Exciting News: We’re Launching A Newsletter!

We are officially launching an Ivy’s Library newsletter to celebrate our love of children’s literature. All subscribers will receive a free 15 page PDF featuring some of our top picks. Squee!

Why are we launching an Ivy’s Library newsletter?

We share daily children’s book reviews and features on our blog and also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter – but because of the nature of social media you probably aren’t seeing all our posts. Subscribing to our newsletter means you won’t ever miss out on the good stuff!

What does it entail?

Once a month we will hit up your inbox with a curated selection of children’s book reviews, interviews, opinion pieces, special offers and other treats. Some of it will be content we’ve shared on our social media channels but there will also be extras which are exclusive to newsletter subscribers. The first newsletter will be sent in February and of course you can unsubscribe at any time.

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Book Box Review:

Ivy and I love discovering new book subscriptions so we were very excited when this one landed on our doorstep on Christmas Eve.

Cureadosity is a brand new subscription service for 2-6 year olds and I have to say I am impressed. Our sample box contained lots of bookish fun – and Ivy dived straight in!

If you are as obsessed with picture books as we are then subscription boxes can sometimes be an issue. We buy a lot of books so i’m naturally wary of receiving duplicates. Cureadosity seem to be right on top of this though. They only include books which have been released within the last three months, thus drastically reducing the chance you might already have them in your collection – and sometimes they even include books before their official publication date so you get a sneaky advance look!

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Love Makes A Family
by Sophie Beer

Families come in all shapes and sizes and this gorgeous board book celebrates the ones which we often don’t see in mainstream books.

The brightly coloured pages show happy families enjoying life together whilst the words explore the different ways in which people can show their love.

We see two children waking up their dads in the morning by shaking maracas and banging a drum. We see a family with grandparent carers baking and sharing cakes. We see single mums finding lost objects and single dads jumping in puddles in the park. We see a group of children reading stories by the light of a torch with their two mums. I particularly like the inclusion of a dad wearing a baby carrier as i’m not sure i’ve seen this in any of our other picture books!

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Guest Post:
The Joy vs. the Mechanics of Reading
by Molly Scanlan

Molly Scanlan is an experienced ex-teacher who has taught phonics from nursery through to Key Stage 1. Here she shares her thoughts on the the joy versus the mechanics of reading.

“Think back to your childhood and your favourite memory of reading. Does it involve flashcards? How about the last great book you read recently? Did you love it because you recognised some unusual spellings?

I’m hoping the answer is no.

We love books because they make us laugh or cry or teach us something new. Or – if it’s a particularly good one – all three. My favourite books from childhood are the ones that transported me to fantasy worlds, the ones I reenacted in the garden, the ones my parents read to me while snuggled up at bedtime.

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Book Box Review:
The Brave Girls Book Club

Do you subscribe to any book boxes for your child? We get a monthly ‘Koala Crate‘ craft/innovation box from KiwiCo but we don’t have any book subscriptions so I have been doing some research in to what is available here in the UK.

I have followed Books that Matter (a feminist book box for grown ups) on Instagram for some time so I was very happy when they offered to send me one of their brand new boxes for kids – The Brave Girls Book Club!

The box is aimed at middle grade readers (age 7-12) so it’s currently a bit old for Ivy but the contents were so lovely that I wanted to share it with you anyway! I’m sure that many of you will have older children who would really benefit from this box.

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My First Book of the Cosmos
by Sheddad Kaid-Salah Ferrón & Eduard Altarriba

Since reading City Moon by Rachael Cole we’ve taken a few evening walks around our neighbourhood. Ivy really enjoys spotting the moon and the stars and it’s prompted lots of questions about Space. This isn’t my specialist subject at all so I’ve been turning to our copy of ‘My First Book of the Cosmos’ for help!

Aimed at children aged 8+, this fascinating book introduces kids to a complex subject in a really fun way. It breaks down a wide range of topics in to manageable chunks and does a great job of explaining it all in a way which is easy to understand (even for me!).

There are pages on gravity, galaxies, the big bang, stars, planets, black holes, wormholes and the possibility of other life forms. The layout is engaging, with brightly coloured illustrations, simple graphs and accessible examples.

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Q & A: Elizabeth Dale,
Author of ‘Billy and the Balloons’

Hi Elizabeth! Can you tell us about yourself in 25 words or less?

I adore writing for children – the best job in the world! I’ve had 84 books accepted/published and my three daughters are chlldren’s authors too.

Your latest book, Billy and The Balloons, is hitting the shelves. Can you tell us how it came to be?

I wanted to write a picture book that would reassure children about something that might bother them, and I think being little is one of those things!  So I hoped to create a book that was fun to read about it being good to be small, and as Christmas is such a magical time, I thought it would be great to set it then, as there would be scope for wonderful pictures, too. However Patrick Corrigan’s quite beautiful illustrations have far exceeded what I had imagined .  I also have to thank the animals that tried to help Billy who somehow wrote themselves into the story!

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Guest Post: Creative Writing
for Creative Mothers
by Sarah Parrott, Owner of Write Sparks

I’ve met lots of wonderful women since starting my blog but without doubt one of the nicest is the lovely Sarah Parrott.

Sarah runs Write Sparks, a small business based in South East London which offers creative writing clubs for kids as well as learning support for schools.

In this guest post she talks about how creative writing has helped her cope with the trials and tribulations of parenting, and why she thinks you should try it too. 


“Throughout our IVF adventure, a complicated pregnancy and a fairly turbulent time with our son’s medical needs, it was writing (and an unholy number of bourbon biscuits) that kept me going. I bought a cheap notebook early in my pregnancy, which soon became one of the most valuable things I own; filled with writing for Joel, for me to give to him when he grows up, or if he chooses to have children of his own.

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Happy 10th Birthday Albie!

Can you believe that the very first Albie book was published 10 years ago? In that time, the much-loved character has starred in 10 different stories and has been a very busy little boy. He’s been to Alien School, ridden a polar bear, caught a dragon, found egyptian treasure and even swum with pirates!

His latest adventure – How to Drive a Roman Chariot – sees him whisked back in time to ancient Rome where he finds himself at the helm of a runaway chariot. Can he get the situation under control before it’s too late?

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Sharan Hartley-Sagoo, Founder, The Happiest Brownie

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Sharan, I’m 41.  I live in South Wales with my husband (Tommy) and our two daughters, Iona (5) and Ada (2).  I grew up in Bedfordshire, but moved to South Wales for University and have pretty much been here ever since.

During the day I work in Public Protection, when I’m not trying to home school.  When the house is quiet I am the Founder and Chief Baker at The Happiest Brownie, a postal brownie company.  Tommy helps me out a lot, I couldn’t do this without him. He makes sure that he keeps the kids distracted for long enough periods of time, so I don’t have to bake with a small child hanging off my legs, or shouting “Brownies” at me and standing there with their mouth open until food is given.  He is also chief printer.

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