Entries Tagged as 'Books & Mags'

intricate colouring books for adults

As you probably know, adult colouring books have become really popular in the last year or so.  There have been many detailed and intricate colouring books popping up all over the place.  The whole ‘adult colouring revolution’ has kind of passed me by as I never even considered trying it out.  In December Anya was gifted Animal Kingdom – A Colouring Book Adventure for her birthday.  I barely glanced at it until Anya asked me to colour with her.  She often asks me to do this with her but up to now it’s been with her kiddy colouring books which I would colour in for about 5 minutes and lose interest.

Once I started colouring in this book, I couldn’t stop.  I loved it!  I think it re-awakened the inner child in me but yet it was so much more interesting to colour than a regular kids colouring book.  And not only me but Anya is loving this book too.  Even though these books are sold more as adult colouring books, I think they are for any age over around 5 years old.  When I first saw it I thought the patterns may be a bit too intricate for Anya but I was wrong. In fact it’s the minute details that capture her attention and mine.

colouring books for adults

I think the best thing about the Animal Kingdom colouring book for me was that it was a shared activity that both Anya and I enjoyed doing together.  No screens, no distractions, no thinking – just me and Anya colouring together and chatting a lot.  We both switched off from the world around us and were immersed in colouring and talking about anything and everything.  So much so that when it was time to go out for lunch, neither of us wanted to leave and we even started thinking up excuses to cancel our plans!

Have you got one of these books?  If not, do you think you will give colouring a go in 2016?

best books for kids aged 7 years

Books are my favourite gifts to give kids.  For birthdays, for Christmas gifts, for any occasion at all.   With so many fabulous kids books out there, it’s not hard to find the perfect book for any child.  Here I’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite books – some of which we already have and others that are on our wish list. I’ve mixed up the selection to include picture books, art books, activity books, educational books and more.

Anya’s Christmas gifts always include books and usually a selection of different types like the ones I’ve suggested here. The one that I am looking most forward to buying her this Xmas is The School of Art which I have browsed through and it looks great not just for kids but for adults too.  The books I’ve picked are for a range of ages from toddlers to 10 year olds so there’s something for everyone.  The ages though are just rough guides, not set in stone.

Here are my best kids books gift suggestions for this year:

Continue Reading "Ebabee Christmas gift guide 2015: Books"

the amazing human body detectives

Lately Anya has been asking a lot of questions about the human body and how it works.  Her questions were becoming more and more involved and I didn’t have the answers.  But she was really curious to know more so I did what I always do – I went looking for a book.  I didn’t want a really serious book with anatomical diagrams which would be boring and too complex for a 6 year old but most of the books I came across were like this.  So I continued looking and then I found The Amazing Human Body Detectives.

best human body books for kids

The Amazing Human Body Detectives is a fab little book packed with interesting facts about the body.  The facts are shared in a fun and engaging way and the drawings are also playful and colourful.  Each double page spread focuses on one part of the body so you have spreads on the brain, teeth and bone, muscles and many more. There are facts as well as myths which are all shown in bite-size chunks so it’s easy for kids to read by themselves.  The book comes with a mini magnifying glass and then suggests ways in which a child can use it. There is also an interactive side where the book suggests experimenting with things like tasting food while holding your nose or looking inside your mouth and seeing what’s in there.

human body books for 5 year olds

Ever since we’ve had the book, Anya picks it up and reads out lots of interesting facts to me like a ‘sneeze releases 100,000 germs in to the air’ and ‘only 2% of the world population has green eyes’.  Lots of these facts have fascinated me too as I didn’t know them and so I’ve really enjoyed this book too.  Even if your child hasn’t shown much interest in the human body, I think The Amazing Human Body Detectives is a great little book to have on your shelf.  It’s perfect for 5-7 year olds as they can read it themselves and then come and tell you all that they’ve found out!

