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Children are keen to learn about the world about them, who makes the laws, how they are governed and the philosophies and ethics that affect our country and the people who hold power. Learn more about citizenship and our political system with the books in this special section.
This book results from a unique, direct collaboration with children and young people aged from 8-18, where Alex Strick, co-founder of Inclusive Minds, asked them what they would say to their younger selves to inspire, reassure and enthuse them about the future. Their responses have been worked into a truly remarkable text, which follows 14 characters from babies to toddler through to young adults. Each character is brought vividly to individual life by the beautiful, richly detailed illustrations of Steve Anthony and reflects a truly diverse range of different interests, identities and friendships. Each vignette tells a continuing story as they grow and change, and a clever and subtle use of colour enables even very young readers to track their development. The language is beautifully paced and the scenes depicted are absolutely redolent of authentic life experiences. Inspirational, aspirational, reassuring and hopeful, this important book deserves a place in every classroom and will truly allow every child to feel seen, heard and respected.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Award 2022 ages 7-10 | Eric and Terry Fan are renowned author illustrators with such gems as The Night Gardener and the Kate Greenaway shortlisted Ocean Meets Sky. For this collaboration they have been joined by brother Devin for the first time. Stunningly beautiful images are what we have come to expect, and this is no exception. The enticing, mysterious cover spotlights a little creature in a bell jar. Beneath the jacket the cover looks like a blackboard covered with code, double helixes and creature sketches. The endpapers are design files to start and shelves of completed products at the end. We know then that this is about creating things. We meet our little creature again and we are shown the contrast between the naturalistic wold and an ordinary shop – Perfect Pets- on an ordinary street, but far below there is an underground world and a laboratory where they make the perfect pets and where they put the Failed Projects like Barnabus. Alerted of impending recycling doom, by his friend Patrick the cockroach, who has been entrancing him with stories of the natural world above, Barnabus and fellow Failed Projects work together on a daring and thrilling escape and find refuge hiding in plain sight in a nearby park. Being a team and supporting each other is crucial to their success. A multi-layered story that will appeal to a wide range of ages and prompt much discussion and debate about ethics and freedom. In a world where young people are constantly bombarded with social media that promotes artificial standards of perfection, this empowering fable has an important message to share.
Co-written by Angelina Jolie, Amnesty International and Geraldine Van Bueren QC, Know Your Rights and How to Claim Them is underpinned by an inspirational knowledge is power ethos. That is to say, it sets out the human rights of under 18-year-olds and aims to “help you to identify who or what stands between you and your rights, and the action you can take if you choose,” as Jolie explains in her introduction. After talking through the principles and history of human rights in lucid style, Know Your Rights explains their practical implications - “your rights in reality” - covering everything from poverty and racial and gender equality, to health and climate, with rousing examples of how young people around the globe have taken action, from gay rights activists in Colombia, to a disability rights activist in Kyrgyzstan. The book also explains how young people can safely, effectively campaign for rights, with detailed insights into how to speak in public, how to debate, how to safeguard your personal mental health, how to raise awareness through engaging politicians, and how to amplify the reach of your campaign. At once informative and practical, Know Your Rights is a dazzling, potent toolkit for justice and change.
All brilliant picturebooks rely upon the interplay between words and pictures and this partnership of author and illustrator has very good form. Indeed, the acclaimed A Place to Call Home has a similar theme about discovering the world beyond, but in Ergo Deacon and Schwarz have produced a sublime and joyful mix of text, art and clever typography, which will stimulate endless discussion and read aloud requests. While not being at all a book about the COVID crisis, I think that this adds additional resonance for children (and adults) who can easily recall the time when they were literally shut inside. It also speaks to the universal self-absorption of young children and babies. Like them, the first discoveries Ergo makes are of herself. Her feet! Her wings! A demonstration of the principle that consciousness defines existence - I think therefore I am, as Descartes told us. But then Ergo discovers the boundaries of her world and enjoys pushing against these and making her world move and then her astonishment is unbound when she feels movement and noise from outside! The recognition that there may be other creatures like her and the sad thought that they might be forever separated is what spurs her determination to break out and achieve the joyful meeting with fellow fledgelings. What a perfect allegory for recognising that we all need other people and that there is a wonderful world out there if you are brave enough to explore. A perfect introduction to philosophy with the most apposite title ever- not only a word that means therefore, but one which sounds perfectly eggy too! An absolute must have for classrooms and homes.
This is a book that was inspired by the issues teens were facing as a result of the lockdowns and lack of contact with peers and school. Nicola Morgan, known for her no-nonsense very approachable way with incredibly difficult and important subjects for teenagers set herself the task of writing this very readable guide to growing their own resilience. The pandemic was not a situation any one person could control – but this book sets out lots of strategies for dealing with whatever the world throws at you – be it pandemic, personal crisis, or just navigating that difficult time we call teenage! The book is arranged into five specific areas that will work in different combinations for individuals. Not every reader will need every section, but there is definitely something in here for everyone. Reading this book will give everyone a set of tools – whether to build your personal network, or in coping strategies or other areas with an approach that uses character studies, simple activities, as well as giving lots of space and time for reflection on what has been read. Knowing Nicola is an expert on the teenage brain and mental health you know the subject is well researched and based on the latest scientific research. The topic I had not encountered before in any other book was the idea of ‘heartsong’ and knowing what your heartsong is. Heartsong is defined by Nicola as a feeling of joy, of satisfaction, of fulfilment, of happiness – different from well-being – a positive emotion just for the individual. It’s the ‘I’m glad I did that’ of life. I’m glad I read this – and I know just the right person who will value this, too. Meanwhile, every school with teenagers in it should have this book available in multiple copies for their students – so many will get benefit from it.
Why the World is Not as Bad as You Think | From the same stable as the very excellent Dosh: How to Earn It, Save It, Spend It, Grow It we have a clear, accessible, fact packed analysis of the crises facing the world, charting the progress that has been made and the grounds for hope. I think everyone has recognised that this generation of young people may feel completely overwhelmed by what they have experienced and be suffering serious mental health issues as a result. This book aims to help re-set their view of the world. The fascinating introduction explains psychologically the human fascination for bad news and how media focuses on the memorable story, which is inevitably horrific. There is an excellent summation of what fake news is and the difference between disinformation and misinformation and then some brilliant tips on how to fact check and spot fake news. But this is by no means a recipe for complacency since every section: Humans, Politics, Planet, Health, Society and Arts, begins by outlining the problems, before the mix of quotes, anecdotes and fact boxes and case studies shows exactly what has been achieved already and what is in progress. This includes many projects that I certainly had never heard of, such as the Great Green Wall of Trees being built across the whole of Africa. Every section also includes Challenges – empowering ways in which an individual can contribute to solving and not being the problem. It is highly admirable that this book goes beyond the obvious environmental issues to include politics and society and it is salutary to remind ourselves of the progress made on human rights, education and equality. Also admirable and entirely fitting with the concept is a list of information sources and the origins of all the quotes used. An invaluable and much needed resource from an author with a real facility for straight talking and not talking down to young people. The LoveReading LitFest invited Rashmi to the festival to talk about Good News. You can view the event by subscribing to the LitFest programme for as little as £6 per month - or you can pay per view. For just £2, go, see Rashmi in conversation with reading ambassador and guest presenter 13 year old Jack and find out why every child should read this book. Check out a preview of the event here.
June 2021 Debut of the Month | From the 2019 Macmillan prize-winner this is a powerful, dramatic and inspirational story about the difference even a child can make if they take action and get their voice heard. The delightfully curious Rosa needs a book but her library is closed for redevelopment but Rosa dn her sister decide to protest and not give up , gradually bringing everyone onboard. The vibrant richly coloured pages create a filmic sense of an inclusive community and very real people. It makes a powerful statement about the place that libraries have in a community and the vital necessity that all children can have access to the books that they need. Unfortunately, it is a book with a very current and timely message. Libraries have suffered greatly in the pandemic and the future looks bleak as more budget cutting looms. This book empowers young children to demand their rights and to recognise that they matter too. It should prompt some very interesting discussions and debate and naturally should be stocked in every library.
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.
This book is outstanding in its gathering of talent to provide the illustrations to Adeola’s messages. It is a powerful, personal response to the murder of George Floyd and the awakening around the world to the Black Lives Matter movement. It is an honest and very personal letter to Adeola’s younger self, messages he wishes he had seen and heard at a young age, created now for the children of the future. The messages apply to any child – and the illustrations show a diverse range of children and adults; the writing is simple, straightforward and obviously deeply felt, urging children to be themselves, be curious and love the skin you are in. Each double page spread, and the end papers, are all created by one of the eighteen talented black illustrators assembled from all over the world or this book. It is a joy to see so many different yet complementary styles of illustration creating the whole. A book for every classroom and nursery in the country!
The Branford Boase prizewinning author has produced another winner with his second book. This is the thrilling story of Queenie de la Cruz, an ordinary girl who happens to be a big fan of world’s most popular fizzy drink. When a bottle washes up at her feet on the beach near her run-down house, this is not unusual- the beach is so covered with rubbish she hardly notices it. But this bottle contains the top-secret recipe for her favourite drink. Priceless information that the big corporation wants back at any cost! The way they manipulate the media and instigate a world wide search for Queenie is genuinely scary and thought provoking. While on the run Queenie comes to realise a lot about the world and the threats it faces from big business and consumerism. She also realises the value of friendship, finds her courage to stand up for what is right and that some things are more important than money. The suspense filled plot will keep readers guessing and the powerful underlying environmental message will strike home. A story which, like his debut novel Kick, looks at the darker side of consumerism and big business and its worldwide affects, but this is so successfully wrapped up in a really great story that this will be a really popular read as well as a valuable discussion starter.
There are sure to be hundreds, maybe thousands of books written about the pandemic and its impact, but few will match Outside Inside for insight, power or truthfulness. In 48 pages and less than 500 words, LeUyen Pham manages to describe and explain the events of the last 18 months, how we all moved outside inside (except those who needed to carry on – the doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, hospital porters). The words are beautifully simple; the pictures, a mix of full double page spreads, smaller montages and vignettes, seeming so but full of details, nuance and meaning. In a key moment, a page turn answers the question, ‘So why did we all go inside?’ with, ‘Mostly because everyone knew it was the right thing to do.’ Featuring people from across the globe, it unites us all, no matter how different our lifestyles and, though it’s not afraid to acknowledge loss, it ends on a message of hope: the arrival of spring, inside and outside. A timely, welcome book, composed with immense care and attention.