The Curiosities centers around a young boy named Miro, who begins to see the world in a way that is different to others. When the Curiosities first appear they seem to blend in, but gradually they show Miro the 'oddments and snippets', 'wonders and possibles' in the places where no-one else looks. Sometimes the curiosities would show Miro how to tickle songs from the earth, whisper up waves and dance with him deep into the night. The pull of the curiosities gradually became stronger and stronger and soon others in his village begin to notice them too. They became so loud that people began to stare, and no matter what he did, Miro could not tame them. They were almost unbearable, and he felt as though he was vanishing deep inside the earth. Then he heard the whisper of a village elder who helped Miro brush away the darkness of the curiosities. They were still there, but he found the more he connected with people, the easier it was to control them. And he noticed that many others had their own the curiosities too which helped him feel not so alone.
There are many who deal with neurodiversities and disabilities, and this book is a wonderful celebration of who we are and how we see ourselves, and encourages us to not to worry too much how others choose to see us. Zana Fraillon is one of my favourite YA authors and she has managed the cross over to picture books flawlessly. Her text is poignant and uplifting, but also challenging, asking us to know ourselves first before we look at how we perceive others. Phil's whimsical and playful images draw us into Miro's world to see what life looks like through his eyes. His clever depictions of the curiosities as recognisable but wisp-like creatures, make us aware but not afraid of them, and inspires us to embrace the curiosities in all of us.
Diversity, autism, neurodiversity, acceptance, empathy, perspective, community, culture and mental health are all topics that can be introduced and discussed when using this beautiful and highly recommended book in the classroom.
Find out more about Zana Fraillon
Find out more about Phil Lesnie
Published in 2021 by Hachette Australia
ISBN 9780734417848 (HB)
Recommended for ages 4 - 8
How do you grow your heart? With gratitude. Jack, Lila, Mina, Li Wei and Rosie are back again and this time each reveal how they learn to focus on what they have rather than what they don't have, to say thank you and to be grateful. Each child takes us on their own journey of discovery to find out what gratitude means to them, and how it inspires them to try and make the world a better place. We learn about the many ways we can show our gratitude and not only help other peoples hearts grow and become filled with joy and happiness, but our own as well. One of my favourite lines from this gentle and thought provoking story is 'Gratitude is like opening a door, and seeing the world in a new way.' What a simple but beautiful message, and such a wonderful way of encouraging our youngest humans to look after the world, and to connect with and understand each other. Each page is full of bright and intuitive images that perfectly capture the meaning of the text. The smiles on the faces of the children as they experience the joy of being grateful are truly heart warming.
Back matter includes 'big people' talking about what they are grateful for, discussion questions for children, notes for parents and carers, and tips for nurturing gratitude in children. This is the latest in series of books about values by this superb author/illustrator duo entitled 'Human Kind: A Little Good in a Big World' and would make a wonderful addition to any library collection.
Wellbeing, mindfulness, being thankful, values, diversity, kindness and cultural understanding are all topics that can be linked as teaching ideas for the classroom from this delightful picture book.
Find out more about Zanni Louise here.
Find out more about Missy Turner here.
Find out more about the Human Kind series here.
Published in 2021 by Five Mile Press
ISBN 9781922514455 (HB)
Recommended for ages 3 - 8