Tag Archives: Acceptance

Empathy and Books for Children

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At present our Junior School is focusing on developing empathy with our children and particularly the value of books/shared reading in this process (yay!) so it seems apt to collate some of my current review picture books that fit this agenda.

 

The Day War Came –   Nicola Davies/illustrated by Rebecca Cobb

warcame

Walker Books Australia

June 2018

ISBN: 9781406376326
Imprint: Walker
Australian RRP: $24.99

Nicola Davies’ #3000 Chairs campaign came about as a result of her poem published in The Guardian which highlighted the UK Government’s 2016 refusal to allow the entry of 3 000 unaccompanied child refugees as well as her notice of a refugee child being refused admittance to a school because ‘there was no chair for her to sit on’.

Since the poem was published the campaign has been taken up by hundreds of citizens in an unprecedented show of solidarity for the children whose lives have been torn apart by war, famine and persecution.

Now in this beautiful book form readers are invited to see for themselves the tragedy of other children for whom life has taken an almost hopeless turn. With the help of those who truly care and organisations such as Help Refugees and the Brisbane Refugee and Asylum Seeker Network we can all, each of us, make a difference.

Without being graphic or violent enough to distress young readers, this book gently shows the way in which an innocent child’s life can be completely and utterly turned upside down in a minute.

Highly recommended for young readers from around Year 1 upwards.

 

 

Waves – Donna Rawlins/Heather Potter/Mark Jackson

waves

Walker Books Australia

June 2018

ISBN: 9781925381641
Imprint: Black Dog Books
Australian RRP: $27.99
New Zealand RRP: $29.99

In a similar vein and for older readers is this beautiful narrative nonfiction book which traces the often perilous journeys of child immigrants to our country from the arrival of First Australian Anak 50 000 years ago to Abdul, his mother and brother seeking asylum in the present time.

For each and every one the vast distance travelled, for some leaving behind not only home but family has been a tremendous and often fraught undertaking. The early European explorers and later settlers, including convicts, the child immigrants from the UK during World War II, the post-war Jewish families, Italians and Dutch assisted passage, the throngs of Vietnamese refugees and the continuing stream of those escaping deadly circumstances are all included. Though the characters are fictional their journeys are realistically described.

As well as each child’s short narrative the book includes factual information at the end making this a superb book for teaching units on Refugees and Immigration.  The glorious illustrations by Heather Potter and Mark Jackson are filled with rich and informative details. Teaching notes are available here.

This is a must have for any primary library and a worthy addition to the classroom curriculum

Ruby in the Ruins – Shirley Hughes

ruby

Walker Books Australia

April 2018

ISBN: 9781406375893

Australian RRP: $27.99
New Zealand RRP: $29.99

Shirley Hughes brings her long expertise to this beautifully evocative picture book which focuses on a little girl’s experience in the aftermath of the London Blitz and the long separation from her daddy. Not surprisingly for so many children during the long years of the war, fathers were often a rather blurry mystery and the reality when they returned home would be quite confronting for little ones.  It would be very difficult for many of our students to even imagine this though there would be some in similar positions now if they have parents serving overseas.

Ruby feels shy with her father, she’s surprised how ‘large’ he is, she doesn’t like sleeping up in the shabby attic instead of with her mother and all in all perhaps is a little disenchanted.

But when she goes adventuring with her playmates amidst the rubble of bombsites and hurts herself it is Dad who rescues her, bandages her knee and doesn’t even rouse on her. For the first time Ruby realises what having a dad around can mean.

Filled with warmth and love this is destined to be another of Hughes’ classic picture books.

Highly recommended for readers from around Year 2 upwards.

 

 

Cloud Conductor – Kellie Byrnes/Ann-Marie Finn

cloudconductorsmall

Wombat Books

May 2018

ISBN: 978-1925563344

Price: $24.99 Hardback

 

Frankie is adventurous and busy and blessed with the gift of a wonderful imagination. This is an immense positive as she deals with her ongoing illness and not only can she imagine herself away from her bed and hospital room but realises she can also inspire the other children to create their own fantastical adventures.

