I am a huge fan of picture books that offer a more realistic approach of what it is like to be a child and allows them to understand it’s fine to be different and that you should enjoy being who you are. In these two glorious books I am going to share with you they offer a unique way of allowing children to be themselves and expressing their true feelings. Parents often ask me why they can’t find books where girls don’t have to be princesses and boys don’t always have to be strong and brave. Having shared these books with parents they were delighted to find that yes these books do indeed exist.
The first book is the magnificent ‘Tough Guys (Have Feelings Too) by Keith Negley published by Flying Eye Books.
On opening this book the first thing I was struck by was the bold and vibrant illustrations which are visually stunning. Each of the pages features heroic men who children would aspire to be, from wrestlers to astronauts, cowboys and superheroes. But did you know that ‘tough guys have feelings too’ and each of characters is struggling with a different emotion.
This provides an opportunity for a parent to engage with the child and discuss how they think that person is feeling and reassures them that it’s fine to feel apprehensive, sad, cross and scared. Having characters experiencing these emotions who children can look up to and admire is really refreshing and demonstrates that even those who we think are brave and strong feel these emotions too.
I also love the strong relationships that is portrayed between the father and son, we see them sharing a stor and in the endpapers they are enjoying role playing all the different characters in the story. It is a real celebration of the bond between parents and their children and reinforces that it is ok to show your feeling and to love each other.
This truly is a stunning book a total delight to read and to look at in every way. Thank you to Flying Eye Books for sending me a copy.
‘I’m a Girl’ by Yasmeen Ismail is a celebration of why it’s good to be who you are and not to try to be anyone else. It tells the tale of a little girl who is forever being mistaken for a boy because she’s messy, fast, brave and noisy all the things that boys are meant to be not girls! I love the opening lines of the book they really made me laugh out loud…
‘I’m supposed to be nice…… all sugar and spice……
but I’m sweet and sour; not a little flower!’
Everywhere she goes she has to keep telling people ‘I am a girl!’, I am a girl. I’m a GIRRRRRL!’ yet she is still seen as being a boy. I love that Yasmeen reinforces that it’s fine for children to play all sorts of games and that girls can play with trains and boys can play with dolls and that there is no wrong way.
The ending of the book is so joyful where she meets a boy and they just jump around in joy loving who they are and glad that they are not someone else. As a parent it’s so important for me to be able to share with my girls a book which allows children to just be who they are and not what people expect them to be. It is beautifully illustrated throughout in a style which is massively appealing and engaging to young children. Using bright colours and such lively animated illustrations it will capture a child’s imagination and keep them coming back for more.
To find out more about Yasmeen’s work you can visit her website: