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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.
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.
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!
Lovely, lugubrious Mr Panda is back, loaded up with doughnuts and ready to dispense advice on the best ways to behave. He’s already addressed politeness and good manners, in this story he has one question for the animals queuing up for a delicious doughnut, ‘Have you washed your hands?’ Not one of them has, though Lemur’s tail is clean, and Hippo’s bottom. After Mr Panda has explained why it’s important to have clean hands too, everyone gets together for a marvellous rub-a-dub-dub, soap bubbles sparkling everywhere and there’s one final joke before they get their sticky treats. As ever, the story is beautifully simple, yet will stand repeated readings. Mr Panda cuts a wonderfully bulky figure against a sea-green background and every page is a visual delight.
Here’s a thing I bet you never knew about wombats, but which is a big part of this entertaining picture book: they are the only species on the planet to produce cube-shaped poos. The story that follows the imparting of this piece of fascinating information, is all about wombat poo, specifically that of little George, whose mummy won’t let him go and play until he’s used his potty. Potty stories are always popular, and George’s efforts to obey his mum, and the advice he gets from friends, are both funny and charming. The illustrations are warm and full of life – George is a very appealing little character – and parents will find this a good way to introduce the subject of toilet training.
Who doesn’t wonder how their brain works? This book gives you a guided tour of the human brain (and some animal ones), explaining in brightly illustrated pages what the brain does, and how, demonstrating functions of the cerebellum, the brainstem, the cerebrum and the different lobes (frontal, parietal, temporal, occipital). The information is clearly presented via perfectly pitched text and illustration and is thoroughly engaging, accessible and stimulating. There are tests to try out yourself and ingenious representations of new scientific understanding of the brain. It finishes with a look into the future and what might be next for neuroscience and, having read this, lots of youngsters will be eager to keep learning more.
Following the enormous success of Kay’s Anatomy, this is another tour-de force of informational writing. Children will be rolling around with laughter at all the gags, including a scribbled commentary from Great Aunt Prunella, who does not approve of the author’s obsession with farting and poo, and the hilarious comic strips and copious illustrations from the talented Mr Paker. But don’t be fooled – they will be learning an enormous amount about how humans came to understand the workings of the human body and how to fix it when it went wrong. Kay obviously relishes the ridiculous theories that abounded from ancient times through to relatively recent history and the frankly bizarre and terrifying treatments that were developed, as well as having a sincere respect for the pioneers who took the science forward. There is a great Doctorography section at the end to remind readers of all the stories they have read in the course of chapters which look at different parts of the body as well as individual sections on Surgery, Infections and Genetics. Each chapter ends with a look at the Future and Adam’s Answers where he explains facts and fallacies too good to miss out! The pioneers of medicine generally have a little feature Five Facts and A Lie about them, so the author is actively encouraging critical reading as he does with True or Poo fact boxes about some familiar misconceptions. He is also at pains to highlight the women who, despite being banned from medicine throughout most of its history nevertheless managed to innovate and discover. In a hugely enjoyable, page-turning read, this librarian particularly enjoyed he fact that the excellent index also contained jokes. Do see if you can spot them!
Written by the nation’s favourite get-up-and-go fitness guru in collaboration with celebrated children’s writer Vivian French, Joe Wicks’ The Burpee Bears presents a blast of high-energy hijinks for families to read together, do together, and eat together - the book also contains fun physical exercises and recipes to help readers keep up the good work after the last page has been turned. Paul Howard’s illustrations are a blast of energy too - colourful, characterful, and dynamic. Meet the Burpee Bear family - from the moment they open their eyes, they get busy stretching and whirling before heading off on an adventure. Cue a whole lot of lively lunging, crawling and jumping, with Mummy and Daddy Bear’s infectious enthusiasm spurring young Bella, Frankie and Baby Bear (and readers) to enjoy getting active in the great outdoors. With a fun refrain to read (or yell) along with (“Are we ready? Are we steady? Let’s get cuddling/going/jumping/building!”), this is the perfect book to read together ahead of setting off on your own adventures, with tasty, healthy recipes to make on your return.
Inspired by the true story of a Chinese dancer, Yin Jianling’s The Visible Sounds is a unique, magical, affecting story of a little girl who finds a new world, and a remarkable new talent for dancing, after losing her hearing. At two-years-old, MiLi’s world falls silent due to an illness doctors can’t fix, but it’s not long before she realises that sound can be felt, touched and seen through understanding and interpreting vibrations and movement in the world. This realisation is expressed through a lyrical cornucopia of the senses: “sound is a warm wind gently brushing against cheeks and softening one’s heart…Language is a river, flowing and flooding into MiLi’s body. The river turns into musical notes, like little tadpoles swimming into MiLi’s heart.” Though pitched at young readers, the style has a piercing clarity that speaks just as well to older readers (and adults), and Yu Rong’s illustrations - blending stark, graphic style (the use of colour is exceptional) with detail - is the perfect partner for the text. Moreover, it’s sure to spread a glow of joy through children facing - and living with - disability, while also evoking empathy in those who are not.
Soap? . . . Check. Water? . . . Check. Towel? . . . Check. Are you ready to wash your hands, Mr Panda? Join Mr Panda and friends as they learn all about hand washing, sneeze catching and other good hygiene practices. With a lightness of tone and a gentle humour throughout, this new book in the ever-popular Mr Panda series is perfect for helping little ones to stay safe in a Coronavirus/Covid 19 world. A must-have for all bookshelves.
Two children, separated from their families and facing real dangers, connect and against all the odds become close friends in Sophie Kirtley’s new adventure story. They should never have met at all – Dara the 21st-century boy and 12-year-old Mothgirl, all the way from the Stone Age. Somehow though they do, and it’s testament to the power of Kirtley’s storytelling skills that we accept this completely, and feel the truth of their growing friendship too. Mothgirl is fleeing the bullying leader of a neighbouring tribe who has picked her out as future wife for his son, once he’s forced her to give up her independence that is, and fit into the role picked out as proper for girls. Dara meanwhile is determined to prove himself and experience the sort of bold adventures that his chronic illness has always prevented. Together they help each other find the strength they need to achieve their dreams, and the courage to make others accept them for who they truly are. Set mostly on a wild, uninhabited island this is rich with a sense of the natural world as well as being an exciting, positive, kids-on-their-own story, and highly recommended. It is a sequel to Kirtley’s equally good debut The Wild Way Home, but can be read as a stand alone.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month June 2021 | Thoughtful and inspiring, Protest! covers the theory of protest – how it works, why people take part, why it is so important in bringing about change – and, above all, the tactics to bring about change that were used in any particular protest. The individual protests are grouped together under headings including: Independence and Resistance which contains ‘Resisting the Nazis’; Rights for Women from ‘Suffragettes’ to ‘Women’s Lib’ and, bringing the subject up to date, Global Uprising including ‘Arab Spring’, ‘Hong Kong’ and ‘Black Lives Matter’ and New Grassroots including ‘Extinction Rebellion’ and ‘School Strikes’. In the text and illustrations, Alice and Emily Haworth-Booth make these campaigns from the past vivid. Through their telling of these stories – which they acknowledge are the campaigns that they themselves are committed to -they inspire all those with a cause to support to get involved.
Prize-winning Patrick Ness displays brilliant new skills of sensitivity in this hauntingly touching story of how a boy deals with the looming threat of his mother’s death from cancer. Haunted by a monster in his dreams, denied much information by his family and treated as a weirdo by his class mates and a ‘special case’ by his teachers, Conor struggles to get to grips with the devastating emotions which threaten to overwhelm him. How he finds the courage and strength to face the end when it happens is both utterly shattering and deeply satisfying. Costa Award winner Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final idea of much-loved Carnegie Medal winner Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself.