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.
Hi Chitra and Poonam! We have loved your earlier collaborations – ‘You’re Safe With Me’ and ‘You’re Snug With Me’ – so we were really excited to discover your new title ‘You’re Strong With Me’. They are such heart-warming stories and the illustrations are unlike anything I’ve seen in a children’s book before.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves, in case we have any readers who are unfamiliar with your stories?
CHITRA SOUNDAR: I was born in India, and moved to the UK about a decade and half ago. I’ve written over 30 books for children, published across Asia, Europe and North America. I’ve been a teacher, programmer and a manager before I became a full-time writer.
I have been a massive bookworm since I was a little girl, so when Ivy was born I was really excited at the prospect of sharing my childhood favourites with her. We’ve been reading together since she was about 4 months old and it’s always the best part of the day! She’s now almost 4 and I can’t begin to imagine how many hours she has spent snuggled on my lap listening to stories. It’s such a great way to bond and over the years she has learned so much. I love how books offer a little window in to different ways of life.
We read all kinds of books but I have a particular passion for stories which encourage kindness, empathy and positive mental health. That’s why I am super excited to be working with BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, to promote their #TimeToRead campaign.
We are really excited to be part of the blog tour for the fantastic ‘My Pet Star‘ by Corrinne Averiss and Rosalind Beardshaw. In this exclusive piece, Corrinne reflects on her favourite children’s books which feature goodbyes…
I wanted to write a bit about books with ‘goodbyes’ in. If you’ve read My Pet Star you’ll know that once the little girl nurses her star back to health, he’s well enough to return to his home in the night sky and so, the two friends must say ‘goodbye’ as he takes his final flight from her bedroom window.
A ‘goodbye’ is often a sad event, so as parents keen to see smiles on our children’s faces – it’s likely we won’t deliberately seek out a book which features separation and farewell. Or, we seek it out only at a time when it can help us talk about a very specific or serious loss experienced by the child.
I’m not going to lie – children’s music drives me bonkers. I totally understand that I am not the target audience but why does it have to be so annoying!
We listen to a lot of music at home and Ivy and I generally take it in turns to pick songs as our tastes are very different. This means poor Spotify regularly bounces between Peppa Pig and Fleetwood Mac, with some nursery rhymes thrown in for good measure.
However we recently received the newest album from family singer songwriter David Gibb – Rolling Down The Road – and I think we have finally found some music we agree on. David has a great voice and the songs cover an eclectic mix of genres, from rock and folk through to jazz and country.
We’ve teamed up with the fantastic Little Box of Books on a very exciting competition! We’re offering you the chance to win a 6 month subscription to one of their diverse & Inclusive children’s book boxes, worth £129.99.
Each month, for the next 6 months, the winner will receive a box containing 3 books which are theirs to keep (that’s 18 books in total!). Each box is carefully curated to include multicultural & diverse characters, gender equality, different kinds of family life and more visibility for under-represented children.
Boxes are available for ages 0-3 and 4-7 so you can pick the one most suited to your child.
Can you believe that Kipper the dog is 30 years old? I was 11 when his very first adventure was published but somehow he still feels like he was part of my childhood because I remember reading the stories to younger members of the family.
Fast forward to the present day and my daughter and I love reading about Kipper’s adventures together. There’s something about the series which is so simple yet so engaging for little ones.
We are big fans so I was over the moon when Hachette Children’s UK asked us to take part in Kipper’s Big Blue Balloon Blog Tour to celebrate his birthday!