As we welcome a new year, I hope that this first blog of 2024 finds you rested, well-read, and prepared (or at least in the process of preparing!) for a new school year. These final weeks of January can be something of an abrupt return to reality, however there’s always consolation and escape to be had with books!
Of all the emotions humans experience, love can be the most difficult to explain. Very First Questions and Answers: What is Love? is a wonderful introduction to explaining the complexity of love to young children. Addressing topics such as what can we love, what does love look like, and can love change, this book will help children conceptualise and identify the way love can be seen in their own lives. Importantly, Very First Questions and Answers: What is Love? also explores the way that love creates responsibility and can be hard, for example when a sibling is being irritating or a pet needs looking after, as well as the idea that boundaries being created and enforced can also be acts of love.
On 10 February we celebrate the Lunar New Year and the beginning of the year of the Dragon. In Chloe’s Lunar New Year we accompany Chloe and her family as they prepare for and celebrate the Lunar New Year based on her family’s Taiwanese traditions, with some American favourites thrown in! From clearing out broken possessions to cooking traditional and new foods, to celebrating with family and remembering Chloe’s A-má who has died, for Chloe Lunar New Year is a time to celebrate, have fun, and remember the people most important to her. This lovely picture book is a great introduction to some of the traditions accompanying a festival celebrated by billions of people around the world.
In the weeks since the events of The Book of Stolen Dreams, Rachel and her brother have had to come to terms with being famous and their new status as national heroes. As the sequel, The Secret of the Blood-Red Key, opens, “normal life” is proving more difficult to achieve than Rachel had hoped: her father has not recovered from his imprisonment; her mother is still dead; and then is approached by a boy who wants to talk about the blood-red key she was given when she destroyed The Book of Stolen Dreams. While Robert is content to write it all off as prank, Rachel’s not so sure. When she discovers that she can no longer count on those she had previously trusted and that the key comes with a heavy burden, Rachel is determined to keep her promises and find a way to prevent evil from returning to Krasnia. But can she do it on her own, and what price will she be asked to pay?