I want to celebrate some Disney Princesses…of colour. Continue reading Celebrating Disney Princesses of Colour
There are so many great Star Wars books for kids out there that it’s tricky to choose which ones your children will enjoy the most. Well here’s a selection from Egmont Publishing that have gone down well with my 3-year-old daughter (as well as me).
They are a mixture of craft, early readers, and a new retelling of the original movie trilogy – and they’re perfect for keeping us engaged in all things Star Wars until the release of the new movie and beyond.
First up we had a couple of early reading Star wars children’s books – Escape From Darth Vader and Use the Force!
Escape From Darth Vader: A Star Wars Saga Reader (Young Readers Level 1)
Escape From Darth Vader is an illustrated and simply written retelling of the opening scenes of the original Star Wars movie.
This book begins with the Darth Vader’s forces boarding Princess Leia’s ship, and ends with the droids’ escape to Tatooine.
This is rated as Young Readers level 1, so the prose is very basic. For example, even the classic opening line of every Star Wars movie ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…’ becomes ‘Long ago and far, far away…’.
This pared down text allows children to recognise words easily. While my 3-year-old Star Wars fangirl is at the very beginning of her literacy journey, she can read many of the words in this simply written book – and the likes of R2-D2 and C-3P0 offer another opportunity to connect letters to their sounds.
This Star Wars children’s book also features some really cute art by Stephane Roux. I am especially fond of the illustrations featuring Princess Leia.
Like the other books, it offers a great way for my daughter to engage with Star Wars.
Use the Force!: A Star Wars Saga Reader (Young Readers Level 2)
This book is a vignette from The Empire Strikes Back, about Luke’s time training to be Jedi with Yoda on Dagobah.
One of the things I really like about this story is that it features – in book form – some of the great lessons the saga has to offer. Yoda’s proclamations of “Size matters not” and “Do or do not. There is no try.” have been important messages I’ve already referenced with my daughter many times, and it’s great to have another format to reinforce them.
Luke’s training is a key part of the wider saga, and it works well as a standalone story. It’s an often requested favourite of my daughter’s.
The Star Wars Treasury: The Original Trilogy
No really, this is a downside! While I love the fact that she loves the saga like I do, it also means that she wants to rewatch the movies all the time. While this is a) awesome, it would also be b) irresponsible for me to let her watch them as much as she’s like to.
The Star Wars Treasury: The Original Trilogy is a great way for her to engage with these stories that have captivated her. We all know reading to children is vitally important, and she happily sits there for the 1-2 hours it takes to read this 200+ page retelling of episodes IV-VI (believe me, we’ve done it).
Of course it’s easy to break this up into smaller reading sessions. While the stories of each film are here, the narrative has been pared down and has omitted some subplots. The text is more advanced again, but the still fairly simple and full of famous lines. I dare you to read the likes of “I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it any further” without attempting your best Darth Vader voice.
The art is a curious hybrid of illustrated versions of iconic stills and/or publicity photos from the three movies – so the imagery is both familiar and fresh.
I’m hoping to take my then 4-year-old daughter to see The Force Awakens at the cinema (after I have vetted it of course). This Star Wars kid’s book is a great way to revisit the saga of episodes IV-VI in the lead up to the eagerly awaited episode VII.
Star Wars Starfighter Workshop
The final Star Wars books for kids in this collection is a different than the others, as it is actually a construction set masquerading as a book. The Star Wars Starfighter Workshop allows you to construct your very own card models of the iconic Star Wars vehicles the X-Wing and Tie Fighter.
This is a fun joint activity for a Star Wars loving dad & daughter. Construction projects like this are also great for many skills that we’re trying to encourage such as fine and gross motor skills, following printed instructions, understanding how things are put together, and simple patience.
This particular Star Wars books for kids really took me back to my childhood. I’m old enough to remember when the first movie coming out, and prior to seeing it Star Wars Weekly came out – the first two issues had free gifts of a cardboard X-Wing and Tie Fighter. The ones contained in this book are a vast improvement!
This book also has an activity section, with Star Wars themed puzzles, mazes, and the like, so it still has a lot to offer once the models have been made. The construction material is a fairly sturdy carded foam, and the finished models are solid enough to withstand play that isn’t too vigorous.
While aimed at ages 7+, it was a fine activity to share with my 3-year-old.
4 Great Star Wars Books For Kids – the Star Wars kid’s opinion
While I can write about the best Star Wars books, it’s really the kid’s opinion that counts 😉
All of these Star Wars books for kids are available from Amazon (as well as other retailers).
- Escape From Darth Vader: A Star Wars Saga Reader (Young Readers Level 1)
- Use the Force!: A Star Wars Saga Reader (Young Readers Level 2)
- The Star Wars Treasury: The Original Trilogy
- Star Wars Starfighter Workshop
Or if you’re feeling lucky, why not enter our giveaway for your chance to win a copies of the Star Wars Starfighter Workshop and The Star Wars Treasury: The Original Trilogy!
