Glasses books – an update

As a follow-up to this post, where I asked for advice on good books that featured children wearing glasses, I though I’d share with you the books that we’ve been reading with H.  He has taken to his glasses like a (baby) duck to water (see the picture below for this reference!) and he seems to be totally comfortable wearing them all the time, which is great.

We think this is partly because they are making a real difference to his eyesight (though I feel like a terrible parent for not even realising that there was anything wrong with his eyesight in the first place) but also because, after reading these amazing books, he genuinely feels as though it’s Totally Normal and Actually Very Cool to wear glasses.  He loves spotting other people wearing glasses and is keen to point out to everyone that he is wearing his own pair with pride!

Hopefully, having such a positive ‘first impression’ of his glasses will mean that he grows up (rightfully) feeling that they’re just not an issue.  To this end, it also helped that as we were staring long and hard at the fire station on our walk into town a couple of weeks ago (this is completely normal behaviour for us), some firefighters noticed our interest and invited H to climb inside the fire engine, put on the lights, etc.  Whilst all this was going on, one of the firefighters happened to mention that he wore contact lenses and that you no longer needed perfect eyesight to be in the fire service.  H now feels absolutely invincible – if he can be a firefighter then he can do ANYTHING!

Anyway, these first three books (in addition to the one at the end of post) are the ones that H chooses the most at the moment and C is pretty keen on them as well (not to sound horribly smug, but he’s been very supportive of H and his glasses – a brilliant big brother).

I had coincidentally picked up ‘Baby Duck and the New Eyeglasses’ (by Amy Hest, illustrated by Jill Barton) on my visit to Hay earlier this year so he was already familiar with it, but it gently deals with a few of the potential worries that may appear when glasses are first worn and shows that there really is nothing to worry about.

‘Ella’ (by Alex T Smith) was recommended to us by many of my terrific Twitter friends and it’s an utterly lovely book that both boys adore, which features characters wearing glasses rather than being explicitly about getting glasses.  We love all of Alex T Smith’s books (and will shortly be reviewing his heart-warmingly fantastic ‘Claude’ books) but it’s ‘Ella’ that has won the boys’ hearts for now.

‘Benjamin and the Super Spectacles’ (by Rachel Bright) was a book that we discovered by chance as we were looking around for glasses books, but H just loves both the story and the bright, colourful illustrations in Bright’s trademark style.  He is also now keen to jazz up his own specs in the same way as Benjamin’s friends do for him, so watch this space for photos of his handiwork 😉

IMG_5633All of the Child’s Play books are fab and ‘First Time – Nursery’ (illustrated by Jess Stockham) is no exception.  As with the other two books pictured, it’s not about getting glasses but just features a boy who wears glasses, which is great.  H won’t be starting pre-school until next year, but he is already keen to know more about it and loves getting involved when collecting / dropping off C, so this book gave us the chance to look in more detail about what might happen.

‘The Cloud’ (by Hannah Cumming) also features children wearing glasses and is just wonderful – you can read my review of it here.

‘Bumposaurus’ (by Penny McKinlay, illustrated by Britta Teckentrup) is lots of fun and is one that I thought the boys would be really taken with as they were going through a real dinosaur phase, but although they like this book they will often choose others ahead of it.  Definitely worth checking out, though.

IMG_5634These three books are some of MY favourites that we’ve read recently and all of them are just so gorgeously illustrated that I want to hang them on my walls, to say nothing of how super the stories are and how nice it is to see the characters wearing glasses.

We reviewed ‘Sidney, Stella and the Moon’ (by Emma Yarlett) earlier this year, so I’ll just refer you to that post in order to share its wondrousness!

‘Marshall Armstrong is New to our School’ (by David Mackintosh) is a stylishly quirky story, by the author of one of our other favourite books, ‘The Frank Show’.  (Having spent a lot of time with my grandparents during my childhood and having spent my late teens helping to care for them as they grew older and less well, I’m very keen on books like ‘The Frank Show’ that celebrate old age and that represent older people as valid members of society who have an awful lot to contribute.  Anyway, I digress.)  ‘Marshall Armstrong…’ is not a story about getting glasses, though the fact that Marshall has them is referred to as part of the plot.  This book deals with the issues around friendships from a child’s point of view (which isn’t always kind, but I suppose at least is honest!) and I think we’ll potentially draw on it again once C starts Big School in September.

