Ivy’s Guest Book: Jess, Social Media Manager & Blogger at

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi, I’m Jess and I live in Tonbridge, Kent with my lovely husband and our four sons Gabriel (8), Flynn (7), Theo (5) and Jude (2).  I work as a social media manager and when the boys aren’t keeping me busy I blog about family life with my boys at

What are your sons’ favourite books?

Books are a huge part of our lives and we have them everywhere!  Gabriel and Flynn have grown out of picture books so I’m spending as much time as possible reading them to Theo and Jude, as I know how quickly this special time will go.

At the moment Jude’s favourite book is Supertato by Sue Hendra.  He was given it by his Auntie on his second birthday in February, and we’ve been reading it nearly every days since!  Jude loves his food so is very appreciative of the bright, playful storyline and illustrations – he has a lot of fun pointing out all the veggies and freezer foods.  And thanks to Supertato, Jude is obsessed with peas and potatoes!

Which book do you most like reading to them?

I love reading Oliver Jeffers’ books to the boys because his stories are so simple and heartfelt, and his illustrations just gorgeous.  “Here we Are” is very special and makes me emotional to read – it talks about how incredible Earth is and what it means to be a human on this planet.  Its message is as beautiful as the images.   And it appeals to all my boys on different levels – Jude loves the pictures and his big brothers love reading it too.  It really is a book that we’ll treasure as a family for many years to come.

What was your favourite book when you were a child?

It would have to be the classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  I remember my mum reading it to me at bedtime when I was very little and it’s been a real joy seeing my boys fall in love with the story too. It’s such a wonderfully simple concept and really captures little ones’ imaginations.  Jude has a copy of The Hungry Caterpillar’s Birthday Party and gets very excited when he sees the birthday cake!

Who is your favourite illustrator?

It has to be Axel Scheffler – his stories are all over our house – from Jude’s noisy bath time books and Flip Flap Safari to most of his stories with Julia Donaldson.  His illustrations make the boys laugh and make looking at his stories a pleasure to read.

Last year we were lucky enough to attend a talk with Axel Scheffler as part of Sevenoaks Literary Festival.  Axel read from some of Julia Donaldson’s books, drew her most popular characters and talked us through his creative process. And at the end he signed books for all the children – I had taken four books along and he was kind enough to write a message to each of the boys and draw them their own book character.   Jude has his own Gruffalo illustration!  I’m looking after the books until the boys are older.

Last month we had the pleasure of meeting David Litchfield at and discovered all his wonderful stories.  We are enjoying reading ‘The Bear and The Piano’ at the moment.

What do you look for when shopping for a new book for your child?

A great book will create magical memories for children to remember for a lifetime, and I don’t think there’s anything more special than sitting down together with a good book.  We are spoilt for choice nowadays – there are so many wonderful titles out there.

I try to choose picture books that have a moral or teach the boys about others outside their little worlds.  And with four boys, I’m very conscious about showing them healthy male and female role models – I want them knowing that boys can be sensitive and nurturing (not just superheroes!) and that girls are also adventurous and fearless.  Even with picture books it’s important to get this right.  We love Julia Donaldson’s Zog and The Smartest Giant in Town for this reason.


Jess’s blog All about the Boys can be found at, and

Her website is


Ivy’s Guest Book: Katie Ryde, Director, And Other Memories

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi, I’m Katie, soon to be a Mummy of two, but currently loving life with our 2 year old Theo, and our other ‘child’, a lovely rescue dog called Anna. I live in Emsworth, Hampshire, having recently relocated from London – a decision that has been amazing as we all love being by the sea. When I’m not parenting I’m kept busy running And Other Memories, an album design company.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Hannah Brooke, Founder, Hannah Brooke Photography

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Hannah, Wife, Mummy, Photographer and HR person! I live in Wetherby, Yorkshire and I absolutely love the fact that I’m close to the countryside but not too far away from the city! I have two lovely children – Thomas is 5 and Ellie is 3….and a Labrador called Lottie, aka my 3rd child!

What are your children’s favourite books?

Thomas absolutely loves Superworm by Julia Donaldson – he’s completely fascinated by all things wildlife and creepy crawly stuff at the moment. Ellie loves fairy tales and her favourite story is Goldilocks and the 3 bears as it features a cheeky little, curly blonde haired girl, just like her!

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Amanda Overend, Founder, Books & Pieces

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

I’m Amanda and I live in Leicestershire with my husband and three boys, ages 4, 6 and 8. I run independent online bookstore Books & Pieces which specialises in brilliant value books and gifts for 0-6 year olds.

