Nicola Davies & Marc Martin
For #SweetsAndSocialJustice this week, I’m sharing the beautiful book Every Child a Song which is based on the UNRC, the rights of the child as designated by the UN. The book speaks to the reader, comparing each child to a unique song.
It also gently introduces pathways to conversations about difficult topics that affect some populations such as being unhoused, refugee experiences, or a right to education. The watercolor illustrations are beautiful and enhance the message of the text without overpowering it. I can see this book being used as a way to begin talking with younger children about some of the tougher aspects of humanity, and can create a space to go into developmentally appropriate details depends on the tiny ears you’re speaking into.
In the Western & Eurocentric lens and lifestyle that many of us are privileged to have, some caregivers shy away from talking about topics like racism and social justice. But in our ongoing efforts to not only introduce different lived experiences but also to provide mirrors to readers, we can’t ignore the emotional and difficult stuff. Every Child a Song can be a bridge into those crucial conversations.
This book was kindly sent by Crocodile Books, but all opinions are my own!
From her website: “I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t fascinated by animals. From the moment I could walk I was out in the garden watching ants and worms, and collecting snails as pets.
I had my first pair of binoculars for my eighth birthday. They were so big, I couldn’t hold them steady for more than a few seconds. I can still remember the very first bird I saw through them: a male blackbird with his golden- yellow eye ring and sooty black feathers.
My first job was studying geese in Scotland, my second was hand rearing jackdaws and my third was watching humpbacked whales from an uninhabited island in Newfoundland! In the last two years I’ve returned to studying animals and have been helping out on a long term study of sperm whales, sailing in the Sea of Cortez, and the Caribbean off the island of Dominica.
I’ve seen all sorts of animals, all over the world: chamaeleons in Madagascar, turtles in the Seychelles, walruses in the Arctic, bat eared foxes in Kenya, salt water crocodiles in Australia. But I still love the animals that are within reach of my home in Wales: the ravens and red kites, the grey seals and the choughs, the roe deer and foxes, even the blackbirds that nest in my tiny garden.”
Marc Martin is an illustrator, artist and book maker based in Melbourne, Australia. His illustrations have been commissioned by clients such as Monocle, Wired, T2, The Financial Review, GQ, Luxury Travel, Telstra, The Australian Open Tennis Championships, The Australian Centre for the Moving Image, and various publishers.
He is the author and illustrator of A Forest (Penguin Random House, 2012), The Curious Explorers Illustrated Guide to Exotic Animals A-Z (Penguin Random House, 2013), Max (Penguin Random House, 2014), A River (Penguin Random House, 2015), and LOTS (Penguin Random House, 2016).