Book Review, Picture Books

While We Can’t Hug by Eoin McLaughlin & illustrated by Polly Dunbar

While We Can’t Hug is the perfect book for our times. Published in 2020 for the children of 2020, it is a story they will uniquely relate to and be able to look back on in years to come as a reminder of this strange time. The Covid19 pandemic and its social restrictions have been difficult for everyone but especially for young children who don’t understand why they can’t get close to their friends and family.

Children are naturally so tactile and thrive on cuddles and the touch of important people in their lives. They are drawn to their friends. Even when they can see them, not moving close is so difficult! It seems we are giving constant reminders: keep your distance, don’t touch, don’t share your belongings, no hugs… It is so hard to say this to them and see them longing to be near their friends.

Recently, my three children finally got to see their grandparents after months of shielding. Usually a hug and a kiss would be the first order of business. This time, a hug from a distance had to do.  It was touching to watch my daughter read this lovely book to her grandparents as a reassurance that although they couldn’t hug, she still loves them very much.

In While We Can’t Hug, Hedgehog and Tortoise demonstrate lots of ways to show each other they care even though they can’t hug. Through good times and bad, through the rain and sunshine, these friends smile, dance, paint and laugh together.

The image of the rainbow reflects the sunshine after the rain and reminds us all that better times are coming. As the beautiful rainbow stretches between Hedgehog and Tortoise, they know that they are connected and still as close of friends as they ever were. With circumstances about to change again as children return to face-to-face schooling, While We Can’t Hug brings the kind of reassurance and care they need to continue to adjust and cope with the challenges life brings.  

Thank you to Faber & Faber for this beautiful book!

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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