Little People, Big Dreams: Pelé / If You’re Going to a March!

Little People, Big Dreams: Pelé
Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, illustrated by Camila Rosa
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

This new addition to the best-selling series stars one of the world’s greatest ever soccer players, telling of both his awesome skills on the field and his sterling work off the pitch in helping children in need, not only in his home country Brazil, but the world over.

From modest beginnings in a poor neighbourhood in Brazil, young Edson aka, Pelé fashioned a ball from a sock stuffed with paper and tied with string and used it to work on his footie skills.

Fuelled with a determination to lead his country to a World Cup victory, he was selected at age sixteen to play for the national team in Sweden where he became known as the player of ‘Jogo Bonito’ (‘beautiful game’)

Pele went on to take his country to another two World Cup victories. He’s now recognised as the top footballer who ever lived as well as a voice for unity and for the most needy.

With additional facts at the back of the book, set out along a timeline, and Camila Rosa’s striking illustrations, this is a book to inform and inspire young sports enthusiasts especially.

If You’re Going to a March
Martha Freeman and Violet Kim
Sterling Children’s Books

Although this book originated in the USA, there are plenty of young activists and would-be activists in the UK and in many other countries too; this book with its reader-friendly advice and instructions, will speak to them all, whether their cause is civil rights, the environment, women’s rights, gay rights, peace or whatever. And, children start very young: during my participation in pro EU marches I encountered babes in slings accompanied by parents and young siblings.

There’s advice on such practicalities as making your own sign,

appropriate clothing (check the weather forecast), transport to starting point; plus warnings about such possibilities as getting a bit bored if lots of people want to make speeches; feeling free to let go and dance should the opportunity arise; how to interact with the media; even visiting the loo is covered; (perhaps the spread with the smiling police officers ‘their job is to keep people safe’ is probably more apt for the UK than that of the book’s origins).

The author and illustrator also present the ‘why’ behind marches, rallies and protesting – ‘they are showing they care about their country and want to make things better’, as well as pointing out the possibility of seeing people who disagree with your cause – ‘sometimes democracy looks like disagreement’ and advising politeness. With its focus on the practical and positive elements of activism, this book is a good starting point for adults wanting to introduce the possibilities of political involvement, peaceful protest and community action to youngsters.

I love the way Violet Kim conveys a community feel to her scenes throughout.

Little People, Big Dreams: Captain Tom Moore

Little People, Big Dreams: Captain Tom Moore
Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara and Christopher Jacques
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

We surely all know of the selfless fundraising achievement of national treasure, Captain Tom Moore, on behalf of NHS Charities Together and of his subsequent knighthood. How many of us though, know anything of the rest of his incredible life? Relatively few I suspect.

Now this new addition to the superb Little People, Big Dreams picture book biography series written by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, children who followed him in the media , as he took his daily walk during lockdown, have the opportunity to read about the earlier life of this awe-inspiring veteran.

Tom was a Yorkshire lad who from a young age was passionate about engines of all sorts. At around twelve years of age he discovered an old, broken motorcycle, paid two and six for it, determined to repair and ride it on the road.

Having become an apprentice engineer he was called up to join the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment and was sent to India, a country he found initially strange, but to which he quickly adapted. Determined and brave, he rose to become a Captain and a spirit raiser of his team.

A team that also became his friends for many years until only he remained.

A slip while on his daily walk resulted in a hospital stay, a hip replacement and two knee replacements.

Still his spirit never faltered: he bought himself a treadmill online to strengthen his legs, and installed it on his drive.

As he approached his century, Captain Tom decided to celebrate with a pre-birthday 100 laps walk around his garden. Then the global pandemic hit the UK and Captain Tom had a new goal … the result of which was not the £1000 pounds he’d hoped for but a whacking £30,000,000. A-MAZ-ING!

Dream big and never give up: that’s what he did and that’s what we must all try to do, today, tomorrow and …

3% of the cover price of every sale goes to NHS charities – another reason to get hold of this terrific tribute to an incredible person, sensitively portrayed in Christophe Jacques’ illustrations.