Monday, 2 December 2013

Barefoot Book of the Month:December

With winter upon us and Christmas in mind, our Barefoot Books book of the month had to be the beautiful new hardback release of The Snow Queen. In this exquisitely illustrated retelling of the classic story by Hans Christian Andersen, an evil troll creates a mirror which reflects the bad and ugly sides of people. When shards of its glass enter a young boy, he rejects his loving family and best friend Gerda. Helped by kind strangers and guided by her warm heart, Gerda makes the perilous journey to rescue her friend from the icy palace of the Snow


The Snow Queen has been a popular title in the Barefoot Books independent reader series, with many adults and children being enticed by Miss Clara's beautiful images. If you have fallen love with Miss  Clara's artwork already, this book will blow you away. The Snow Queen is part of a trio of hardback books, illustrated by Miss Clara that would make great Christmas presents for book lovers.The Princess and The Pea and The Twelve Dancing Princesses are the other two titles in the series. To read more about the making of the fairy tale trio,take a look at the Barefoot Blog.

To buy this book head over to Barefoot Books and enter TWENTY13 to get 20% off.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Christmas Gift Guide: Books and gifts for Under 5's

With trees almost bare and woolly hats aplenty, December is fast approaching and shops are full to the brim already. If you are just starting with your Christmas shopping or want to tie up the loose ends by shopping online, here is the first of our Christmas Gift Guides. Over the next few days, we will share our ideas on what we think will make great presents for little bookworms. A book is a lovely present for Christmas; one that will last long past the time when the batteries run out of those noisy toys that seemed like a good idea at the time.

Barefoot Books have a great selection of gift anthologies for children of all ages, including Playtime Rhymes for Little People, lovely collection of stories for babies and toddlers

For toddlers, who sing traditional rhymes off by heart, why not try out Barefoot's singalong books. With lots of titles in the series, including the bestselling The Animal Boogie, you are sure to find a book to suit every little personality. If you are looking for a more substantial present, there is a great selection of ' Dazzling gift sets', featuring this cool ' Shiver me Timbers ' set.

If it is a traditional winter book that you are looking for, there is a great selection of books over at Barefoot, such as 'Babushka' and Cleo in the Snow. There is also small collection of Christmas books over on our Little Scribbles' Stories site. Our favourite is this beautifully illustrated 'Christmas at the Toy Museum', in which the toys in the museum learn the true value of Christmas, aaahhh.

If your bookshelves are piled high with books ( you can never have too many) then you will love the selection of bookends over at Little Scribbles' Stories. Add a little organisation and a whole cuteness, with these bus bookends

To complete your storytelling session, this lovely fox cushion is great for little bottoms to get comfy on as they settle down with their favourite book, a gift with a funky difference.

Of course, no Christmas would be complete without games. With a selection of co-operative boardgames available over at Barefoot, you can introduce children to family games and have a little fun yourself. This fishing game is also a great idea for very young children

If you are new to Barefoot Books, just enter TWENTY13 at checkout to get 20% off. For new Little Scribbles' Stories customers, enter NEWSCRIBBLES to get 20% off. Happy Christmas shopping!

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Barefoot Book Club : The Mother of Monsters

Mischievous Ntombi, the Chief’s daughter, isn’t at all afraid of the fearsome Ilunge River. But when she goes to swim there, she enrages the Mother of Monsters, with her gigantic head, bulging eyes and thick, slimy scales, causing more trouble than she could ever imagine!

'The Mother of Monsters' was the book of choice for our Halloween themed October Book Club at Big You, Little You. Suitable for ages 6 and up, ' The Mother of Monsters ' is the second book in Barefoot's monster series, ideal for young readers. 

The start of our book club sessions, sees us delve into the fantastic Barefoot Atlas, to find out more about the country our book was set in. This is a great way for the children to share their geographical knowledge and share stories or facts about what they know about the country. None of the children,in this group, had visited South Africa but the great illustrations by Sophie Fatus really help bring the story to life.

