Any parent will know that getting children to brush their teeth can be a difficult task. Dentist Alex Rushworth has created the Sugarbugs and written Open Wide….What’s Inside? which is beautifully illustrated by Helen Rushworth. Heartbroken at the amount of dental decay she has witnessed amongst children during her work in paediatric dentistry, Alex decided to write the book in the hope of spreading the message of good dental care and therefore reducing the amount of painful extractions necessary in young children. 30% of 5-14 have dental decay and tooth extraction is the most common reason for children to have general anesthesia.
I won’t beat about the bush – the book is designed to deliver a particularly gross and revolting message about what Sugarbugs (know as Streptococcus mutans in real life!) will do to your teeth if you don’t brush them properly. There were positive howls of disgust as I read the book to my youngest two children. They are very good about brushing their teeth, but had they been reluctant brushers then this most certainly would have done the trick!
A lot of thought has gone into the design of the book. Its is available in two sizes – a storybook size and a smaller version which is perfect for schools to purchase to give away as part of a dental health topic. Like its author Alex I can see huge benefits to using this as a teaching resource and it would be brilliant to see it in dentists waiting rooms – the perfect story to keep your children occupied whilst they wait for their checkup!
We are donating a copy of Open Wide…. What’s Inside? to a local nursery so they can learn about the Sugarbugs important message. It is available to purchase in our bookstore.
This book has a very Christmassy feel to it and so it was lovely to read at this time of year as Christmas is starting to be talked about by everyone. The Reindeer Girl by Holly Webb tells the story of a girl who has Norwegian family including a very old great- grandmother whose family used to be reindeer herders. Lotta goes to visit her family as part of birthday celebrations for her great grandmother. The story gives a detailed sense of Norwegian Christmas culture and then as the story switches into dream mode and Lotta goes back in time to join her family herding reindeer there is lots of information about the culture of the Sami Tribe. I loved the way bond between Lotta and her Great Grandmother strengthens as the story progresses, proving family ties can surpass cultural and generational differences.
This book would be a great approach to work in the classroom with a Christmas element but the added bonus of learning about another culture. There are excellent sections at the back of the book – a comprehensive glossary, information about Reindeers and about the migration of the Sami Tribe. A complete min topic is possible from this book – it would be great for home educators and highly recommend it.
We will be donating our copy of The Reindeer Girl to a school library – we have copies available to buy in our bookstore as well as lots more books from the brilliant Little Tiger Press who published The Reindeer Girl.
Russ recently went to launch a new book for Cafod who do some fantastic books and teaching resources for children:
I was recently lucky enough to work with 50 infant pupils from St Teresa’s Catholic primary school in Preston who joined CAFOD for a special launch event of A Day With Musa –CAFOD’s brand new book for children.
I presented the book and used it to help them learn about life in Bangladesh from the point of view of a young boy called Musa. The book, aimed at 4- 7 year olds, follows a typical day in the life of Bangladeshi schoolboy, looking at the beauty and vibrancy of life in Bangladesh through colourful images, and encourages an understanding of the wider world.
After the reading, the children took part in a number of activity stations designed to help them learn more about some of the themes in the book, such as how water is precious, what transport is like, and they had the opportunity to play a traditional Bangladesh game.
Cafod do a lot of fundraising, and the event was an excellent way to show the children examples of how the money they raise is being spent and the people it helps.”
A Day with Musa Review
A day with Musa takes us on a journey of an ordinary day for an ordinary child in Bangladesh. It raises the simple question of how are we different, while cleverly showing children how fundamentally we are all the same, regardless of skin, language or belief.
The book is simple in its delivery and that is what makes it so accessible on all levels. Teachers can adapt the questioning from simple “what do you see?” type questions to much deeper and philosophical questioning such as “why do we think this is different?” As well as using the fantastic direct questions on each page.
