A Blog from The Book Department - Marin
You may not know me, if not my name’s Marin and I take care of all things books at Moo Like a Monkey.
My role has developed over the past 2(!) years and what started as book ordering and keeping stock levels in check has developed into a real passion for sourcing and researching diverse, inclusive and fun books for children. Children’s books are a really incredible way to measure the way that the world around us is changing and evolving into a better, more inclusive and kinder place to live!
I still believe there’s a long way to go but there are some incredible titles available now and I think we’re getting there!
At Moo Like a Monkey we have a fairly lengthy check list that we always consider before stocking a book. We like books and stories that make a difference and encourage important discussions between adults and young people, we especially like books that empower young people and enable them to use words and vocabulary to discuss their thoughts, feelings and identity. We really really like books that allow young readers to feel represented, where they can see themselves mirrored in the stories they read.
I love the selection of books that we have, but there’s always room to do better, we are a working progress and we welcome discussions about topics that we might not have covered yet!
Infact, one of the best parts of my job is being able to have a chat with someone that asks for a book about a topic we’ve not yet covered and being able to say ‘We don’t have that yet but I bet I could find it!’ (Admittedly, I also really like it when I can say that we already have it).
Now, if you’re not a frequent visitor of our shop you might not know that we have a few books that cater to older readers, books that have become a staple of the store because we think they’re too important to stop stocking. We will always bypass how successfully a title sells if we believe in its’ message and know that it will mean something to the right family.
So I’ll try to keep this blog short and sweet and just focus on 2 of my favourite Moo Like a Monkey shop staples.
The first is ‘I Am Not a Label’, a great book and one of the first of its’ kind.
It’s a beautiful book that details the lives of 34 disabled famous people throughout history, some famous faces include Peter Dinklage, Lady Gaga and Matt Haig; who’s section includes this great quote:
‘Mental health, is physical health and to think of the two as separate is highly damaging’.
This book is aimed at readers 7+ full of inspirational stories, bags of information and useful resources. Beautiful and colourful illustrations, mixed with expert knowledge and history about inspirational people make this title an essential for all bookshelves!
Being able to learn about the different challenges people face, whether physical or mental, visible or invisible is an absolute must. Did you know that 18% of the Great British population are classed as disabled? If our books/Tv/media aren’t including people with disabilities, think of the sheer amount of people we’re excluding.
I Am Not A Label is so poignant, it enables us to learn to respect and to relate. It’s a really important mile-stone on the journey to inclusivity.
My second top pick of the week is another store staple. Having just celebrated pride month I think it’s important that we don’t stop celebrating and talking about the pioneering LGBTQ+ people that have come before us and walk among us. Queer Heroes is a colourful, exciting and fun book, it follows a similar format to I Am Not a Label by introducing the reader to 53 Queer Heroes past and present.
Young readers will be able to recognise familiar faces such as Kristen Stewart and David Bowie but also learn about people they might not have heard of like Marlene Dietrich and Rufus Wainwright.
This book is also great for chatting about what it is to be a real Hero in today’s society… Superheroes are great but what about real pioneers who have achieved wonderful and incredible things.
There’s also a glossary to help with using the right vocab and terminology and a page for helpful resources!
This book is also bright pink; the dream!
At Moo Like a Monkey we all read the books that come in cover to cover and we nearly always learn new things, these two books are a great example of that. There is always room to learn and evolve and just because a book is marketed towards children doesn’t mean that we as adults won’t find out new things too!
Thank you for reading this far, I hope I’ve managed to shine a spotlight on some titles that might otherwise fly under the radar and maybe given you some inspiration for curating the perfect young readers bookshelf.
(I hope Charlotte let’s me do this some more.)
She is the best boss.
(She did not make me write that.)