Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History


October is Black History Month in the UK so it seems like the perfect time to review this title, but this is a book to be savoured every single day. Beautifully presented, beautifully illustrated, it offers a selection of forty biographies plus another twelve mini-biographies of trailblazing black women.


Some of the figures are well known- Rosa Parks, Mary Seacole, Harriet Tubman- and their stories continue to be inspiring and humbling. Others are less well known and their stories are just as inspiring and compelling. Raven Wilkinson (pictured above) for example, who persisted in her dream of being a ballerina in the face of prejudice and discrimination. Or brave Ruby Bridges, selected to be the first black student to attend William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans and had to face protesters, white parents withdrawing their students and teachers refusing to teach her. As a teacher and as a parent, my heart bleeds for her.


These really are everyday women whose circumstances, attitude, determination and courage have made them stand out from the crowd and do extraordinary things. The illustrations are delightful, each one with details making them an individual, but without these designed to be ‘interchangeable’ so the reader can see themselves in any one of them, ‘and to feel their strength and possibility…’

An essential addition to every library, ‘Little Leaders’ is beautiful and moving.

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History Vashti Harrison

Penguin ISBN: 978-0241346839

2018 Picture Book Shortlist

So here it is...

the NSTBA 2018 Picture Book Shortlist.


Almost Anything    Sophy Henn

Puffin     ISBN: 978-0141385471

Read the long list review here.


Fairy Tale Pets    Tracey Corderoy, illustrated by Jorge Martin

Little Tiger    ISBN: 978-1848694422

You can read the long list review here.


Goat's Coat   Tom Percival, illustrated by Christine Pym

Bloomsbury    ISBN: 978-1408881026

You can read the long list review here.


Look Out, It's A Dragon!       Jonny Lambert

Little Tiger    ISBN:  978-1848698215

You can read the long list review here.


Lulu Gets a Cat     Anna McQuinn, illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw

Alanna Books    ISBN: 978-1907825163

You can read the long list review here.


Cyril and Pat     Emily Gravett

Two Hoots       ISBN: 978-1509857272

You can read the long list review here.

Congratulations to all! The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on the 10th November. 

Almost Anything


Everyone is having a wonderful time- painting, dancing, playing games, flying kites. Everyone except George. George doesn't think that he can do anything until Bear makes a suggestion...


One of the loveliest author/illustrators I have been lucky enough to meet, Sophy Henn has produced another masterpiece in 'Almost Anything'. Hugely talented with both pictures and words, each of her books shows a real understanding of little children and how to communicate with them. This can also be seen in the patient, caring way she interacts with each child she meets, valuing their comments, their pictures- making them feel special!


George lacks confidence and feels he can't do anything. When Bear makes him a 'magic' hat from folded paper which allows the wearer to do 'almost anything', George feels able to have a go at roller skating. He takes a tumble and immediately repeats his favourite phrase...'I can't!' And here, Bear offers the wisest words of all:

Of course you can...You just need to give the magic a chance. Have another go, George.

And after more goes, George finds that he can roller skate- and many other things too. When George loses his hat, Bear can explain the real 'magic' has come from inside George himself...

When you give your magic a chance, you can do almost anything!

Such an important message, told in such a wonderful way!


The illustrations are charming and combine with the text perfectly. In this one, George is reading one of my favourites, 'Pom Pom Gets the Grumps', another Sophy Henn masterpiece! 


'Almost Anything' is a great story for all ages and one which I have plans to use for a book session with EYFS next term. Resilience is such an important skill- trying hard, being patient, keeping going when things get tough- and George is such an endearing, lovable character that he is sure to inspire and encourage children. Fabulous stuff!

Almost Anything   Sophy Henn

Penguin     ISBN: 978-0141385471