Book Review: It’s a No-Money Day
It’s a No-Money Day
Written and illustrated by Kate Milner
Published by Barrington Stoke
Publication date: 15th October
Summary (from Barrington Stoke):
Mum works really hard, but today there is no money left and no food in the cupboards. Forced to visit the local foodbank, Mum feels ashamed that they have to rely on the kindness of others. Maybe one day things will be different but for now together they brighten up even the darkest of days.
A moving insight into the sad rise and necessity of foodbanks from the perspective of society’s most vulnerable, and an essential book to help develop empathy in younger readers.
There’s no more cereal so I have the last piece of toast.
Luckily, Mum isn’t hungry.
First impressions: I wanted to read this as soon as I saw it because I loved My Name is Not Refugee because of the muted colour of the illustrations and the sparse text which leaves so much scope for discussion and empathy. When Barrington Stoke offered to let me see a sneak preview I was incredibly excited!
This is such an important book, which successfully manages to talk about an emotive issue in an accessible, warm way, without pointing fingers or making judgments.
Food banks have become part of everyday life in the U.K., yet there are still families who are eligible for support who are missing out because of the fear and stigma surrounding being poor. It seems that, as a society, we are able to accept that food banks are necessary, but many people want to distance themselves by saying ‘I’ll never need to use one’. There is also a worrying trend in some of the political discourse which talks about people in poverty as being somehow responsible for their own misfortune, when statistics show that many people attending food banks are working professionals or suffer from a disability that leaves them unable to work.
There are now more than 2000 food banks all over the UK, with the number of people accessing them increasing year on year due to harsh cuts to welfare systems leaving families without support.
It is impossible and irresponsible to ignore these pressures on children and families and I believe that this book could be an important first step in sparking discussions and normalising the use of food banks and poverty.
See more statistics about food banks from The Trussell Trust here.
I would use this book across the school from early years to upper primary or even secondary as a way to sensitively raise issues and discuss them. We owe it to the children we teach to build awareness, empathy and understanding as well as providing a range of books which act as ‘windows’ on the experience of others as well as a ‘mirror’ to reflect aspects of their own experience.
A deceptively-simple picture book which packs a real emotional punch.
Today is a no-money day.
What I liked: Poverty is not spoken about by many people and can still be seen as something to be hidden or ashamed of. Books about mental health have become more mainstream, but I still feel as if being poor is something that isn’t discussed as often, especially how pervasive and affecting it can be – something that is not easy to empathise with if you have not experienced it yourself. This book puts across the message gently and subtly, in a way that could be used to spark lots of discussions. I also loved the warmth of the illustrations and the love in the family.
Even better if: I just need to get my hands on a hard copy to share with my class!
How you could use it in your classroom: This is an important book with an essential message which has the possibility of connecting with a lot of pupils, whether or not they have experienced a ‘no-money day’. There is so much to be taken from the book and I could feasibly see it beingused from EYFS up to Year 6 or even beyond, as each child will take something different from it as well as bringing their own understanding or experience of the issues discussed.
Read a preview of the book here.
(Thanks to Barrington Stoke for my sneak preview)
Thanks for reading!