Fitting in – help with new places and faces.

Sometimes a book comes along at just the right moment. September is the month for starting school, moving into a new class or to a new school, getting used to new places and faces, finding out about yourself and making new friends. It can be a challenging and emotional time. What better way to help children through than by sharing and discussing experiences through books? A few books have arrived here recently that have been a great help in the tricky first weeks.

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One World Together by Catherine and Laurence Anholt is a brilliant book to make finding new friends seem fun and exciting. Being worried about meeting new people is a huge part of the September transitions. This book takes away some of the fear of the unknown and shows children that we are all different but we are all basically the same.

‘I want a friend. Who will I choose?’ We take a trip around the world, meeting new children and exploring their different cultures. A lovely mix of story and a few facts about each culture, this is great for children who love ‘finding-out books’. Importantly, the book also focuses on the similarities between cultures through universal themes of childhood like play and friendship.

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At the end of the book there’s a gorgeous pull out picture of all the characters from the book holding hands around the globe. It would make such a lovely classroom poster.

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One World Together is a great book that would be at home in classrooms everywhere. It could be used to support so much of the curriculum and has wonderful diversity and inclusion- a special mention for showing a child who uses a wheelchair out of her wheelchair and playing. A lovely touch to aid children’s understanding.

Source: Kindly sent for review by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.

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Enormouse by Angie Morgan tells the tale of Enormouse the very big mouse. He doesn’t know why he is different to the other mice, he just is.

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Then one day Enormouse and his little mouse friend see a picture of a rat in a finding out book. Oh! Perhaps Enormouse isn’t a mouse after all? He decides to travel to where the rats live to see if he fits in with them. But Enormouse soon learns that looks aren’t everything and he is not like the other rats at all.

This is a fun tale about friendship and finding where you fit, not judging others by appearances, using your strengths and believing in yourself. It is wonderful to read to children who are in the process of forming new friendships and are a bit nervous about finding their own place in a group. It has a very warm and reassuring style and enough humour to detract from the scary prospect of leaving home to live with smelly rats or being lost in a dark and scary wood.

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Source: Kindly sent for review by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books.

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Oh how I love The BIG-Hearted Book by Nicholas Allan! It is so delicious! The concept is so simple and so beautiful, it supports a wonderful foundation saving the lives of children, and, it’s beautiful to read and share with children. What’s not to love?

‘Babette and Bill were joined by a ribbon of hearts. They were always together through thick and thin. And when they were parted they were broken-hearted!’ The idea of an invisible ribbon of hearts joining people who love each other together is simple perfection. It has certainly struck a chord in this household. It has become one of those wonderful sayings that you come across in a book that finds its way into the centre of family language and behaviour. It’s a keeper!

The BIG-Hearted Book follows the friendship between Babette and Bill during a tricky time in their lives. Babette’s heart is ill and she can’t do the fun things the friends usually get up to. Then one day she goes away. Bill is broken-hearted without Babette, until her heart is fixed and gets strong enough to pull him back to her.

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This sums up the beauty of the book for me. The ribbon of hearts is so strong that it holds them together, no matter how far apart they are. What a beautiful concept to share with a child when they need some reassurance, whether it be because of illness, bereavement, separation from a friend or loved one, or starting school nerves. Explaining to a child that they will always have that connection and support is an incredibly strong message for them to hold on to. It has really worked in this house, with magnetic hearts being pulled back together at the school gates at pick up time. The BIG-Hearted Book really could be used in so many scenarios to support and reassure a child, it should be compulsory for every library, school, children’s hospital and children’s centre to have a copy. It should be handed out for World Book Day. Let’s all go and buy a copy and spread the ribbon of hearts far and wide.

Source: Kindly sent for review by Hodder Children’s Books.

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