A day with Musa can be used in class in a variety of ways, I found it easiest to section the book as individual events within the “day” we took two pages a day over a school week and shared it with the children. Raising the questions of what’s different and similar constantly. The book lends itself to exposing simple diversity that even the youngest of children can see. When I use the book again I may even consider having a Musa day, whereby we undertake our normal school day but run Musa’s day alongside ours in “real time” this reinforces to the children the things different cultures take for granted.
I initially thought the topics of school and religion may have been the pages to promote most talk, however within my class the animals, games and transport were the hands down winners!
This big book is perfect to convey the beauty, colour and diversity associated with this wonderful country. It highlights these in a simple and vibrant way. The questioning is open ended and is a perfect way for this big book to promote big talk. Children will love the large colour photographs which transport us, the reader, to everyday life in Bangladesh. The similarities and differences between the UK are almost limitless. This big book is a must for any KS1 class or community group, its uses are as diverse as its contents.
This big book should be used within school to promote positive thinking towards differences, yes we may look different, yes we may not eat the same way, play the same way, worship the same way and live the same way, but diversity should be embraced as fundamentally we are all exactly the same. The promotion of this at as young an age as possible is surely a great thing.
A day with Musa is available to buy now from Matthew James Publishers: £12.50 for the big book including activities that span the curriculum, and £4.50 for the small book including children’s activities for at home.
When I was a child hanging around the house bored at the weekend, my Mum would always tell me to go read a book. To be honest, here was nothing else to do. We only had one television, I hated playing outside, wasn’t into drawing – no internet then – so I read. Visits to the library were frequent – every Saturday myself and my sister would head off down there and haul back a huge pile of books. I was a fast reader and liked nothing better than to go into the “grownup section’ of the library and chose a really long book. On a Sunday I read all day – read the Sunday papers from cover to cover and then hid myself away in a corner of our noisy house and escaped into a book.
These days kids have so many more things competing for their time and attention. Younger children have the endless channels of kids tv and more toys than I would have thought possible to own as a young child. As children get a bit older, other activities and a seemingly constant stream of ”play dates” etc can get in the way of finding time to read outside of the dreaded school reading scheme book. Visits to the library are something I have to consciously make time for with my children. Our house is full of books though and my librarian mum brings books every time she comes to visit. We all love reading.
So E-books? What do we think about this format for children’s books? Does the ebook format do anything to promote reading amongst screen obsessed kids?
I read an interesting feature by the National Literacy Trust which did research that found that children are for the first time reading more on screen, than in actual physical books. It went on to say that children who read mainly on screen are likely to be worse readers than children who read mainly from books and are significantly less likely to enjoy reading. I find this interesting in that we have two kindles in our house loaded with children’s books. My children offered a choice, always go for a real book – when I asked them why they say ” it’s a real book – it’s nicer” ”I like turning the pages over.” I do read books on a screen – kindle and ipad, but I really don’t like the electronic format as much as a physical book. There is one exception. An interactive children’s ipad book can be really amazing. Ibooks are a good way to capture children’s imagination, a different and exciting format to be used alongside real books.
It’s good news I feel that real books will continue to have place in our homes and classrooms - at least for now.
We are featuring another lovely children’s picture book from Little Tiger Press today. Little Tiger Press have an excellent website which is well worth spending time browsing. There are features about their children’s authors as well as a section with teaching resources for use by both parents and teachers. Competitions, downloads and games are also available.
Today’s book is It’s Mine by Tracey Corderoy and Caroline Pedler. First impressions were great – the illustrations are adorable. The cover is a brilliant blast of colour and this book has an extra special feature which my son absolutely loved. It’s Mine tells the story of two bears who both want to play with the same toy. The toy is a cute stripy tiger and although this is a traditional paperback picture book, the tiger toy in every illustration has been given a raised flocked effect which is soft to the touch. Even after the story had been read to him twice George sat for many more minutes running his fingers over the soft tigers on each page.
This simple but endearing story is perfect for 3- 5 year olds. It builds upon scenarios children will recognise to introduce the theme of sharing. It is beautifully illustrated with some captivating expressions depicted on the little bears faces. Perfect for the bookshelf in any infant classroom and would make a fab Christmas gift too.
