Book Island

Mum's Jumper

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A little girl struggles to understand how life can carry on after the death of her mother. She and her father find mum’ s jumper as they come to sort through her things. It smells of mum and offers comfort. As time passes, its smell changes and it is washed. But it’s still there- just as mum is everywhere.

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This is such a beautiful, powerful book. It tackles the painful subjects of loss and grief with great skill and compassion, offering comfort. The little girl’s voice is full of her raw emotion and takes the reader with her from visiting her mother in hospital, to learning of her death and through her grieving process.

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Seeing and hearing the little girl’s reactions to this devastating event really helps encapsulate the confusion and range of emotions that engulf you when you have lost someone. Dad is constantly supportive, but his grief is evident as well. His words are so powerful and honest as he uses the jumper as a metaphor for grief- it will stay the same size, but eventually the child will grow into it. The pain of losing someone doesn’t diminish over time, but it becomes bearable.

The illustrations fit the text perfectly and add much to the narrative. Sharp eyes will note that although the little girl leaves hospital smiling, her father appears weighed down, not noticing mum’s favourite flowers - bright yellow daffodils- which line the streets. These are the same flowers which appear to be overwhelming the little girl as well wishers send condolences that she neither wants nor understands. She clutches a small bunch- the only splash of colour- as the adults console each other at the funeral. As she wears the jumper, she draws, paints and carries daffodils with her, but at the end of the book, it is sunflowers she and dad have grown- tall and strong and beautiful.

‘Mum’s Jumper’ is quite simply a wonderful story.

Mum’s Jumper Jayde Perkin

Book Island ISBN: 978-1911496137

Half Term Book Crawl!

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This week, I have been on a quest to seek out some of the best books on offer for this year’s North Somerset Teachers’ Book Awards 2019. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it! Although I wasn’t able to visit as many as I’d hoped due to other things getting in the way, I managed to visit some in London, Bath, Bristol and Taunton.

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It’s always a pleasure to pop in to Waterstones Picadilly and have a browse in the children’s section. I love the way it is laid out and the displays they have. I found some great non-fiction ideas here as well as some suggestions for our Read Aloud category.

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Close by is Hatchards- delightfully charming with its old-fashioned air and quiet rooms- another favourite for spending some time. I spent quite a while sitting in their children’s room, exploring a large pile of treasures. Found some wonderful picture books here!

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Although not a bookshop and alarmingly changed since I used to visit as a child, I must include this picture of Paddington I took when I popped into Hamleys as it made me very happy!

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Foyles on the Southbank was a veritable cornucopia of book-ish delight for many categories. Once again, there was lots of wonderful non-fiction and I chose a few books which I think will work really well as Quality Fiction candidates.

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Foyles in Bristol was equally interesting and offered some additional finds. (This picture was taken a while ago as I forgot to take a photo whilst there!)

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Bath offers the triple joy of Waterstones, Mr B’s and Toppings.

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All three produced some great ideas, but poetry remains the hardest category to find a wide selection of ideas for. Still, we will continue searching!

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Visiting Mr B’s was a particular delight this time as they have extended and now have their new children’s room which is a wonderful space, well worth a visit.

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Finally, I visited the stalls at Reading Rocks on Saturday. Book Island were there with their usual fabulous selection of very original and beautiful picture books. Bookwagon had a stall there with lots of lovely books, many translated or by authors/ illustrators from other countries. The main bookshop was provided by The Roving Bookshop whose range never ceases to amaze me. I found some real treasures, not necessarily for the awards, but wonderful books it’s hard to get hold of now! I think we need a new award’s category to pay tribute to these!

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So, lots of lovely new books ready for consideration, but many more still to discover! Let’s get reading!

Little Wise Wolf

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Little Wolf is so busy reading and learning that he does not want to be disturbed. When his friends ask for help, Little Wolf doesn’t have the time or the inclination to support them. However, when a message comes from the king and Little Wolf is in need, his friends are there to support him and so Little Wise Wolf gains a valuable lesson about learning from his friends as well as from books, making time for both.

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This book is produced to the high quality we have come to expect from Book Island books. Thick, silky pages in a luxurious hard back cover. The illustrations in this wise tale are charming; soft, muted colours give a gentle, almost dream-like quality to each spread. Little Wise Wolf’s red boots add a flash of colour as he makes his way on his long journey to see the king. Just beautiful!

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We all get caught up in things; I know teaching can completely take over my world! For me, this tale is a reminder that we should pause and take time for friends and family, that we should listen to each other and take every opportunity to learn and share.

‘Little Wise Wolf’ would be a brilliant book to use in class. The artistic style would be wonderful to explore, building up backgrounds using charcoal, stamps and adding details in pen and ink, pencil or paint. The story itself is great as a starting point for discussion and also lends itself to many writing opportunities.

Little Wise Wolf

Gijs van der Hammen, illustrated by Hanneke Siemensma

Book Island ISBN: 978--1911496120