With a discussion about what life may be like for people living in a South African village, the scene was set to start read our favourite exerts from the books, with each child reading aloud if they felt comfortable to do so.  Listening to children read aloud and discover new words for the first time is one of life's great pleasures. I love how much attention and support the children in the group give to each other. It was also great to hear the children express their own opinions of the book, what they liked and disliked, without believing that there was any right or wrong in their understanding of the book. With themes of parental rebellion, trust, independence and arranged marriage, the 'Mother of Monsters' certainly provoked lots of debate, on an appropriate level for the age group.

Once we have read and discussed the book together, it is time to move on to a small activity whilst enjoying a snack. Snacks are usually connected to the country of origin but as it was Halloween we decided to make our own cheeky monster cupcakes and ate them whilst completing a monster themed word search, to keep those brains ticking over. A task at the end of book club is an ideal way to wind down the session and to give those who may want to ask a question to do so in a relaxed manner, particularly if they were shy to ask in the group. With lots of themed music playing in the background, the session finished with the children going away happy, after deciding on December's book choice.

If you would like to start up your own Barefoot Book Club, get in touch and we can provide books and activity advice. If you are in the North West, get in touch and we could come and facilitate in a venue of your choice.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Barefoot Book of the Month: November

As much as the sunshine is lovely, especially on relaxed summer evening when the BBQ's are blazing and children are running about by the paddling pool, I must say that the season I enjoy most is winter. I just love going for walks on cold, sunny days when the air is fresh and you can snuggle into a big woolly hat and scarf. Of course, we are all different and perhaps spring or autumn is your favourite season. As we move towards winter, after the blustery blow of autumn fun, we can take the opportunity to explore the new season, with lots of activities, crafts and stories. I have chosen ' Skip through the Seasons' as my Barefoot Book of the month, as I think it is the perfect way to introduce children to the changes happening around them.

Jump into January and dance all throughout the rest of the year. This rhyming, seek-and-find book of months features plenty of seasonal objects on each page for readers to point out. Educational endnotes include facts about different calendars, seasons and days of the week.  This book is the Practical Pre-School Silver Award Winner and is Recommended by the National Literary Association.

Creative children will have lots of fun designing crafts related to the book and there is also a handy lesson plan, in Barefoot Books ' For Schools ' section. Find the ' Skip through the Seasons' lesson plan here 

Like the look of this? Take a further look at Barefoot Books and get 20% off your order using the code GIRAFFE13 at checkout.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Halloween Books for Children

Halloween is fast approaching and I am sure you all have lots of ghostly adventures planned. As a child, I loved Halloween. Me and my sisters spent weeks making costumes out of bin bags and Kit Kat wrappers and planning our trick or treat route. These days, you can buy an abundance of Halloween decorations and outfits but I still plan on getting crafty with my daughter; we made a start today on papier-mache lanterns, which I will post about when they are finished. Another activity that I loved was Halloween storytelling, the scarier the better for me!

Barefoot Books have a great selection of Halloween books for children, for all those who plan on having a get together or just want a few (not too) spooky stories to read together.

The first two books I have listed are great anthologies that feature short stories that are great for reading each evening in the run up to Halloween or to appeal to a large group in organised storytelling events:

Tales of Wisdom and Wonder

Prepare to be amazed, intrigued and enchanted by these astonishing tales. The seven stories gathered from sources around the world are full of magic, mystery and transformations. This Book  comes with CD read by Hugh Lupton so it is great for playing in the background at your Halloween party.

Tales of Mystery and Magic

A bewitching world of mystery and magic awaits you! Meet singing elves with magical feet; skeletons that move of their own accord; and a heroic blackbird who outwits a powerful king. Master storyteller Hugh Lupton is at his exceptional best as he shares the most mysterious tales in his repertoire.

This book is now out of stock online but contact me if you are interested in buying a copy direct as I have some in stock at discounted price.

