Hi Inshra! Thank you so much for chatting to me about your very first picture book ‘Tiny Jumps In’.
Hello! It’s a pleasure, thank you for offering the opportunity.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a multi-platform content creator, a working mum and illustrator for hire. I grew up in Dhaka, Bangladesh and have been living in London over 10 years with my husband, 3.5-year-old son and a little dumpling growing in my belly.
In my case the platforms are illustration, design, photography and filmmaking, and content is children’s books, flashcards and posters, music videos, stop motion animations and short films.
We’re the Parakeet Books team: Sheju and Judy. Fed up with the same old books on offer to our own children we started to make our own. We’ve been making inclusive and diverse books for the last two years. Our vibrant, warm and entertaining stories are told through underrepresented groups – central characters who are BAME, people of colour, female or LGBT+.
Having read in cafes and schools we always find that children either don’t notice difference or they love it. The two mums in our book, Eve’s New Brother, never get questioned by our audiences, they just accept that family for what it is. But the relationship between Eve and her brother has them enthralled. In Buddy’s Pancakes they kids afterwards all want to talk about pancakes, in the Mysterious Dinosaurs of Crystal Palace they all want to talk about guess what… dinosaurs. The idea that kids books with main characters who are Black or have a disability or have same-sex parents are niche is totally bogus. It’s an adult assumption and cannot be dressed up as anything other than prejudice. The mainstream publishing world is too slow to change and now is the time for them to pick their feet up and catch up with what readers want.
The eagle-eyed among you may have spotted that I have recently made a change to my logo. It used to say ‘Bite-Sized Book Reviews for Babies and Toddlers’ but now it says ‘Bite-Sized Book Reviews for Kids’.
Well, I opened this account back in September 2017 and started my blog in February 2018. Back then Ivy was just 2 so board books and picture books were our sole focus. Now she’s 4.5 and our reading landscape has shifted a little. We still read just as many board books and picture books, but a few months ago we started devouring chapter books at bedtime.
Hi Ruth! Thank you so much for chatting to me about your latest book ‘That’s My Daddy!’’
Could you give us a quick overview of what the book is about?
It’s all about daddies and is a celebration of them everywhere, in all shapes, sizes and forms. We wanted to encourage children to identify their daddies in a fun and interactive way. It covers everything from favourite foods, what they’re like in the morning, to jobs and hobbies and what they do around the house. Hopefully it’s silly and fun but also a really nice book to share and talk about what your daddy is like.
What inspired you to write this story?
I came up with the idea for That’s My Daddy when I was out running one day, one of the lines popped into my head and it developed from there, it was initially called The Daddy Catalogue! I did a first draft of the text and left it in my collection of unpublished stories for about six months. Then I happened to glance at it and thought there is something here so I sent it out on submission to a couple of publishers.
Hi Clare! Thank you so much for speaking to me about your gorgeous new book ‘The Perfect Shelter’.
Could you give us a quick overview of what the story is about?
Hello! Thank you for hosting me on your blog and for helping us to celebrate our new story. The Perfect Shelter sets out to unravel the difficult emotions we face when a loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness, such as cancer. It is not a book about loss, but rather living with life’s uncertainty. I hope that it brings love and support to others going through difficult times.
Hi Caryl! Thank you so much for chatting to me about your new book ‘Mini Monsters: Can I Play?’
Could you give us a quick overview of what the book is about?
Mini Monsters is a brand new series that deals with some of the challenges and emotions that young children experience within a pre-school setting.
The first book, Can I Play? focuses on the tricky subject of playing with more than one friend. Sparkle is putting on a magic show with Arthur, but when Scout wants to join in, Sparkle isn’t happy. She just wants to play with Arthur. But her inability to be flexible upsets Scout and leaves Arthur feeling worried and confused. It is only when Sparkle herself experiences being left out, that she realises that playing together is more fun after all.
Hi Esther! Thank you so much for chatting to me about your new book ‘Sophie Says I Can, I Will’. Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
Thank you so much giving me this platform to talk about my book, Sophie Says I Can, I Will. I am also a first-time mum to little Asher who is now 20 months old. I am the founder of a charity called sTandTall which aims to help anyone who has been through abuse and bullying get back on their feet and sTandTall again. I am a keen advocate for equal rights and equal opportunities and have a passion for Diversity and Inclusion which is what I do for my day job.
You may remember that a few weeks ago we reviewed Wonderbooks, a fantastic new children’s book subscription service from Save the Children UK. We’re excited to tell you that we’ve teamed up with them on a very exciting competition!
We’re offering you the chance to win a 12 month subscription to their fantastic service, worth £108.00.
The winner will receive 1x Wonderbooks parcel per month for 12 months. Each parcel contains a new book inspired by the real-life stories of amazing children Save the Children has worked with around the world, plus a Grown-Up’s Guide, packed with activities and additional resources to help you start interesting conversations about the topics explored in the stories.
In recent months i’ve noticed that Ivy’s awareness of the sheer size of the planet has definitely increased. Where once she was satisfied to hear that a country was far away, now she wants to know how we would get there, how long it would take, what language they speak and where it sits on a map in relation to the UK. I’ve been using picture books to try and teach her about different cultures but i’ve found it a challenge to explain how different her life experiences are compared to others around the globe.
Enter Wonderbooks, a new monthly subscription service from Save the Children. When they got in touch to see if we’d like to review some of their titles I jumped at the chance because the timing was perfect for us.
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.