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Stories that deal with important issues

Looking After Louis
by Lesley Ely, illustrated by Polly Dunbar
(Frances Lincoln)
Told from the viewpoint of a girl in newcomer Louis’s class, this story relates how her classmates and teacher gradually discover how best to accommodate the particular needs of Louis who has Autism Spectrum Disorder. It’s not only Louis’s uniqueness that is brought out in Polly Dunbar’s quirky illustrations of school life; her drawings are a celebration of the individuality of each and every member of the school community.
There is an informative postscript written by a psychologist and a page of teaching ideas at the end of the book. Every primary school should invest in at least one copy.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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The Colour of Home
by Mary Hoffman, illustrated by Karin Littlewood
(Frances Lincoln)
Hassan has recently arrived in the UK from Somalia and despite the best efforts of his teacher and classmates, he finds his first day at school overwhelmingly alien. When his teacher gives him paper and paints, Hassan creates a picture glowing with the colours of his family home. But then his work takes on other colours and features – those of destruction and death.
  The next day, helped by an interpreter, Hassan uses his painting to share with his teacher, something of the harrowing events leading up to his arrival in the UK. He tells of his sadness at the loss of so much that was dear to him – his cat, his Uncle Ahmed, his family home and his belongings, and of the ordeal he and his parents underwent on the long journey from war-torn Somalia. But, thereafter, Hassan begins to see a little brightness in his new ‘home’.
  For me at least, this powerfully moving tale (one that I know from experience is all too true for a good number of children in our schools) is all the more poignant in big book format. One hopes that it will help to bring a measure of empathy and understanding to all children and adults in UK schools. A ‘must have’ big book.
(reviewed by Jill Bennett)
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