{All photos by ebabee. Anya wears floral mint pyjamas by the ebabee shop}

Evolution a colouring book for kids

We love colouring in this house.  Anya of course loves it but she often asks me to colour with her and I find it quite therapeutic.  Recently, while on holiday during half-term, Anya even got Richard involved and the three of us spent a rainy afternoon colouring (who said we don’t know how to live!).  As with story books, I try and look out for fun, unusual and unique colouring books and this one called Evolution: A Colouring Book is exactly that.  It’s Anya’s current favourite (and mine!).

unique colouring books

Evolution is a colouring book as well as a book on evolution.  As a colouring book it’s interactive with flaps, die-cuts, stencils and mix and match pages and then you have the text on Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. The facts are presented simply so it’s ideal for kids especially 6-8 year olds.  Anya has been asking a lot of questions on evolution lately and this book is a great introduction to the concept.  But the fact that it’s an interactive colouring book too makes it even more engaging for a child.  It’s unusual to find a colouring book that teaches and is interactive and that’s why I love Evolution as it is so much more than just a coloring book.  This book would make a great gift too especially with Christmas coming up. 

how to encourage kids to read more

I’ve often wondered whether reading is a nature or nurture thing.  Are some kids born to be avid readers while others naturally shun books or can good reading habits be instilled in to kids?  I don’t know the scientific answer to this but I personally believe that kids can be encouraged to enjoy and love books.  And once you reach that magical place where you can’t live without books, there is no going back.  I’ve become conscious of this recently as I can see that Anya enjoys reading but she won’t go and pick up a book herself and start reading too often.  So as we’re on half-term holidays and we have more time, I’ve been thinking of ways to encourage her to read more.  My aim isn’t to develop her reading skills as that will naturally happen, but my goal  is very much to get her to fall in love with books.  I’ve been trying a few things and I thought I would share some of my tips on encouraging kids to read more:

1.  Lead by example – there is no better way.  Kids don’t do what they are told, they are much more likely to do what they see you do.  Since it’s the holidays, Anya’s bedtime is much later than normal (no routines here in the holidays!) so I sometimes go to bed with her and I lie next to her and read.  I read every single night anyway but she doesn’t see me do it so the holidays seem like the perfect opportunity to show her.  Now I’ve noticed that she asks if she can read too and often will get herself a book.

2.  We’ve started visiting the local and school library where Anya can look at the books and she will always sit down and start reading.  The best bit about the library is of course that she gets to choose which books she wants to take home and that encourages her to really check out the books on offer.  

3.  We spend a lot of time in bookshops – Even though bookshops are so much rarer these days (makes me so sad) you can usually find one.  We have a Waterstones near us so often go for lunch and then spend the afternoon at Waterstones.  It helps that our Waterstones has an area dedicated to kids with seating and lots of toys and books.  I could easily while away a whole day in a book shop and I’m glad Anya is enjoying spending time there too.

4. Read to them – Every.single.night.  No exceptions.  Of course we all have nights where we don’t feel like reading or have other pressing stuff to do or are just too tired.  But if you make it an absolute must do, you will do it every night.  I love our night reading time where Anya gets to choose the books, although to keep my sanity intact (at least what’s left of it) I have a rule of not reading the same book twice in the same week!  Besides, the years of reading to kids are so short so why not make the most of it.

5. Ask them to read to you – once your kids are at a reading age, they’re going to love reading to you.  Kids love pretending to be the adult so it becomes a little game.  Once in a while I ask Anya to read to me and she loves it.  And not just to me – when she has younger friends and cousins over, if I suggest it, she will happily read to them.  And when the older ones come, they love reading to her.  

6. Buy as many books as you can and involve your kids in the choosing of the books .  Even though kids books can be expensive, I would much rather spend the money on books than on those ridiculously priced kids magazines or cheap plastic toys.  I’ve started setting up a wish list on amazon for Anya and we go through the list together and she chooses the books she wants.  If you’re looking for recommendations, I usually share the best kids books I come across here, so you can browse my book section if you’d like to.

7.  Last, buy different kinds of books as you never know what will appeal most.  While fabulous fictional stories are a given, there are so many other types of books out there.  From biographies (there are some fab ones for kids out there), atlases, kids poetry books, art books, even joke books – the list goes on.  One of my absolute must have books is this kids atlas.  It’s something Anya keeps referring back to and really enjoys exploring and discovering more places.  And we have a Roald Dahl joke book which I think any kid would devour!

These are a few things I’m doing to encourage reading but I’d love to hear your tips too.

