Nen and the Lonely Fisherman – Ian Eagleton and James Mayhew

Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I was so excited to be invited to be part of the blog tour for this beautiful book. The gorgeous, shimmering cover gives you a hint of the story its pages hold…

A retelling of the classic ‘Little Mermaid’ story, Ian and James have reworked the traditional tale into one which is diverse and celebrates love, which is right at the heart of the story just as with the original. Nen sits on his lonely rock singing a song full of hope, which is carried by the stars. One day Ernest hears it and is drawn to Nen.

Not everyone wants them to be together, though. Nen’s father is determined to keep them apart – he sees Ernest as part of the problem with ocean pollution: people. In this story of courage, determination and, most importantly, love, can Nen and Ernest find their own happy ending?

How can this book be used in schools?

Picture books are invaluable when teaching for so many reasons. When looking through one, I can’t help but sit and think of ways I can use it with my class and Nen is no different. First and foremost, this is a diverse book which will help children of all ages discuss that love is love; picture books – all books – allow representation freely into classrooms, enable empathy, acceptance and discussion whilst also allowing children to feel they can openly be themselves.

Here are my top three ways to use this glorious picture book:

  1. A diary entry from the perspective of Nen and Ernest.

Because these would both be from different character perspectives, they could either be used simply to infer how a character might be thinking, or even to then look at contrasting character developments and how they differ. It would be really interesting to see the discussion around how each of them were feeling to then inspire an extended piece of writing.

2. A feelings timeline

Through the book, the feelings of the characters develop and change. A feelings timeline would be a fabulous piece of work to explore emotions and how/why they can change. This could be done really visually and be a really powerful tool to then discuss children’s own feelings.

3. Hope artwork

Nen is filled with hope and sings it to the stars. As well as discussing what he is hopeful for, and how he gets his happy ending, it would be lovely to create starry, rainbow hope artwork inspired by James’ incredible illustrations. What do the children hope for in the future?

This is a book I can’t wait to use in my classroom 🖤🌈

If you like the sound of it too, buy it here!

Emily x

📚Book gifted by publisher

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