Star Wars books for kids
Which one of these 4 Egmont Star Wars books is your favourite and why?
This is a sponsored post.
With less than a month to go until the release of The Force Awakens, Star Wars continues to dominate our leisure time. As well as enjoying watching Episodes IV – VI in anticipation, checking out trailers, speculating what may happen in the new movie (my daughter already predicts that Kylo Ren will get both hands chopped off), we’re also working our way trough the six season Clone Wars animated series. So it was great to receive two terrific LEGO sets that encompassed these strands of the saga.
Appearing early on in the very first trailer for The Force Awakens, this was one of the first new vehicles to be revealed.
Its blocky, lo-fi, junkyard style design quickly became a fan favourite.
This LEGO version is a lovely little set to construct.
This was one of my favourite looking ones from The Force Awakens line (admittedly, the iconic , far larger, and more expensive Millennium Falcon just edged it). The suggested age is 7-12, but my 3-year-old daughter put it together with minimal supervision.
Rey is clearly a central character to the new saga, so it is great to have a minifigure of her. My daughter loves the fact that she is another female Star Wars character to play with.
The minifigure has the usual two faces, though the expressions are a fairly subtle ‘wry smile’ and ‘displeased frown’. The freckles are a nice detail, that reflects some of the close up pics we have seen of Rey so far. She also has a mask with goggles, as seen in one of the more recent trailers.
The set also comes with a second mini figure, the hooded and mysteriously named Unkar’s Thug.
How much the speeder features remains to be seen, but it already feels like one of the more iconic new vehicles of the new saga and is a great addition to our LEGO Star Wars collection, that that my daughter frequently plays with already.
We are also currently watching the Star Wars cartoon The Clone Wars, which is set between Episodes II and III of the prequel trilogy. Whatever your opinion of that set of movies, their existence is entirely justified by the fact it led to this show being made. We are only on season 4 of 6. It is full of thrilling space fantasy action adventure, with (IMHO) much more rounded characterisations of the main characters, than the movies the show is sandwiched between.
General Grievous originally appeared in Revenge of the Sith (2005), and it was pretty widely accepted that for such a cool looking character, he was a bit wasted.
However, he is a major recurring character in The Clone Wars, and here he finally gets his due (though he’s still a bit of a tool).
This set is part of the recently released six buildable LEGO Star Wars figures. We have previously reviewed the Darth Vader figure, which was a fine set – but even then I could tell that this General Grievous figure was the one that suited this format best.
The skeletal construction pieces suit Grievous’ robotic structure perfectly. The sculpt on his head is great. This is basically an awesome General Grievous figure that you put together yourself!
Unlike Rey’s Speeder, this set (recommended age 9-14) was totally out of my 3-year-old daughter’s ability to put together – but not mine 😉 I had a great time putting it together – albeit with expert supervision from my daughter. She loves playing with it though, and one of the first things she wanted to do was stage a fight between Grievous and Darth Vader.
If you have a young Star Wars fan in your life, then two things they probably should be are a) Fans of The Clone Wars cartoon, and b) Excited about The Force Awakens. Given that, either of these sets would perfect gifts for them.
Both of these sets are available from Amazon.
Or if you fancy your chances, how about entering our General Grievous giveaway?
Disclaimer: While I was not paid to write this review, we did receive these LEGO sets free of charge.
These sets are based on the Star Wars prequels, cartoons, and the forthcoming sequel. Do you or your little ones have a Star Wars preference – originals, prequels, cartoons, or new series?
It started as we entered the country, while my passport was being checked.
“You are from India.” (I couldn’t tell if it was a question or statement)
No, England. (I have a British passport)
“No, you are Indian!”
No, I’m English.
“No. Indian! (No, I’m English). Pakistan? (No, I’m English). Afghanistan? (No, I’m English).”
“Your father, where he from?”
The Caribbean, I replied.
The Moroccan border guard seemed a mixture of satisfied I didn’t say England, and confused because he wasn’t expecting that answer.
This scenario reoccurred many times while we holidayed in Marrakech. Men – possibly trying to be polite and start a conversation – begin by asking me where I came from, I say England, and a familiar response eventually comes forth (whether worded this way or not): “But where are you really from?”
Brief background. I’m English (don’t even question it) to immigrant parents. They’re from the caribbean – Trinidad & Tobago. So were my grandparents. My great-grandparents were immigrants – indentured labourers from either India or Ceylon (it was Ceylon back then) in the 19th century, around about the time slavery was abolished. In fact that’s why the caribbean colonies needed their indentured labour. Someone had to grow all that sugarcane for the Brits now they didn’t have slaves to do it for them.
