The world is topsy turvy right now. With recent events here in Nova Scotia, and with COVID-19 keeping us all at home and slightly on edge, I wanted to remind everyone that there are books that can help soothe the soul. And while our library is currently not open to the public, it will be again some day, and then you can take home a pile of books to remind you about the good in humans. And these are perfect to share with a child, as well as a nice balm for adults.
With the refrain “love wins”, All of Us by Carin Berger (2018, Harper Collins) reminds us that we are stronger together than alone. This message fits so well with the Nova Scotia mantra, Stronger Together. It is a story about the power of community, diversity, and overcoming adversity. I wish I could read it to you all.
We are all connected. This seemingly simple book about interdependence reminds us that we are all made of the same stuff, and that we are part of the bigger world. Atoms and sunshine and bugs and leaves. The illustrations are lovely, with bright colours and shapes that go from the large to the close up of our inner selves. Take a look at We Are All Me by Jordan Crane (2018, TOON Books).
How do we be kind? What does it mean? Everyone needs to learn how to do it, and this book, intended for young children, can give everyone reminders. The end pages start with words such as generosity, tolerance, empathy, tact, honesty, patience, and graciousness – large vocabulary for little people, and so the book shows what those words mean. Illustrated by nine different artists, A World of Kindness (2018, Pajama Press) shows scenes of waiting, helping, gentleness, and more — it literally illustrates for us how to be kind. The simple message can comfort a child, but can also soothe an adult soul. A lovely book to share over and over again, and would make a very nice addition to classroom collections. And look at that cover. It says so much.
With a box of crayons and an eraser, one child sets off to change the world. She rubs out words like darkness, desert, flood, and war, replacing them with colours that change to peace and light. The poetic text of When I Colored in the World (2019, Tiny Owl) was written by Ahmadreza Ahmadi, a contemporary Iranian poet. The illustrations are a good compliment to the story, with the colours of the crayon box filling the pages. This book can help children see that they can change the world by recognizing problems and thinking of ways to fix them, even if it begins with a drawing and a box of crayons. An nice exploration of colour and emotion as well. If you want to hear it read aloud by a young storyteller, head to THIS video.
I have two books from Britta Teckentrup, both published by Tiger Tales Books. Both have colour-saturated illustrations that are simple yet filled with energy and emotion, and both books feature cut-out pages that are nicely designed to add to the message of the books. (Bonus, these books smell sooooo good!) First let’s look at Under the Same Sky (2017). This one is dedicated to a united world, and is a gentle reminder that near and far, we feel the same love, dream the same dreams. In We Are Together (2020), the power of love and friendship peeks through the cut-out pages, showing us ways togetherness wins our hearts. This one can remind us that once we’ve gotten through this pandemic, we can be together in so many ways.
Lastly, I have Most People (2017, Tilbury House) . Most people are good. Some people do bad things, but they can change. The message in this book can remind us that for the most part, people have good intentions, that even though sometimes the world can seem scary, most people are good people. You can see this one read aloud here.
Place holds on these books, or maybe buy copies from your local independent book store. We’ll get through this, together yet apart.