Kids Books

Belonging by Jeannie Baker

A powerful wordless account of the greening, year by year, of a typical urban landscape. The book is observed through the window of a house in a typical urban neighbourhood, each picture showing a year’s developments, with the land being reclaimed from built-up concrete to a gradual greening, shown through the artist’s characteristic collage illustrations.

Books by Shaun Tan are beautifully illustrated and tell stories of struggle and hope. They are a little dark, so better for older kids.

The Rabbits by John Marsden & Shaun Tan

The Rabbits is partly allegorical fable about colonisation, told from the viewpoint of the colonised. An unseen narrator describes the coming of ‘rabbits’ in the most minimal detail, an encounter that is at first friendly and curious, but later darkens as it becomes apparent that the visitors are actually invaders. The style of the book is deliberately sparse and strange, with both text and image conveying an overall sense of bewilderment and anxiety as native numbat-like creatures witness environmental devastation under the wheels of a strange new culture. – www.shauntan.net

The Arrival by Shaun Tan

The Arrival is a migrant story told as a series of wordless images that might seem to come from a long forgotten time. A man leaves his wife and child in an impoverished town, seeking better prospects in an unknown country on the other side of a vast ocean. He eventually finds himself in a bewildering city of foreign customs, peculiar animals, curious floating objects and indecipherable languages. With nothing more than a suitcase and a handful of currency, the immigrant must find a place to live, food to eat and some kind of gainful employment. He is helped along the way by sympathetic strangers, each carrying their own unspoken history: stories of struggle and survival in a world of incomprehensible violence, upheaval and hope. – www.shauntan.net

The Red Tree by Shaun Tan

The Red Tree is a story without any particular narrative; a series of distinct imaginary worlds as self-contained images which invite readers to draw their own meaning in the absence of any written explanation. As a concept, the book is inspired by the impulse of children and adults alike to describe feelings using metaphor – monsters, storms, sunshine, rainbows and so on. Moving beyond cliché, I sought painted images that might further explore the expressive possibilities of this kind of shared imagination, which could be at once strange and familiar. A nameless young girl appears in every picture, a stand-in for ourselves; she passes helplessly through many dark moments, yet ultimately finds something hopeful at the end of her journey. – www.shauntan.net

The Story of Colors/La Historia de los Colores by Subcomandante Marcos, illustrated by Domitilia Dominguez

This bilingual book is a wonderful folktale from the indigenous people of Chiapas, Mexico. The original text is taken from the communiqué dated October 27, 1994 from Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos to the Mexican People. Originally published in Mexico with illustrations by Domitila Domínguez as La Historia de los Colores by Colectivo Callejero, Guadalajara.

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Tells the story of the Lorax who does its best to protect the environment from the insatiable greed of the capitalist mode of production!

 

The following are two books from Out for Our Children members (a group of London lesbian parents producing books and resources that reflect our children’s lives and family experiences) and Onlywomen Press (Independent Lesbian Feminist publishers)

Check out the Out for Our Children Book List and Onlywomen Press for more!

Spacegirl Pukes Written by Katy Watson, illustrated by Vanda Carter

An adventure for young astronauts. When nausea grips intrepid Spacegirl on the day of a mission to the stars she is lucky to have two mummies to help her out, but soon – yes – everyone is going “Bleurgh!”Will there be enough buckets? Will her mission be cancelled? Will Spacegirl ever reach the stars? A perfect tale for reading to or with your children (aged 2-6) and packed with hilarious and colourful drawings, Spacegirl Pukes is also a story about independence and empowerment.

If I had 100 mummies written and illustrated by Vanda Carter

A picture book for early readers and their friends.

If I had a hundred mummies
They would have to form a queue
To give me goodnight kisses,
Blow my nose and tie my shoes.

The following books come recommended by C.R.A.P!

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Tells the story of an irrepressible red-haired, freckle-faced girl who lived with a monkey and a horse, slept with her feet on the pillow, and found her way into the hearts of children all over the world.

The Dragon And The Doctor by Barbara Danish

When the dragon goes to Doctor Judy and Nurse Benjamin for help, they discover all kinds of treasures zipped into her tail. Cured, the dragon takes Doctor Judy and Nurse Benjamin to meet her friends—an ostrich, a hippopotamus, a turtle, and a little creature named Lucy who has two mothers. When Lucy begins to show strange spots, Doctor Judy again steps in with her medical expertise. Published by The Feminist Press.

Be Boy Buzz by Bell Hooks

Celebrates being Bold, All Bliss Boy, All Bad Boy Beast, Boy running, Boy Jumping, Boy Sitting Down, and being in Love with being a boy.

Happy to Be Nappy by Bell Hooks

Renowned feminist and social critic bell hooks takes on… hair! “Hair for hands to touch and play! Hair to take the gloom away.” This rhythmic read-aloud is, on the surface, all about hair: nappy, plaited, long, short, natural, twisted, “soft like cotton, flower petal billowy soft, full of frizz and fuzz.” Comb through the surface and find a celebration of childhood and girls and the freedom to express individuality. Going still deeper is the much-needed message encouraging girls to love and accept themselves (and others) just the way they are.

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