For Older Readers:
In essence Ballet Shoes meets When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. It's an exquisitely-imagined story about a young girl Aya, fleeing from a war-torn Aleppo who loves to dance. Ballet could be her way through. The narrative alternates from a Community Centre in Manchester to the family's life in pre-war Aleppo. Bruton simplifies the asylum-seeking process while conveying the fear and insecurity of enforced homelessness. It ends with hope but it is not coated with sugar. A vital book to remind us that every refugee, asylum seeker and immigrant is a person with a story to tell and a life to live.
Best for Younger Readers:
Sophy Henn hits the mark once again with her perfectly pitched illustrations and words about what makes you YOU. A book asking us to reach up and shout out about the marvellousness of each and every one of us. She encapsulates quirky eccentricities and the need to embrace the frowns and scowls along with the cosy snuggles. We can all learn a lot from a little book like this. Read it aloud to anyone who will listen.
We loved Sophie Dahl's first children's book about a little girl called Mabel and her unlikely friendship with the mysteriously exotic Madame Badobedah. A funny, kind story about first impressions and imagination. There is a joy in words that is resonant of her grandfather which makes reading it a total delight. The extraordinary illustrations from the exceptional Lauren O'Hara make this a pretty perfect book for everyone.