‘Who’s Not In School?’ by Ross Mountney
I couldn’t think of a better book to begin BB book reviews than Ross Mountney’s first children’s book Who’s Not In School?, illustrated by James Robinson and published by Bird’s Nest Books.
Ross is a popular home ed writer and brings much inspiration, common sense and reassurance to home educating families and many others exploring options for their children’s education on her lively blog Ross Mountney’s Notebook.
Who’s Not In School? is a beautifully illustrated children’s story which explores the week of a home schooling family. I smiled when I first heard the title of this book, as like many others who’s children learn outside of school, when out and about my kids are forever being asked that very question ‘who’s not in school today?!’
The story invites us into the life of a family where parents and children spend their days together and everyday family life and learning take place side by side. We are introduced to the youngest member of the family Little Harry, and follow him through his week of explorations and adventures. My children loved his antics and couldn’t wait to see what Little Harry would get up to next. When my older daughters are playing and learning, their little brother is often getting up to Little Harry-like adventures of his own, so we all laughed as we could relate to this.
The illustrations are beautiful, gentle and detailed, and unique in the way that they capture many of the nuances of a home educating home and lifestyle. My children loved the pictures and spent some time on each page studying the details and asking questions.
In the majority of children’s stories, school is seen as the norm, and children who do not go to school can feel a little disconnected, or a little different, as if they on the sidelines looking in and the story doesn’t really apply to them. Indeed this is how they can feel in life sometime too, and this is what makes Who’s Not In School? such a special book, especially for younger children beginning their home ed journey.
The book shares the many daily activities and adventures which will be familiar to home educating families and gives the opportunity to talk about how learning happens throughout the day, day by day. The most heart-warming thing about the book for me is how home educated kids are at the center of the story and how my own children really related to the book.
I’ll now pass on to my eldest daughter to share her review:
“This story made me feel happy because lots of other books are about children going to school and people don’t really see my side of life.
I think it’s really good this book has been published so children can read it and learn about home ed. I’ve never read a book about home schooled kids before and it made me feel happy. I loved the pictures and I could read it myself.
I love the bit where Little Harry puts the blocks down the toilet and the other things he does because he is like my little brother. It made me feel really happy and joyful to read it because it is like my life and the pictures are really good.
I’d like another book to be written to hear more about Lucy and Jake because they are more close to my age and they sound really exciting and I want to know more about them. I love the book.
James the illustrator inspired me and made me want to be an illustrator myself when I’m older as I really like the pictures.
I also like it when Little Harry climbs up the slide in the pool and it made me laugh when he was silly in the museum.”
Who’s Not In School? is available from Bird’s Nest Books.