Tag Archives: Acceptance

Who Fed Zed? – Amelia McInerney. Illustrated by Adam Nickel

Standard

Allen & Unwin

July 2021

ISBN: 9781760524432

Publisher: A&U Children’s

Imprint: A & U Children

RRP: $24.99

For my library event of last week, I was required, of course, to complete the paperwork to tick all the boxes and of the 50 children attending, ten had dietary requirements – with nine of those being medical conditions not just a choice. Of those nine, four had anaphylaxis alerts and so we needed to have EpiPens at the ready. Those of us in schools have long realised that the growing numbers of children with food or other allergies, many of them severe, are reaching unprecedented figures.

So, this lively and highly amusing picture book, which very cleverly and subtly reinforces the message that food allergy/intolerance is a real issue for many children, and that reading food labels carefully is important for everyone.

The narrator explains through rhyme that friends Ted, Ned and Fred normally play with Fred’s dog, Jed, but sadly Jed has a very bad case of fleas, and for some reason, the flea power treatment has not worked. So instead of Jed, they watch Zed, the fish. Now Zed has already had a narrow escape after being fed bread at one point, so everyone knows not to make that same mistake but what happens when you don’t read packaging carefully? Oh oh – well it is quite a calamitous chain of events but very fortunately all turns out and once again Zed escapes unscathed, and Jed is finally freed of fleas.

Your little ones will absolutely love the rhyming thread throughout and this is a story that begs to be read aloud – with, I have no doubt, many requests for repeat performances.  Amelia McInerney has taken the situation of her own child as inspiration for this extremely important book which will promote healthy discussion about food allergies and intolerances but also, I would hope, lead to a general understanding of food choices for some – all of which leads children to a more considered acceptance of differences.

Naturally, it would work particularly well within a unit of work focused on nutrition or health but as a stand-alone, particularly if your class or group is welcoming a child with food allergies, it is also highly valuable.

I recommend this highly for little ones from Prep upwards – and even your tiniest humans in childcare/kindergarten settings will benefit from its message that for some children, certain food/s can be dangerous.

Bear in Space – Deborah Abela. Illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

Standard

Walker Books Australia

August 2020

ISBN: 9781760651510
Imprint: Walker Books Australia

Australian RRP: $25.99
New Zealand RRP: $28.99

Encouraging our little readers to be not just accepting of differences but to embrace them is arguably one of the greatest gifts we can offer. And to be able to do this through the enjoyment of a wonderful and vibrant story is a real bonus.

Bear is different. He’s not like the other little bears who are noisy and play lots of games. Bear prefers the quiet, learning about space and planning his trip in his own rocket ship. The other bears laugh at his dream of space travel and though Bear feels lonely, he is undeterred. He takes off and begin his exploration and finds not only the amazing vastness of his dream but a most amazing surprise – a like-minded friend! Together Bear and Panda conquer space and upon their return find that the acceptance from their peers opens up even more richness.

This is just a beautiful and thoughtful story which will enchant children and adults alike spring-boarding many deep discussions around our perceptions of others. Children will also love the interspersed space facts – this being truly a fascinating topic for them in my experience.

The perfect combination of text and illustrations is just superb and clearly the two creators are completely in sync.

Celebrating differences, acceptance, self-belief and friendship this is a must-have for your collection.

Highly recommended for little readers from around five years upwards.

Nop – Caroline Magerl

Standard

Walker Books

1557722836811

November 2019

ISBN: 9781760651251
Imprint: Walker Books Australia
Australian RRP: $26.99
New Zealand RRP: $28.99

I’d like to introduce you to Tedward who has been my constant companion for 62 years and 2 months. He was given to me for my first Christmas when I was two months old. He no longer has much left of his German mohair fur, his tummy growl has not worked for many many years but his glass eyes still twinkle with the light of love.

IMG_20191213_151455

In many respects Tedward is very like Nop in their shabbiness and rather unkempt appearance but poor Nop is not loved nor does he have a true friend.

Nop has lived in the Dumporeum for a long time, ignored and passed over by the crafters around him and those who select other refurbished toys to take home, despite the new bowtie he has given himself. But Nop is not going to let this determine his fate. Using all his ingenuity and courage he creates his own wonderful hot air balloon and takes off into a new life, one in which he discovers a special friend.

Caroline’s newest book is another gentle and beautifully illustrated offering in which the values of self-belief and acceptance are strongly but subtly underlined.  Nop may have been unwanted and ignored in the Dumporeum but as the special bear-friend of a wise orang-utan becomes highly regarded and well loved.

Another sumptuous treasure of a book from this talented writer/illustrator!

Highly recommended for readers of all ages from littlies upwards.

79207394_1728460123956284_7097587865009258496_o

Thank you Caroline for allowing me to use this delightful rough from Nop’s illustrative process!  Stay posted for a Q&A with this amazing artist coming up in the New Year!

 

 

Empathy and Books for Children

Standard

fb_adorasvitak-r333

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.

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

Standard

can-i-touch-your-hair-

 

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 

Standard

 

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.