Entries Tagged as 'Books & Mags'

letters to my future self

Whenever we have school holidays coming up, I always try and order at least one new book for Anya.  It’s just something I started doing a while ago but now it’s become a holiday habit.  The holidays have somehow become my prompt to get her some new books and with half term coming up next week, I went looking.  I don’t always get a story book but it can be an activity book, a joke book, an art book or anything that looks interesting and will keep her occupied for a while.

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teaching art to children

I bought The School of Art last December for Anya as she is interested in creating.  She recently picked it up which is what reminded me of what a great book this is.  Since she’s picked it up, she hasn’t been able to put it down.  If you’re interested in a tool for teaching art to children or you just have kids who love art, I haven’t come across anything better than this book.

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Pierre-the-Maze-Detective

One of the things I try and stock up on for the longer school holidays is books for Anya.  I mix it up with some new books as well as pull out old books that she hasn’t looked at for a while.  This is exactly what I did before the long Easter/Spring break.  I always try and include a few different types of books to keep her interested so I’ll maybe include a puzzle book, a story book and a joke book or a fact book.

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Alices adventures in wonderland

Recently, I was so excited to discover this gem of a book.  While Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a book we’re all very familiar with, it was finding this (fairly) rare edition that got me so excited.  One look at this book and I knew it had to be added to our shelves.

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9 must have children's books

Yay, it’s World Book Day!  What have your kids dressed up as?  We love this day so much and get excited about it from weeks before – choosing a character, planning the outfit and eventually making it.  This year Anya is going as Violet Beauregarde – our school will celebrate tomorrow so we are still putting the finishing touches on the outfit. We just got a tracksuit in a slightly larger size, dyed it violet and will stuff her up with cushions and padding to make her look like a blueberry!

To celebrate this day and our love of books I wanted to share 9 must have children’s books.  Most of these books are ideal for ages 5 – 9 years but many can be enjoyed by younger and older and they are all keepers.  We’ve got them all and I can’t rate them highly enough:

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Anna Hibiscus

February 29, 2016

Anna Hibiscus

Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa, amazing Africa… so the first story begins and many of the stories that come after.

As it’s World Book Day this week, I wanted to start the week with a book series we are loving.  We are slowly moving on from picture books, so I am always looking for interesting chapter books that still have pictures and quite big text.  We recently discovered the Anna Hibiscus series of books and they are a breath of fresh air.

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maths books for 7 year olds

Hands up, who is maths phobic?  It turns out that a lot of us parents are and that we can unintentionally pass on this math phobia to our kids.

We tend to place a lot of emphasis on language and reading.  Every parent I know reads to their kids at bedtime and usually started when their kids were babies.  But why not the same importance for maths?  If I had to choose between the two, I would say that maths is a more important skill to understand and feel confident about.  I’ve read a lot recently about this and it really resonated with me.  Up till now Anya has loved and enjoyed maths but recently she started struggling with the concept of division and I started hearing phrases like ‘I can’t do it’ and ‘I just don’t understand’.  That’s when I went hunting for a maths book for kids to help make maths more fun for her.

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best picture book series

When I find a good picture book I end up buying a few copies to give as birthday gifts too.  Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam is one of these picture books that is just delightful.   Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam are a pair of robber dogs.  In the dead of night they creep around town with big plans to rob banks, book shops and bike shops.  But… they are hopeless robbers!  After one too many failed grand plans, Shifty McGifty & Slippery Sam realise that crime doesn’t pay but cupcakes do!  The book is written in rhyming text and is a sweet and funny little story with a simple moral take out. The illustrations are playful and fun and this book is equally great to read to kids or let 5+ readers read by themselves.

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best nature books for kids

Are your kids in to myths and facts?   My seven year old is obsessed with them so we have recently made up a dinner table game called ‘myth or fact?’.  We each take a turn to come up with a statement and the others have to guess whether it’s a myth or a fact.  The statement can be about anything, any subject, any topic – the challenge lies in coming up with facts that sound like myths and vice versa.  It’s really fun seeing what Anya will say as she sometimes comes up with things that neither Richard or I are sure whether it’s a myth or a fact.   And other times her statements are so random, they are hilarious! She gets some of her info from one of her current favourite books –  The Amazing Human Body Detectives  – that I wrote about last year.

bug detective book

That book was such a hit in our home and yours (so many readers emailed me to say they had bought it and their kids loved it too) that when I discovered the other book in this series I had to get it for Anya and of course share it with you.  Called Bug Detective: Amazing facts, myths and quirks of nature – this Bug Detective book is packed with interesting facts and myths about bugs, insects and minibeasts.  Did you know that worms don’t have lungs or that ladybirds have poisonous knees?  Or if you weighed all the ants in the world, they would weigh more than humans (wow, that I did not know!).  All the info is presented in a fun and engaging way with great illustrations. There is a lot of info on each page but it’s broken up in to bite sized chunks making it easy for kids to read and understand.

bug detective book maggie li

The Bug Detective book also comes with a magnifying glass so kids can search for the extra, often tiny, details on some of the pages – making it even more fun to read.  I highly recommend it especially for inquisitive kids who will devour this book and spend hours buried in it!  If you’re in the US, you can find the book here and in the UK find it here.

Ganesha's sweet tooth

What are your six and seven year olds reading at the moment?   Have they started enjoying chapter books or do they still love their picture books too?  My seven year old is starting to enjoy chapter books, but she still loves her picture books.  After finishing a chapter book I notice she always goes back to picking up a handful of her picture books and none more often than this one.

best picture books for 5 year olds

I think Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth is one of her favourite picture books which I realised I hadn’t shared here. Once you see the book, it’s not hard to see why kids would love it so much.  The story is simple and sweet. Ganesha is just like any other kid except he has the head of an elephant and he rides around on a little magical mouse.  And like most kids, he loves sweets.  When his sweet tooth gets the better of him, he is unable to resist a super jumbo jawbreaker laddoo (an Indian sweet).  As he bites in to it his tusk breaks off. With the help of a wise poet and his mouse friend, Ganesha learns that what seems broken at first can be quite useful after all. Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth is loosely based on a classic Indian tale but the author has reinvented the story in to something funny, sweet and engaging for kids.

Ganesha's Sweet Tooth

While it’s a sweet story, it’s the illustrations that really stand out.  The pages are bursting with colour and the illustrations are so detailed making the characters come to life.  It’s hard not to fall for this book, no matter what age but I think it’s a must have picture book for 4-7 year olds.  What are your kids reading at the moment?  I’m always looking out for unusual and interesting kids books so I would love to know in the comments.

UK readers can find Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth here but if you’re in the US, find it here.

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