LGBTq+ rOLE MODELS

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THE WOODCUTTER AND THE SNOW PRINCE (Ian Eagleton, David Ortu)

The Woodcutter and the Snow Prince (Owlett Press, 2022) invites young readers to enter the world of a lonely woodcutter named Kai, who carves statues for passers-by each winter. One magical night, Kai is visited by the much-feared snow prince who has a heart of ice. But Kai sees hope in the prince’s eyes.

This very unique picture book sees Kai break the snow prince’s curse, freeing him from the ice-palace where he has been imprisoned, and freeing himself from his loneliness, too. Kai shows immense bravery, succeeding against the odds, leaving the reader feeling uplifted and empowered.

Ian’s soothing and lyrical text perfectly depicts the nuanced emotions and wintry scenes. Davide’s illustrations portray danger and adventure, whilst also sprinkling the story with a special friendship that glistens and shines like snow.

TIMID (Harry Woodgate)

Timid! (Little Tiger Press, 2022) tackles shyness and finding the courage and strength to overcome our worries and nerves. It also has some incidental non-binary representation too which is sadly lacking in children’s picture books. It’s an adorable story and Timmy’s friend, Nia, provides support and encouragement throughout.

It’s a book full of sparkly, theatrical costumes, bright, modern illustrations and a strong reminder that we can do anything we put our minds to!

(Reviewed by Ian Eagleton, author of Nen and the Lonely Fisherman)


THE MARVELLOUS DOCTORS FOR MAGICAL CREATURES (Jodie Lancet-Grant and Lydia Corry)

Meet Ava and her dads in this heart-warming, magical new story from the creators of the stand-out picture book The Pirate Mums! From the very first pages we are introduced to dragons with sore throats and mermaids with measles. There’s plenty to explore and pore over as young Ava meets Glitterbug, a poorly unicorn. But why is Glitterbug so unwell and sad? It’s a mystery that Ava sets out to solve!

Over the course of the story, Ava teaches Glitterbug that there’s more than one way to be a unicorn and it’s perhaps the trying to fit in and be like everyone else that’s making Glitterbug ill. Visual jokes and puns make this book a real treat and it’s brilliant that Ava’s dads and their relationship never overshadow the story – they are just there supporting Ava and living their lives! A real treat for unicorn lovers or, indeed, anyone who’s struggling to fit in.

(Reviewed by Ian Eagleton, author of Nen and the Lonely Fisherman)


FOREVER STAR (Gareth Peter, Judi Abbot)

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!

Gareth is so passionate about creating books which encourage early conversations about the experiences of LGBTQ+ families for the youngest readers and Forever Star, illustrated by Judi Abbot, is a charming, soothing, and calming story about adoption.

In the story we meet Tim and Tim – a couple who long for a family and set off on a quest to find their very own star child. Tim and Tim’s adoption journey is told against a beautiful backdrop of shimmering stars, expansive galaxies, friendly aliens and colourful planets and Judi Abbot’s artwork is full of imagination and magic.

It’s a moving story where foster carers and foster homes are presented in a loving and positive manner. A great book to introduce the concept of adoption in a loving, gentle way.

(Reviewed by Ian Eagleton, author of Nen and the Lonely Fisherman)


YOU NEED TO CHILL (Juno Dawson, Laura Hughes)

Author Juno Dawson is a super role-model for queer kids and You Need To Chill (Farshore, 2022) is an inclusive, bold, and funny read. When Bill can’t be found at school one day, the imaginations of the other children run wild. Is he on holiday? Is he lost in the park? Has he been eaten by a shark? Has he been taken to Mars by aliens? It’s up to Bill’s sister to explain…Bill is now Lily and if anyone has a problem with that, then they just need to chill!

The story makes it very clear that Lily is still the same brilliant, kind and clever sibling they’ve always been. Lily’s family wrap her up in so much love and acceptance and that it’s the children that lead the way in setting an example about how to include others. Laura Hughes’ warm, lively illustrations are the perfect accompaniment to the bouncy, rhyming text.

(Reviewed by Ian Eagleton, author of Nen and the Lonely Fisherman)


NEN AND THE LONELY FISHERMAN (Ian Eagleton, James Mayhew)

This beautifully illustrated story of loneliness and love, celebrates merman Nen and his new friend Ernest who find each other, and happiness, despite the odds stacked against them.

Far out to sea and deep below the whispering waves lives a merman called Nen. Nen spends his days exploring his underwater kingdom, but something is missing: his heart is empty. So, Nen ventures to the forbidden world above and it is here that he meets Ernest, a lonely fisherman.

With echoes of traditional tales, such as The Little Mermaid, this clever, poignant and beautiful book is packed with soothing language and beautiful imagery. An inclusive, hopeful story about love, friendship and acceptance, with a subtle thread about how to treat the ocean.

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