While You’re Sleeping

Authored by Mick Jackson
Illustrated by John Broadley
Published by Pavillion

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While You’re Sleeping is a beautiful book to behold. Just looking over the cover, I could tell it was something quite special. With outstanding illustrations and a beautiful non-fiction text woven into a narrative, it makes a perfect bedtime read. It tells us of all the activities and events that happen every night as we sleep. From the jobs of the emergency services to the parents that are woken by little ones. It’s a warm and comforting read, that contains heaps of information, contained in few words.

This is a book that children and adults alike, will want to look over again and again. It’s a soothing book to read and highlights all those important jobs that are being done throughout the night. It would work well for KS1 classes learning about the community and studying topics like People Who Help Us. It briefly details the nocturnal animals that exist both in towns and in the countryside, so can be used to support learning about nocturnal creatures.

I, however, love this book most for the details in the artwork. The opening pages show the room where the boy is sleeping. It is filled with clues that allude to what we will find further in the book – a bat nightlight; a truck carrying food; a book open on a page that looks similar to the book being read. As we go on through the book more key details can be found, which children will be able to connect to. For example, classic book covers, such as Where The Wild Things Are, displayed in the book shop window. The illustrations are full of movement with a colour palette that conveys the night lovingly while maintaining the spirit of a bustling community, that is fully alert and a necessity to wider society.

Books like this are key in supporting children to think beyond their own little world. While You’re Sleeping provides subtle encouragement to think outside the box and asks the reader to consider how the world works beyond their immediate vision. It’s a book that will challenge perspectives and provide lots of opportunity for discussion.


Longlisted for the Klaus Flugge Prize 2021

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