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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.
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.
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. ~ Andrea Reece
The Promised One is a perfect way to introduce children to the Easter story. Words and pictures describe the events from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection simply but clearly and offer lots of opportunity for questions and discussion. The illustrations contrast the drama with quiet moments, the shock and devastation felt by Jesus’ friends with final scenes of peace and joy. ~ Andrea Reece
This is Minecraft but not as you know it. Although not officially Minecraft, the Minecrafters Bible has been created by Christopher Miko and Garrett Romines, who having seen the amazing connection children have with this game and have been taking Minecraft to schools as a teaching aid. Their aim with the Minecrafters Bible was to produce something unique and tell the stories of the bible in a language that children understand. Beginning with ‘The Creation’, this simple and engaging presentation of both the Old and New Testament show the stories using the terrains and 3d blocks that Minecraft fans will easily identify with. Not only will they be able to explore the major themes within the bible but the young readers can also marvel at the building skills shown by Romines and Miko. The entire books were actually built in Minecraft and then photo edited and put together with the stories Romines adapted from the bible. The attention to detail is incredible and even include Miko’s specially created skins for the characters. The books are informative and full of humour, there are also references to the game itself that any serious Minecraft fan will enjoy spotting. Thankfully I no longer need to refer to my review copy as it has disappeared into the clutches of my Minecraft mad nine year old and he isn’t giving it back anytime soon. ~ Shelley Fallows
Get into the Spirit of Christmas! This activity pack contains a paperback book of the story of the Nativity, helping young children understand the meaning with clear and simple text, and accompanied by endearing illustrations that joyfully depict the wondrous story of Jesus' birth. There are also Christmas themed stencils and a colouring sheet so that young ones can create their own nativity inspired art work.
Pens and pencils out - these intricate line drawings are waiting to be coloured in! See the story of the Nativity come to life by adding your own creative touch to the original Christmas story as you colour in the beautiful illustrations throughout this festive this colouring book.
Rebecca Elliott tells the story of Noah’s Ark with extraordinary economy and charm, capturing all the drama and the joy. On chunky board book pages we see two lovely lions, two magnificent monkeys, two brown bears, two pretty parrots, followed by one noisy Noah (he’s snoring), one daring dove, then the ark, under the rainbow, packed with animals and ‘full of love’. It’s a triumph, the whole momentous story in just 27 words! So much of the impact comes from the illustrations, beautiful mixed-media, minimalist but full of life and emotion – it’s clear from the pictures of the animals that they love one another. Stylish to look at, fun to read, and genuinely moving. ~ Andrea Reece
An ingenious Christmas book and playmat in one, with six colourful scenes with plenty to spot and find on each. There are also cardboard characters to help bring the story of the nativity to life.