This months Bright Recommends is inspired Fiona Woodcock’s recent book launch for, Poppy and the Blooms. Held at Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, I highly recommend it as a place to go with family, or with friends for an evening drink. It’s magical. This book got us thinking about how even small actions can result in big reactions. We see this all the time, from politics where the decision of a few change the lives of the many. In education where one fly away comment like “I can’t draw” can stop you doing it forever. But perhaps the best example is in the environment- however I’m not just talking purely about nature and the themes of ecology, but also about the health of our communities too. The Oxford Dictionary has this definition for environment:
Bright Recommends: Poppy and the Blooms- Fiona Woodcock (Age:2-5)
It makes sense to kick off with the inspiration for this blog. Poppy and the Blooms is a beautiful story about Poppy and her skateboard wielding flower friends. Setting out to rescue the last park in the city they get more than they bargained for. Poppy and the Blooms think they have undertaken a tiny deed turning around one park, but it isn’t until they look back towards the city and realise that they joy, colour and life is contagious. Their actions reminded people of the beauty that greenery and nature brings, especially in the nitty gritty city.The message is great for children and adults of all ages- reminding us that something as small as a smile is contagious, which in turn could make the environment we live in better.
Bright Recommends: The Unexpected Visitor- Jessica Courtney- Tickle (Age:3-6)
This book is about sustainability and greed. There is a fisherman who fishes in the same spot everyday, he always gets a good haul. He cooks all the fish up every night in case he has a visitor who’d like join him for dinner, but there’s never a visitor. Every night he throws away the leftover fish. This is fine until he meets a whale and offers him dinner- but there are no fish to be caught. He feels guilty for depleting the fish stock and not even eating them so the whale takes him to a new spot full of fish. Using this as a lesson, the fisherman teaches his other fisherman friends to only fish what they need and no more. This tale seems apt for a community that wastes 4.4 million tonnes of edible food in the UK each year. Maybe we could learn from the Unexpected Visitor…
Bright Recommends: South- Daniel Duncan (Age:4-7)
This beautifully illustrated story is all about saving wildlife. A lonely fisherman rescues an injured bird, and nurses him back to health. Setting out to reunite the bird with it’s migrating flock, the fisherman sails South. Obviously this tale ties in with helping the natural environment. However it also demonstrates that small actions have a big impact. We recently had Daniel Duncan in for a Storytime Sunday who helped our Bright Sparks to save birds too. A great summer activity- to build your own birds house. Can you do a little to help a lot of nature?
Bright Recommends: Grandad’s Secret Giant- David Litchfield (Age:4-7)
This captivating book focuses on community, and what it feels like to be left out. A coming of age tale about acceptance and inclusion. Billy is a little boy with big dreams for the town mural, that can’t be finished because they can’t reach the top of the wall. His grandfather suggests they ask the Giant to help. Billy doesn’t believe in giants, well at least not one that lives in his town. So he decides to prove that once and for all- creeping out at night he realises he isn’t alone- there really is a GIANT! Billy runs away in fear, but the Giant was only trying to help. Billy realises he may have hurt the Giant’s feelings so sets out to rectify the situation. This story is poignant as we live in a time where loneliness and isolation is epidemic. 3/4’s of people over 60 say that they feel lonely. But it isn’t just the elderly effected- in the UK men aged 35 are said to be the loneliest, with nearly 3 million feeling lonely every day. Meaning this issue effects the wider community.
Let’s Explore- Lonely Planet (Age:5-8)
People say knowledge is power- so if we want to help the environment we need to know more. Reading that 1 in 8 children having never seen a cow in real life these books are a timely resource. These activity books are insightful, colourful and fun. Full of interesting facts about different environments- but what else would you expect from Lonely Planet! Did you know that 70% of the species that live in Madagascar are not found anywhere else on Earth? Or that Hummingbirds flap their wings 70 times per second? There is a lot to learn about the world around us, these books are a great place for children to start.