Penguins Don’t Wear Pink / Missing Violet

Penguins Don’t Wear Pink
Jeffrey Turner
Beaming Books

Henry the penguin has a passion for pink things but best of all is his pink peaked cap, which he wears to school every day. The other animals’ teasing causes him to do some thinking 

and he decides to wear a hat of a different colour. Nobody comments on his green hat the following day, nor the blue one or the orange one on the next two days. Henry has another think and decides that no matter what his fellow students might say, he’ll wear the pink hat again on the fourth day. Will the response be any different this time? What do you think?

Brightly illustrated this is a sweet story about having the confidence to be yourself, able to wear any colour you choose, no matter who you are or what others think.

A helpful book to start a discussion with young children.

Missing Violet
Kelly Swemba and Fabian Faiallo
Beaming Books

The young narrator of this story talks of her best friend Violet, as ‘an expert at spreading sunshine. Her healing hugs made falls hurt less.’ So when Violet becomes very sick and then dies unexpectedly, the narrator experiences ‘a swirl of feelings all at once’. 

We share her emotions ‘My heart pinched. My insides ached’ first through a rainbow of swirling colours 

and then when she visits a counsellor, through separate colours: orange for bewilderment, red for anger, blue for deep sadness.

When she turns to her mum for further help, the two of them paint pictures of the two girls together and decorate a special box in which to keep them. Still the tears come so she tries talking to her classmates and discovers that they too miss Violet. They decide to say goodbye to their friend by writing notes to Violet and blowing bubbles in the school playground in a gentle farewell ritual. 

With its hopeful ending, this story of loss and grief is pitched just at the right level for young children.

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