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The books in this section cover a range of PSHE topics including bullying, disability, mental health issues and eating disorders. There are both fiction and non-fiction titles and cover age ranges from Toddler to Older Teen.
Multi-award-winning writer Marcus Sedgwick is esteemed for his thought-provoking novels, and he’s here applied his talents to create a wise, supportive toolkit that will help readers cope with anxiety. The book’s subtitle says it all - “Rise up and don’t let anxiety hold you back”. Beginning with a personal note from the author, in which he explains that worrying is a habit that can be broken - “I’m someone who used to worry a lot. I did it for much, much longer than you, so you might think the habit would have been too hard to break after all those decades of “practice” at it. But I did, and to do it, I used a lot of the ideas in this book” - he goes on to explain what anxiety is. Readers are invited to jot down their own worries in the book, and to observe the physical symptoms of anxiety. Sedgwick shares scores of techniques to help young readers alleviate these symptoms, before explaining why we feel anxious. Exploring how storytelling and magical thinking can alleviate anxiety, the writing is lively, witty and relatable, making this book a practical, informative, fascinating friend. See also Be the Change – Be Kind in the same series.
The ever-inventive, multi-award-winning Marcus Sedgwick here turns his hand to a thought-provoking, comprehensive guide to kindness. With a rousing “rise up and make a difference to the world” spirit underpinning every page, the author explains how this book was borne from personal experience: “this book you now hold in your hands is the book I wish I had had when I was young. That’s because I found the other kids around me at school, and even the teachers sometimes, to often be very cynical and unkind, even cruel.” After setting out what kindness is, and asking readers to consider how kind they are, Sedgwick presents are series of “what if…?” scenarios to encourage empathic thinking and self-analysis in a marvellously relatable way. The same goes for the digging into philosophy, and the concepts of values, ethics, utilitarianism, altruism, and egoism. Alongside the engaging presentation of such big concepts, this book is also eminently practical, with suggestions for how (and why) we can all be kinder, and space for readers to note down their thoughts and intentions, whether that’s being kinder to others, or kinder to oneself. It also offers valuable tips on how to react when people are unkind to you, making it an empowering toolkit for readers at home and in a classroom context. See also Be the Change – Be Calm in the same series.
Poor Bella! Her best friend, Rosh, has moved away and the dreaded class talk she has to give is looming. To make matters worse, it’s Feeling Good Week at school – the last thing Bella needs when she’s feeling this low… Or is it? An inspirational talk from mindfulness teacher Kris helps to settle a few nerves and opens up some healthy discussion about emotions and how we manage them. It also presents the perfect opportunity for Bella to connect with new friends, tune into how she’s really feeling…and set herself a pretty big challenge for five days’ time! Kelly McKain captures the ups and downs of school-life, friendships and family with a gorgeous blend of humour and tenderness. The accessible journal format allows readers an insight straight into Bella’s world, with every little (or big) worry laid bare. Cute and quirky illustrations – think angry bear mums and breakdancing armadillos! – bring energy to each page, and authentic characters like Shazmin and Archie add a warm glow throughout; they’re the crazy, honest, caring friends every child needs in their life. Exploring anxiety with young readers is invaluable, but not always easy to nail for this age group. The Feeling Good Club manages to strike just the right balance – it’s fun, it’s practical (real mindfulness activities are peppered throughout) and above all, it’s written from the heart. An uplifting story for homes, classrooms, or anywhere that young people with big emotions can find it.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Winner of this year’s Yoto Carnegie Medal, Katya Balen is a lyrical story teller who is gifted at reflecting on difficult situations and emotions and exploring how children can navigate them. In Birdsong, Annie is slowly recovering from a terrible car crash which has left her with damage to her hand that prevents her from playing her beloved flute. Without access to her natural solace of making music Annie retreats into a silent and all-consuming rage against everything that has caused this to happen, including her mother. Furiously exploring the scruffy scrubland outside her new flat Annie meets Noah who introduces her to the blackbirds’ nest he is protecting. Gradually Annie begins to take an interest and the blackbirds’ wonderful song reignites her love of music and enables her to express herself through it once more. Katya Balen’s careful and sparing use of words and her eloquent expressions makes this a beautiful as well as a moving book to read.
Renowned for her empathetic novels Raúf has created an easy to read, or dip into, non-fiction title for children to help them understand how, as individuals, we all can do small things that will make a positive difference in this world. Presented in a chatty, personal, and engaging way that invites the reader in and encourages thinking about personal actions. The introduction and ‘Five Golden Rules’ set the scene for a book that allows for a great deal of personal evaluation as well the option to be the person you uniquely are. The chapters cover many aspects of these topics including the power of kindness and hope; fighting for the things that matter; the importance of friendship; and deflecting negative forces, amongst a wealth of other topics. Each chapter has an example of a famous person who exhibited the skill or trait discussed in the chapter, so it is easier for children to see how their actions might make them more like Malala, or Einstein, or Greta, or Adele or many others. The illustrations – all in greyscale are plentiful, fun, and informative in equal measure. The final chapter is an invitation to reflect – using the legend of Arthur as a stimulus for this – a wonderful conclusion to such a positive, humorous, heartfelt book. I do hope this is bought for lots of schools and libraries as it offers so much in such an accessible way. The many books mentioned along the way are all listed in a reading list at the end – and even includes a viewing list, too! The glossary and the links to charities and resources are all set out over several pages – an inclusion I always welcome in any book that is encouraging thought and action. Buy it – it will be so well used.
