Guest Post: Monika Singh Gangotra, Author of Sunflower Sisters

Monika Singh Gangotra is the author of Sunflower Sisters, a powerful picture book which tackles colourism in the South Asian community. Here she talks about her own experiences and why it’s important for children to have access to books about difficult topics.

“Colourism is an issue that has followed me throughout my whole life and continues to do so to ALL South Asians in some way. With a deep-rooted history related to colonialism and caste, colourism has become incredibly engrained in the way South Asians view beauty and success. South Asian pop culture is saturated in colourism and our exposure and ideology is incredibly high. As I began to work in the beauty industry, what I was taught to believe about what is beautiful became incongruent with what I saw and felt for myself. And I wanted to create change. I feel social change is incredibly powerful through children and it is our responsibility as adults to help steer them in the direction of love.

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Doorstep Library:
The #WhereDoWordsTakeYOU? Summer Reading Campaign

To celebrate their 10th birthday Doorstep Library have launched the #WhereDoWordsTakeYOU? summer reading campaign, encouraging people to share their reading journeys.

They want to get children and adults everywhere, to tell them what exciting places they go to when they read. This could be a journey in a story, or a journey in life – it’s entirely up to you!

The #WhereDoWordsTakeYOU campaign is backed by a number of leading children’s authors, including Cressida Cowell, Children’s Laureate and author of the How to Train Your Dragon series.

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Behind the Scenes with Sarah Dennis,
Award-Winning Paper Artist & Illustrator

Sarah Dennis is an award-winning paper artist and illustrator whose work combines traditional paper-cutting techniques with collage. An extraordinary artistic talent, Sarah has previously worked with BBC Four, Tatler, The Guardian and Gosh Arts.

Since 2015, Sarah has teamed up with small-but-mighty UK children’s publisher b small publishing to create a series of beautifully intricate search and find books – ANIMAL CAMOUFLAGE, FOOD CHAINS: WHO EATS WHAT? and ENDANGERED ANIMALS. Alongside Sarah’s illustrations, these three books contain essential facts and knowledge about animals, the environment, and the beautiful natural world around us.

Here, Sarah tells us a little about the process behind her work!

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The Importance of Learning Through Play

Georgina Durrant is a private tutor for children with special educational needs and the author of ‘100 Ways Your Child Can Learn Through Play’. Here she talks about the importance of play and how families can use it to help children develop new skills.

“Over the course of the pandemic there’s been a lot of concern over children, in particular those with Special Educational Needs, missing out academically and whilst this may be true, I strongly believe that we need also to focus on the fact that children have also missed out on play. Playing with friends, playing outside, playing with grandparents, playing at their friend’s house…the list goes on. And whilst play might be seen as something trivial it’s actually imperative for children’s well-being and their development of important skills. I’d go as far as saying that for young children, play is learning.

Play is everything, it’s squishing play dough and in turn developing those important fine motor skills that help them learn how to write. It’s walking and balancing on that fallen log in the park and learning how to take risks and finesse their gross motor skills. And it’s falling out with a friend over  who has the best sequins for their craft and learning those really important social skills and language/communication skills.

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My Daddies
by Gareth Peter & Garry Parsons

We are totally besotted with this beautiful rhyming story about a little girl, her two daddies and their shared love of stories.

Every day this little family read a book and go on a new adventure. One day they might be battling dragons and on the next they could be blasting off to the moon or sailing around secret islands. There is no limit to their imaginations! Together they devour page after page, but there is one tale that holds a special place in their hearts – the adoption story which brought their family together.

The little girl explains to us that all families are diffferent and she is lucky to have two super daddies who chose her. Daddies who make her smile when she’s sad, provide lots of cuddles and chase away her fears.

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How To Track A Sabre-Toothed Tiger
by Caryl Hart & Ed Eaves

Have you discovered Albie yet? He’s the star of a bestselling series by Caryl Hart and Ed Eaves and his 11th adventure – How To Spot A Sabre-Toothed Tiger – has just been released.

