At this time of the year I love to add books to my children’s wish list, but it often takes a lot of research to find new books that I know we will all love. I have received a large number of books to consider for review during 2016, so to help those of you who are seeking inspiration, I compiled a list of some of my favourites.
The Barefoot Book of Children is an absolute joy of a book and a clear favourite. I would urge any parent or teacher to add it to their collection. This non-fiction title is a celebration of our common humanity and helps facilitate discussions about race, diversity and inclusion. It looks at how other children live, how we are different and most importantly how we are alike. The book is full of questions that provoke discussion , “How do you share your love? ” “What would you like to do if you had a chance?” “Do you have a special place?” As a teacher, I would share a few pages each day to lead a discussion or topic. Detailed descriptions of the illustrations can be found in the reference materials at back of the book. Children who love facts, can find out about the cultures depicted in the book including names of houses, meanings of names, special celebrations or cultural foods. This section has further talking points, to develop the thinking of slightly older children. My youngest daughters shared this book together and were completely absorbed by discovering new things and discussing the questions together.
The Barefoot Book of Children is not available until the Spring in the UK but is currently available in the US.
The Branch by Mireille Messier illustrated by Pierre Pratt
The Branch is a charming story book featuring a little girl, who has a favourite branch on her tree where she likes to play and watch the world go by. One stormy night, she is devastated to find her branch laying on the ground. Her mother agrees that she can keep the broken branch, for a while. Mr Frank, her neighbour understands the little girls sadness and seeing potential in every piece of wood, he crafts the perfect gift from her favourite branch.The relationships in this book are portrayed beautifully through the text and illustrations. I particularly love the sequence where the old man and the little girl, work together in the workshop to create something special. The Branch is a perfect book for children like mine, who love to climb trees.
The Littlest Family’s Big Day by Emily Winfield Martin
The Littlest Family’s Big Day is about moving to a new home and is perfect for younger readers. The simple text will keep their interest and the beautiful, detailed illustrations have plenty for children to explore. This would make a wonderful bedtime book as you snuggle together and point out all the tiny details of this woodland world.
A Squiggly Story by Andrew Larsen and Mike Lowery
A Squiggly Story is the tale of a little boy who wants to write stories like his big sister, but hasn’t yet learned to write words. His sister encourages him to tell his story, using individual letters and shapes. He tells the story to his class at school, who contribute more ideas. This is a great read aloud book for pre-school or kindergarten teachers, perfect for showing children that you can tell a story even if you can’t write words. It would also make a lovely gift for an older sibling to give to a younger sibling practicing emergent writing.
Lily the Fancipoo and Piper was Afraid
These books come in gift sets, complete with a soft dog and adorable little mouse. The toys are of excellent quality and are totally irresistible. I didn’t get chance to review Lily the Fancipoo as it was held up in transit, but we received Piper was Afraid. Piper was Afraid, is about a big dog who misses out on all kinds of fun because he is afraid. The book had two features that made it an instant hit with my kids – the added bonus of the cuddly toys and an interactive element where you find the mouse hidden on every page. Either book would make a perfect gift for young children.
Leonard’s Beard by Nancy Cote
Leonard’s Beard, is a comical story about a writer who becomes so absorbed in his stories, he forgets about the outside world. His beard grows and grows until one day during a storm, Leonard realises how out of control it has become. He cuts his beard, revealing all manner of interesting objects. As he removes them, he discovers that being absorbed in writing has stopped him having his own adventures. This would be a good book to encourage children to get outside more or move away from a screen.
This or That: A Busy Morning by Wendy Kronick
A perfect book for babies and toddlers. It follows the RIE parenting model , offering choices to the child as he moves through his day. This is a lovely, interactive book to share with a young child. At transitions during the day the toddler is presented with two options, “the bib keeps your clothes dry and clean, which will you wear, the red or the green?” Simple rhyming text will appeal to small children and it is perfect for promoting early social, emotional and communication skills.
Mr Matisse and his Cutouts by Annemarie Van Haeringen
Mr Matisse and his Cutouts is an ideal book for teachers or parents wishing to inspire art projects. The story focuses on the latter part of Matisse’s life, when due to cancer he was no longer able to create art as he had done before. Matisse found new ways to create, by cutting shapes from paper and displaying them around the room. I’m looking forward to using this one in my art lessons next year.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I recieved review copies of the books featured in either digital or traditional format.