Children’s books can be some of the most powerful things that you read. Even as an adult. They give children access to other worlds. Worlds that they might never travel to outside their own imagination, and worlds that other children they know might already inhabit. Books can be a lifeline for so many children, and a way of learning so much more about what goes on in the world around them. They can also inspire alongside educating.
But not all children are fortunate enough to have access to books. Some children’s parents are struggling to put enough food on the table and to keep their children warm and fed. This was the case before Covid hit and sadly the situation has escalated further as adults have lost jobs or been furloughed by their employers.
The Children’s Society estimate that there are over 4 million children who live in poverty here in the UK. That’s a startling figure. Some attention may have been drawn to these children by the wonderful work done by footballer Marcus Rashford recently to ensure that all children entitled to a free school meal don’t go hungry whilst schools remain closed to most pupils and also during school holidays. Whilst these news headlines have made people think about the plight of some children, many more children and their families are left feeling invisible. Tom Percival’s wonderful new book The Invisible tells the story of one of these children – Isabel.
When they are no longer able to pay their bills, Isabel and her family have to leave the family home that they love and move across the city to somewhere completely new. When they do so Isabel starts to feel invisible; cold, sad and lonely. Then she starts to notice other invisible people around her. People who like her need help not to feel so invisible. So she stops to help, and doing so has amazing results.
The Invisible tells Isabel’s story beautifully – both through words and pictures. It shows that you can find beauty all around you if you look hard enough, and that you don’t necessarily need lots of material possessions to be happy. There are some lovely subtle messages in the illustrations where there are signs advertising to “buy stuff” and when you see these next to Isabel’s story it really makes you realise just how unnecessary some of that “stuff” is.
What Isabel wants is to not feel invisible and one key to doing that is by noticing everyone else around her, including those others who might feel invisible like her. Such an important thing for all children and adults to try to do.
The Invisible is published by Simon & Schuster and released on 4 February 2021. ISBN 978-1-4711-9130-5. Paperback £6.99. It is available to buy online here.
Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of The Invisible for the purposes of this review. All opinions remain my own. This post contains an affiliate link. If you follow this link and make a purchase I will receive a small commission. It will cost you no more than if you had visited the site independently. All purchases and subsequent commissions are very much appreciated. Thank you.