Have a wonderful weekend x

{photo by ebabee, t-shirts by wild boys & girls}

chapter books with lots of pictures

While there are lots of fabulous kids picture books out there, I have not had too much luck finding fun chapter books for kids, especially ones with lots of pictures.  Anya is at that age (6 years) where picture books are still of interest to her but she could do with longer stories and more text to develop her reading.  Recently I stumbled across The Beast in My Belly and it was just the kind of book I had been looking for.  It’s a short chapter book for kids with most chapters no longer than a page or two but it also has lots of fun pictures on every page.  At 6, kids still really engage with pictures and like to look at them alongside reading the text and this book has plenty of both.  Besides which it is a great little story too.

chapter books for kids with pictures

Rumble, rumble, rumble!  It’s that noisy tummy rumbling feeling we all get when we’re hungry.  We’ve all experienced it but what happens when you’re a small child and don’t know why it’s happening?  What could it possibly be?  The Beast in my Belly is a funny chapter book about how far a child’s imagination can go when they’re trying to figure out something they’ve never experienced before.  The little girl in the book imagines all sorts of things that could be happening inside her belly each time it rumbles.  She is convinced there is something sinister inside her belly and tries to tell the adults in her life but of course none of them believe her.  The illustrations are quirky and unusual and really bring the book to life.  The colours they’ve used in the drawings are stunning too.

chapter books with pictures

The Beast in My Belly is a great short chapter book for kids around 5-7 years old to read to themselves.  But it’s also a fun book to read out loud to younger kids.  It’s great for plenty of giggles with lots of cute drawings and it’s just a sweet little book which we have thoroughly enjoyed.

captain coconut and the case of the missing bananas

One of my favourite places to discover new and unusual kids books is in museum shops especially here in the UK and in the US.  You can find real gems that you wouldn’t easily come across elsewhere.  Last week we visited Tate Modern and after admiring the art I made a beeline for the shop.  I barely glanced at the adult collections, knowing that I was here to check out the kids books which didn’t disappoint.  There were loads of fabulous books some of which I had already come across but many others that I was delighted to discover.  I could have bought about 20 books but I had to hold back.  There was one though that I couldn’t resist and that was Captain Coconut & the case of the missing bananas.

funny books for 6 year oldsCaptain Coconut and the Case of the Missing Bananas is such a fun kids book – full of laugh out loud humour that kids (and adults) will love.  Captain Coconut is a detective who is called in to solve the mind-boggling case of the missing bananas.  But Captain Coconut is no ordinary dectective – he has a brain as fast as lightening or so he thinks.  Mrs Y is distraught as she bought 14 bananas and 4 of these were eaten by her and her family.  The next morning, instead of finding 10 bananas, there were only 6!  Where have those 4 missing bananas gone?  So Captain Coconut arrives and goes about solving the mystery with lots of silliness, fun and entertainment for the reader.  Beyond the fun there are also some simple maths puzzles (about the disappearing bananas) that kids will enjoy solving with Captain Coconut.  The graphic illustrations are so artistic and colourful using collage style art and there are lots of them so there’s plenty to look at on each page too.

best books for 6 year olds

Anya adored this book and after we had read it together, she went off to read it by herself.  Every so often I would hear her laughing out loud.  It’s a book that is ideal to read to younger kids and but also great for slightly older kids to read by themselves – like around 6-7 years.  Captain Coconut and the Case of the Missing Bananas is the first book in this series but there are more cases coming soon – I can’t wait.  This book is such a joy so if you are looking for something fun and a little bit different, then do check it out.

tate modern art activity book kids

During the Summer holidays do you plan an outing everyday for your kids?  I don’t because I think it’s important for kids to have unstructured play time.  By that I mean simply spending time at home and letting them use their imaginations to just play.  By planning too many activities and trying to fill every minute of their time, I think kids lose the ability for creative play.  So at our house, we tend to mix it up – a few planned outings each week and lots of home time in between.  For home time I like to have a few things up my sleeve to help keep Anya occupied and one of her favourite things to do is work her way through a kids activity book.

tate gallery books for kids

I recently came across this really fun and creative activity book called Tate kids Modern Art activity book and it sounded really good so I bought it.  It’s by the Tate Gallery and includes lots of fun activities based around the modern artists of out time.   This book isn’t about drawing and colouring within the book, but its a book of arty ideas that can help you come up with even more creative and fun ideas.  Some of the suggestions would also make fun party or play date activities especially for crafty kids.  So for e.g. you have things like a Henri Matisse activity where you’re encouraged to paint pieces of paper in the brightest, boldest colours like Matisse’s famous colourful collages and perhaps make an animal shaped collage of your own.  Or a Salvador Dali art project where you cut out pictures from magazines and then mix and match the most unlikely pairs.

art activity books for childrenbest art activity book for kids

Anya is really enjoying this Tate Kids Modern Art Activity Book which comes in especially handy when we don’t have a planned day and also on rainy days.  The collage activities have appealed to her the most so far.  Our home is already full of all kinds of collages and we’ve only had the book a few days.  But there are lots of other fun ideas in this kids activity book all of which are engaging, creative and fun to do.

