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Diverse & Inclusive Books for KS1

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Best Diverse Children’s Books for Ages 5-7

Our experts have selected a list of recommended diverse and inclusive books for children in Year 1 and Year 2 (KS1), which feature characters that are traditionally under-represented in children’s books.

This list of the best diverse books for children in Key Stage 1 includes books with minority ethnic main characters, books that celebrate difference and books with representations of cultural diversity, different types of families, physical disabilities, visual impairment and neurodiversity. 

The list includes the story of Faizah as she witnesses her older sister Asiya’s first day of hijab in The Proudest Blue and the celebration of traditional Traveller virtues in Polonius the Pit Pony, as well as the tale of Faruq’s discovery of Caribbean ingredients in Faruq and the Wiri Wiri and Amazing Joe’s story exploring how to respond to disability in You’re So Amazing.

The books selected are chosen to represent a diversity of cultures and experiences that reflect the realities of life for children in modern-day UK classrooms.

You can find Diverse & Inclusive children’s book lists for other primary year groups here:


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Books with minority ethnic main characters

Nathan Bryon
 & Dapo Adeola

Look Up! is an entertaining and vibrant story book about a space-loving girl called Rocket. Rocket is excited about the chance to view an upcoming meteor shower, and she wants everyone she meets to be ready to look up and see it. Frustratingly, her much older brother would rather look down at his phone. With a little sibling compromise and a never-giving-in approach from Rocket, the pair have a wonderful time together and Rocket helps everyone to see how amazing the sky can be when you just look up.

This book is great fun and always a bit hit with Year 1. Many children at this age can relate to the frustration of seeing older family members immersed in their phones, but also know the feeling of being excited by the night’s sky and fascinated by space.

The story includes space facts and references to significant figures in space history like Mae Jamison, who was the first black female astronaut to travel into space. The underlying values of the importance of community and family bonds give a real warmth to this super story book.

Matthew Cherry
 & Vashti Harrison
Zuri loves her beautiful hair. Even though it has a mind of its own, it lets her feel like a superhero. Mum usually styles Zuri's hair, but one day Mum is away and Daddy has to step in and create a wonderful hairstyle for her - with plenty of help from Zuri. This is a lovely story showcasing a tender father-daughter relationship and encouraging young readers to love the hair they have just as much as Zuri does.
Joanna Ho
 & Dung Ho
This lyrical, stunning picture book tells a story about learning to love and celebrate your Asian-shaped eyes, in the spirit of Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, and is a celebration of diversity.A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers'. They have big, round eyes and long lashes. She realizes that her eyes are like her mother's, her grandmother's, and her little sister's. They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future.Drawing from the strength of these powerful women in her life, she recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self-love and empowerment. This powerful, poetic picture book will resonate with readers of all ages.
Alex Falase-Koya
 & Paula Bowles
Chapter book
Marvin's life is perfectly ordinary until one day he discovers a superhero suit with infinite powers . . . In this story, supervillain Shadow takes over the water park with her army of robot sharks. Armed with his super-suit and robot sidekick, Pixel, Marvin dives into action to become the invincible, unstoppable MARV!
Nadia Shireen
From the author of Bumblebear, comes a new heroine for our times. Introducing: Billy! Whilst on a lovely walk in the woods, Billy and her trusty sidekick Fatcat hear a terrible rumble... a terrible rumble coming from a Terrible Beast ... He's making a Terrible Soup out of all of Billy and Fatcat's friends! Luckily, our brave heroine Billy has a trick or two up her sleeve (or in her hair)... Join Billy on her mission to defeat the Terrible Beast (and save those adorable little bunny rabbits too).

Caroline Binch

This text has become a classic that has earned its place in many primary school classroom book corners.

It tells the story of young Gregory as he sets about on his first day in Tobago with his grandparents. At first he can find nothing familiar or desirable, but as he begins to adjust to life in the Caribbean, he soon finds that it is possible to feel right at home in a new culture.

