Today one lucky reader gets one set of Truth and Tails stories by Alice Reeves*, illustrated by Phoebe Kirk and published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers! First I'll tell you what they're about and then there's the giveaway form at the end.
Carlos the Chameleon
Another of the Truth and Tails series, Alice Reeves sets out to deliver a book to help children understand that they only need to be themselves and that we are all special and unique and don’t need to change to fit in. It is aimed at preschool and KS1 and is beautifully illustrated by Phoebe Kirk, with Carlos cleverly changing into different colour schemes to match his friends. The large print and hardboard delivery makes this ideal for group reading. It gently tackles the issue of peer pressure and shows that real friends care about the person themselves, not just the outer skin.
The notes for teachers and parents are particularly useful as they tackle what fitting in actually means, and delves deeper into behaviours that children may try out to impress their friends. This is a useful book which can be used both in tackling prejudices and pressure to conform, helping to boost the self-esteem of children.
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Roxy the Raccoon
More from the Truth and Tails series, this time tackling the notion of an inclusive attitude. Roxy is a wheelchair user but her friends hadn’t considered whether she could join in in their activities. This beautifully illustrated book presents Roxy as just another child but her presence causes the rest of the group to consider differences in abilities, and how we can all play together.
As well as leading the audience to consider the obstacles Roxy faces, the story also enables the reader to ponder the ways in which the obstacles can be overcome, and promotes a fully inclusive perspective.
There is a dearth of material containing disabled children in any capacity and this is a gentle introduction into the mindset of inclusivity. The bright illustrations, large typeface and hardboard presentation make this ideal for use with a group, and the thought-provoking teacher and parents’ notes at the end will undoubtedly help direct a productive and positive discussion.
Molly The Mole
This is also beautifully illustrated, and perhaps best used in a group setting to explore the differences between us all, and to examine what makes us all special and valuable. The book labours the importance of being patient and kind and the audience is left in no doubt that diversity and inclusion is best. The author’s notes to parents and teachers are very useful as the basis of discussion and the book is particularly pertinent to those dealing with sself-esteem issues and perhaps anxiety and mental health worries.
The advisors on the book include Young Minds, and this is a great resource for young children to be able to discuss their feelings about themselves and about others.
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Vincent the Vixen
I’m an avid reader but this is the first book I’ve seen which is targeting the issues of transgender children. This seems to be in the news more than ever these days, and this book attempts to solve the dilemma of how to tackle this with young children.
It’s nicely illustrated and there is something familiar about the feel of the book which I’m sure will be reassuring to both adults and children. There are helpful notes and reading prompts for teachers and parents, and the author consulted with Stonewall and also Mermaids, who support gender diverse children, so it’s safe to assume they’ve done their research. It’s in a large print and would be easy to use with a group of children, rather than being something a child would read themselves. It’s of a high-quality board backed finish, and the author uses Vincent, a fox who decides that he’s no longer a boy and identifies as a girl, and Betty the Badger, who is a transgender adult.
Its aims are worthy and lofty - how to talk about people who are Trans, and what it means. It’s probably a good starting point for discussion, especially for the younger siblings of trans kids, but I was uncomfortable with the imagery of Vincent, whom as a female, transforms into a submissive and coquettish pose. Also, the only way in which Vincent’s gender was displayed was via the use of clothes, again a confusing inaccuracy. However, these are books which need to be written, and subjects which need to be tackled, and this is a start, for very young children.
*These book reviews are part of a paid relationship with JKP books however, the reviews are all written honestly, without bias. Read our disclosure policy here.
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