May 2022 Book of the Month | Here’s a book parents are going to want to share with their daughters, as it celebrates confidence, difference and everything that makes us feel happy in ourselves. Shelina Janmohamed was inspired to write it by a conversation with her own young daughter and the approach she takes is clear, fun and full of information that young people will find stimulating and useful. She’s open that how you feel about the way you look matters but shows that, as ideas of beauty are always changing, across cultures and time, beauty can be what you want it to be. She introduces us to lots of women, all regarded as beautiful, who challenged conventional ideas of beauty, confident in themselves and their bodies and encourages readers to be the same. She explores the role of social media, enabling readers to look critically at images they are shown and form their own opinions. The text is always engaging and supportive, and the photos and accompanying illustrations by Chanté Timothy amplify the message being delivered. Inclusive, intelligent and inspiring, this is an empowering examination of a topic that has been preoccupying girls for centuries. Shelve it alongside Open: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be by Gemma Cairney, another invaluable illustrated guide to navigating growing up.
With quirky, characterful illustrations by the unmistakeable Ralph Steadman, Bernard Stone’s Emergency Mouse is perfect for putting little ones at ease ahead of hospital stays or visits. Gently funny, and warm-hearted to the core, the cast of cute mouse characters with various ailments and their medical attendants will surely provide reassurance and light relief. Poor Henry. He’s in hospital for an operation. It’s midnight, and everyone is asleep except him. To try to take his mind off his pain, Henry “tried to think of all the things he liked doing best”. After thinking about his poorly pet mouse, Henry notices some rather strange goings-on in his ward. A host of mice bustle from little doors in the skirting board and assemble a miniature hospital, with white-coated mice doctors working hard to cure their patients, among them Limping Mouse, Tropical Mouse, Fuss-pot Mouse, and Champion Mouse. After witnessing a thrilling race against time, Henry wakes to the welcome news that he’s well enough to go home. What’s more, his own little mouse is better too!
A gentle and reassuring bedtime story starring a little mouse, this picture book is also an effective introduction to mindfulness for the very young and a manual for parents and carers on how to help children prepare for bed and relax into sleep. Author Magali Mialaret is a well-being coach and the story is preceded by her clear and useful notes, and three easy to follow steps to healthy bedtime practice. She explains how encouraging children to do the things that Big Mouse tells Little Mouse to do in the story – for example, placing their favourite cuddly toy on their chest and watching it rise and fall as they breathe – will calm them down and help them feel more grounded. The illustrations by Carmen Saldaňa are very sweet and appealing and the book’s effect could be long-lasting.
January 2022 Graphic Novel of the Month | This second volume of Lize Meddings’ The Sad Ghost Club series of graphic novels is a beautifully original, beautifully told tale that will speak to readers who feel anxious, invisible or lonely. Its relatable portrayal of friendship offers hope and support, alongside an empathetic steer on how to find a way through social anxieties and insecurities. If that wasn’t enough, it’s completely compelling, and witty with it. “Being around people is so hard” - a sentiment many young readers might identify with through this story’s relatable “sad ghost” characters. While our two ghosts have become comfortable with their friendship, anxiety returns when a fellow lonely soul wants to join them. “Another person is going to be even more exhausting”. “What if this new person hates me?” What if they “forget I even exist”. After grappling with such insecurities, and navigating the complexities of relating to - and communicating with - other people, this glorious graphic novel concludes with a bolstering “I can do this” assertion, and more like-minded ghosts than you can shake a wand at. In a word - wonderful.
A reassuring, fact-packed book for girls on what to expect when growing up. From Dr Emily MacDonagh, practising NHS doctor and OK! magazine's popular Health and Parenting Columnist. Dr Emily talks about the physical and emotional changes of puberty in a simple and friendly way. Topics include: When and why will your body start to change? How will you feel different and why? What's happening to the boys? Plus expert tips on healthy eating, positive body image, self-esteem, and lots more. With colourful illustrations and useful diagrams. Written in collaboration with a Consultant Paediatrician and School Nurse.
If you have a young vegan or would-be vegan in the family, this book is a must-have. It contains dozens of recipes for tasty year-round cooking and eating, from drinks and snacks to main courses and puddings, all proof that you can have a delicious and varied diet totally meat, dairy and egg-free. The recipes are easy to follow and accompanied by full colour photos but it’s more than just a cookbook. Niki Webster slips in tips and advice too on keeping healthy and ensuring that you get enough iron and vitamins and includes a really useful FAQ section at the end as well as shopping lists and seasonal food charts. Her tone is just right, friendly, practical but inspiring. Keep a copy in the kitchen!