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The Children’s Bookshop: Use The Hunger Games to teach children about current affairs

PUBLISHED: 08:00 17 May 2016

Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence. Picture: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment.

Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence. Picture: Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment.

Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment

With referendums, elections and strikes becoming a part of everyday conversation, it can be interesting to peruse the shelves at The Children’s Bookshop and look for ways to explain current affairs to children.

Children’s books have of course often thrived on the revolutionary hero - the authoritarian government that needs overthrowing will always resonate with a teenage audience, whether that be Katniss fighting the Capital in The Hunger Games or Todd in Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking series, resisting the beguiling lifestyle offered by the town’s corrupt mayor.

Less bloodthirsty but no less political, Robert Courmier’s The Chocolate War sees its protagonist resist a corrupt headmaster over a seemingly small matter.

Children’s literature can be the perfect testing ground to explore these concepts and can make for rich discussions – and raise inspiring heroes from ordinary lives.

The benefit of collective action is perhaps surprisingly no better explored than in a picture book: Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type, Doreen Cronin’s witty story tells of a herd of cows who withold their produce until their working conditions are improved.

A clever rhythm makes this a satisfying read aloud for toddlers, and the simple illustrations underscore the punchlines.

For those who find themselves looking to explain the nature of our political system to younger readers, the DK book Who’s In Charge? with a foreword by Primrose Hill’s own Andrew Marr provides a clear insight into the philosophy and the practicalities behind governments.

The information is presented in dynamic and colourful spreads, and dotted with fun statistics and historical anecdotes, making it a book to peruse at length.

Finally, celebrating the everyday hero, we are delighted to have Liz Pichon in the shop for the publication of her tenth Tom Gates book: Super Good Skills.

The bestselling series has been fantastically popular since they were first published five years ago, and has gone on to win awards and the loyalty of all primary school readers.

It’s difficult to imagine a shelf these days without their bright and distinctive covers.

In the upcoming volume, the Gates family go on holiday, and Tom has to find a way to keep himself busy on the most boring campsite ever. Tom diarises and doodles and pranks his way through life, and the results are always hilarious.

Liz will be signing copies and meeting fans on May 31, 1.30-2.30 pm, and we hope to see you all there joining in the fun!

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