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January is a tricky month. A no man’s land between the cheerful holidays just gone and the promise of sunny spring still a long way to come, mid-January is known as a time when everyone feels a little ‘blue’. And this January has brought its own unique set of challenges, with lockdown 3.0 and Brexit making us feel the blues a little more deeply. To help bring some colour to your days, our intern Alina Martin (@inbetweenthecovers) has put together a list of books that will inspire you even on the dreariest day.
Kaya’s Heart Song by Diwa Tharan Sanders and Nerina Canzi (Lantana)
Hop on the elephant carousel and join Kaya on a colourful journey through the jungle searching for her heart’s song. This beautifully illustrated story is an invitation to let go of the past, stop worrying about the future, and to just be. To be present and mindful and to appreciate the magic in the little things. Because there is magic in everything, like a happy song always humming in the background. All you have to do is be still and listen.
Taking Time by Jo Loring-Fisher (Lantana)
An adventure definitely worth making time for, Taking Time is a poetic journey around the world made up of beautiful little things to appreciate at every stop. An ode to gratitude, Jo Loring-Fisher’s poem takes the time to marvel at all the small details that we sometimes take for granted, reminding us to press pause and pay attention. This little book will be a great use of your time!
Shadow by Lucy Christopher and Anastasia Suvorova (Lantana)
Having moved to a new house in the dead of winter, a little girl and her mother do their best to cope with the unknown. It’s not until the little girl gets lost in the forest that she and her mother truly find each other again. This touching story about new beginnings and overcoming fear and loneliness is a gentle reminder to always check up on our loved ones as well as proof that there’s nothing we can’t get over with the love and support of family.
The Lemonade Hurricane by Licia Morelli and Jennifer Morris (Tilbury House)
Mindful Emma and her restless little brother Henry are polar opposites. Like a glass of lemonade when it gets stirred and the pulp rises from the bottom and swirls around, Henry storms around the house every day constantly looking for a new distraction. Until Emma decides to teach him how to be still. Now, like the limpid liquid after the pulp has settled at the bottom of the glass, Henry’s mind is crystal clear and he can finally find a balance between fun and chaos. Playfully illustrated, this book comes with valuable tips on how to tame the hurricane within through mindfulness and meditation.
What I Like Most by Mary Murphy and Zhu Cheng-Liang (Candlewick)
Crowned the New York Times’s ‘Best Illustrated Book’, this heart-warming story tells us about a little girl and all of her favourite things. From her red pencil, to her favourite dish – hot, steamy chips – this story is a reminder to find joy in the things we have. Above all it shows that, as the little girl discovers herself, above all the material things we might appreciate, there is one kind of love that burns brighter than all others, the love for those around us.
Charlotte and the Quiet Place by Deborah Sosin and Sara Woolley
Charlotte and the Quiet Place is the story of a little girl on a search for a break from her life in a noisy, busy city. Showing that much like their parents, children also sometimes need a break from out over-stimulating world, this book shares a message of self-discovery and empowerment as well as easy mindfulness practices that all children can implement for a peaceful yet fun-filled life.
Alina Martin is a Romanian writer and critic. Her short story 'If Lost Return to Us' was shortlisted for the UCL Publisher's Prize for Student Writing 2020 and was included in the upcoming anthology published by UCL Press. She is currently studying a Master's in Comparative Literature and Critical Translation at the University of Oxford. Follow her on Instagram.