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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.
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.
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!
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.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Anna has friends at school, a kind teacher, she’s not being bullied, yet still she feels anxious, subdued, and terribly conscious that her friends’ lives are much busier than hers, a round of after school lessons, activities and clubs. The arrival in her class of new girl Ellie changes everything however. Ellie is ill and can’t come to school, instead she communicates via a special robot, quickly named Ellie-bot by the class. As the two girls become friends, Anna finds herself inventing the kind of home life her friends have, scared that her normal life is too small-scale to impress Ellie. The truth emerges, of course, but Ellie is wise enough to understand that it’s the small things in life that are the best. Quiet and gentle as it is, nonetheless this story packs a real punch and is delivered with the warmth, compassion and understanding that mark out Thompson’s writing. Published by dyslexia specialist Barrington Stoke, it is accessible to all readers.
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.
Not since Adrian Mole opened his diary have the thoughts and innermost feelings of an adolescent boy been examined so precisely or with such heart. Stan is twelve, shy and a worrier, so the thought of a holiday in Italy with his friend Felix and Felix’s family freaks him out. He’s going though: we meet him at the airport drawing up a ‘duck-it’ list of things he hopes he’ll never have to do. Little does he know that he’ll tick off six out of ten of them on his holiday, and enjoy it too. The first-person narrative lets us in on all Stan’s thoughts, but he’s a good observer of others so we learn loads about the others in the holiday party too, kids and grown-ups. There are laugh-out-loud scenes and moments of pure agony, and through it all Stan is learning loads about himself and life in general. Honest, revealing, compassionate and so entertaining, this is a must read for all the Stans out there – adults, give yourselves a treat and read it too.
You can always trust Tony Ross to teach little ones a useful lesson with loads of humour and the perfect level of cheekiness. The grown-ups keep telling the Little Princess to wash her hands – after she’s been playing in the mud, after she’s used her potty, and after she’s sneezed, but why, she asks. The maid explains, gleefully and very vividly, and you can guarantee the Little Princess will never not wash her hands again. She still gets the last word, and the last laugh though! Full of Ross's brilliant touches of characterisation and silliness, this will be a hit with toddlers and parents alike.