As a teacher I am always of the lookout for books that will engage my class and help them to discover a love of reading, but it is also fantastic to find out about books that have an educational message at their heart. Therefore, I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to review the three Clever Tykes Books.
On their website, Clever Tykes describe their books as… ‘The best modern storybooks to inspire children to be positive, resourceful and enterprising. The Clever Tykes books promote important values through morals and role models.’
I certainly feel that they fit this brief. Their website can be found here and all of their books can be purchased through their website, alongside certificates, acitivy and colouring books and teacher’s guides for using the books.
Book 1: Walk – it Willow
This book fitted in perfectly with our discussions at the start of the year about our school’s ethos. It sparked great discussions about responsibility, a concept that can be really hard for children to understand and also got them thinking about what to do if things do start to go wrong and they are worrying about admitting their mistakes. This book lays out the idea of responsibility and what it means to be responsible in a really clear and easy to understand way. I appreciated that Willow tried hard to be responsible, but made a mistake as this is so easy for children to do when they are excited about starting something new. The book talks about the importance of being organised and asking for help if you need it.
Some of the children found it a little hard to relate to the idea of dog walking or looking after pets, as they don’t own them themselves. We therefore related the same idea to activities they may do in their day to day lives and how they can show responsibility in these areas. A lot of the children in my class love animal books, so the fact that this one had dogs in was a big hit!
Book 2: Code – it Cody
The first thing that I really appreciated about this book is the fact that the main character, Cody, has got hearing aids. 2 children in my class last year had hearing aids, and I know they would love to see a character with hearing aids like themselves in a book. It also sparked an interesting conversation with my current class as one of the boys doesn’t have hearing aids, but does have hearing problems. This book enabled him to open up and talk about what it feels like when he can’t hear what people are saying.
It is also a good way of introducing children to the idea of coding. They get very excited when we start working on Scratch, but a lot of them don’t realise the hard work that goes into coding and into creating a new game. In a similar vein to the other books, Cody is faced with challenges but he perseveres and works hard enabling to overcome his fears and achieve his goals. This is all presented in a fun and engaging way throughout the book with lovely cartoon illustrations (well done Sam Moore!) that the children loved looking at.
Book 3: Change- it Cho
This book came at an appropriate time in school for us, we very recently started the monthly mile where the aim is to get the children to practise running every day and complete a timed mile run each month to see if they can improve and get fitter. This has been met with a mixed response from the children and change – it Cho helped them to realise and talk about why it is so important to be healthy. It inspired some who had been reluctant to run about the importance of practising their running and inspired them to want to become healthier.
It also links brilliantly well with the idea of Growth Mindset and perseverance. Cho doesn’t give up, even when things don’t go to plan and adults talk down to her for being a child. She stops and takes the time to think about what she could do differently to achieve her goals. This sparked some excellent discussions with children telling me about goals they would like to achieve and what their plan is to achieve them.
The children were also really interested by some of the facts about fruit mentioned in the book, I had to research the facts about bananas being clones for them (many of them didn’t know what a clone was so we ended up on a bit of a tangent there!) and it resulted in lots of them being excited for our science lesson on food tasting as they were able to try lots of fruits and vegetables that could be healthy for them. I loved watching them all get excited about trying pomegranate seeds!
This one was definitely a hit, the children liked seeing a strong, female lead who put her mind to something and achieved her goals and it linked perfectly with our discussions on healthy eating in science and the start of our monthly mile.
I highly recommend these books for both parents and teachers, they are exciting and engaging and spark some fantastic conversations about important topics. Have you used any of these books with your children? Do you think you might use them now?