Our favourite new books in February 2020

What’s great about us already being in the SECOND MONTH of the year (where has the time gone?) is that the new books being published are on the increase again as most publishers go heavy on Christmas books in December and have a quieter month in January. Let’s get straight to our top picks for February 2020.

1. Flat Cat by Hiawyn Oram and Gwen Millward

Walker Books

Meet Jimi, the cat that is so adored by his only Sophie that he starts to feel suffocated, bored and deflated, hence the nickname he gives himself, ‘Flat Cat’. One day, he dashes out into the world through the front door and discovers his freedom. He goes in to the city and discovers freedom, friendship and love. This book is great for exploring theory of mind – the ability to take the perspective of others. You can explore what Jimi thinks, what Sophie thinks when she discovers that Jimi has escaped into the world and what the other cats in the book might think of Jimi. There are many useful Tier 2 words in this book that you can explore further including spoilt, tantalising, grateful, flustered, introduced. Of course, it also lends itself naturally to talk about why Jimi feels ‘flat’, exploring literaly and figuratively meanings of words.

TOP READING TIP: Talk about perpsectives using think aloud comments starting with “I think Sophie would say…” or “I wonder what Sophie might do if…”.

2. Talking is not my thing by Rose Robbins

Scallywag Press

This book will help your children understand that some kids don’t use verbal communication. You are transported into the thoughts of a girl who is autistic and see her go through the day with her brother, from experiencing sensory overload to using her visual flashcards, body language, gestures and drawing pictures to communicate. It’s a beautiful story of seeing a character who is included in the choices her family makes and actively contributes to their life together.

TOP READING TIP: Talk about what senses are used in the different modes of communication e.g. when we use our body language, we use our eyes to see the person’s actions and facial expressions.

3. Go Away Glob! by Sarah Elliot Smyth and Simon Howe

Empowering Resources

With the prevalence of anxiety rising in children, this book encourages children to process and overcome feelings of anxiey, worry and self-doubt and getting back to enjoying the activities that they love. Sarah Elliot Smyth powerfully describes ‘Glob’ (anxiety/worry/self-doubt) as an ‘angry rain cloud blocking out the sun’ and ‘a monster breathing down his neck’. The illustrations by Simon Howe see ‘Glob’ depicted as ghost-like figures clinging on to the boy ‘Jimmy’ as he faces different social situations. Although it is a book designed for children, I found it to be useful for myself in reflecting on how anxiety may feel for others and a reminder that although it may not fix everything, breathing deeply can rovide a welcome release.

TOP READING TIP: Relate your child’s experiences to Jimmy’s – you can ask questions such as “When have you felt like…” or telling your children about your own “I remember when I had to stand on the stage in front of the whole school, I was anxious and worried because…”

Which book are you going to check out after reading our mini reviews? Let us know in the comments!

Your Little Birdies,

Tania and Janice