Mum works really hard, but today there is no money left and no food in the cupboards. Forced to visit the local foodbank, Mum feels ashamed that they have to rely on the kindness of others, but her young daughter can still see all the good in her day like reading and drawing, and even the foodbank. Maybe one day things will be different but for now together they brighten up even the darkest of days.
A moving insight into the sad rise and necessity of foodbanks from the perspective of society's most vulnerable, and an essential book to help develop empathy in younger readers.
Reviewed by Rachel Elvidge
It’s a No-Money Day is such an important book, and one that I feel passionately should be in every classroom.
The unnamed little girl, in this beautifully illustrated story, wakes up hungry. She has the last piece of toast (luckily her mum isn’t hungry…) and sets about enjoying her day. Today is a no-money day, but it’s certainly not a do-nothing day. She enjoys going to the library, browsing the charity shops and making a pretend cat called Janet. Last port of call is the food bank, which upsets mum, but delights our little heroine, as she gets squash and a biscuit (although she does wish they had her favourite cereal…).
This story shines with positivity and with dignity and articulates an experience which many children have, but which is rarely portrayed in books. This reality must be reflected as a normal part of life, particularly in a book aimed at younger children. Most primary classes contain children who sometimes rely on food banks to eat. Through this story, a way is cleared for children and adults to speak about this kind of experience without shame.
The illustrations sympathetically show how stressful the hard-working mum is sometimes finding life, even as the text fizzes with her little daughter’s enthusiasm. But mum is a quiet, loving presence throughout, and a source of joy and fun for her daughter. It’s a No-Money Day is not a bleak book.
Kate Milner has created a poignant and empathetic storybook that shines a light on a subject that should concern us all. Unmissable.