The Book Of Hopes edited by Katherine Rundell

The Book Of Hopes: Words and Pictures to Comfort, Inspire and Entertain is a wonderfully uplifting anthology compiled by author Katherine Rundell. She invited children’s authors and illustrators to contribute short stories, illustrations and poems to inspire hope in a time when we are all experiencing restrictions and uncertainty due to the pandemic. This beautiful book includes something for everyone whether you are a nature lover, a fan of outer space or are looking for words of comfort.

The Book of Hopes includes contributions from over 100 authors and illustrators, including Anthony McGowan, Cerrie Burnell, Steven Lenton, Chris Haughton, Emma Yarlett, Liz Pichon, Jacqueline Wilson and Francesca Simon. It’s an amazingly diverse and imaginative collection which introduced us to several authors that we’d never read before. 

The book is split into different sections including Animals, Birds, Magic, Aliens and Outer Space, Remarkable Friendships, Playtime and Kindnesses, to name but a few. We read the book from cover to cover but it’s the kind of book that you can just pick up and dip into. There’s something for everybody – humorous characters, thought provoking pieces of writing and animals of all shapes and sizes. There are fractured fairy tales, tales from different cultures as well as true stories. 

The sturdy hardback cover was illustrated by Axel Scheffler and his black and white Hope Tree is one of the first illustrations. Lauren Child’s initial black and white endpapers change subtly as colourful birds are added to those at the end of the book.

Stories that we particularly enjoyed include Bag For Life by Joseph Elliott, The Hungriest Caterpillar by Isabel Thomas, A Box of Pencils by Gillian Cross and we love the twist in Ed Clarke’s ‘My First Expedition to the Wilderness’. There’s also a tooth fairy that flies to outer space, a joke machine, a flyaway kite, a hideout and a toilet ghost dog!

Many of our favourite illustrators contributed to The Book of Hopes including Sarah MacIntyre, Steven Lenton, Lydia Monks and Chris Mould. We love Sam Usher’s boy with a bird, Emily Gravett’s new classmates and the viking that accompanies Jonny Duddle’s poem, A-Viking in the Springtime.

Our favourite poems include The Store Full of Magical Things by Rutendo Tavengerwei, Look Out: A Poem of Hope by Philip Ardagh and A Way to the Stars by David Almond.

We originally read a free version of The Book of Hopes on The National Literary Trust website but we loved it so much that we bought ourselves a copy as well as gifting copies to friends and family. Proceeds from the sale of the book go to NHS Charities Together, as thanks for the amazing job being done by all those who are working in hospitals.

Reading has been one of the activities that has helped us get through pandemic restrictions and uncertainties. Escaping into other worlds has provided a much needed respite from the situation that we’ve found ourselves in. The Book Of Hopes provides a welcome escape from reality and comforts as well as entertains. A huge thank you to Katherine, all the authors and illustrators who contributed and of course, to all the hospital staff who have worked tirelessly during the last year.

Age range: 4 +

Edited by Katherine Rundell

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