‘Oliver’ by Birgitta Sif is about a boy (who wears glasses) who leads a vivid imaginary life but doesn’t find it as easy to make ‘real’ friends and it’s quite simply one of the loveliest books we’ve read in a long time.  I am so pleased to be able to share it with C and H and to show them that it’s OK – and sometimes amazing – to be different, but I also found myself wishing that I had had this when I was teaching.  I can think of many past pupils who would have benefitted enormously from seeing themselves in this book.

IMG_5635The following three books are all brilliant, but in the interests of those who may now be losing the will to live with this lengthy post, I’ll just leave it at that.  Oooh, except to say that you MUST check out Carmen’s review of ‘Chicken’s Can’t See In The Dark’ (by Kristyna Litten) over on her Rhino Reads blog.  It’s ace.

FYI, the other books shown are ‘The Night Pirates’ (by Peter Harris, illustrated by Deborah Allwright) and ‘Winnie Flies Again’ (by Valerie Thomas, illustrated by Korky Paul).

IMG_5636This picture shows ANOTHER set of books that we’ve found / borrowed, with our favourites being ‘Eliot Jones – Midnight Superhero’ (by Anne Cottringer, illustrated by Alex T Smith – we’re like some kind of superfan stalkers of his, clearly…) and ‘Arlo Needs Glasses’ (by Barney Saltzberg).  The latter is by the same author as another book we love called ‘Beautiful Oops’ (mentioned in this post) and allows the reader to model different pairs of cardboard glasses on Arlo to decide which ones suit him best and this interactive element is very popular with C and H.  The other two books featured in the post are ‘Glasses – Who Needs ‘Em?’ (by Lane Smith) and ‘I Really Absolutely Must Have Glasses’ (part of the Charlie and Lola series created by Lauren Child).

IMG_5669

We got hold of this final book – ‘Superkid’ (by Claire Freedman, illustrated by Sarah McIntyre) a couple of weeks after the others and it’s probably top of H’s list at the moment.  He really does feel like an absolute superhero after reading this book and excitedly points to himself whenever we shout “Where’s Superkid?” 🙂 Every time we read it he taps his glasses with glee and is clearly proud to wear them – we couldn’t ask for anything more.
IMG_5704TTFN

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5 comments

  1. A lovely post in so many ways. It’s so affirming to hear H is feeling so positive about the glasses and that the books are helping so much. And the firefighter!! What an amazing thing for him to say to little H. Well done him.
    Oliver is one of my absolute favourite books and one I pull out again and again to refer to. I’m absolutely with you, I can think of a fair few children who would have lapped it up and really benefitted from it when I was teaching.

    You’re doing a great job, supermum. Because you put the effort in to show H (and C) that glasses are normal and can be magical and super, he’ll laugh in the face of anyone who tries to suggest otherwise. You have armed him with knowledge and examples. He’s going to be more than fine.

    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comments, Carmen 🙂
      The firefighter comment could not have been more wonderful if we’d planned it!
      In terms of the books, I feel really lucky that there are so many brilliant books out there to help H feel great about wearing glasses, but it does make me even more aware of the things that others might be experiencing that are harder to find in books. Everyone should have a chance to feel like Superkid and I’m in awe of the work you are doing to try and make that happen.

  2. We loved Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School and Elliot Jones Midnight Superhero (bonus of having red haired children in it which always goes down V well with us!). We’ve also recently really enjoyed the utterly fantastic Meggie Moon by Elizabeth Baguley and Gregoire Mabire. A fantastic girl character with red hair and glasses also (maybe there’s a post in there somewhere, why do glasses-wearing CB characters have red hair?)

    1. Thanks for commenting 🙂 I’ve not heard of ‘Meggie Moon’ but will definitely check it out now. And you’re right, glasses-wearing characters *do* often have red hair – how odd that the two should seemingly be connected. I spent my whole life wishing for red hair, so am always v happy to see it in books where I can at least enjoy it vicariously!

  3. Thank you for this wonderful post. We are now in the same position so it is great to have such a wonderful list of books with characters wearing glasses. ‘Oliver’ and ‘Benjamin’s Super Spectacles’ appeal to me the most so I’ll let you know how we go 🙂

    Does Lola get glasses in the Charlie and Lola book do you know?

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