Being a cloud conductor means you can create symphonies of animals running across the sky or listening to the music whispering on the air.

Healthy and hardy children can often find it hard to comprehend what it might mean to be chronically ill and may not always feel the level of empathy we might hope for from them.

This is a gentle and lyrical way to explore this idea and perhaps consider how we can also inspire our friends when things are not going so well.

Recommended for readers from around Year 1 upwards.

 

 

Visiting You : a  Journey of Love – Rebecka Sharpe Shelberg & Andrea Edmonds

visiting

Exisle Publishing

9781925335668

RRP $24.99

As a little child and his mother take their trip to visit their own loved one the child is curious about fellow travellers and asks them ‘Who are you going to visit?’.

Such a simple question which reveals to the reader one infallible truth – that love is everywhere. No matter how different people might look – large, young, old, tattooed – we are all connected in a universal human experience. And under a mother’s supervision, the child’s ingenuous conversations reveal this as a father explains how he loves to play with his little girl or an old man visits his much-loved wife in the cemetery or a mother goes to see her injured son at the hospital.

Such a story encourages readers to look past the differences and seek out what makes us similar and how we are part of a community wherever we live.

A beautiful exploration of acceptance and the power of love.

https://youtu.be/UclU7ouo6Ak

 

 

Along Came a Different – Tom McLaughlin

different

Bloomsbury

May 2018

RRP $21.99

ISBN: 9781408888926
Imprint: Bloomsbury

Children’s Books

 

Following on that theme of accepting differences this is a very lively and rather amusing take on this topic.

Reds love being red. Yellows love being yellow. And Blues love being blue. The problem is that they just don’t like each other.

Soon the sparring colours are establishing rules to keep everyone and everything separate so they don’t have to put up with each other and it’s all a bit silly really. But that all comes crashing down when yet another colour comes along who actually likes everyone  – no matter what they are!

And then before too long another and another and finally a whole rainbow of colours when everyone realises, just a little embarrassed, how ridiculous the whole separate thing was.

This is a really fun and light way to have children start a discussion about acceptance others no matter what their outward appearance or differences.

Highly recommended for Preps upwards.

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Can I Touch Your  Hair? : Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship – Irene Latham & Charles Waters,  Sean Qualls & Selina Alko

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January 1st 2018 by Carolrhoda Book

ISBN: 9781512404425
ISBN-10: 151240442X

Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group

RRP $29.99

 

I’ve been fortunate enough to have a few children’s poetry books come my way of late and this is certainly one of the most interesting.

In a world where we are constantly reminded of the intolerance and bigotry of some it is incumbent upon us as educators to guide our students towards accepting and embracing differences.

When Irene and Charles are put together to complete a poetry project, neither is very thrilled. One white, one black with seemingly nothing in common, they are both reluctant and reticent at first. But as they choose topics to write about – school, family, church, friends and so on – they begin to see points of similarity and more than that commonalities that develop into an unexpected friendship.

Cleverly written by authors who are themselves black and white, this book explores a theme of turning ignorance into understanding and takes it further.

Not only is this a volume worth sharing with students but it could easily become a fascinating springboard into shaping similar experiences for our own children.

Recommended for children from around Year 4 upwards.

 

Owl Bat Bat Owl By Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick 

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Walkowlbater Books

ISBN: 9781406364392

October 2016

Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $27.99
This is another deceptively simple picture book but has a great message. With no words Fitzpatrick still clearly tells the story of what happens when two different families share the same living space. Mother Owl and her babies live on top of a branch and Mother Bat with her little ones move in to the underside of the branch.

How can two such very different families co-exist? But all over the world mothers are mothers and kids are kids and a stormy night which threatens them all soon sorts out the problems that each may have at first anticipated.

Even toddlers will be able to discern the plot of this delightful story.  Perhaps we should get some politicians to read it as well?

Recommended for little humans from around 2 years upwards.