Albie is an ordinary boy who finds himself in extraordinary situations. At the start of this new story we find him playing in his garden when he spots an unusual animal. It looks like a kitten but it’s striped like a tiger and has very sharp pointy teeth. When the kitten runs into a bush, Albie follows – and is magically transported back to the Stone Age!

The small boy soon makes friends with a girl called Thorn and the two work together to find the tiny sabre-toothed tiger. They follow a variety of tracks and meet a whole host of animals, including a deer, a woolly rhinoceros, a bear, a warthog and a mammoth – but their little pal is nowhere to be found. Can they find him before it’s too late, and what else will Albie discover before he returns to modern times?

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Henley Literary Festival:
Creative Competition for Children Aged 4-11

Looking for something your kids can get their teeth stuck into over the summer hols?

Henley Literary Festival is running a creative competition for budding authors & illustrators aged 4-11 with the opportunity to win fab prizes!

Here’s what Harriet Reed-Ryan, the Event Director for Henley Literary Festival, told us about the event and the competition…..

This October, Henley Literary Festival is returning with an exciting children’s line-up jam-packed with fun events for children of all ages to enjoy.

This year’s festival features authors and illustrators including Sir Michael Morpurgo, Rob Biddulph, Serena Patel, Clare Balding, Joe Wicks, David Melling, Liz Pichon and many more. From storytellings to writing workshops, space detectives to rapping princesses, there is something for everyone.

If you can’t wait until the autumn, Henley Literary Festival is hosting a fantastic Creative Competition for children aged 4 – 11, designed to get imaginative brains whirring.

Taking inspiration from the magical Henley Literary Festival programme cover, illustrated by one of this year’s festival authors Chris Riddell, budding writers are encouraged to write a story or poem of up to 500 words. For all the artists out there, there is an illustration competition too!

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Buster Books Hits 20!

On July 8th, 2021 Buster Books will be celebrating a big birthday! Here, Publicity Manager Alice Furse looks back on the last 20 years and gives us a sneak peek at some upcoming titles.

Buster Books was founded in 2001, the children’s imprint of independent and family-run publishing house, Michael O’Mara Books Limited. Since the beginning, the focus has always been publishing books that children would love to pick up and enjoy reading, and this has been the beating heart of Buster ever since – poo jokes and unicorns abound!

Early success came from spotting the unicorn craze. Where’s the Unicorn? is now a classic search-and-find title and has sold just over 680k copies while the fascinating mythology and stunningly beautiful illustrations behind The Magical Unicorn Society have captured the imaginations of young readers everywhere.

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Book Hospital
by Leigh Hodgkinson

How does your child treat their books? Do they handle them with reverence or do you routinely find yourself erasing scribbles and patching up ripped spines with sellotape? When Ivy was tiny she used to like to suck on the corners of board books but fortunately these days she likes to keep her little library in pristine condition.

‘Book Hospital’, a brand new story from Leigh Hodgkinson, teaches children to look after their books and gives us an adorable look at what happens to them when they need some TLC.

Our protagonist is a super cute picture book who loves his life. He takes great joy in telling stories to children and is proud that he’s a little bit tatty around the edges because it shows he is well-loved. Recently though he’s been hearing about some books who haven’t quite been so lucky. Several of his pals have ended up in Book Hospital after encounters with over-enthusiastic kids. Nibbles, scribbles and a nasty encounter with some strawberry yoghurt have resulted in them spending a few days being tended to by special doctors and nurses.

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A Day in the Life of Caryl Hart,
Children’s Author

My typical working routine has changed enormously over the past year. Part of this is down to all the recent restrictions, but also because my youngest child left home in September and we started house renovations in February.

In the normal world, my days would include a mixture of working from home, travelling to schools and libraries to run workshops, and the occasional trip to London for meetings and socials.

But these days there are no journeys or jollies and all my visits have gone virtual.  So here’s a flavour of how life has been for this author during the last 14 months.

My day starts around 7.15 with a cup of tea in bed from my lovely husband.

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