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Book Reviews: New Kids Picture Books

By Nicci, The Kids Books Curator

My top picks selected from both new and recently published kids books (for ages 4+).

How many of these have you read and enjoyed too?

Any you hadn't come across before?

The books are listed in alphabetical order (not in order of preference).

’Heart String’ by Brooke Boynton-Hughes

(Chronicle Kids)

🌱I am now seeking out and collecting @Boynton-Hughes books! A US author:illustrator who creates such beautiful artwork with minimal and heartwarming storylines. In ‘Heart Strings’ the reader follows many narratives, some more obvious than others, as a rainbow coloured string wends its way around our world, connecting families, friends and strangers in situations where they care about each other, bring their community together, break down barriers between religion, culture, age, gender and language to make life safe, happy and filled with love. There are several of the creator’s friends and a few family members who make an appearance in the book including her late grandpa. So touching!

’High Top’ by Tom Lacey

(Little Tiger)

🌱[Ad-review copy] As a hiphopper by nature, this picture book featuring a high top sneaker as a main character grabbed my attention immediately!! ‘High Top’ represents the child who is happy, bursting with energy, filled with ideas, always wants to help or be involved, is on the go all the time until they crash out. Not all the shoes in Shoe Town, appreciate or even asked for High Top’s help, yet he gives it anyway - and it’s disaster after disaster… a ruined painting, cakes all over the floor, a ballet slipper tangled in her own ribbons! After some valuable advice from a philosopher-type in the park by the name of ‘Platoe’, High Top realises he needs to think of his friends before he acts! A fun new ‘kick’ on the block!!

’How To Make A Story’ by Naomi Jones,

illustrated by Ana Gómez

(Oxford Children's)

🌱Wonderful ideas come from story time sessions, whether they’re inspiring a teacher or an adult at home for an activity or inspiring the child themselves. Creating a story can be a challenge for some children, some may not even feel it’s much fun, but it’s an important life skill to learn…Milo wants a new book, so mum suggests Milo make up his own story, which then turns into a fantastic word and plot building game. Milo develops his adventure story by looking at the things around him at home… lego becomes treasure, the cat a tiger… and also he gets a few prompts from the family along the way. He then makes it into a comic to share and keep for ever. So much fun!

’Out of the Blue’ by Bob Tregoning,

illustrated by Stef Murphy


🌱Whether at home, school or out and about, what age does a child start to feel that they don’t fit in or belong, that they might be different from their peers or even their parents or carers? There’s no fixed answer, it might be 4, 10 or even 15; every child has their own journey and experience. Books like this are windows into a world that might be relevant to a child right now, or maybe a comforting memory they can draw upon in their mind when faced with feelings of uncertainty about their place in the world; also it can be a frame of reference for feelings and thoughts towards a friend struggling with their identity who needs support. Timed well for LGBTQ+ history month, this book is a wonderful discussion starter for children about celebrating the beautiful rainbow our society is.

‘Outside’ by Bee Chuck

(Little Tiger)

🌱[Ad-review copy] This is actually the COVID/post-COVID lockdown picture book that really resonates with me the most that’s published so far. As both the author and illustrator of this picture book, Chuck has accurately captured the whole experience, especially for me as a parent when I had my young children at home with me, and the thoughts and feelings we all experienced. Their vivid and highly expressive, colourful illustrative style really channels the highs and lows, the heightened senses to nature and sound that occurred, and the contrasts in life before, during and after lockdowns. Observations such as how nature had reclaimed the gardens, pathways and public spaces all rang true to my memories as well. A really wonderful ode to a period in history we share as one world.

‘Word Trouble’ by Vyara Boyadjieva

(Walker Books)

🌱This book has come into my life just at the right time, as I’m being asked by schools for books that nurture empathy and compassion for children who arrive into primary schools speaking little or no English language. What a lovely story, so beautifully illustrated, to enable the reader to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, or to act as a medium to help relay their story to others. A reminder of how hard it is to arrive in a new country, to start life over again, and that perhaps the classroom might not be the first place to make a friend when all children speak the universal language of having fun at the park! Joyous!

Please like this post and leave me a comment, I'd love to hear your thoughts too!

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