Reviews /

The Spaces In Between

Authored by Jaspreet Kaur
Illustrated by Manjit Thapp
Published by Templar Publishing

Tagged , , , ,

The Spaces In Between has been deservedly included in Empathy Lab’s 2024 Read for Empathy selection. Jaspreet Kaur was a shy and introverted child who draws on her experiences of growing up in a busy, bustling city to support children who may find busy spaces overwhelming. Living through the pandemic has resulted in more young people than ever before suffering from mental health problems and The Spaces In Between is a book that will help expand children’s understanding of, and language to describe, emotions.

The front cover captures the hustle and bustle of city life with people, pets and vehicles jostling for space. Look closely and you will spot an artist painting, a child reading and a lady watering the plants in her window box. The opening pages acknowledge the feelings of panic and anxiety that can be sparked by being in the city. These feelings build for the young girl until they reach a crescendo in a powerful double page spread where she covers her ears as coloured waves radiate from her whole body. The reader is then guided through pages which show how we can find quieter spaces and moments of solace even in the busiest of surroundings. There are parks and museums, libraries and buses which all provide respite from crowded noisy streets. It is a beautiful celebration of city life and, as well as being a wonderful book to help children who want to find relief from busy places, it also will educate those who have not experienced city life to understand there it offers more than congested and built-up spaces. Manjit Thapp’s illustrations are a delight and paint a deeply affectionate portrait of London. The final double page spread is beautiful, showing the girl asleep in her cosy room with the curtains open as if she is welcoming and accepting the city into her life. Jaspreet Kaur’s rhyming text offers reassurance to the reader as well as a lovely read aloud experience. The Mindfulness in the City tips at the end of the book are perfect to share with children (and adults).

The Spaces In Between is a book that would make a lovely addition to any classroom whether it is in a city or not. It could be added to a mindfulness collection and potentially used to support learning in geography about cities. I would recommend it for EYFS and Key Stage One but found it a wonderfully affirming read as an adult too.

Empathy Lab Read for Empathy 2024 Collection