Writer: Renèe Paule & G.R.Hewitt
Publishing House: RPG Publishing
Date of Publication: May 2018
Rating: 5 stars
One of the best moments of being a teacher is witnessing the various ways in which children develop their personalities, their own mechanisms of responding to problems and perplexing thoughts. However, there is always the dark side of following the trends. Everything that is deemed as ”fashionable” or that particular sparkly item a friend bought…Once a girl of ten showed me her new trainers. There were pretty but I knew that she didn’t like green. So I asked her and she told me that two of her best friends had the exact pair. She felt left out. You see where this is going? Why should all of us follow a fashion that deep down we find appealing? Why should we behave in a certain way expected by our familial and social environment? Why should we even choose a career path that doesn’t meet our personal needs? These are the question that I asked myself while reading Renèe Paule’s new children’s book Hat.
Our sweet hero leads a beautiful, quiet life. He is happy, his hat is part of himself. It makes him who he is. One day, Bertie decides to try a different hat, and then another, and another. With each hat, he acquires a different personality but nothing really suits him. And this is exactly what children should be taught from an early age. They should experiment and make mistakes until they find what is right for them and their aspirations. Noone must force a child to obey an other’s ambitions. This is -and I use the word on purpose- an obsession that I’ve often witnessed in parents in my eleven years of teaching in quite a few ugly forms. Books like Hat will help our little ones understand that they should not be afraid of making mistakes nor should they follow what their friends do because they want to be acceptable or fashionable. After all, many times books can influence children in a way that no adult can.
What can I say about Renèe’s writing and creativity that hasn’t be said? The short texts, the beautiful, vivid illustrations, the lovely game at the end of the book make Hat a perfect little treasure for our young readers. And let’s stop and think for a moment, especially the ones who have dedicated their lives to the wonderful world of the Book. What kind of books do we want to offer our children? Abominations full of spoilt characters that respect nothing and no one, gore, and promises of a future of idleness with illustrations that look as if a drunk artist tried to create a surrealistic anime or books that are suitable for young ages that have a message to communicate to the future generations? I know which ones I use for my classes. It’s the only way for teachers in their effort to prevent this society from going down the drain…
An immense ”thank you” to Renèe and Godfrey for giving me the opportunity to discover one more addition to the list of ideal books for the children of our time.