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Farrah Serroukh, the author of CLPE's groundbreaking Reflecting Realities survey, shares 5 of her favourite inclusive winter reads. The perfect gifts to snuggle up with over the holidays and to broaden your young readers' world!
UPDATE Dec 2020: We've added this list to our affiliate page on Bookshop! Purchase any of the titles below from our Bookshop page to support indie booksellers. Click here.
At this time of year, it is just as important to be thinking about how we ensure that children have access to a rich, varied and balanced diet of books as it is at any other time.
Think about the children you are working with, do the ‘festive’ books you have chosen to share with them affirm their sense of self? Do they see positive reflections of their own realities as well as insights into realities beyond their own to help broaden their world? Do these titles feature quality inclusive portrayals of characters from a range of backgrounds in real and fantasy realms? Do they encounter books that are written and illustrated by authors and illustrators of colour?
These titles that we use at CLPE will warm your spirit, even on the coldest of nights. For more recommendations, see our CLPE Winter Booklist curated by our Librarian Ann Lazim.
You're Snug with Me written by Chitra Soundar and illustrated by Poonam Mistry (Lantana Publishing)
Chitra’s rhythmic, patterned prose invites young readers to join in and enjoy the ride. Poonam’s beautifully distinctive style uses intricate details to create a delightful energy that sparkles across the pages. The book forms part of a series of titles, each applying the same concepts and themes to different parts of the world, these include, You’re Safe with Me and You’re Strong with Me.
Chitra and Poonam’s words and illustrations dance seamlessly together, complementing each other at every turn making this collaboration between them a winning combination.
How the Sun got to Coco’s House written and illustrated Bob Graham (Candlewick Press)
Bob Graham always treats his subject matter in such a thoughtful, sensitive, considered way, creating such touching beautiful moments and capturing the spirit of his characters.
This particular title takes us on a trip around the world, chasing the tail of the sun as we go. And along the way we encounter people waking up to gentle rays that mark the start of a new day.
The Snowy Day written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats (Puffin Books)
This classic title is a delightful picture book that invites the reader to share in the simple childhood joys and pleasures that come with the arrival of snow.
The beautiful illustrative style is deceptively simple. It conveys the playfulness of each moment and provides a richness and texture that makes each scene jump off the page and stay with the reader long after the book has been closed.
The Nutcracker illustrated by Jane Ray (Orchard Books)
The story of Tchaikovsky’s famous ballet is reimagined through the magical and distinctive style of illustrator Jane Ray in this contemporary retelling. Each spread sumptuously oozes intricate detail, a warm glow and an energy that brings the story to life allowing it to dance off the page. A real festive treat for the senses.
Leah’s Star, A Nativity Story written by Margaret Bateson-Hill and illustrated by Karin Littlewood (Alanna Max)
This beautifully illustrated picture book tells the story of the nativity through the perspective of a young girl named Leah. The illustrative style exudes movement, energy, warmth and life, creating a distinctive depth and soulfulness that beams from each spread complementing the spirit of the story.
Whatever kind of winter you find yourself enjoying, be sure to take a moment to delve into these and the many other winter-themed books that fill the shelves at this time of year.
Just in time for the holidays, our stunning and award-winning series of bedtime stories are now in a special book bundle at 30% off! Click HERE to see more from each book.
Farrah Serroukh is a Learning Programme Leader at the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE). Before joining the CLPE, she taught across the primary school age range and held several leadership posts. Her area of specialism and expertise is teaching children whose first language is not English. As well as sharing responsibility for leading on the design, development and delivery of the charity’s professional development programme, she co-leads on the research and development strand of the CLPE’s work. She is the author of CLPE’s Reflecting Realities Survey and leads the groundbreaking and award-winning work in this area.