Lola Morayo
 & Cory Reid
Chapter book
Aziza's Secret Fairy Door is the first title in an inclusive magical adventure series, perfect for readers of 6-8 from debut author Lola Morayo. It is inspired by world mythology and is gorgeously illustrated in black and white throughout by Cory Reid.Open the door to a world of magic and adventure...A mysterious gift arrives on Aziza's birthday. It is a secret fairy door that will whisk her away to Shimmerton, a magical world with princesses, naughty fairies, shapeshifters, unicorn shopkeepers and mischief around every corner. But when the precious jewelled doorknob is taken, Aziza is trapped. Will she ever see her home and family again? Maybe her new friends, Peri and Tiko, can help....
Joseph Coelho
 & Allison Colpoys
A moving, lyrical picture book about a shy child unlocking the power of their own voice through poetry, with the helping hand of an extra special teacher, written by poet and playwright Joseph Coelho. This beautifully illustrated, powerful and heartwarming text shows children that everyone's voice can be powerful and beautiful, however small.Follow a child who is so shy she doesn't speak. With the encouragement of an enchanting and magical teacher, she writes a poem. But a poem is meant to be read aloud. She musters all her courage, stands at the front of the class and shows her classmates that she does have a voice. And her voice is beautiful. The perfect way to encourage empathy in young children and show shy children how to feel brave.
Ranjit Singh
 & Mehrdokht Amini
Nimesh is walking home from school. Except...there happens to be a shark in the corridor. And a dragon in the library! And why would crossing the road lead to the North Pole? A fun-filled story about a little boy with a BIG imagination, Nimesh the adventurer will surely make even the dullest journey a dazzling adventure.
Lupita Nyong'o
 & Vashti Harrison
From Academy Award-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o comes a powerful, moving picture book about colourism, self-esteem and learning that true beauty comes from within. Sulwe's skin is the colour of midnight. She's darker than everyone in her family, and everyone at school. All she wants is to be beautiful and bright, like her mother and sister. Then a magical journey through the night sky opens her eyes and changes everything. In this stunning debut picture book, Lupita Nyong'o creates a whimsical and heartwarming story to inspire children to see their own unique beauty.

Books that represent cultural diversity

Richard O'Neill
 & Feronia Parker-Thomas
When Polonius the pit pony escapes from the coal mine he's worked in all his life, he joins a family of Travellers. Although he enjoys the freedom and the fresh air that their lifestyle offers, he wishes he could give something back to the family in return. When the chance arrives for him to do something to help, he rises to the challenge, and uses his intelligence and skills to save the day. Based on true events and retold by a master of the oral tradition, this story bears witness to the Traveller values of independence, initiative, courage and hard work.
Ibtihaj Muhammad & S.K Ali
 & Hatem Aly

This is an absolutely beautiful book from former Olympic medallist Ibtihaj Muhammad, exploring themes of heritage, diversity, siblings, acceptance and new beginnings.

The story is positive and empowering, and explores the beautiful bond between sisters Faizah and Asiya as they each begin new phases of growing up.  When the time comes for Faizah’s first day at school, she is excited to share the special day with her older sister Asiya, whose first day of wearing hijab it is. Asiya’s hijab is made of a beautiful blue fabric, like the ocean waves or the endless sky. Sadly, not everyone sees hijab in the same light and in the face of ignorant comments, Faizah learns not to hold on to hurtful comments but to find strength in new ways.

A thought-provoking story with a warm and positive message, illustrated in striking blues.

Katie Sahota
 & Harry Woodgate
An important story which amplifies the importance of introverts, while showcasing the amazing celebrations of light across our diverse communities.
Sarah van Dongen
Koya and her friends, Hassan and Alex, love to visit their neighbour, Mrs Fig. When they find out Mrs Fig is moving to a retirement home, they want to help their parents plan her going away party! When cooking for the party, the children are aware of everyone's dietary needs and are excited to prepare yummy vegan and vegetarian food everyone will be able to eat! Everyone on Redbird Road gather to celebrate Mrs Fig and enjoy the food!
Monika Singh Gangotra
 & Michaela Dias-Hayes
The Gifts That Grow is a tale of generational love expressed through the importance of nurturing our environment for future generations to enjoy, even though we may never benefit from its rewards ourselves.

Mina Javaherbin
 & Lindsey Yankey
In a true tale of a young girl in Iran and her grandmother, this beautiful ode to family celebrates small moments of love that become lifelong memories.While Mina is growing up in Iran, the centre of her world is her grandmother. Whether visiting friends next door, going to the mosque for midnight prayers during Ramadan, or taking an imaginary trip around the planets, Mina and her grandma are never far apart... At once deeply personal and utterly universal, this story is a love letter of the rarest sort: the kind that shares a bit of its warmth with every reader.
Eva Wong Nava
 & Li Xin

This picture book provides a beautifully illustrated introduction to Chinese New Year.

