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The Twelve Days of Christmas is as much a part of the festive season as sleigh bells jingling and Lara Hawthorne brings the song alive in this gorgeous picture book, filling beautiful scenes with the cavalcade of gifts and giving it all a sense of movement, joy and celebration. The trappings of Christmas are present in each spread – spot the holly, the paper hats, and the Christmas baubles on each page amongst the birds and leaping musicians – but the background outdoor scenes are green fields, particularly suited to her folk-art style illustrations. There’s so much to look at and each turn of the page presents a completely different scene – I particularly liked the ten lords, who go a-leaping right across the roof of a house, so that they’re almost flying across the page. The full lyrics are repeated in the final pages along with a special author’s note about the poem too. A Christmas book to be enjoyed all year round. You can find more wintry & festive stories in our Best Books for Kids this Christmas collection!
We first met Mrs Noah in Mrs Noah’s Pockets whilst the family were all on the Ark. Now the Ark has made land and whilst Noah makes the Ark into a home, Mrs Noah sets about planting a garden in the fresh new earth. Her always deep pockets furnish all the seeds needed for the job, the ark provides the trees they have nurtured along the way and she enlists the children to help her tend the new garden. A deceptively simple story –it is in the illustrations that we see the development of the garden as the pictures move from a dark rocky palette, to a more organised series of garden terraces, with colour gradually growing in each spread as we progress through the book – until at last we have a wonderful explosion of plants and animals for all the birds, bees and humans to share. A wonderful celebration of the joys of planting and growing, I can see it being used to seed discussions around how you might create a garden – in school or at home. Plus, as the publisher points out, it provides a positive way of encouraging discussion around migrants and refugees – as Mrs Noah and her family build a new home in a foreign land. I can see this becoming a firm favourite in classrooms all over the country.
This collaboration, between the first American Olympic medallist to compete wearing a hijab and an award-winning Muslim YA author, is a beautiful story of sisterly love as well as a thoughtful depiction of the significance of wearing the hijab. Expressed in terms of family pride and self determination rather than in terms of faith, makes the message particularly accessible to all young readers regardless of their background. Faizah is excited for her first day of school, with her light up shoes and new backpack, but even more excited for her older sister, Asiya with her brand-new blue hijab. As Faizah walks to the school she admires her sister who looks like ‘a princess’ in her blue head scarf. Their mother has prepared the girls with wise words, which they remember as they encounter different reactions, and these are shown on dreamy spreads of Faiza’s thoughts and their mother’s words. When the kids in the school bully Asiya, she remembers her mother’s advice to not carry hurtful words as “they are not yours to keep. They belong only to those who said them” The bullies are cleverly depicted as faceless, raceless, anonymous shadows thus avoiding apportioning blame to any one sector. The vivid colour and expressive illustration are just as powerful as words in conveying the passionate message of how to be proud of one’s culture, individuality, and religion and how to stay strong protected by the armour of family love. This is an excellent book about identity and self-confidence for young readers who can see themselves in Asiya or know someone like her and essential for Empathy collections.
Experience 13 special days from cultures around the world! Rhyming text and vibrant illustrations throughout encourages beginning readers, while educational notes at the end brim with facts about the special days for older children to explore. Complete with a calendar to reinforce learning, Let’s Celebrate! makes for a fun and informative companion to the award-winning Barefoot Books Children of the World.
Aru is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love's bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn't playing Cupid. Instead, they're turning people into heartless fighting-machine zombies. If that weren't bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn't find the arrow by the next full moon, she'll be kicked out of the Otherworld. For good. But, for better or worse, she won't be going it alone. Along with her soul-sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy wholives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they'll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover that their enemy isn't at all who they expected.
Adapted for a younger readership from the author’s celebrated adult book of the same name, this illustrated history of the Silk Roads, bound in a majestic gold and blue package, is the perfect present for fledging historians. The book’s journey leads armchair adventurers along thrilling, far-reaching roads, taking in the history of ancient Persia, Constantinople, Rome, Attila the Hun, the emergence of Islam, Viking slavery, Genghis Khan, Columbus - and more - from a holistic perspective. “You might even think of the Silk Roads as the world’s central nervous system, linking all the organs of the body together”, the author suggests in the introduction, and his engaging exploration of the interplay between politics, science, religion and trade certainly gives this book far greater tang than your standard textbook. Indeed, generously spiced with exquisite illustrations and maps that inform as they enthrall, young history buffs will undoubtedly devour this pitch-perfect treasure, and grown-ups will get much from it too.
This lovely picture book tells a folktale from China and captures too the pleasures of a family gathering, and the importance of spending time together. Its little girl narrator is excited – it’s the night of the mid-Autumn Festival feast and her grandparents are coming round to celebrate. Her favourite part of the meal are the special mooncakes, ‘as small as my hand and as round as the moon’. They are decorated with the image of a beautiful lady and her grandmother tells them the story of Chang’e, the Lady in the Moon. It is a tale of courage, love and self-sacrifice, one to light up an autumn evening. As the book concludes, the little girl knows exactly what wish she will make for the coming year: like the lady in the moon, she wishes to be kind of heart and wise of mind. The story will be new to most readers in this country and, with a message of thanksgiving and unity and its insight into another culture, is a great one to share as we enjoy the autumn. There’s even a recipe for the delicious sounding mooncakes too.
The majestic story of Christmas, from the Annunciation to the Epiphany, has long inspired great artists. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection is particularly rich in medieval and Renaissance paintings that depict this timeless story. Gathered here are paintings by Rogier van der Weyden, Petrus Christus, Hans Memling, and Gerard David, among others, sensitively coupled with excerpts from the King James Bible. The perfect book for the entire family, The Christmas Story is a treasure to be enjoyed year after year.
At last all were gathered inside the ark. It heaved with animals, large and small. Mrs Noah wore a brand-new coat, with a hood and a cape - and very deep pockets. Lots of pockets. When Mr Noah builds the ark, he makes two lists - one for all the animals who will come on board and one for those troublesome creatures he will leave behind. Meanwhile, Mrs Noah gets out her sewing machine and makes a coat with very deep pockets. Lots of pockets.
There’s a sense of kindness and of people coming together in this bright, lively picture book. A young boy – clearly Harris J. in his trademark beanie – shares his umbrella with a stranger in the rain, triggering a torrent of good deeds. On each following page we see small acts of kindness, highlighted against vibrant splashes of sunshiny yellow. Meanwhile, sharp eyed readers will spot in the background people hurrying along with cans of paint; on the last spread we see they have painted a mural across a wall and the final image is of a long chain of people of all sizes and nationalities holding hands in front of it with the words, ‘Always be kind, always remind one another: peace on the Earth every day’. That’s the meaning of Assalamu Alaikum the book tells us, and the warmth and positivity of this message is perfectly conveyed.
Glowing illustrations light up this collection of 8 Jewish folk tales - one for each day of Hanukkah! Retold by rabbi, interfaith leader, wife and mother Shoshana Boyd Gelfand, the stories are accompanied by helpful notes on symbolism and on translations of the Hebrew names. This collection includes the tales Elijah's Wisdom, Challah in the Ark, Clever Rachel and more!