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Back to School!

It’s Mae’s first day, Vera is late, Ruby has a worry and the colours have got all mixed up! What can be going on?

Back to school, that's what!

Vera Jewel is Late for School by Nicola Kent (Macmillan Children’s Books); Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival (Bloomsbury Children’s Books); Mixed by Arree Chung (Macmillan Children’s Books) are three completely individual titles but they all arrived on my doorstep in the same week and inspired me to write this blog bringing them together!

Katie Berube introduces us, through her marriage of words and pictures, to Mae as she prepares for and experiences her first day of school. Will Mae go? And if she does, how will it be? Encapsulating brilliantly all the fears and worries of a little one embarking not only on their first day of school but their first time doing anything new. Questions are posed, anxious faces drawn, and our hearts go out to the worriers.The sympathetic watercolours and simple drawings capture our hearts, the light pastel colours draw us in and we feel with Mae whilst learning how to encourage our little ones to see that school really isn’t all that bad. Mae's First Day of School (Abrams Books) is a book to approach with delight.

Vera Jewel isn’t exactly worried, but she thinks that she might be late. Pedalling to school on Monday, Spike breaks her trusty bike! On Tuesday, yet another misadventure makes her late and so the week continues until Friday night when, tired of all the mishaps, Vera sets up camp …. What?! No school on Saturday?! Oh dear! Not to worry, Vera will be ready for Monday - after all the adventures of the week she has a solution … Funny, bright and silly, a laugh-out-loud feel good story for anyone who has ever been late.

Ruby is calm and relaxed - but then she finds her worry. The worry just gets bigger and bigger until … it can no longer be managed. How will Ruby find a way out of her worries and be herself again? For anyone who has ever worried – young or old – this book is reassuring and funny. It will empower children to take control to learn how to cope and to realise that we are all there for one another, all we need to do is … talk about it. The perfect way to encourage children to do just that.

Mixed finds us in a city full of colour where all live in harmony: reds, blues, yellows... Yes, they all get along! One may be loud, another bright and yet another cool, but they work together. Then something goes very wrong and the colours divide. Are they safe and happy all separated? Well, no - they would much rather be back together and soon they realise how much nicer that is and... wait for it … how they can make the world an even brighter place! Timely, funny and (mostly) colourful, the perfect book for discussions of empathy, compassion, kindness and acceptance.

Debi Gliori and Alison Brown show us, in Little Owl’s First Day (Bloomsbury Children's Books), how sometimes there can be many obstacles in our way. Perhaps we imagine them or maybe they are real, but when something scares us those obstacles are most certainly there. With help from a loving parent and a few friends, these seemingly impossible challenges can easily be overcome and new experiences, friends and lessons can be discovered. Baby Owl’s first day at school is so much more than he imagined, with sandcastles to build and learning to fly, there is no time to feel sad and before too long it is home time and time to look forward to tomorrow!

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