For those of you looking for books for independent readers, the Monster series is a great collection of books, with lots of popular titles, including the very popular The Feathered Ogre. "This Italian tale tells how Pírolo, the King’s youngest gardener, sets out on an impossible quest which frightens even the bravest of the King’s knights. Can he steal a magic feather from the back of the terrifying feathered ogre who eats tasty boys and girls for his supper? "

If you have little ones and totally want to avoid anything that may frighten then, I Could Be, You Could Be could be for you. Trick or Treat does not have to mean getting dressed as a witch or Dracula,  with a little imagination and creativity your little one can be whoever they want to be! " Join a young boy and girl on thrilling adventures as they imagine themselves as space-travelling astronauts, ferocious dragons, jungledwelling monkeys and more. The fine line between children's make-believe and the fantastic worlds they create is cleverly portrayed through Barroux’s bright landscapes "

For those of you wanting a little Halloween boogie,  Barefoot's Dragon on my Doorstep and  Creepy Crawly Calypso singsongs will add lots of fun to your Halloween party.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Storytime: Dinosaur Party

My daughter Sofia, decided that she would like to have a dinosaur party for her 2nd birthday, mostly due to Peppa's brother George but also because she loves reading dinosaur books. I do love a good theme, especially when it comes to parties and entertainment, so dinosaur inspired fun sounded great! Having read ' I Dreamt I Was A Dinosaur ' at a recent storytelling event, Sofia was keen for the book to be featured in her party.

We found lots of cute dinosaur decorations, including cups, plates, confetti and bunting, all of which made the part room look fun and fabulous; our little party guests loved it.

With lots of tasty food prepped, including our very own dinosaur egg ( a hollowed out watermelon, filled with fruit!) there were just a few finishing touches to make to the buffet table. I had prepped some dinosaur shaped biscuits and the first activity of the day was for the children to decorate their own biscuit

Whist the children's biscuits all looked very tasty, the highlight of the table was our amazing Say It With Flours cake. Just wait until you see the inside!

Before tucking in to our lovely buffet, it was time to settle down on our storytelling rug for Dinosaur storytime. ' I dreamt I Was A Dinosaur ' is a great little book from Barefoot Books. In the book, we join a young boy on a dreamland adventure, to prehistoric times, where he meets dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes. The rhyme filled text is followed by fascinating notes about the age of dinosaurs.

Storytelling is a great addition to a toddlers party, as it is a fun and interactive activity to bring the children together at the beginning of the party. Starting with popular songs and nursery rhymes to get everybody in the mood then moving onto a specially chosen book, to fit in with the party theme, storytime offers something for all ages. After all the roaring throughout the story our little dinosaurs were very hungry, so they tucked into the party food, before moving on to more party games. The obligatory pass the parcel was fun for all, as was dinosaur musical statues and 'pin the balloon on the dinosaur '!After a little bit of dinosaur dancing and stomping, it was time to move on to the final activity; our dinosaur piñata

Once our T Rex piñata was open ( after A LOT of bashing) it was time to gather up the sweets and toys, pop them into the children's dinosaur themed party bag and to finally sing ' Happy Birthday ' and crack open the fantastic cake. Happy 2nd birthday Sofia!

To book your own dinosaur party for an event or private party, get in touch for details on our range of  storytelling and party packages.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Barefoot Book of the Month: October

Little Scribbles is an ambassador for Barefoot Books . Barefoot have lots of amazing books for children and I will be highlighting one as book of the month, that I think you and your little ones would love. As we step in to Autumn, there is one book that I always make sure I have copies of when I am out and about; The Gigantic Turnip. Written by Aleskei Tolstoy and illustrated by Niamh Sharley, this classic has been a favourite amongst primary school children for years.

Find out what happens when the old woman, the old man, and all twenty-one animals on the farm try to harvest a rather large root vegetable. This well-loved Russian tale uses humour, counting and repetition to appeal to beginner readers. The repetition is great for engaging young readers and allowing them to take part in the story as they recount who is helping pull out the turnip. With a great moral of all ' pulling together ' and supporting one and other for a common goal, this is a great book to explore some of ' life's lessons '.

Although the book is an old tale, it is still loved by many and, as one review suggests, it is great when adapted to the busy children of today

" The Gigantic Turnip is full of fun. The pace of the story makes it a real page turner. The characters are quirky and adorable. A great vista; aid for numbers and counting. It works beautifully for me as part of a children's yoga lesson plan. It really gets us moving! "

A CD version is available, if like our reader, you want to get active with the story. There is also a great activity via the Barefoot Books site, where you can grab a bag of vegetables, a bit of rope and lots of children looking for a fun story, and act out this fun tale.

