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There’s some fabulous books available and some that don’t fit into a ‘neat category’; they’re a little quirky but totally fascinating and worthy of a spot on any child’s bookshelf. I’ve shared some of the best here as stocking filler ideas for Christmas.
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Sometimes children get a bit predictable when they’re asked what they’d like to do as a job when they’re older…. it’s usually Police Officer, Doctor, Teacher etc. I like the book Incredible Jobs You’ve (probably) Never Heard of (*) as it opens up a whole world of quirky jobs from dinosaur duster to a mattress jumper! There are some truly fascinating jobs in this book and there are lots of other things to spot along the way. It’s cleverly illustrated by Natalie Labarre and offers kids who don’t want to follow the typical aspirational roles a different way to look at their future. Similar to this is a book called Heroes (*) which takes more traditional jobs such as Doctors, Teachers and engineers and gives information about people who have done those jobs and created a legacy, for example, Joseph Murphy, the Doctor who performed the first successful organ transplant. There are over 100 heroes in this book, ordinary people who went on to do extraordinary things and it’s sure to inspire the next generation.
A book we have really enjoyed and I’ve found the children looking back over is A Million Dots (*). It is a very clever book and starts with one single dot. The dots double to two, then four, the eight and so on, all the way to a million! They soon become uncountable as the pages get fuller and fuller but it’s a fantastic book and it’s fun to see how the dots change what the picture is – a tree, a ladybird and rain.
On a science theme and sure to appeal to children are three books that my three have all really enjoyed, The Clue is In the Poo (*), Gut Garden (*)and Do Not Lick This Book. (*). The Clue is in the Poo is all about the trails that animals leave behind, and the title, of course, draws children in! Gut Garden is a very clever journey through the body looking at microbes and how they work to keep your body healthy. A really clever and engaging book that teaches quite difficult concepts in a fun way.
My final two recommendations are aimed at slightly older children; those that might be becoming politically aware but also might be feeling like their voice is unheard. By the time Christmas comes around there will have been a General Election here in the UK and it will be fresh in people’s minds. With the work of Greta Thunberg and other climate change activists, there’s a real political rumbling from the younger generation. There’s two books that I like for this. The Power Book (*) and Rise Up! The Art of Protest (*).
The Power Book is an introduction to the idea of power, who has it, how do they get it and who can and can’t vote. It also covers ideas such as does money make you powerful and why are there fewer females in history books than males? This is a hard-hitting book so be prepared for questions and children to be curious and inspired after reading this. I like the chapter on invisible rules and social norms – it’s something the children and I have touched on in the past. What this book will do is inspire children to be the change and it offers advice and tips at the end as well as some further reading, some of which I have added to my own wish list
Rise Up! is the perfect compliment to The Power Book and is a fantastic collection of art used in protest and covers women’s rights, issues around race, climate change and the such. It’s really fascinating to see the different advertising campaigns used as well as the smaller art pieces. Each section provides a short commentary to explain what the posters and imagery are but it’s a thoroughly fascinating book and worthy of study.