Children’s Books Teach All Ages About Brexit

Brexit is complicated and confusing for grown ups so imagine what children must think!

Two children’s books have been released to help explain the ins and outs of the whole fiasco.

The Little Island by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and Robert Starling sees a gaggle of geese hatch a plan to leave their farm, only for their solitary life on an island to go wrong.

In Richard David Lawman and Katie Williams’ I Want to Leave This Book, a cast of animals vote on the story they’d like to be part of… Without success.

The Little Island was described by Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler as “an Animal Farm for our times”, and has already sold out of its first print run.

Prasadam-Halls’ book opens with a quote from one John Duck: “No goose is an island entire of itself; every goose is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

Speaking to The Guardian, the author said:

“In The Little Island, I’ve tried to translate the complexity of recent events into a story simple and satisfying enough for the youngest – and oldest – child to grasp and to present a conversation starter, a launchpad, to some of the more serious issues of our time.”

Some of those serious issues include the growing racism and xenophobia, compounded by hateful rhetoric surrounding Brexit.

“We’ve started to hear words being used again that we have long considered to be totally unacceptable. It has been so troubling to hear aggressive slogans and toxic language used in the highest of offices. Language has such power and when words are used as weapons they cause great damage. So I have tried to speak a story of solidarity and friendship into that landscape.”

In I Want to Leave this Book, published by WatAdventure, animals appear as well known people: Theresa May is a hamster, Boris Johnson is a highland cow, and David Cameron is a pig named Percy Hogtrotter. The story sees the animals discussing whether they’d be better off staying, or leaving better life in another book. When at last the majority votes to leave the story, they can’t agree on what genre of book they would want to move to.

Author Lawman came up with the book when he had to try and explain Brexit to his four-year-old daughter: “I Want to Leave This Book is the answer to my dilemma – and clearly one that parents across the UK are facing. We need to make these complex political issues as digestible as possible to ensure that younger generations truly engage and understand the wider moral backdrop of these events. But first and foremost, we wanted this book to be fun to read, even without the Brexit context.”

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