{all photos by ebabee}

Larry and Friends

July 6, 2015

chidren's bookson immigration

One of the best things about living in London has to be the diversity of the people and cultures.  London is full of immigrants from all over the world living alongside native British people too.  I too am not from here – I’m from India but now London is my home.  In London you can experience culture, food, art and language from almost anywhere in the world and that is just special.  Not that many cities can boast such a diverse range of people but there is one other that immediately comes to mind and that is New York City.  Maybe it’s even more diverse than London if that’s possible and it’s another city I love for this reason.  So I was absolutely delighted to receive a kids book last week called Larry and Friends that celebrates exactly this aspect of city life.

childrens books on immigration to America

Larry and Friends by Nat Jasper and Carla Torres is a children’s book on immigration and all that is great about it. It is set in New York but it could be London or any other big, multi-cultural city.  The book is about Larry the dog who is born and bred in NYC but his group of friends are from all over the world.  Larry is celebrating his birthday and one by one his animal friends arrive at his party.  As each friend arrives we get a little insight in to their lives – where they are from, what they do and how they ended up making NYC their home away from their native countries.  His friends come from Peru, India, Korea, Iran, Tibet, Puerto Rico and lots more places but are all now living in NYC.  There isn’t a typical story as such but each character has a little back story of their own.  And the illustrations are colourful and so detailed and all done in a beautiful painting like style.

childrens picture books on immigrationchildren's bookson immigration

Anya really enjoyed this book and picked it up to read by herself too.  She didn’t immediately get the significance of the animal friends from all over the world but we ended up chatting about how some people leave their native countries to settle somewhere else.  It was an interesting conversation and we talked about how London is one of those kind’s of cities.  She has friends from Pakistan, Lebanon and China so this made the book even more relevant.  While this children’s book celebrates immigration, diversity and friendship, it also subtly puts across little life messages like it’s always important to be yourself, you can overcome adversity, knowledge is to be shared and more.  Larry and Friends is a lovely, happy and uplifting book on a topic that I think we need to see more of in kids books.  Unfortunately it’s not that easily available outside the US but you can order from there although shipping is expensive.

P.S. If you are looking for more kids book recommendations you might enjoy these:
Maps
What do you do with an Idea?
Once upon an Alphabet

what do you do with an idea picturebook

What do you do with an idea?  How many times have you let an idea slip by just because people told you it wouldn’t work?  I know that I have pushed aside ideas many times because people have laughed at it or because I didn’t believe enough in myself to pursue it.  We all have ideas, big and small, but often we are scared of them and don’t know what to do with them.  Will people laugh at our idea, will they think it’s weird or worse will they think we’re weird?  Do we have the determination and confidence to develop it?  This kids book called What Do You Do with an Idea? is all about an idea and what can happen when you have one.  It’s written in a very simple, easy to understand way for kids with beautifully simple drawings to match.

childrens books that promote self confidence

What Do You Do With An Idea is a kids book that is just as much for adults.  It’s a great reminder for any age that ideas are to be treasured, nurtured and believed in but more than the idea, it’s also about believing in yourself and having the confidence to look beyond the meanies who try and put you and your idea down.

what do you do with an idea kobi yamada

I bought this book a couple of weeks ago and read it to Anya expecting her to love it just as much as I did.  She didn’t.  She didn’t dislike the book but I think she didn’t fully get it.  This book is recommended for three years and over but I think for younger kids it’s a cute picture book but not much more beyond that.  Even for Anya who is six, I think we need to talk about the book a bit more for her to fully appreciate it.  But don’t let that put you off as this book as it’s a keeper.  What Do You Do with an Idea? is a book to pull out whenever you or your kids are struggling with an idea and self-belief.  I am so glad I bought the book and will be keeping it and bringing it out every so often to read to Anya and I know she will appreciate it more in time, especially as she gets older and maybe starts having more doubts about things.

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