The night before the celebrations, Mai-Anne explains that the Lunar New Year is about to arrive and that her family enjoys a special set of traditions. Mai-Anne helps to clean and decorate the house and is excited when her grandmother (Nai Nai) arrives in time for the most important dinner of the year – fish for good luck, noodles for a long life, dumplings for blessings and nian gao for success. After dinner, Mai-Anne and Nai Nai settle down together and Nai Nai recounts the important story of the Great Race. Along with Mai-Anne, the reader learns about the story of the twelve animals who race to cross the river. Then Mai-Anne enjoys a special family Dragon Dance, eats sweet tangerines and wears a special red outfit for luck.

This is a lovely picture book to read at Chinese New Year but also all year round too as a book that celebrates family moments, bonds with grandparents and the joy of special traditions. The illustrations and text are both warm and celebratory in tone. It also features a non-fiction section on the final pages with more information about Chinese New Year and the dragon dance.

Sophia Payne
 & Sandhya Prabhat

There’s so much to like about this colourful picturebook: the lively illustrations, including endpapers; the different fonts which are almost as expressive as the text and conjure up beautifully the scents and sounds of Caribbean culture, the warmth conveyed by artful storytelling, warmth which derives from Faruq’s relationship with the characters who shape his culinary (and boyhood) journey; not to mention the addition of a recipe for lime cookies.

This is a story to make your mouth and your eyes water – as if witness to the work of cooking up a sumptuous family feast and then finding yourself invited too. It’s a book that lends itself to being read aloud in class or at home (and even more so if the dialect sounds authentic). It would also work well in a nurture group setting, allowing the children a hand at making some of the food and as a celebration of different cultures.

Hena Khan
 & Julie Paschkis

This picture book about the month of Ramadan and the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr is a gentle, light and thought-provoking story of a special time of year. The story begins at bedtime with the rising of the crescent moon and the start of the holy month of Ramadan. Told through the eyes of a young girl, it embraces family and school life as well as – in her Grandma’s words – being ‘thankful for beautiful things’. This book will be of interest to primary school class teachers and leaders – it would work well as a class story, a shared book, an individual library book or for use in assemblies. It is a beautifully illustrated story to accompany the month of Ramadan and bring life to R.E. teaching. Perfect for primary school classes including those with many, few or no Muslim pupils – the story of Ramadan unfolds telling non-Muslim pupils about the delights and significance of Ramadan from a child’s perspective. At the back of the book is an Author’s Note explaining the origins of Ramadan with clarity and simplicity as well as a comprehensive Glossary of terms.

Rukhsanna Guidroz
 & Dinara Mirtalipova
A colorful journey of self-discovery and identity, this sweet, vibrant picture book follows young Leila as she visits her grandmother’s house for their weekly family dinner, and finds parts of herself and her heritage in the family, friends, and art around her.Sometimes I’m not sure if I like being me.When Leila looks in the mirror, she doesn’t know if she likes what she sees. But when her grandmother tells her the saffron beads on her scarf suit her, she feels a tiny bit better. So, Leila spends the rest of their family dinner night on the lookout for other parts of her she does like.Follow Leila’s journey as she uses her senses of sight, smell, taste, touch to seek out the characteristics that make up her unique identity, and finds reasons to feel proud of herself, just as she is.

Books that represent neurodiversity

Rose Robbins
A celebration of the highs and lows of having a much loved but differently abled brother or sister. This appealing brother and sister duo spend a lot of their day together, eating meals, going to school and playing. But life with an autistic sibling is not always easy. Through the eyes of the brother, we find out how they are both very different, but also very similar in other ways, and come what may they have lots of fun together and love each other just the same. This is a touching book that will strike a chord with every family with siblings, especially where one is differently abled. Short listed for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize.
Pablo thinks differently! Pablo's mum takes him to his cousin Lorna's birthday party, but Pablo gets scared of the noisy party. Pablo hides in the car, and soon his friends come to join him. Pablo's friends help him realise that it's OK if he doesn't want to go to the party. This lovely and heartwarming story will help readers understand that not everybody thinks the same way, and that some people feel differently about parties. All Pablo books are written by writers on the autistic spectrum and are grounded in the real-life experiences of autistic children.
Dawn Coulter-Cruttenden

Inspired by the true story of Jack and his beloved Bear, this is a gentle and tender picture book exploring the relatable experience of treasuring a toy and touching on themes of loss, growing up and helping others.