I’ve always been a big fan of books, and I love to read in my spare time, so I’m really delighted to be sharing my love of books and helping other families find books and activities to enjoy together through my online store and community.

And I love that my boys share my passion for books and reading – it’s something nursery workers and teachers have always commented on right from being babies, and I hope they continue to love books just as much into adulthood.

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Sara Tateno, Founder, Happity

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hello! I’m Sara – I have 2 kids – aged 4 and 7, and I’m the founder of We live in Forest Hill, SE London.

Happity is a startup helping parents to find and book local baby & toddler classes. I originally built the site myself after being made redundant and retraining as a web developer. I raised angel funding to grow the team and these days I run the business working flexibly from home, serving around 1,000 class providers and some 150,000 parents.

Reading has a big role in our family life. Bedtime stories happen every night without fail, for about half an hour with each child. The worst punishment for naughty behaviour in our house, would be to lose a bedtime story!

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Will you join us for #selfpubsaturday?

My mission for Ivy’s Library has always been to share with you the books which Ivy and I love. These are the books which we are excited to read and that we hope you will be too!

But this doesn’t always mean the bestsellers and the books which line the shelves at your favourite bookshops.

Sometimes our favourite books are ones with little marketing budgets, which means if we don’t shout about them then you might not ever know they exist!

We review a lot of books which are self-published or which come from small indie publishers – like Sojo & MouseThea Chops BooksOwlet PressFreya’s Funny FeelingGlitter The Unicorn and Lucy’s Blue Day – and there are some truly fantastic ones out there.

So from today I am formalising this and introducing #selfpubsaturday! Every Saturday I commit to reviewing a book which is not from a large scale publisher and i’d love you to get involved.

* Know an author with great books who you think deserves some recognition? Tag them below
* Share your favourite self-published books with us by mentioning them below or tagging us on instagram using #selfpubsaturday

And if you’re a self-published or aspiring author then make sure you say hi!

Let’s give these books the recognition they deserve <3

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Dr. Rebecca Moore, Co-Founder, Make Birth Better

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family 

My name is Rebecca Moore, I am a psychiatrist working with women in London to support their mental health through pregnancy and early motherhood, infertility or PMS and I am also the co -founder of Make Birth Better a national collaborative working to reduce the life changing impact of birth trauma.

I have two wonderful kids, Dorothea who is 12 and Arthur who is nearly 10 years old. I live in South East London which I love!

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Claude: Anyone For Strawberries? by Alex T. Smith

We’ve recently discovered the joys of Claude and his trusty side kick Sir Bobblysock via the TV Series on Disney Junior so we were very excited to receive this book in the post. Based on one of the episodes, this sporty story follows the two friends as they hunt down their favourite fruit!

When Sir Bobblysock wakes up early one morning with a craving for strawberries, he and Claude head out to their local fruit and veg van to buy some. However when they get there they discover that the entire strawberry supply has been bought up by the Pawhaven Tennis Championship. Oh no!

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Ivy’s Guest Book: Sarah Botting, Head Sparkle for Brockley, Forest Hill & Crystal Palace, Lucy Sparkles & Friends

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family

Hi, I’m Sarah and I’m based in Honor Oak Park in South East London, along with my husband and children – Edward (aged 5) and Alice (who is 2). Last year I decided to take the plunge and start doing something I’ve always wanted to do – teaching preschool music, drama and dance! It’s been a whirlwind of a year, but I’ve absolutely loved meeting so many local children and parents – and I’ve had a lot of support from my two most demanding fans at home!!

What are your children’s favourite books?

Reading together is often our most special part of the day, and we love sinking into our imaginations in different books. My son has a book called ‘Magic Beach’ by Alison Lester that he loves reading to me – the story intersperses between what an adult might see happening on a beach and the kingdom of imagination that children possess! We’re also big fans of Everybunny Dance by Ellie Sandall, for which we’ve invented actions and songs!!

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Competition Time: Win A Framed A4 Print & Six Picture Books!

We have teamed up with the lovely Milk & Mustard to offer you the chance to win an epic prize!

You could win a beautiful print featuring a quote from classic book ‘Little Women’ by Louisa May Alcott, along with 6 picture books which teach kids about self esteem, kindness, their emotions and their place in the world.

The bundle includes: 1 framed A4 print, Happy To Be Me by Emma Dodd, Incredible You by Rhys Brisenden & Nathan Reed, It’s Your World Now! by Barry Falls, Kind by Alison Green, Axel Scheffler et al, Super Duper You by Sophy Henn and The Colour Of Happy by Laura Baker & Angie Rozelaar.

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