Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family
I am Pragya, CEO of The Art Tiffin and Organiser of TEDxFPWomen events. I live in the north-west near the sea with my two-year-old twin girls, my eldest daughter who has just graduated from Cambridge, my Scottish husband, and our cat, Belle and dog, Taylor.
I did my PhD from Nottingham and was a Senior Academic in the US and UK Universities, and now run a social enterprise and think-tank about gender diversity, creativity and mental health. I am a TEDx speaker and I write about parenting, feminism, art and mental health for Huffington Post and Forbes. I run an active facebook group for parents ‘Raising Creative Kids’ and an art subscription which is a comprehensive learning programme to introduce children (ages 4-10) to various artists.
We are big fans of this brightly-coloured book which introduces the concept of a metaphorical ‘love umbrella’.
The neon images throughout the story show a diverse group of children encountering situations out in the world which may make them feel sad or uncomfortable – like being afraid of the dark, feeling shy around other children, moving house or starting a new school.
The lovely rhyming text explains that even if the child is on their own, their loved one is always with them ‘under their love umbrella’. They may not always be physically present but they are right there with them in spirit to help them through, because of the strength of their love.
This is a really comforting read and it’s definitely a good one to snuggle up with before bed. There are so many scenarios in which this book could be helpful to a small child – from being worried about being left at nursery for the first time right through to the loss of a loved one.
Little Oliver is feeling sad. His family have moved from the countryside to the big city and everything feels strange. He misses the wide open spaces but most of all he misses his friends, and he hasn’t made any new ones since he arrived.
One day Oliver heads outside on his own to explore and in amongst the crowds he spots a dog called Patch who seems to be lost. Oliver befriends him and together they have lots of fun in Oliver’s new neighbourhood. For the first time he doesn’t feel lonely and the city doesn’t seem as scary after all.
But Oliver is old enough to understand that Patch is not his dog and that somebody out there must love and miss him very much. He sets about making some posters to help Patch find his way home, even though in his heart he wants him to stay.
In a quirky little world called Jumble Wood there lives a multitude of cute little creatures. Each of them has a thing they carry around with them which makes them happy. There are creatures with flowers, creatures with balloons, creatures with sunglasses or hats and even creatures with scooters and skateboards!
But there is one little creature called Pod who doesn’t have a happy thing, and this makes her very sad. She decides that the thing that will make her happy must be hiding out there somewhere so she sets off on a journey to find it. Along the way Pod meets Peach and Worm who help her in her quest
Together they venture in to the deepest and darkest part of the wood in search of the hard-to-find thing which will finally make Pod happy. Will they find it? Or will Pod realise that a happy thing doesn’t have to be a thing at all?
Hello! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family
I’m Charlotte and I live by the sea in Folkestone with my husband and two children Mabel (3) and Luna (1.5). I’ve recently opened a Children’s Boutique in Folkestone’s Creative Quarter called Moo Like a Monkey. We stock clothes, books and toys that are a unique, colourful unisex, eco-friendly and generally very cool. I quit my job in London earlier this year to run the shop full time. I work in the shop most days with my youngest, Luna. I spend my days in the shop cleaning up crumbs and changing nappies. In the evenings once the girls are in bed, I stay up looking for new stock and trying to figure out my accounts.
What are your children’s favourite books?
Mabel’s bedtime favourite at the moment is ‘A Bit Lost’ by Chris Haughton. She finds it hilarious that the baby owl falls out of the nest at the start of the book. The illustrations make me smile and with so few words the squirrel’s character comes across really clearly. You can’t help but put on a silly voice for the over-eager Squirrel who tries to help the owl find it’s Mummy. Such a sweet book that still makes me giggle. Mabel picks up on the fact it amuses me too, so reading it at bedtime it always nice as we have a laugh together. Hmmm maybe this is my favourite book, not hers… Another Favourite is ‘Press Here’ by Hervé Tullet, perfect for some quality one on one time with Mabel. Luna isn’t into that one yet, she’d rather chew it.
A few weeks ago a lovely lady called Helen dropped me a message to recommend us a book which her son had picked out at the library – The Knight Who Wouldn’t Fight. It wasn’t one that i’d heard of so I want to give a big shout out to her to say thank you as we LOVE it! (It should be noted here that this is definitely a different Helen to the one who wrote the book!)
The story is about a little mouse called Leo who likes nothing more than to curl up with a good book. However Leo is a knight so, despite his protestations, his parents insist that he has to go out in to the world and fight dragons.
Leo packs a bag with some sandwiches (and lots of books of course!) and heads off on his horse to fight a dragon who has been terrorising a town a few hours ride away. En route he faces a fearsome griffin and an angry troll, but defeats them quickly and easily using not his sword but his collection of books. It turns out that nasty creatures can be quite vain and love to hear stories about themselves!
Ivy spotted this on the shelf of our local bookshop last week and was instantly fascinated. She sat on the floor looking at it for so long that I definitely had to buy it!
The simple format shows 18 animals per double page spread. Their size, shape and position on the page doesn’t change so Ivy quickly learned to identify what each one was and its rough location.
Each page then asks you a question and you have to find the correct animals in order to answer it. The questions are things like ‘Who’s hiding?’, ‘Who’s backwards?’ and ‘Who’s sleeping?’.
I particularly like the questions around emotions (Crying, Angry etc) as your child has to identify the emotion by looking at the expressions on the animal’s faces. Ivy likes to mimic the faces – particularly the angry bear!