Jack and his well-loved teddy bear are inseparable. Bear helps Jack to calm down when the world around him seems a bit too much, and provides both comfort and companionship through each day’s up and downs. When Jack loses Bear after a trip to the park, he is inconsolable. Such is the impact of the loss, that Jack’s family go to great lengths to find the missing toy, putting up posters and making appeals to friends and strangers online.

Jack feels a bear-shaped hole inside of him and there are reminders about Bear everywhere – the clouds, the puddles, the bus stop sign, the front door. Strangers respond to the appeal in kindness by sending Jack all sorts of replacement bears – old bears, new bears, big bears and small bears arrive in the post, but none of them are Bear. Over time, Jack begins to come to terms with his loss and decides to re-gift the bears to others in need.

This is a beautiful picture book made all the more poignant by being based on a true story of an autistic boy’s search for his missing bear. Many children hearing the story will have come across enough missing toy stories to quickly predict that Jack will lose the bear – but the resolution takes a less expected path when Jack never gets his own Bear back. The delicate and detailed illustrations portray Jack’s emotions closely and the details in the background are delightful (we spot more brilliantly concealed ‘bear-shaped’ items each time we read it).

Despite Jack’s disappointment at losing Bear, the story is an uplifting one and Jack’s decision to share the new bears with other children is both touching and inspiring.

Isabelle Marinov
 & Chris Nixon
The world was too bright for Leo. And too loud. "I must be living on the wrong planet," Leo thought. Leo struggles to make sense of the world. He doesn't understand the other children in his class, and they don't seem to understand him. But then one day, Leo meets Maya. Maya is an octopus, and the more Leo learns about her, the more he thinks that perhaps he isn't alone in this world, after all.
Jon Roberts
 & Hannah Rounding
Accompanied by Myles, her assistance dog, Lilly sets off from Gran ny’s house to explore. First she walks through the garden, then sh e visits the seashore. But when she comes to the big cave at the e nd of the beach her acute hearing means she is scared of the loud noise when she drops her torch. And what’s that creature she can h ear coming towards her?...

Books that represent physical disabilities

Claire Cashmore
 & Sharon Davey
Claire Cashmore, MBE and Paralympic gold medallist, was born without a left forearm - but she never let being different stand in the way of her big dreams. Splash is based on Claire's real-life experience: this gold-medal-winning swimmer really was scared of water ... until one day, everything changed!These are Claire's big sisters. They call her Bear and ruffle her hair. And whatever Claire's sisters can do, Claire can do too ...But there is one thing Claire won't do ...The water in the swimming pool makes her feel squirmy inside. Follow her sisters? No thank you! Not today?Can Claire conquer her fears? Can she set foot in the water - and what will happen if she does?
Michael Foreman
A boy and his grandfather watch as a baby seal is born on the rocks near their home and from that day a special friendship is created between them. Despite his disability, the boy is a keen surfer, and he enjoys many afternoons surfing with the seals. One day, however, he gets into trouble in rough seas, and the young seal saves him. Their friendship brings happiness and meaning at the important stages of the boy's life
Maudie Smith
 & Jen Khatun

This colourful picturebook tells us from Jake’s perspective about his creative, recycling, wheelchair-using Mum, who sees the potential in everything whether from a skip or an antique shop. She upcycles her finds to make new things for their home and garden as well as to beautify their community. Sometimes, his Mum’s constant remaking of things causes Jake to worry, but he is soon reassured by his Mum who will always love him however he changes.

We love the environmental message of this book, showing that so much that is discarded can be used again. This would be an excellent book to encourage thinking about recycling and reusing, or to spark ideas for upcycling projects for students to create themselves. The story also features positive representations of wheelcahir users, whose inclusion in the book is not solely or primarily focused on their disability or wheelchair use.

Jake’s concerns about change wil surely resonate with many children as they grow and change throughout their school years, and this book provides a reassuring message about how change and growth are okay and to be embraced. A large, hardback picturebook, with wonderfully colourful illustrations and large writing, this is ideal as a read-to-the-class book or for younger children to enjoy looking at independently.

Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
 & Gee Fan Eng
In this international bestseller from the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Frida Kahlo, the world-renowned painter.When Frida was a teenager, a terrible road accident changed her life forever. Unable to walk, she began painting from her bed. Her self-portraits, which show her pain and grief, but also her passion for life and instinct for survival, have made her one of the most famous artists of the twentieth century. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back , including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the artist's life.
James Catchpole,Lucy Catchpole
 & Karen George

Joe is widely admired for his presence, whether he’s playing on the playground or enjoying a treat – after all, he’s SO AMAZING! Despite his admiration for his athletic friend Simone, Joe constantly receives compliments from onlookers. Wanting to shift the focus to Simone, Joe attempts to blend into the background, only to be mistaken for feeling sorry for himself.

Reluctantly, Joe participates in activities, feeling the pressure to maintain his “Amazing Joe” persona, a struggle that resonates with disabled individuals. As playground visitors gawk and point at his physical disability, Joe becomes exhausted with the attention. Seeking solace, he engages in soccer with a friend and discovers the joy of accomplishment through perseverance.

In this picturebook, the authors skilfully portray strangers’ well-intentioned yet patronizing behaviour through vivid illustrations. The narrative paints a picture of the importance of supportive friendships rather than offering direct strategies for handling uncomfortable interactions. Illustrated with diversity in the character portrayal, the story offers a glimpse into the disability experience.

Books that represent different types of families

Jodie Lancet-Grant
 & Lydia Corry
Billy's family is not what you'd call ordinary. His mums won't listen to NORMAL music. They love to sing sea shanties and dance jigs in the lounge. Their clothes are highly unusual, they have a rude parrot for a pet, and their taste in house design is, well . . . FISHY. Billy wishes his family could be more like everyone else's. Until a swashbuckling adventure changes everything!
Matt de la Pena
 & Christian Robinson
Milo Imagines the World is a warm and richly satisfying story from the award-winning and New York Times bestselling picture book duo , about a little boy with a big imagination who learns that you can't know anyone just by looking at them. Set in a bustling city, and full of a family love that binds even in difficult circumstances. Milo is on a train journey through the city with his older sister, looking at the faces of the other passengers and drawing pictures of their lives. The whiskered man with a crossword puzzle he imagines playing solitaire in a cluttered flat full of pets. The little boy in bright white trainers he imagines living in a castle with a moat and a butler. But when the little boy gets off at the same stop and joins the same queue as him, Milo realises that you can't judge by appearances and that we are all more alike than we are different: both boys are visiting their mothers in prison. Matt de la Pena and Christian Robinson once again deliver a hugely powerful and enjoyable picture book, full of rich details both to look at and to talk about. Anyone who has ever travelled on public transport will relate to Milo's journey.
Adam & Charlotte Guillain
 & Ali Pye
A funny and moving story about how a little girl copes with change after her parents separate. When Dad says that he's moving out, Lily-May feels all upside-down inside. But now Dad comes on Sundays, and they ride their bikes really fast and make secret dens together. Lily-May plays more just with Mum now, too - and when Mum's new partner Peter comes over, they play pirate ships! Sometimes, there are tricky moments - Lily-May hates it when Mum has to work late - but a birthday party with Lily-May's big fantastic family helps her realise just how many people love her. This reassuring celebration of non-nuclear families will help children to understand that they will always be loved, even if parents separate or divorce. Beautifully written in rhyme by the award-winning authors of the bestselling George's Amazing Adventures series, this uplifting story with a diverse cast of characters embraces all the positive aspects of becoming part of a blended family after a divorce or separation.
Gareth Peter
 & Judi Abbot
A beautiful, heartfelt adventure, perfect for celebrating all kinds of family and the love that brings them together. This is the dark and starless sky, where just past the moon a planet drifts by. And this is the planet that's full to the brim, with friendly and caring space people called... TIM! Meet Tim and Tim - a couple who long for a family and set off on a quest to find their very own star child. This joyful, read-aloud adventure is a comforting, soothing read that's ideal just before bedtime. It's also a helpful jumping off point for early conversations about the experiences of LGBTQ+ families for the youngest readers. From the author of My Daddies and the illustrator of The Perfect Hug and The Biggest Kiss.
Phil Earle
 & Jess Ross

Popular author Phil Earle offers a new picturebook with an authentic representation of a child experiencing parental separation and divorce.

