Tag Archives: picture books

One World Week Picture Book Suggestions, Bev Humphrey

This week (18th – 25th October) is One World Week with United Nations day on the 24th. To quote the website ‘Events are organised by volunteers with the common purpose:

To share understanding about some of the global issues that affect us all and to recognise we can all make a difference’

This year’s theme is ‘It’s Our World – Let’s make it better’ and this seems to be something that we as school librarians can certainly get behind, with our focus on inclusivity, celebrating diverse cultures and sexualities and treating all with kindness and understanding. Recently I’ve been fortunate enough to read some marvellous picture books that would make very good reads this (or any) week so I thought I’d share them here(they are not all newly published, but new to me): 

Rain Before Rainbows, Smitri Halls & David Litchfield. This exquisite book was published as an ebook by Walker during lockdown as a free download and has now been published in hard copy. It is an incredibly positive and hopeful book whilst being realistic and acknowledging fears , it talks about how although times may be dark at the moment, things will improve and there are always moments of value to come. The pictures are just achingly beautiful and the sensitive words brought tears to my eyes on the first reading (and on several subsequent readings if I’m honest!). I have already purchased several copies for Christmas presents and a copy for my gorgeous baby grand daughter , naturally nanny will read it to her! 

Mrs Bibi’s Elephant, Reza Dalvand. Mrs Bibi has an unusual pet, a large elephant , and the two of them play with children , read bedtime stories every night and live happily together. Sadly not everyone approves of the elephant however and when Mrs Bibi is told that she has to get rid of her beloved companion she has a hard decision to make. This story will break your heart and then partially mend it when the loss of the elephant makes the towns people change their heartless ways. Sensitively written, this is a wonderful story about friendship and tolerance with soft toned illustrations and a very clear message. 

Look Up!, Nathan Bryon & Dapo Adeola. The young female protagonist in this story wants to be an astronaut when she grows up and takes a keen interest in the world around and above her. Her older brother Jamal however, rarely looks up from his phone screen and doesn’t really engage with anyone, unless its digitally. Rocket’s enthusiasm for a meteor shower brings people together however and sharing the experience with her brother finally encourages him to look up from his glowing screen to enjoy the natural world.I love the illustrations , especially Rocket’s pet cat who wears a spacesuit just like his owner! I must admit that I empathised a little too uncomfortably with Jamal and must make an effort myself to look up more.

Kind , foreword Axel Sheffler, pictures by 38 illustrators. Kind has been out since 2019 but I only got around to purchasing it recently. £1 from the sale of each copy goes to the Three Peas charity which gives practical help to those who have had to flee their homes and are dependent on the kindness of others in their new country. With such a feast of brilliant illustrators naturally the pictures are fabulous and the words give suggestions to children of how they can practice kindness in their everyday lives. As the book says ‘Everyone is valuable, and we all have gifts to share’ and if we all work together we can make a better world. 

Last, Nicola Davies. Extremely poignant version of a true story about a rhino called Sudan who was the last male of his kind in the wild. The story ends hopefully although sadly this was not the case in real life and the words printed in the illustrations are taken for the most part from well know environmental speeches. An on point (as always with Nicola Davies) cautionary conservation tale that reminds us that we all have a responsibility towards nature and that we need to save species before they all die out. 

Have you read any books lately that would fit in with the One World Week theme? If so please do share them with us on Twitter. Instagram or Facebook.

Sending kindness, understanding and a big hug to any reader that needs one, in the words of Hill Street Blues “Let’s be careful out there’. 

Festive gift suggestions – picture books, by Annie Everall

I LOVE Christmas – I always have done!. I love everything about it – the twinkly lights that brighten up our dark wintry streets, the tasty treats that fill our shops and homes, the festive decorations, the Christmas stockings and the peace and goodwill that comes from remembering the true meaning of Christmas. I especially love buying or making gifts for the children and adults in my large extended family. As you would expect, I particularly like choosing books to give them as gifts. I’m delighted to be writing the Christmas blog for SLG and over the next few weeks running up to Christmas, I’ll be sharing some of my favourite children’s books and Christmassy reads. Hope you enjoy sharing them with the children in your life or letting Santa know that they would be great gifts for your children 😉  I’m going to start with a few of the many picture books that have delighted me this year.

Leah’s Star, Written by Margaret Bateson-Hill, Ilustrated by Karin Littlewood

Alanna Max  £12.99 ISBN: 978-19087825

A wonderful re-telling of the Nativity Story, told from the perspective of Leah, the Innkeepers daughter, when Mary gives birth to Jesus in her dad’s stable. The text and stunning illustrations work so perfectly together they manage to make the Christmas story speak to each reader on a very personal level.

The Crayons’ Christmas, Written by Drew Daywalt, Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Harper Collins £14.99 ISBN: 978-0008180362

I’ve so enjoyed the previous Crayons titles and the Crayon’s homage to Christmas certainly doesn’t disappoint. Like the other titles, this is full of fun and humour as Duncan and his crayons prepare for Christmas. This interactive book contains letters, ornaments, a poster and even a pop-up Christmas tree. A definite must for Christmas stockings!

The Most Wonderful Gift, Written by Mark Sperring, Illustrated by Lucy Fleming

Little Tiger £11.99 ISBN: 978-1788813822

One snowy Christmas morning, Bear and Esme find a wrapped gift under the tree – but it isn’t for either of them. They set off on a snowy, wintry, icy, windy, journey to take it to the rightful owner only to discover they have delivered the greatest gift of all. A wonderful tale about friendship and caring for others and which highlights the true meaning of Christmas. Beautifully illustrated, this is a joy to read alone and to share.

The Snow Dragon, Written by: Abi Elphinstone, Illustrated by: Fiona Woodcock

Simon & Schuster £6.99  ISBN: 978-1471172465

The orphanage where Phoebe and her dog Herb live is a miserable, gloomy, place. It bans daydreaming, and has cancelled Christmas. One enchanting, snowy night, Phoebe meets the Snow Dragon and embarks on a magical adventure. Could it lead to her Miracle Day, when she finds a forever family who will take her away from the orphanage? A wonderful read, breath-taking illustrations, it’s a book to own, to savour and one which will become a family Christmas classic.

Think Big, Written by Kes Gray, Illustrated by Nathan Reed

Hodder   £6.99  ISBN: 978-1444942132

Humpty Dumpty is sitting on his wall, thinking about what he wants to be. When he says he wants to be a boiled egg, all his nursery rhyme friends who are sitting on the wall with him, tell him he should aim higher and that if he believes in himself he can achieve anything and they give him lots of ideas, but how will his future turn out? A brilliant new picture book from Kes Gray aimed at 5 to 7-year olds. Full of fun, irresistible humour, with a wonderful tongue in cheek twist at the end that I didn’t see coming but had me laughing out loud. I love the underpinning message to child readers, that of aiming high, believing in yourself, and doing what you want to do, which is a very powerful one. Bold, bright illustrations add humour to the text bringing an additional vibrancy to the story. Really enjoyed it and can see this becoming a firm favourite with children and adults alike.

The Shortest Day, Written by Susan Cooper, Illustrated by Carson Ellis

Walker  £12.99  ISBN: 978-1406389265

Susan Cooper’s extraordinarily beautiful poem celebrating the Winter Solstice is further brought to life through the stunning, atmospheric illustrations of Carson Ellis. The feel of winter, the joy of the Yuletide season and the hope for a bright new year – just wonderful!

My next blog will focus on some of my favourite middle grade books. Happy reading and sharing stories.

Annie Everall, Director, Authors Aloud UK