We all need a little bit of calm in our lives right now so I wanted to highlight this gorgeous immersive story which we received towards the end of last year.
Inspired by hypnobirthing, ‘Kaiholo the Whale’ combines words, watercolour illustrations and music to great effect. You scan the QR code on the first page with your phone or tablet to access the music and then read the story whilst it plays in the background. It’s a simple concept but it’s very effective.
The gentle rhyme tells the story of a family of whales as they explore the ocean and sing their songs together. They are a tight, loving family unit and baby Kaiholo worries about what would happen if they were ever separated. His mother explains that they will always be there to protect him, but if they find themselves apart he must look for the light of the stars in the night sky and listen for their voices. The strength of their love will always bring them back together.
After the year we’ve had, Christmas 2020 was always going to be a bit different. So many of us have had to say goodbye to friends and family, thousands of jobs have been lost and we all have big decisions to make about whether we should risk seeing the people we love on Christmas Day.
Amongst all of the mayhem, this tiny self-published book is a little beacon of joy. It’s just 10 pages long (and more of a pamphlet than a book) but it sums up the current situation perfectly.
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?
This super sweet story follows a little girl as she starts to notice the differences and similarities between her mum and the mums of other children in her class. She wonders – does the fact that her mum wears a hijab make her different?
Her friend Sarah’s mum has curly hair in a bun and she is lots of fun. The little girl’s mum is lots of fun too. She was wearing her red scarf when they played hopscotch and they laughed so much they were nearly late for school!
Laura’s mum has blonde hair and she takes Laura shopping at the weekend. The little girl’s mum takes her shopping too. She was weraing her blue scarf the last time they went to buy fruit and vegetables.
Hands up if you hate the word ‘bossy’? Yup, me too.
All too often it’s used to negatively describe strong-minded girls, whereas boys are simply seen as assertive – so when I picked up this book I wasn’t sure what to expect. It turns out that I didn’t need to worry. There’s no gender bias here, just lots of interactive fun.
From the very first page, this book is in charge and you have to do everything it says. If the book wants you to sit up straight then you have to sit up straight. If the book tells you to sniff it then you have to sniff it (and tell it what it smells like). And if it asks you to be quiet then you had better listen – but the book has very good hearing and can even hear your toenails growing so keeping it happy is quite tough!
Pirate Mouse is very good at being a pirate, but she’s not a huge fan of water. In fact, she hates it so much that she hasn’t had a wash in years! Her stinky habits mean that she hasn’t got a lot of friends left, so when she discovers an exciting treasure map she is forced to set off alone.
Her adventure leads her to a big ship, but in order to find the treasure she has to face her nemesis – water! To reach her goal she needs to dodge a giant splashy mop, avoid a massive bucket water, hide from the rain and jump over great big puddles.
But when she arrives at the treasure she is met with an unexpected surprise – a puffin wearing a crown, trapped all on his own in a fishing net.
This pretty little book teaches children about values and what it means to be beautiful on the inside.
The delicate illustrations show a young girl as she makes a journey on her bicycle. As she navigates the hills, valleys and tiny cobbled streets of her life we learn how to stay positive, how to treat others well and how to shine in a world which sometimes seems to be working against you.
Each page takes a different value and breaks it down so a child can understand what it means and the benefits it can bring. It covers integrity, harmony, honesty, optimism, attitude, self-respect, sincerity, wisdom, charisma, grace, gratitude, self-acceptance, confidence, loyalty, love and patience – all values which I am sure we’d like to instil in our children as they grow up!
Morris is a magpie with a penchant for all things shiny. Whenever he spots something made of silver, brass or gold he can’t resist picking it up and taking it to his nest. The problem is that all these beautiful items belong to other people!
He steals jewels from the Queen’s crown, wind chimes from a garden, a bell from a cow and even a musical instrument from a small child. It doesn’t matter to him that he made the little girl cry, he believes that all the shiny things should belong to him and therefore he should be allowed to just take what he pleases.
However, when Morris steals a silver alarm clock he gets a lot more than he bargained for. Sleep is extremely important to him, so he’s horrified when this shiny new object starts to ring loudly at 4.30 in the morning. Then 5.30. Then 6.30. Then 7.30….
The adorable little snowman in this story is lonely. He sits atop a snowy hill, forever hoping that the little girl who made him will return and play. Little woodland animals come and go. Some nestle awhile in his scarf and hat, others sniff around his feet for nuts and berries, but none of them stay very long. The poor snowman begins to think that he must be very dull indeed if no one wants to stay and be his friend.
Then one day he sneezes and accidentally swallows a firefly – and everything changes. The firefly causes his tummy to glow and soon this spectacle draws creatures from far and wide. They all want to see the wonder of the glowing snowman!
In Huffenpuffen Valley, dragons and humans live peacefully side by side. The dragons are very well-liked because they are really useful companions – in the winter they light bonfires and fireworks, and in the summer they help with campfires and roast corn on the cob with their flames!
But there’s one dragon who is a little bit different. Jasper breathes water instead of fire! He tries his absolute hardest to assist the people in the valley but the jets of water he sprays just leave them cold, wet and unhappy. Poor Jasper decides that the best thing to do is leave the people alone and just be by himself.
Then one day a fire breaks out at a nearby house and Jasper realises he can help. He swoops down and sprays his water through the windows and over the roof and soon the fire is distinguished. Jasper has saved the day! He may not be able to breathe fire but it turns out he has a very bright future ahead of him as a firefighter.