By the time this blog makes its way into the world, some of you will already be on holiday, and the rest of you will be very, very close to the end of the school year. I’m sure for many of you 2022 has been full of ups and downs, but I hope that it ends well and you find time to breathe deeply, catch up on sleep, and – of course! – spend some time with a good book or three.
This month, as well as a couple of new books to introduce you to, I’ve also included some books that have been released in 2022 that you may have missed.
New in December…
George is no ordinary bear. He lives with his friend Clementine and her mother, and they’ve taught him to read. George’s favourite thing to do when he’s alone at home is to read the library books Clementine’s mother borrows for him. But one day, George runs out of books and decides to visit the library himself. However, things don’t go to plan; to George’s surprise, no one wants to help him, in fact people are terrified of him, and he begins to cry. Bears Don’t Cry is a beautiful book which explores the important topic of feeling and expressing emotions, and that all of us – even those of us who look big and strong, and maybe a bit scary – can sometimes feel like crying.
Many of you will remember Blackout which came out last year, written by a team of the finest YA authors, following stories of love over one blacked-out summer night in New York. The same team are back with a similar premise in Whiteout. This time, instead of following different stories across one night, we meet a team of friends who come together during a whiteout in Atlanta, a few days before Christmas, to help Stevie make up for a HUGE mistake she’s made – a mistake that might just lose her the best friend, and girlfriend, she’s ever had…
In Case You Missed Them…
Mrs Koala’s Beauty Parlour – Mrs Koala’s skills are very popular! In fact, she’s so popular she has trouble keeping track of the menagerie of clients she has! Whether it’s giving haircuts to tigers, piercing pigs or massaging mice, children will have great fun counting the customers at Mrs Koala’s beauty parlour, all the way down to just one very tired koala. Bright illustrations with hidden treasures on each page make this a feast for the eyes.
Dancing with Memories – Lucy lives with dementia, but she’s still Lucy, who loves her family and community! Sometimes she gets a little confused and forgets things, but with a bit of help she lives a life that makes her happy. This beautiful picture book explores some of the ways people with dementia can change, but shows that they are still important parts of our lives.
How Do You Say I Love You? – The amazing duo behind What Do You Call Your Grandpa? and What Do You Call Your Grandma? are back with a beautiful look at the many different ways to express love. As we make our way across the day we meet Luca in Italy whose parents are saying their morning ‘Ti amo!’, in the Philippines Tala says goodbye to the butterflies in the park with ‘Mahal kita!’, while in Australia Henry thanks his Dad for dinner by using Auslan. With stunning illustrations, well-constructed verse to help with pronunciation and a glossary at the back, this book can be used in many ways in your classroom or library.
ABC Kids Guide to Loving the Planet – Some problems seem very big, particularly when you’re a small person, and climate change can seem overwhelming to many of us. This wonderful book teaches children that small changes can have a huge impact, whether it’s planting flowers for bees, picking up rubbish, or recycling water. All of these are easy things we can do to make a positive impact on our natural world. A great way to facilitate discussion on a tricky topic.
The Offline Diaries – Ade and Shanice have both been through a lot in the past year – big changes that have left them both feeling adrift and isolated from their peers. One Saturday afternoon Ade’s mum goes to have her braids done at the salon run by Shanice’s father, and the two soon become fast friends. The Offline Diaries is a warm, funny and lovely look at the friendships that can form when children find someone who can relate to their experiences.
Mary and Marcus: The Crazy Dance and Other Stories – Mary is a very happy panda and she cannot wait to try new things and go on adventures… adventures that sometimes go very wrong. Luckily her best friend Marcus is there to help and have some fun, too. This collection of stories is a fantastic introduction to books and reading, with its hilarious stories and fun illustrations to aid your newest readers.
The Marvellers – Conjurors have never been asked to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, so when 11-year-old Ella is invited to attend, and thus become a Marveller, she is thrilled! But not everyone at her new school is so happy that conjurors have made their way into this exclusive school, and Ella has to combat the prejudice she faces as well as learning new and extraordinary things. And things get much, much worse when a notorious criminal escapes, supposedly with the help of a Conjuror. A book for all the children who’ve been missing from magical stories.
Birdbrain – For Hadley Boggs, life has always been a bit unpredictable. But even for her, it’s something of a shock when seven strangers turn up with the news that her father, Barry Boggs, is actually King Bartholomew Boggiano of Ludrovia! Hadley loves her new life in Ludrovia, but when she discovers that the hair-obsessed President is secretly scheming, she knows it’s time to put all of the skills and knowledge she’s gleaned from books and movies over the years to good use!
The Callers – Quin has never successfully managed to call an object, something of great disappointment to his mother, one of the most gifted Callers in Elipsom. Instead, one day he unexpectedly makes something disappear. Thus begins his journey of discovery about where called objects really come from, and the impact that calling has on people his country, and his family, would much rather he not talk about. A fantastic look at the consequences of wanting more than we need, and what we can all do about it.
Gus and the Starlight – Gus hates saying goodbye, but she knows that she and her family will always have to move on, so she just doesn’t bother making friends. But when they arrive at the Starlight drive-in movie theatre, she discovers a place, a job, and people, that she loves. Maybe this time, despite ghosts, comets and unscrupulous owners, Gus and her family have found a place to call home…
The Boy Who Got Accidentally Famous – Billy Smith is an ordinary kid from an ordinary family. Then one day a TV crew comes to make a documentary about everyday life in the ordinary school Billy attends. Billy still should have stayed ordinary, as there are some extraordinary kids at his ordinary school, but a presentation he’s made goes viral, and he becomes accidentally famous. But fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and he discovers that maybe being ordinary wasn’t so bad after all.
Girl on Fire – For Lolo Wright, being smart and put up a year at school is enough to deal with. But one afternoon, with her brother in trouble, she discovers that she has the power of telekinesis. As much as she’d like to keep it a secret, it ends up being discovered by the wrong kind of person, who wants to use her powers for their own ends. This amazing graphic novel explores issues of race, privilege, and the difficulty of deciding what’s right, both for you and the people around you.
Comedienne’s Guide to Pride – Taylor Parker lives in Salem, and yes, she knows all about the witches, in fact she works at a museum dedicated to that part of Salem’s history. However, her deepest desire is to make it as a comedy writer, and when she becomes a finalist for an internship at Saturday Night Live, she is excited, and terrified. No one knows about her dreams to write comedy, plus the internship is for diverse writers and she’s ticked the box for lesbian. Now she has to tell everyone about what she really wants, and who she really is, before the winner is announced.
The Cult of Romance – Nat and her best friend, Janet, have had plans for starting a business and conquering the world since Year 9; neither of them have time to fulfil the dreams of their taytas – to marry young and have lots of kids. So it’s a bit of a surprise when Janet, on a trip to Lebanon, meets a guy and decides to marry at 19. Nat is less than thrilled, both at her friend’s decision, and at the mansplaining, very good-looking best man who might just convince her to join the cult of romance.