Posts Tagged ‘Hope’

Rain before rainbows

By Smriti Halls

Illustrated by David Litchfield

ISBN 9781406382358

Walker Books

Rain before rainbows. Clouds before sun. Night before daybreak. A new day’s begun.

Simply put, this picture book is beautiful. A girl and a fox are friends and do everything together. They face the beauty of each day but also face worries together too. They discover that there is always a silver lining to every dark cloud. In order for flowers to grow, we need sunshine and rain. When meeting dragons, we need courage and good friends. When facing anything new in life, there is always hope. There is always balance and opportunities to find happiness.

The illustrations are stunning in their glorious, rich and shiny hues. In fact, if hope was a colour, it would be the beautiful colours on the pages of this gorgeous picture book.

Love it. Absolutely, love it.

The Great realisation

By Tomos Roberts

Art by Nomoco

ISBN 9781460759806

HarperCollins Children’s Books

This thought-provoking picture book began its life as a poem written during the early days of the Covid 19 Pandemic. It was initially shared on Youtube and was viewed millions of times. In fact it has had well over 60 million views, so it is wonderful and very well-deserved to see this in picture book format.

It is very much a timely message to us all; children and adults, that if we work together, if we make changes, then we can make a difference.

The Pandemic has changed the world as we know it. Millions of people have been infected and over one million people have died. It is a scary world with repercussions which will be felt for years. What Tomos Roberts offers us in his book, is hope. Hope will help and lead us to make changes, and hope will get us through.

A son asks his dad to read him a story at bedtime. The same story he has heard before. The one about a virus. The story talks of a world where waste and greed were common. The same world where millions of people lived lives of hunger and poverty. The world was noisy and polluted. A virus came along and the only way to stop it spreading was for people to hide away. While the world hid from the virus, the people came to realise there was another way to live. Another way for the world to care about each other, protect its planet, its animals and keep everyone safe. The world remembered how it used to be, and how it wanted and needed to go back in order to move ahead. To make change and find the peace within, we need to look at journey we have already taken and do things better.

The Great Realisation is a lovely book and Nomoco has created some sweet, simplistic, art work. It has a retro feel to it which works well with the overall theme. If you remove the cover off the book the actual cover is a cleaner, greener world. The sky is free of planes and the bird life and fish in the sea are coming back. The back cover shows the world we need to leave behind, a world where we need to reduce the waste, noise and pollution. I certainly know which world I prefer.

This is a book for everyone, young and old alike.

The Tiny Star

By Mem Fox

Illustrated by Freya Blackwood

ISBN 9780670078127

Penguin Random House

Post dedicated to my dear friend Allison

No doubt making beautiful quilts using the stars in the night sky.



Once upon a time, although this happens all the time, a tiny star fell to earth . . .  

And so begins a heart-warming story of a journey through life. The full circle is portrayed here just perfectly.

I read this beautiful picture book on the same day I got the news that a lovely friend had died. I was incredibly moved by this book and the beautiful illustrations and yes, there were tears. While I spent the day thinking about my friend, I could, as the book suggests, imagine her up in the heavens watching down on us all. Life comes and goes, memories stay and this book totally understands that idea. My friend loved children’s books and often bought them for her daughter who happens to be a teacher.  We would have discussed its beauty in depth, the story, the journey, the whole thing. She would loved this book.

Stunning. A book for everyone, especially parents for when they may need to try and explain the loss of a grandparent. While the book does deal with loss, it also offer hope.


Mem and Freya discuss this stunning picture book. 


By Katherine Applegate

ISBN 9781250043221

Feiwel & Friends

Macmillan Publishers

Trees can’t tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories. . . .

Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows, this “wishtree” watches over the neighborhood.

You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever.

This is a gentle, sweet and heart-warming book and I fell in love with Red and all the creatures and birds that inhabit Red’s branches and hollows. Red is old, more than two hundred rings old and very wise. Red has seen so many things happen over the years but none have tempted Red to break the forbidden rule more than what is happening now. I loved the language and the subtle messages. The book may be just over 200 pages long but the chapters are very brief, sometimes only a page long and there are some lovely illustrations but it really is a quick read with a powerful message.

There is an old Irish custom where people can leave wishes on a tree and for Red that has been happening in May for many, many years. Most wishes are superficial but others are heart-achingly honest like Samar’s, the young Muslim girl in this story. We are witness to racism, ignorance, wanting to belong, loneliness but most importantly, hope.

I wanted to hug Samar and tell her everything was going to be okay. I wanted to sit beneath Red’s big branches and watch the animals and birds coming and going. I wanted Red to be in my backyard.

This is one of those rare books that needs to be in every school and read to every child. Learning to accept each other and our differences is at the core of this book. A book that deserves reading over and over. I bought this book for my school library but will be buying my own copy as well. I may also have to buy multiple copies for our book club as there is so much to think about  and so much to love. It is a wee gem that warms the heart.


The trailer to this book is just beautiful.



I love the work of Peter Reynolds. His art work is delightfully subtle. His style is very distinctive.
He has been illustrating the Judy Moody books by Megan McDonald for some time now but I especially enjoy his picture books.

Plant a kiss
This is the trailer for a book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Peter Reynolds. There is something wonderfully innocent in both the story and the illustrations. It is simply just lovely and I do hope they work together again as the combination is beautiful.
Plant a kiss and see what grows!

The one and only Ivan
By Katherine Applegate

Wow! This book just blew me away. Like others I have known who have read this, it will leave you in tears. Sad tears and happy tears. This is such a beautiful and well written story that you cannot help but be moved. Ivan is a Silverback gorilla, caged for almost as long as he can remember. When a baby elephant arrives at his animal mall, it soon needs protecting. Ivan has to step up and he does. Powerful and simply one of the best books. A must read if ever there was one. Review to follow in the review pages. Thanks to Zac for sending me this copy. I need another box of tissues now!