January 27th is Holocaust Memorial Day, a national event within the UK where people across the country commemorate the victims of past and more recent genocides whilst considering the contemporary relevance of the Holocaust. Last year, we recommended some books which address the theme, of which one of our Librarians, Harriet, writes:
Although it is now 72 years since the end of the first major atrocity in the Second World War, the importance of remembering this and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Darfur sadly increases. Children need to know that racism and hatred have no place in a civilised, respectful society, and stories can help spread the messages of compassion and understanding.
Judith Kerr, nonagenarian and even now still a creator of children’s picture books, was herself a refugee from Nazi Germany. She told her story in ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’, turning what must have been, for the adults, a frightening drama, into an exciting adventure for primary age children. This was a favourite book of my daughter’s, to the extent that aged 18 on a visit to Paris she was determined to find the place the family moved to on their hurried departure from Germany. There is a sequel for teens called ‘Bombs on Aunt Dainty’.
More information about HMD, including teaching resources, can be found on the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s website here. We’d also recommend checking the official HMD UK twitter page here for plenty of engaging and poignant content being shared to commemorate the day.
What else has been happening this week? Well, we’ve updated our eBook platform with lots of new reads including David Walliams’ newest, The Midnight Gang, R.J. Palacio’s absolutely astounding Wonder, What’s a Girl Gotta Do?, the last in Holly Bourne’s Spinster Club series, plus many many more. All of the new books are listed just here and if you’re interesting in trying the platform for your school, just get in touch.
Our Friday Reads are below and as always, you can find our past recommendations via the tag here.
Apryl: 100 Hugs by Chris Riddell
A week ago (conveniently on National Hugging Day), a copy of this arrived for me in the post from a friend. I am a well-noted fan of Chris Riddell’s work and it was such a lovely thing to receive; each page features a different embrace, from Alice and the White Rabbit, to a small mouse and a Christmas tree.
The tag line for the book reads ‘to warm the hearts of those in need of a hug’ and it’s a perfect description for this little pick-me-up. In case you are in need of something to brighten your day, BookTrust has a small gallery showing some of the hugs included in Riddell’s book just here.
(Macmillan Children’s Books, £9.99 hardback, ISBN 9781509814305)
Harriet: How Mouse Gave his Name to the First Year by Ya Chun Li; rewritten by Roy Preece, Translated by Su Yen Hu
With Chinese New Year coming up tomorrow, we have a rather lovely picture book version of the myth behind one of the animal signs.
Each page includes the Chinese characters from the original story, alongside the Pinyin version. The watercolour illustrations are in an evocative Chinese style, full of life and humour too. TES have some brilliant teaching resources here which would support any classroom study of the festival.
(Snowflake Books, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9781908350743)
Zoë: British Birds: A Photographic Guide by Victoria Munson
Part of the Nature Detective series, this book is a simple guide to many British birds.
The introduction gives advice for budding nature detectives plus tips for identifying birds. Each bird description is accompanied by a photograph to aid identification and there is also a short paragraph detailing a few points of interest. How to attract birds to your garden is another feature, along with useful websites and books for further information plus some suggested places to visit.
Given this weekend is the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch, this book will help young, keen bird watchers note down the species in their garden or park.
(Wayland Books, £5.99 paperback, ISBN 9780750283410, find it at a Norfolk Library)