Meet Florrie. Florrie has two of everything…. including two different homes. Her mum’s and her dad’s. When her parents separated, Florrie and her brothers were expected to divide their time between the two homes, and at the beginning of the book, this makes her feel a little uneasy.

This book shows how each parent works separately with her to make her feel comfortable about the situation, giving her coping mechanisms when she misses her other home. The lovely twist at the end is how Florrie is then able to help her father, when she realises that he misses her when she is not with him too.

This uplifting picture book will help children to embrace change, and could be a brilliant starting point for discussion about feelings about separation and divorce as well as about navigating negative thoughts and feelings towards changes outside of own’s own control. Beautifully illustrated by Jess Rose, the details in the pictures really bring the story alive, and provide great talking points when reading this story with your child, whether they have personally experienced separation or not.

Books that represent visual impairment and hearing loss

Shannon Stocker
 & Devon Holzwarth

An inspiring picture book true story of the inspiring life of deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie.

Evelyn began to experience hearing loss at ten years old. She loved music, and did not want to give up on her passion because of her deafness. Trying different instruments helped, and she switched to percussion, where the vibrations could help her to feel the music with her body. Over time, Evelyn became an award-winning percussionist and opened doors to making music education more accessible for others.

The beautiful and evocative artwork captures the optimistic tone of the story and highlights the idea of ‘feeling’ the music.

Megan Rix
 & Tim Budgen
Chapter book
Meet Lizzie and Lucky: a sparky young detective and her loyal Dalmatian sidekick! The first title in a brand new illustrated series from beloved animal author Megan Rix. Lizzie is desperate for a dog. In order to convince her parents to get one, she has to come up with 101 reasons why she needs one. Lizzie is a master at making lists, so thinking of 101 reasons is going to be easy! Especially as she is deaf and could train one to be her hearing dog. But as Lizzie begins compiling her list, she witnesses an adorable puppy being snatched away and put into a van by a mysterious-looking man. Can Lizzie solve the case - and maybe find herself a loyal friend at the same time...?
Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
 & Melissa Lee Johnson
Non-fiction Picturebook
At just 8 years old, it was clear that Steveland Judkins was going to be a star. Renamed Stevie Wonder for his astonishing talent on the piano and other instruments, he wrote and performed some of the biggest hits of the 1970s. Stevie became known for his inventiveness, his soulful voice and the social commentary in his lyrics. He is a UN Messenger of Peace and remains one of the music world's most iconic figures. This inspiring book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back , including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the great musician's life.
Jen Bryant
 & Boris Kulikov
Non-fiction Picturebook
An inspiring picture-book biography of Louis Braille--a blind boy so determined to read that he invented his own alphabet.**Winner of a Schneider Family Book Award!** Louis Braille was just five years old when he lost his sight. He was a clever boy, determined to live like everyone else, and what he wanted more than anything was to be able to read.Even at the school for the blind in Paris, there were no books for him.And so he invented his own alphabet--a whole new system for writing that could be read by touch. A system so ingenious that it is still used by the blind community today.Award-winning writer Jen Bryant tells Braille's inspiring story with a lively and accessible text, filled with the sounds, the smells, and the touch of Louis's world. Boris Kulikov's inspired paintings help readers to understand what Louis lost, and what he was determined to gain back through books.An author's note and additional resources at the end of the book complement the simple story and offer more information for parents and teachers.
Samuel Langley-Swain
 & Katie Cottle

Storm in a Jar is the story of a young boy called Arlo, who has a loving relationship with his Nana. When his Nana passes away, Arlo chooses to keep her special sweetie jar as a keepsake, taking it everywhere with him. The jar keeps the memory of his Nana alive and provides him with comfort. Slowly, however, Arlo’s sadness turns to confusion and anger and the contents of the jar become dark and cloudy, like a storm. Before long, Arlo releases his anger and the jar releases its storm. But, with the help of his parents, Arlo begins to understand his feelings and that his Nana has gone on to a safe and happy place.

This poignant tale accurately portrays the feelings children experience when they lose someone they love. It shares the importance of remembering those we have loved in positive ways, using simple, understandable language. The illustrations are clear and add further detail to the story. For example, the sharp-eyed reader would notice that Arlo has a hearing impairment, he comes from a mixed-race family and doesn’t appear to notice that he has also inherited a pet tortoise from his Nana who rides the waves of the storm along with him.

