The Autumn school term is almost finished, and Christmas is just around the corner. It feels like only yesterday I was blogging about Perfect Books for School Starters. So, I thought I’d share three books that we’ve found particularly helpful during my daughter’s first term of school. These three wonderful, illustrated books celebrate difference, overcoming adversity and perseverance.
Tilda Tries Again by Tom Percival
Tom Percival’s Big Bright Feelings series never fails to deliver a relatable story about mental wellness. You can read our reviews of the rest of the series here: Ruby’s Worry, Ravi’s Roar and Meesha Makes Friends. We found the latest edition to the series really helpful as my daughter started school. It is all about trying your best and never giving up.
My daughter’s school has a strong ethos of perseverance and encourages children to embrace the “can do” attitude. So, reading Tilda’s story was a great way for us to talk about what she was learning at school. Tilda’s world is just as she likes it… until one day, everything is topsy-turvy, and nothing feels right.
As always, Tom’s iconic illustrations pop and we loved this spread where Tilda’s world was literally turned UPSIDE DOWN!
For Tilda, things that were once easy suddenly feel incredibly challenging. But can a chance meeting with a tiny ladybird change all that?
This gorgeous picture book encourages children to build resilience and believe in themselves. We love it!
Published by Bloomsbury, 5 August 2021
You Can! by Alexandra Strick and Steve Antony
Sometimes you come across a book that is a little bit different, and just touches your heart. You Can! is one of those special books and I think it’s because it was written in partnership with young people.
Co-founder of Inclusive Minds, Alexandra Strick, hosted a series of video calls with young people to find out what advice they would give – or wished they’d had been given – when they experienced tough times. Alexandra and Steve took their words and created You Can! which can only be described as an inspirational masterpiece. Steve has depicted 14 imaginary characters who grow up through the spreads, from a range of backgrounds, to show that the message of this book really is for everyone.
You Can! is a unique and powerful picture book that frankly is important for us all, no matter how old we are. It even says as much on one of the spreads: “you can love a good picture book whatever your age”. This is SO TRUE! And we love this one.
Published by Otter-Barry Books, 7 October 2021
I Am Not a Label by Cerrie Burnell and Lauren Mark Baldo
Cerrie Burnell has inspired many people and in I am Not a Label she brings the stories of 34 artists, thinkers, athletes and activists with disabilities, who are equally inspiring. These biographies, past and present, have been brought to life through Lauren’s exquisite illustrations.
I read this book as an adult, and I loved how these people’s incredible life journeys have been told sympathetically and without prejudice. We learn about the unique challenges they’ve faced and overcame. The book is aimed for children older than my daughter, but I used Lauren’s illustrations and simplified the biographies to introduce her to some of these incredible people.
In her opening note, Cerrie says: Representation matters because magical things happen when we see ourselves in books. I couldn’t agree more, and Cerrie and Lauren have brought oodles of literary magic into the world with I am Not a Label. This is a book that needs to be in every school, library and community around the world.
Published by Wide Eyed Editions, 4 May 2021
I am very grateful to the publishers for providing me with complimentary copies of these books. This voluntary feature contains my honest opinion.