We have a copy of It’s Mine to give away. If you would like to be entered into the draw to be in with a chance of adding this lovely book to your bookshelf then tell us via the form below what was your favourite childhood toy? By entering you will also receive our weekly newsletter.
We are delighted to be working with Little Tiger Press this week to bring you some fabulous books. You can find out more about LIttle Tiger Group at www.littletiger.co.uk. Today I review If You Meet A Dinosaur by Paul Bright and Hannah George. The book is available to buy in our bookstore and we also have a copy to giveaway so enter the draw!
Meg Mummisaurus has laid an egg!
But how can she keep it safe from….
a whopping Waggosaurus
a stomping Clomposuarus
and a bumbling, stumbling, Dozysaurus?
The first thing I loved about If you Meet a Dinosaur was the blast of vibrant colour that greeted my eyes when I pulled the book out of the package that Little Tiger Press had sent me. The cover has an embossed finish too which brings out the vibrancy of Hannah George’s illustrations. My three year old son George grabbed the book and demanded I read it to him straight away – another sure fire sign that this is book is a winner. So what did we think?
We read about a group of cute and entertaining dinosaurs who try to protect a dinosaur egg whilst they wait for it to hatch. There is a brilliant twist to the story at the end and a fold out poster style illustration on the last page which kids always love to see in books. As George said “Wow a massive page!”
The story swings along with fabulous use of rhyme and alliteration. Whenever I was choosing a book to read to the class as an infant teacher I always liked to look for books with “bits that the kids can join in with” and the same when choosing for my own children. There is nothing better than a book which allows kids to be really involved with the story even though it is being read to them. The illustrations are just hilarious with speech bubbles of “Watch were you’re … ” perfect for children to chant.
All time great books like We’re all Going On a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury have always been read by teachers to classes this way and of course by Mums and Dads too. I would place this book in the same category of “fab stories to join in with”. We just loved it!
If you would like to be in with a chance to win a copy of If You Meet A Dinosaur then enter your email below. You will also receive our newsletter but rest assured we hate spam as much as you do so we never pass your details on.
Today we take a look at the Bookstrust Top 25 books for 9-11 year olds. This list makes for very interesting reading. Certainly the amount a book has earned an author has not been a deciding factor in the rankings as Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone which earned J K Rowling a huge amount of money is only at number 22. There are some of my own personal favourites on the list. Swallows and Amazons and Private Peaceful would definitely be in my Top ten for this age group. So take a look and then tweet @russbrownauthor or @mammapolitico on Twitter or leave a comment on the blog – we’d love to know what you think!
So here they are – all of these books are available to buy now in our bookstore.
1. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aitken
2. Skellig by David Almond
3. Carries War by Nina Bawden
4. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
5. Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce
6. The Witches by Roald Dahl
7. Matilda by Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake
8. Flour Babies by Anne Fine
9. Once by Morris Gleitzman
10. The Adventures of Tintin by Herge
11. Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson
12. Stig of the Dump by Clive King
13. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
14. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
15. Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo
16. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
17. The Borrowers by Mary Norton
18. Truckers by Terry Pratchett
19. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
20. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling
21. Holes by Louis Sachar
22. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
23. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield
24. The Hobbit by J R Tolkien
25. The Story of Tracey Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson
Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
If ever there was a book which will be enjoyed over and over again it is Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers. We have a copy of the pop up edition in our house and my youngest child asks for it reading time after time. This endearing story of a little boy and a penguin is a timeless classic.
The little boy finds a penguin on his doorstep one day and thinks that the penguin looks sad.
He wants to help the penguin be happy again so he sets off to take the penguin home to the South Pole. They endure an epic journey and get to know each other along the way. The pop up version, with paper engineering by Corinna Fletcher, is just amazing as the sea page shows the pop ups really bring the book to life.
The theme of friendship runs through the book, with a wonderful twist at the end. Do consider this brilliant book as a gift for someone you love this Christmas – it’s really lovely.