Tag Archives: The Journey

Books for a Future

12 Nov

We are all reeling from the American election results and the impact a Trump-led leadership is already having on tolerance, equality and justice. And all that on top of our own Brexit backlash! This shift to a right wing leadership is going to have a huge impact on the most vulnerable in our communities and will leave a lasting legacy for our children to fix. 

So what can we do? We can stand together and stand up to bigotry and hate. Now is the time for solidarity, kindness and inclusion. It’s more important than ever to teach the children in our lives to stand up for what they believe in and to look out for others. My social media has been full of positivity and plans for action. It’s one of the things I love most about social media – when the shit hits, there’s always an uprising of hope. 

So here’s what I’m going to do, and I’d love for you to join me…

*Goes full Whitney* I believe the children are our future. And I believe that books can change the world. So I’m going to bring the two together by gifting an empowering, inclusive book to my local school every month, as well as highlighting the best of the bunch on here. 

Books teach children about the world they live in, and in turn about tolerance, appreciating diversity and supporting others. I want to arm children with these qualities. They are going to need them!

This is something everyone can do to make a difference. We all have children in our lives, whether in our families, in our social groups or in our communities. Sharing empowering books with them could make all the difference. And it doesn’t have to cost money. You could donate your time and talk to these kids about books and the world, or share the book recommendations with parents and teachers you know to help get these books to the kids. 

The first book I’m going to give is Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World by Kate Pankhurst (Bloomsbury). It seems very apt! I love this book more than I can say. It’s a hugely empowering, fun and fact-filled picture book about women who changed the world across very different fields, including Coco Chanel, Frida Kahlo, Marie Curie, Mary Anning, Mary Seacole, Amelia Earhart, Agent Fifi, Sacagawa, Emmeline Pankhurst, Rosa Parks, and Anne Frank. I want to push this book into the hands of every girl and tell them it will be okay. That they can do it. That we believe in them and that we’ve got their backs. 

Want to join me? Perhaps you could gift a book to your local school, library or community group? Or to a child in your life? Perhaps you could give your time to read with a child at a local school. Have a look at Beanstalk and see if they work with schools in your area. Because reading unlocks the future. 

Sadly this awesome book is out of stock pretty much everywhere at the moment – that’s how good it is! – but more stock is coming and there are tons of fantastically inclusive and inspirational books out there. Perhaps you could gift one of these:

If you are concerned about right wing views on refugees and migration you could gift The Journey. If you fear for the freedom of the press and the impact of a biased media you could give Girl with a White Dog. If you want to empower young women you could give What’s a Girl Gotta Do? If you want to support inclusion try any of The Great Big Book… series. For LGBT awareness you could gift Made By Raffi. Or have a look at Letterbox Library for inspiration. 

I’ll be using #booksforafuture to share the book giving and highlight other awesome world-changing and empowering books that our children deserve in their lives. Come and join me. What books would you add to the list? 

The Journey by Francesca Sanna 

15 Apr


I think this book might be perfect. 

‘What is it like to have to leave everything behind and travel many miles to somewhere unfamiliar and strange? A mother and her two children set out on such a journey; one filled with fear of the unknown, but also great hope.

Based on her own interactions with people forced to seek a new home, and told from the perspective of a young child, Francesca Sanna has created a beautiful and sensitive book that is full of significance for our time.’

I have been using social media to post about politics a lot lately. I think it’s important to share; to raise awareness and do our bit. Signing a petition, sharing a meme, just talking about this stuff, might feel like a drop in the ocean but it all adds together to make a wave. 

Another thing you can do is talk to your kids. Share books with them. Watch CBBC’s newsround together. Answer their questions. Because, as Whitney said, they are our future, and helping them to understand, and to get it – to grow up to be empathetic and kind – could be what fixes everything. 

This book is…everything. So beautifully done, it tells the stories of migration in a brilliantly child friendly way. It links their migration with nature and shows their hopes and fears through the stories they tell each other. All things that will help you talk your kids through this book, through newsround, and hopefully, then, to the new kids in their classes and into a future that is less bomby and bordery and more inclusive and smiley. 

It’s a book that will work across a wide age range, making it perfect (and vital!) for schools and libraries. The illustrations and text are layered with meaning and act as a jumping board for discussion. This double page spread is a favourite of mine and a great example:

Look at how the left page is brighter and full of colours and nature. The right page is darker and some of the natural elements are replaced with threatening hand shadows and eyes. Younger children will be able to take the text as they hear it but older children will find so much here to think about and question. 

Beautiful, relevant, important. 

You can order your copy from Indy-bookshop-friendly, tax-paying Hive.co.uk here.