Once you are all tired out, you can settle down by the fire and eat a big pot of autumn turnip soup, just like the old man, the old woman and their animal friends.

Like the look of this? Take a further look at Barefoot Books and get 20% off your order using the code GIRAFFE13 at checkout.

Monday, 30 September 2013

Book Club: Orpheus and Eurydice

When Orpheus' bride Eurydice is killed by a snakebite on their wedding day, Orphues' world is shattered. The young widower must journey to the underworld to negotiate with Hades himself to win his bride back. Can love trump over the dark and powerful underworld

Orpheus and Eurydice was the first of our chosen books for our new monthly book club at Big You, Little You. Aimed at children aged 8+, this book is a great introduction to the Greek classics, with a tale that allows for different depths of understanding for different ages. Book club was new to all of the children in the group and they were all excited to attend something new, with a one child saying her parents attend book clubs so they can now be part of a club! I chose a Greek classic as our first book, partly because I just love the new additions to the Barefoot Books Greek series; with great illustrations and end notes they are an excellent educational tool and are definitely favourites amongst home educators. However, the main reason that I picked a classic was to inspire debate and encourage the children's imaginations. Book clubs are not simply about literal interpretations of the text, they are platforms to explore you own feelings that arise from the book and to hear about different interpretations. With a little encouragement and open questioning, all of the children were confident in telling of what they book meant to them, what did and did not make sense and how they can relate the story to everyday life. It was so refreshing to here the children denounce the jealousy and anger that arises in the story; all wanting the collective goal of being with the people they love without the need to constantly look behind themselves. Of course, children being children, amongst all of the deep conversation was a definite liking for a bit of blood, gore and beasts! The illustrations in the book jump out of the pages and inspire creativity within the reader. We spent a lot of time observing and commenting on the artwork and each took turns to read some of the key passages and individual highlights.

After we had finished talking about the book and reading our favourite passages, we all tried our hand at a Greek inspired word search, whilst nibbling on some traditional Greek snacks. The word search was a great idea to invite more discussion about Greece and it's traditions, I think we all went home with a new fact or two. It was great to hear the children talking in detail about what they liked and disliked about the book and what books they have been inspired to read next. When I asked if they had enjoyed the session, there was a definite "YES" from them all. Here's just a few quotes about why

" It's good to be able to read books outside of school, some of the ones the teachers don't read with us "

" I liked that I could talk to people the same age because my brothers are too little and don't understand"

" I liked talking about all of the pictures together "

"I can't wait for the next one "

I can't wait for the next one either.If you like the sound of this and are looking to start your own book club, in a community space near you, get in touch and we can  provide books, fact sheets and guides plus if you are in the North West of England we may be able to  facilitate for you.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Gruffalo Hunt

" A Gruffalo ? What's a Gruffalo ?"

" A Gruffalo! Why, didn't you know? He has terrible tusks, and terrible claws, and terrible teeth in his terrible jaws. "

If like me, you love ' The Gruffalo ' you would have loved Nature to Nurture's Gruffalo hunt, that we attended at the weekend.  Nature to Nurture's mission statement is to ' aim to care and encourage the growth and development of a person's wellbeing by fostering positive relationships with the outdoors '. With forest school sessions , early years den making and birthday parties, if you are in or near Liverpool, you should contact Julie and the team to hear more about what they can offer your family.

We first came across Nature to Nurture when we heard about their ' Gruffalo hunt ' at a local country park. The Gruffalo is fantastic lyrical tale, that all the family can enjoy. Both the book and the film adaptation provide laughs for both adults and children alike, so it was safe to say that I was as excited as my daughter, for our very own Grufflalo hunt. The story begins with a little mouse in search of a special nut, so what better way to start our gruffalo hunt with our very own little mouse!

