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Ivy’s Guest Book: Kat Brown, Founder, Mama Brown & Co

Hi Kat! Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Thanks for having me! I’m Kat Brown, mama to two lively but loving boys Louis (6) & Max (3) and wife to Papa Brown. Having enjoyed working in publishing for the last 12 years, I left after having my youngest son and in September I launched Mama Brown & Co. We are the online magazine and marketplace dedicated to making parenting more playful and helping you get more fun out of family life (however tired you might be!) My husband and I originally hail from Yorkshire but moved down to London to work after university and somehow never ended up leaving. We now live just outside London in Kent but often find ourselves back up in Harrogate visiting family and friends and staying in touch with our Northern roots!

What are your sons’ favourite books?

My eldest Louis’ current favourites are The Christmasaurus & The Winter Witch by Tom Fletcher (yes we are reading it in March!) and Bear Grylls Adventures. He is 6 and in the past year has found a love of chapter books, ever since we read The Famous Five together by Enid Blyton. I read a chapter a night to him at bedtime but he can’t wait until his reading is strong enough for him to read them himself!

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Picture Books Which Will Make Kids Laugh Out Loud

Since the UK lockdown was announced I have had lots of messages from parents who are looking for new books to entertain their little ones. To lighten the mood, I have put together a selection of all our funny favourites. Let us know if there are any you would add to our list!

The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak – Without giving too much away, the basic premise is that the person reading the book has to read every single word out loud, whether they want to or not. Read the review.

Daddy Fartypants by Emer Stamp & Matt Hunt – Daddy Fartypants has a problem. He farts ALL THE TIME! And what’s worse is that he never owns up.  Every time he does a bottom burp he blames someone else, whether that’s a tiny baby, a snail or a bear on the telly. Read the review.

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International Women’s Day: Books Which Feature Strong Female Characters

March 8th 2020 is International Women’s Day so I have collated a list of our favourite books which feature strong female characters. Take a look and let us know in the comments if there are any others which you think should be included!

Fiction Books

Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty & David Roberts – Little Ada’s endless need to question everything means that she is the perfect mini scientist. She devises experiments and builds hypotheses, trying to work out how the world around her works. Read the review.

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman & Caroline Binch – An uplifting story is about a little girl called Grace who loves stories and has a big imagination. Can she find the confidence to follow her dreams? Read the review.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Laura Ansbro, Freelance Writer

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi, I’m Laura, a Freelance Writer with one little boy, aged 4. We live in Wiltshire, and have a whopping book collection. Wilfie loved books from a very early age, and as a full time parent who struggled with PND, I was overjoyed when reading became our world. We would begin each week with ‘New Book Monday’, and would regularly read sixty books a day together! Now Wilfie loves to read, and will devour anything with a decent amount of pictures.

What is your son’s favourite book?

Tigger Comes to the Forest and Has Breakfast – A.A. Milne

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Rebecca Stevens, Founder, Nourish and Nurture Nutrition

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Rebecca Stevens and I live with my three kids aged 5, 6 & 8 and husband in SW London. We all love reading! I recently retrained as a nutritionist after many years in the world of healthcare PR and work freelance to fit in around the needs of my family. I wrote and illustrated my own picture book a few years ago that I gave to friends and family as a gift. From this I have an appreciation of just how much time bringing a story to life takes.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Carys Worsdale, Founder, Be Kind Hypnobirthing

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi there, I’m Carys Worsdale. Originally from Aberystwyth in West Wales but now living in Hertfordshire with my family. I have a 2-year-old son, William, and an 8-year-old step son, Jacob. So the house is a loud and messy most of the time!

My background is in museum and galleries, but after having my son I retrained as a Hypnobirthing teacher.

What is your youngest son’s favourite book?

William was 2 in July so we have finally moved away from the “That’s not my…” books – hurrah!! At the moment he loves Judith Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came To Tea. Or as he calls it “Rahhh book”. We even say “goodbye, goodbye, goodbye” every bed time just like the book.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Sarah Billingham, Co-Founder, Confident Kids

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Sarah, a special needs teacher, living in Bracknell with my husband and our 2 daughter’s Clara (5) and Alice (6 months). I grew up in South Africa and came to England looking for a bit of an adventure and the chance to travel. 15 years later it is safe to say that it became more permanent than I had planned!

What are your children’s favourite books?

Clara has returned to Julia Donaldson books over and over. As a toddler she loved The Smartest Giant in Town and as a pre-schooler she really enjoyed the Highway Rat, Jack and the Flum Flum Tree and The Troll. Clara loves books and reads new books every week (lots of library visits!) but she has returned to her Julia Donaldson favourites.  I think the rhythm and rhyme in these books is very engaging. She is now taking great pride in reading to her little sister.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Hannah O’Donoghue-Hobbs, Founder, Tilly Hobbs & Co

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

My name’s Hannah and my little passion project is Tilly Hobbs & Co – an insta blog where I sell Manchester themed muslin cloths and document me guessing my way through motherhood ha in our glorious city. I have one little girl called Cora, she’s my little livewire, I’m obsessed!

What is your daughter’s favourite book?

Now this does vary from day to night. Our daytime favourite has to be The President’s Cat by Peter Donnelly – it’s a lovely, lovely story about the President of Ireland leaving his cat behind when he comes home after a holiday in Kerry. Cora loves pointing out the cat on his little journey, the horse poo on one of the pages and the many, many cars and buses on a page featuring Dublin city centre. Reading that backward sounds insane, please go and read it ha! The illustrations are like food for my eyes.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Jaime Cox, Founder, Compelling Copy

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hello! I’m Jaime, I’m a copywriter and editor based in Berkshire and I have three children – 12-year-old identical twin boys and a 2-year-old daughter.

What are your children’s favourite books?

All 3 of my children adore books – a huge relief as I do too! My youngest has several favourites, but the current number 1 is Cave Baby by Julia Donaldson. Mae is very much into babies at the moment, so I think that’s the main appeal of this particular book. She also loves the animals in the story – woolly mammoth and sabre-tooth tiger. She loves to roar at the moment, and this book provides the perfect opportunity 🙂

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RWR Book Club: Best Books of 2019

Earlier this year I was invited to join a #bookstagram group called the Read with River Book Club. The group consists of 16 lovely members from around the world, including a number of educators, a speech language pathologist, a paediatrician, social justice activists, a reading education specialist, a few bloggers, a retired literary agent, and some marketers.

It has been an absolute joy getting to know these amazing people and sharing our favourite picture books and thoughts/ideas about the children’s book industry.

Between us we have a lot of expertise so we have come together to form a judging panel to create a list of the best new picture books of 2019. Publishers have been invited to send submissions across a number of categories and my dining room table is now awash with stacks and stacks of fantastic books which are awaiting the judging process.

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