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The Inner Child

Posted By Alison D. Brumwell, 27 August 2019
One of the significant takeaways from this year’s SLA/YLG joint weekend course in Birmingham was identified by delegates as increased stock knowledge. Building Identity, Building Readers focused on the theme of children’s mental health and well-being, particularly in terms of identity. The weekend course also coincided with the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child; never has it been more important to ensure these are embedded in our daily work as librarians. Small, independent publishers have recently been at the forefront of commissioning innovative illustrated material to support building empathy and developing emotional resilience. Picture books The Suitcase (Chris Naylor Ballesteros, published by Nosy Crow) and Umbrella (Elena Arevalo Melville, published by Scallywag Press) are two examples from 2019 lists. Cicada Books adds to this with a quirky picture book, Melbourne-based artist Henry Blackshaw’s The Inner Child. The importance of making time to play and be joyful is conveyed in this open letter to both children and adults. The value of cherishing our inner child, the lessons learned in childhood and that fact that adults feel fear and anger too is delivered with subtle charm and limited text. There are positive messages about friendship, love and growing old. Bullies come in all shapes and sizes; “Nasty adults…have a nasty child inside.” Blackshaw encourages his readers, regardless of age, to look beneath the surface; his adult characters dance, stride and ride across the pages in vivid colour while their child selves are superimposed in pencil. Perhaps The Inner Child’s key message is about tolerance; preserving the inner child in each of us, and listening to their voices, makes us kinder and more thoughtful adults. The Inner Child, Henry Blackshaw Cicada Books 978-1-908714-68-8 £6.95

Tags:  illustration  Reading for Pleasure  visual literacy 

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