A Song in the Mist

A Song in the Mist
Fiona Woodcock and Corrine Averiss
Oxford Children’s Books

In this breathtakingly beautiful book we meet Chi, a shy panda that loves to listen. She’s never alone though for being silent and attentive brings all manner of sounds to her ears: the swishing of the bamboo, the chittering of tiny birds and on one particular day, something altogether different, a sound new, gentle, sweet and musical comes floating on the breeze. Following it, Chi is led close to a small house,

close enough to discover that the sound is emanating from a little boy’s length of bamboo.

The boy stops his playing and looks at Chi but she dashes away taking cover in the forest and the safety of her own tree where all is still. Until that is, she hears first a twig snap and then a voice that makes her heart beat faster.

Remaining hidden in the canopy, Chi follows the boy through the forest as the evening mist begins to descend.

Suddenly the boy trips sending his flute tumbling to the floor and shortly after comes a cry, ‘Grandpa, help! I’m lost!’
Picking up the bamboo, Chi now needs to summon up all her courage and overcome her shyness to use it …

Happily she does and thus begins an understanding that leads not only to the safety of the boy flute-player, but also to the forging of a wonderful friendship: a friendship that is sustained by bamboo, breath and of course, love and kindness.

Corrine’s lyrical narrative combined with Fiona’s gorgeous grainy scenes powerfully evoke the misty beauty of the bamboo and conifer forest setting through which you can almost hear those musical notes drawing the reader gently but urgently though the story.

My Beautiful Voice

My Beautiful Voice
Joseph Coelho and Allison Colpoys
Frances Lincoln Children’s Books

From the duo who created the hugely moving If All the World Were… comes an inspirational story about finding your voice, literally as well as metaphorically.

Joseph Coelho’s narrator is a shy child who doesn’t talk at school, that is until a flamboyant, understanding new teacher, poetry lover Miss Flotsam, wields her transformative magic in the classroom.

She starts by sharing stories of her adventures, then moves on to sharing stories from books

and then the very personal form of her own poetry; and little by little one shy child begins to unleash that inner creativity we all have if only there’s somebody to nurture it.

A poem begins to form on the page, line by line and eventually, judging when the time is right, Miss Flotsam proffers its author an invitation to share that poem with the class …

With poet and playwright Joseph’s heartwarming, highly empathetic text and Allison’s superb, powerful illustrations of creativity at work,

with their splashes of neon-bright colour that capture so well the feelings of the two main characters, this is a perfect book to foster empathy in children. They’ll surely respond to the inherent themes of courage, resilience and determination in this heartfelt story of unlocking a child’s potential.

Every youngster deserves to have at least one teacher like the one portrayed here, during their early years of education.