At the back of the book, there are also two added extras: a ‘Stormy Bottle’ sensory craft to help with anxiety and anger; and a ‘Storm in a Jar’ science experiment. This would be an excellent book for a child suffering from a bereavement or as a starting point for a class discussion in a PSHE lesson.

Books that represent medical conditions and speech disorders

Lucy Rowland
 & Paula Bowles
A magic-filled rhyming picture book, perfect for any child who feels anxious about talking.Wanda the witch is so shy she can't talk! No matter how hard she tries, the words won't come out. But when another nervous little witch called Flo joins her class, it seems that Wanda's not the only one who worries about speaking. Then disaster strikes at the magic contest... will Wanda have the courage to shout out the magic words and save her new friend Flo from a dangerous dragon?This heart-warming adventure about finding confidence through friendship is filled with potions, spells and magical animals! Children will fall in love with brave Wanda the witch, especially those who have difficulties with speech, anxiety about talking, or lack confidence in front of others.Lucy is a children's speech and language therapist whose books include Pirate Pete and His Smelly Feet, illustrated by Mark Chambers and Sammy Claws the Christmas Cat, also illustrated by Paula Bowles.Every Nosy Crow paperback picture book comes with a free "Stories Aloud" audio recording. Just scan the QR code and listen along!
Sean Stockdale & Alex Strick
 & Ros Asquith
Max is mad about sport. As he gets up, has breakfast and heads off to school, he is dreaming of competing in world class sporting events. In his real day, he and his class win the school football match and, in his imagination, he and his friends are winning the World Cup. This is a lively and fun approach to sport, and a very inclusive picture book showing disabled children and children without disabilities enjoying different sports together in a natural way. The sports include football, rugby, athletics, cricket, diving, discus throwing and cycling.
Chrissie Sains
 & Jenny Taylor
Chapter book

This is a highly recommendable early chapter book series, featuring an inclusive and humorous story a with illustrations throughout.

Scooter lives in a jam factory with his parents and has Cerebral Palsy. His head fizzes with brilliant ideas and he’s the one behind all of the fantastic jams produced in the factory. Scooter is also longing for a friend – and his wishes come true when a friendly alien called Fizzbee crash-lands through the jam factory window! The pair pull together to thwart a devious villain who wants to steal Scooter’s jam-making secrets.

This is an original story full of warmth and humour and a lovely choice to read aloud to Year 2 children.

Clare Helen Welsh
 & Åsa Gilland

The story begins perfectly. A loving family out for a day in the woods. Two close siblings decide to build a shelter from sticks they collect. Then the older sister is a bit tired. The wind blows and the den collapses. They rebuild their perfect shelter. As the weather becomes more inclement, the sister grows sicker and the shelter is not important any longer. As the days wear on, the older sister is in hospital, the younger child just wants their sister to be well again. On a visit to the hospital, as the sister grows stronger, will they find the perfect way to discover their smiles again?

This was a moving story dealing with the serious illness of a sibling. While the little girl felt a whole array of feelings that could be associated with this experience, the shelter became a symbol that needed repairing for everything to be OK while the weather tried to tear it down. The combination of the weather, the shelter and the little girl’s feelings merge brilliantly in this book, all reflecting the turbulent time that the characters were experiencing.

The bright, colourful pictures perfectly illustrated the happy times of den building and the love and hope felt between the characters, while the images of the darker weather showed the fear and sadness of the family situation. I thought it was great that the characters were not named; they could reflect any child going through this experience.

A beautiful story inviting interest and empathy towards those living through the serious illness of a loved one.

Julia Donaldson
 & Sara Ogilvie
Written by the brilliant Julia Donaldson and stunningly illustrated by the award-winning Sara Ogilvie, The Hospital Dog is a big-hearted tale about a very special, very brave dog.Here is a dog, a Dalmatian called Dot, Is she quite ordinary? NO, SHE’S NOT!After their breakfast and a swim in the sea, Dot and her owner Rose jump on the bus to the hospital. Dot loves visiting the children of Wallaby Ward and they’re always pleased to see her too; from a crying baby to a bored teenager – a pat, a stroke and a cuddle with Dot cheers everyone up. But the work of the hospital dog doesn’t stop there and when one of her patients is in trouble, it’s up to Dot to save the day!Winner of the Indie Book Awards 2021 this fantastic rhyming story comes from the bestselling partnership behind The Detective Dog.

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