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.
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 & Mouse, Thea Chops Books, Owlet Press, Freya’s Funny Feeling, Glitter 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
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.