Anyway, the short version is that I look ‘Indian’ (the subcontinent), and that is backed up by DNA, as all the way down the line you can trace my ancestors back to there. So calling me Indian is ok right? No.
I’ve never been to India. My parents have never been to India. My grandparents never went to India. My great -grandparents may not have even come from India.
So on a basic level, saying (telling me) I am Indian is incorrect, as my family haven’t set foot there in at least four generations.
My connection to India is probably about as strong as anyone in the UK who enjoys eating curry, cuisine which is pretty much a British national dish anyway. I do have a greater sense of connection to Trinidad (check out my Macaroni Pie recipe – I even got it published in The Guardian), but that is still my family background. I am English, proudly so, and don’t ever try and tell me I am not.
My sense of English identity has been forged in part through the furnace of racism. Like any brown kid growing up in seventies/eighties Britain, racism – whether on the playground or the adult world – was something we had to deal with. My parents didn’t give me much direction on how to deal with this, and what I do remember were contradictory responses at different times.
So early on, I decided that I was English. I’m a stubborn fellow, so I have never let anyone tell me differently. This frustrates a lot of people who are probably just making conversation, hence the phrase “But where are you really from?” trying to direct the conversation to hearing tales of ‘exotic’ Indian ancestors.
In the past, I’ve asked white people about why they might ask me this. Many have had a similar response – they feel their background is so boring that they find mine & other brown people’s much more interesting in comparison. They say it with almost a sense of jealousy. Their intention isn’t to define me as different, or even as not being English. But that is what they are doing by not accepting my simple response to a question of where I am from as ‘England’.
My daughter will be the next generation to experience whatever version of identity politics that occurs in her lifetime. She is mixed race, and ethnically a very binary mix of ‘Indian’ (see previously) and white European.
But that is such a small part of her story. I have already detailed my side of the DNA family tree. On her mother’s side while ‘White European’ is the catchall term, my wife is a New Zealander of British and Irish descent. We joke that our daughter – with ancestry from India, Caribbean, New Zealand, and the UK – is a distillation of the former British Empire.
For my statement that I am English, I have always had one fact to latch onto to back that up: I was born in England. While my daughter is being brought up in England, she was not born here – she was born in New Zealand of dual nationality. In the UK she will always be classed a foreign born citizen – a demographic the likes of the Daily Mail often likes to trot out to illustrate how out of control immigration is (this is a demographic that also includes the likes of children of armed forces personnel born abroad – hence the high number of German born Brits in the UK).
While my daughter will probably never be assumed to be ‘Indian’ as she is very light skinned, she does look ‘mixed race’. It’s a popular look these days. There are many stars who (at first glance at least) appear to be of indeterminate ethnicity, such as Vin Deisel, Rashida Jones, Dwyane ‘The Rock’ Johnson, and Jessica Alba. But however my daughter ends up identifying herself – if indeed as anything – will her choice be questioned like my own has?
In the UK at least, I’m not sure it will. The society I live in now is very different from the one I grew up in. Seventies Britain still hadn’t grasped the concept of second generation immigrants. While it’s a term I dislike, because it still classes me as an immigrant, at least it acknowledges that children born of immigrants are culturally different from their parents.
While I don’t feel defining myself as English would be questioned in mainstream British society anymore, I continue to experience this in countries ranging from Turkey and Morocco, to New Zealand and America.
The US is a source of a great new example of the issues around the children of Asian immigrants, with the new Netflix series Master of None.
Created by & starring Aziz Ansari (Parks & Recreation), it cleverly and very funnily maps out many of the issues I have described here. Aziz is an American born comedian, whose parents emigrated to the US from India in the late seventies.
While the series tackles many topics, race and identity is one of them. Aziz (and his onscreen alter ego Dev) is an American, but others – including casting directors – still see him as an Indian first and only. For instance he derides the fact he only sees people who look like him cast as cab drivers, shop owners, and computer scientists!
America is a good decade or two behind the UK in mainstream acceptance that they have citizens of Indian descent who, despite the way they look and the funny names, are not Indian but are as American (or British) as a white person. Sometimes more so – such as my wife and I.
I haven’t really spoken to my nearly 4-year-old daughter about race that much yet. She has previously stated that she is ‘white like mummy. I responded with “No. you’re light like mummy, but brown like daddy”, which she accepts. While we live in a largely white English market town, there have been an influx of people who have moved here from London, and the racial mix is increasingly diverse. As well as white children, my daughter also has close friends who are of Chinese and Zulu descent.
I will bide my time and see what issues – if any – she has with racial identity, and empower her to discover and feel confident in who she is – whoever that may be.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam program. Our household receives free Netflix for a year and I post about how our family uses the service.
I’m a stay-at-home dad, but I also freelance from time-to-time. I am pursuing social media & writing work, as that offers family friendly flexibility, but when I am offered work in my old TV stomping grounds, I tend to accept – especially in the run up to Christmas.