Liz Lennon, My Friends (Our Special World)

Franklin Watts, 2017, ISBN 978-1-4451-4899-1

One of a series on important issues in young children's lives, the other titles being My Family, My Senses, My Body, Keeping Safe, The Seasons. The first page of this title poses the question 'What are friends?' The one sentence text answer is 'Friends are people we like to be with.' The even stronger photographic answer is an image of four smiling children having fun together. This is followed by a series of double page spreads each on different aspects of friendship, including making friends, fun times, feeling shy, taking turns, sharing, falling out, best friends. The text on each is sparse and simple. The clear and colourful photos continue to carry much of the message. On several pages questions are posed to the reader. Taking the Fun times pages as an example of the book's overall approach, the text starts 'Friends like doing lots of things together.' Five attractive and extremely inclusive photos then demonstrate this, with these labels: 'playing together', 'working together', 'spending time together', 'getting messy', 'talking and laughing together'. The question for readers is 'What do you like to do with your friends?'

The premise of the Our Special World series is to help young children find out about diversity in the world about them. This book does this and much more. With just a few carefully worded sentences on each page, accompanied by well chosen photographs, it succeeds in exploring a wide variety of issues about friendship, both positive ones and ones that are more difficult for children to cope with, very accessibly. There is a contents page, a word bank and an index. The book is inclusive in a totally unforced way. It is particularly pleasing to see very positive images of children with physical and learning disabilities enjoying themselves with their friends. The blurb suggests that the series is perfect for early years learning. On the evidence of this impressive title, it will provoke lots of interest and discussion among key stage 1 children as well. The photos do not only show very young children.