Zana Fraillon

NSTBA PICTURE BOOK CATEGORY LONG LIST part 1

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Picture books- such a wonderful thing! We love them and use them across the curriculum in lots of ways, including just being enjoyed! Perfect for all ages, there really is a picture book for all occasions. Their length makes them very achievable, but there is often great depth and plenty to think about within those pages- not to mention the beautiful illustrations that make them so special. So here is this year’s long list- 20 fabulous books across four posts!

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Beautiful in both sentiment and illustration, ‘Wisp’ is a powerful story for sharing with everyone. It is a story of hope in the bleakest of situations. As the wisp seeks out each person, it fills them with memories of their time before the camp, offering them hope. The book lends itself perfectly to discussion, but could also be used for drama work and to inspire poetry and other types of writing. The illustrations are simply stunning. Perfect for using in many ways, this is a must have for all schools, libraries and homes.

Wisp: A Story of Hope Zana Fraillon, illustrated by Grahame Baker- Smith

Hachette ISBN: 978- 1408350119

You can read another review of this here.

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When a competition is announced to find who is the most beautiful of all, the animals are thrown into a state of worry and self doubt. Each (except fly) is unhappy with their appearance and tries to change themselves for the jungle jamboree. The weather, however, is not on their side and it is left to the little fly to shed some light on the matter so that they realise they are beautiful just as they are. It’s a lovely message and firefly’s kindness is also celebrated. The illustrations are wonderful- vibrant colours leap off the page and dark and light have been cleverly used. Simply joyful!

Jungle Jamboree Jo Empson

Penguin ISBN: 978-0141356891

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The perfect text for starting discussions about internet safety, ‘#Goldilocks’ tackles this subject with great humour, but does not shy away from making the point about the need to act wisely when posting pictures on the internet. Cleverly using the original tale as a framework, Goldilocks’ desire to be ‘liked’ online leads her to behave in more and more outrageous ways which will have children laughing, but will also make them think. Tony Ross’s wonderful illustrations are full of life and humour. An excellent book!

#Goldilocks Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Tony Ross

Andersen Press ISBN: 978-1783447176

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This is a wonderful re-telling of the traditional tale, versions of which can be found in many cultures. As well as encouraging drama and puppet work, this would be a wonderful place to start in developing oral re-tellings as well as encouraging written versions. There is much to discuss and the characters are perfect for developing through role play and other activities. It would be fascinating to compare different versions of the story from around the world and to look at other tales about the pitfalls of greed! The illustrations are lively and colourful, making the book very attractive. As a great fan of traditional tales, I think this is a must have!

Please Mr Magic Fish Jessica Souhami

Otter-Barry ISBN: 978-1910959183

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Who doesn’t love Elmer? This colourful, cheeky character has been a part of many childhoods and is often used in school. This new story reminds us all of the need to pause, notice things and take in the beauty of the world around us. As Elmer goes on his walk, he notices many things, but when he tries to interest the other animals, they are far too busy to stop and pay attention. It is only when he meets Wilbur that he finds someone else prepared to wait and watch, to listen and notice. Plenty to think about and plenty to discuss, this is also the perfect book for inspiring Elmer walks and encouraging us all to be a little bit ‘more Elmer’.

Elmer's Walk David McKee

Andersen ISBN: 978-1783446049

Wisp- A Story of Hope

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Idris is a refugee child, living in a world of shadows and barriers. This is the only life he knows. One day, the Wisp arrives on the evening wind, unnoticed by everyone, but Idris. For those who hold it, the Wisp evokes memories, reawakening hope and joy. For Idris who has known nothing but life in this camp, there are no memories to stir, yet he realises that for him it offers promise of change, a promise for the future.

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Breathtakingly beautiful, ‘The Wisp’ is an extraordinary picture book. Hope is at the heart of the story; whatever the wisp might be- a message, a story, a secret, protest, solidarity- it offers the dream of a better future as well as the joy of memories, the importance of preserving what makes each person individual.

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Full of imagery, the language used throughout the book is as stunning as the illustrations.

A swelling sea of rememberings twirled on the air and shimmered in the breeze

Idris tasted the pull of the moonlight and explored the soft scent of new knowings.

The story challenges the reader to think about refugees as real people who have past lives and hopes for the future. It challenges them to think of the darkness of the ‘small, small world’ refugees live in. It challenges them to see the individual.

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The illustrations are so evocative, cleverly using colour to mirror the mood of the story and those in it. The whole book is simply captivating and offers plenty of opportunity for discussions about refugees and hope for change.

Simply stunning.

Wisp: A Story of Hope Zana Fraillon, illustrated by Grahame Baker- Smith

Hachette ISBN: 978- 1408350119