be a great way of starting a conversation about different cultures and our similarities and differences.
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One morning, George gets out of bed and declares that today he is going to be a super hero and he’s going to save the world. His Grandpa thinks this is a fantastic idea and promises to help him to not only save the world but to do it by lunchtime!
He’s keen to get started but Grandpa has some things for him to do around the house first. Together they recycle the packaging from breakfast rather than throw it straight in the bin. Then they hang out the washing rather than putting it in the tumble dryer. This is followed by a bedroom-tidying session where Grandpa encourages him to bag up all of the toys he doesn’t use any more so they can donate them to charity.
This isn’t what George had planned at all and he starts to get grumpy. He wants to go out and be a hero, not stay at home and do chores! But Grandpa carefully explains to him how each of these little actions affect the world, and how much better the world would be if everyone followed their lead. George discovers he’s actually been saving the world all morning and he didn’t even realise it!
This is a fantastic little book to introduce a small child to all the little things they can do to reduce their footprint on the planet. As well as the engaging story and the fantastic illustrations the books is packed with simple tasks your toddler can do to help save the the world themselves!
Buy it now: http://amzn.to/2tJ8vrf