Book review: new picture books about courage, persistence and self worth

It’s wonderful when you find a bunch of books to read to littlies that are so beautifully written and illustrated you want to keep them forever. Here are just a few of the new ones recently published for your enjoyment!

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The World Awaits

by Tomos Roberts, illus. by Nomoco pub. HarperCollins imprint Farshore. h/b with cover RRP$24.99 Ages 4+

This special book is beautifully written and illustrated to focus on the theme that everyone matters in the world. No matter how small they feel, their daily contribution is important even to the little person who refuses to get up in the morning as “The world wouldn’t notice/ if I slept all day”.

The Japanese artist Nomoco, who illustrated this book, has produced just the right simple watercolour images to highlight the concepts covered

The positive and encouraging thoughts make this book important to pick up and read, even for adults, who might be feeling a little depressed about things.

“But I’m so small and insignificant

Compared to the universe.

Why can’t I just stay in bed?

At least I won’t make things worse!”



The Biggles series: Biggles Goes to Work; Biggles the Persistent Pup; Biggles Finds his Superpowers

by Dr Vanessa Thiele, illus. by Jenny Barnes. Self-published ( h/b RRP$20

These delightful series were written by the author originally for her own children, but they are now available for everyone! They are well produced and beautifully illustrated with imaginative watercolour images of Biggles, an energetic Jack Russell dog, with a ‘can- do’ attitude, who finds each day full of positive things to learn and do. In ‘Biggles Finds his Superpowers’ this little dog tries to see why all the other farm animals have ‘superpowers’ and he doesn’t’. He feels glum “There’s nothing special I can do” but that’s not true as he soon finds out.

The author Vanessa Thiele’s expertise is the areas of resilience, health behaviour change, positive psychology and motivation and engagement. Teachers notes and activities accompany the books. A percentage of the sales goes to three small charities in great need of support.


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I Think That it’s a Monster

by Steven Krygger, illus. by Andrew McIntosh pub. by Little Steps Publishing h/b RRP$24.59 Ages 3+

This book has unusual computer assisted illustrations which suits the story of a young boy searching for a ‘FEARSOME BEAST’.  Each fanciful monster he comes upon is rejected in his search as seemingly normal, even as

“A thing is not a monster, because of how it looks,

A thing is not a monster, because its hands are hooks.”

No monsters are the mean bully’s! Perhaps this story is a simple way to look at differences, as it illustrates clearly that everyone is different, but we all have a heart. Written in easy to read-aloud rhyme.


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Tala the Bengal Tiger

by Beverly Jatwani illus. Sunita Chawdhary pub. by Little Steps Publishing p/b RRP$14.95 Ages 3+

The second book in the ‘Together We Can Change the World’ series, Tala the Bengal Tiger follows the day-to-day life of a little girl, Veera, and her attachment to the endangered Bengal tiger, Tala. Each book in the series looks at ‘emotional superpowers’ and this one illustrates courage as Veera overcomes her fear of the Tiger who save her life.

There will be a series of seven stories, covering seven continents, with seven important virtues: Love, Courage, Compassion, Respect, Kindness, Integrity and Gratitude. Teachers notes are available.

Royalties are going to Wildlife Vets International.


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The Boy and the Elephant

illustrated by storyteller Freya Blackwood pub. HarperCollins imprint Angus&Robertson h/b RRP$24.99 Ages 3+

This amazing story is told with no text at all just exquisite drawings that tell the story of a young boy living in a big busy city who finds peace in the overgrown piece of land next door. You see him enjoying the space through each season until one day he finds it has been sold and the trees are marked to be cut down. The elephant in the story is his imagination made up of the trees and animals in the lot. He want to save them and dreams them all safely away to a place they can be enjoyed!

The language you use to tell this story is universal, so it is a perfect read in any language.