What are my kids and I reading this October 2021?

Big Bear was not the Same, written by Joanna Rowland and illustrated by John Ledda

Recently a dear friend of mine and her daughter went through a traumatic incident. There are not many picture books that deal with difficult topics for children but they are so very important. This one is a great addition to the picture book world and I am sure will help many children dealing with PTSD. It is such a special picture book and one I felt was necessary to share. Full of heart, twists and turns, definitely a few tears but ultimately one filled with love and joy of friendship. 

It features a pair of bears, Little and Big who do everything together, then one day after a frightening incident, Big Bear is no longer the same. The main theme of the book is about overcoming trauma. The topic is handled beautifully and very sensitively. The language is well chosen and simple and very child-friendly. 

This is an important topic to discuss with children who are either going through a traumatic time at the moment or know someone else who is and are unsure of how to help. Little Bears gentle words of love, friendship and encouragement are the perfect medicine. It highlights the important lesson for children on being there for one another through thick and thin and how we can help our friends when difficult situations arise, no matter what they are. Many children suffer from PTSD for many reasons and this book is a lovely introduction in how to help or simply be there for them. It would be a great addition to any library or school.  

I love that it shows how while, Little Bear attempts to help and make suggestions for making Big Bear happy again, that it isn’t until Big Bear was ready to talk about the trauma that the healing could truly begin. It highlights the healing power of time and how patience is often required before trauma can be fully processed and then dealt with. 

The illustrations are an absolute delight too. The bears are full of character, fun and warmth and their bond is clear from the outset, as are their emotions throughout the book. Ledda does a fantastic job of illustrating what isn’t written in the words and this book is a great example of a great partnership between an illustrator and a writer. 

I would highly recommend every household have a copy in their home.

What are my kids reading?

The Missing Barbegazi by H.S. Norup

Poorly little Calum took a day off school because he just couldn’t cool down, but this book became his perfect medicine! Set in the cold snowy European Alps, this magical book had the perfect wintry setting to help cool Calum’s fever.

Calum loves books that have mythical creatures in them, like dragons and merlions, but this book offered him something a little different: a snow gnome called a barbegazi! Calum had never heard of a barbegazi before. He particularly enjoyed the section dividers between the chapters describing the life of a barbegazi. By the end of the book, he was so convinced that they existed that he wanted me to buy him a non-fiction barbegazi book to learn more about them!

This delightful tale centres around a little girl called Tessa, who sets out on a daring adventure to save one of the last barbegazi from capture. Tessa is also faced with the difficult decision of whether to share her secret or not. Running throughout the story is the theme of love and the importance of family as, while Tessa embarks on her quest, all the while the health of her grandmother deteriorates. The sentiment of this story, coupled with its wintry setting, would make it the perfect Christmas gift this year.

This is a middle-grade novel, perfect for ages 8-10 years.