With a scavenger hunt tick sheet, featuring all of the things we were about to see, we all marched off into the woods, in search of our furry friend. The scavenger hunt was a great way of keeping the children entertained as we waited to watch each part of the story. With a list of leaves, nuts and feathers to collect as well as looking out for characters from the book, it was an educational journey too.

Sofia is just coming up to two so was one of the youngest in the group but this did not stop her enjoyment, the delivery of the story catered for all ages. Some would think that a story about a giant ' monster ' that features scrambled snake and owl ice cream would be too scary for toddlers but I love the way the story allows for playful exploration of our fears and anxieties about the unknown. The descriptions of The Gruffalo, with his big claws and purple spike, are playful and the rhyming text adds a fun element to a story about overcoming fears. Each of the characters stayed true to the book but with an added extras that brought the actors take on the animals personalities. I loved the simplicity of the story and I can see how our walk could be adapted to a family walk through the woods.

After lots of ' he's behind you ' shouts and singing along the way, we all cheered and clapped as the quick witted little mouse found his all important nut and there ended a bright and  cheerful interactive journey that really brightened up or Sunday afternoon. We are already looking forward to the next instalment.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Rhyme Time

When children arrive for our storytelling sessions they are usually excited for the session, displaying lots of energy whilst exploring their new surroundings. For this reason, I always like to begin my sessions with a few lively songs to bring the children together and release a bit of their energy before settling down to our stories. Bookstart have a great little CD full of traditional songs to sing aloud, including a great ' hello' song to get everybody in the mood. After a few songs from the rhyme times CD it is time to settle down on out storytelling blankets and cushions and dip into the nursery rhyme sack!

The nursery rhyme sack consists of these great finger puppets by The Puppet Company, placed in a simple drawstring tote bag. The bag is a great way to ensure that all children are actively involved in storytelling sessions, with each child taking a turn to take a puppet out of the bag.  Having puppets to choose and hold on to is a great way of drawing children back into a storytelling session, if their attention has been lost. It is lovely to see the surprise on each child's face as they discover what puppet they have and what songs they can sing.

The puppets in The Puppet Company set  come with a book of old favourites;  ' Twinkle Twinkle ', 'Humpty Dumpty', 'Hickory Dickory Dock', 'Baa Baa Black Sheep', ' Incy Wincy spider ' and ' once I caught a fish alive '. I have added extra puppets to cater for a large group and to add a bit of variety. You can either buy extra puppets or just use dolls or toys that you have around the house, as long as you can think of a song to match the item.

It is great to see children interacting with the puppets, chatting away to them to involve them in the session. If the child's is distracted or starts to wander, then you can encourage her to come back into the story by by speaking to the puppet and asking her to question the puppet, i.e " what does the mouse want to do next " or " does Incy Wincy want to come and sit on the Mat ".  Of course, if a child really wants to roam about then that is fine, they can jump in and out when they can, if they are curious about checking out their surroundings. If there are a lot of children up on their feet and wanting to have a little wiggle about, I like to play a few action songs, such as ' If you are happy and you know it ' or ' The Hokey Cokey '. Once all of our voices are exercised and the little legs are ready for a rest, it is time to settle down for a story and prepare for other surprises!

Pictures are courtesy of Lisa Green Photography, a wonderful family friendly photographer based in the North West, from her shots taken at the fabulous Big You, Little You open day in Liverpool.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

International Literacy Day 2013

Today is International Literacy Day. UNESCO have been celebrating literacy on 8th September for the past 40 years to remind the international community that literacy is a human right and the foundation for all learning. This year's International Literacy day is dedicated to " literacies for the 21st century " to highlight the need to realise " basic literacy skills for all " as well as equip everyone with more advanced literacy skills as part of lifelong learning.

Here at Little Scribbles, we are passionate about supporting literacy in our own community but also about giving back to communities around the world. We are are always keen to fundraise for various charities and are great supporters of Book Aid international, a charity that increases access to book and supports literacy, education and development in sub-Sharan Africa. To celebrate International Literacy Day, for every book that is bought over at Little Scribbles' Stories or our Barefoot Books store today and tomorrow, we will donate £1 to Book Aid International. With lots of great stories to choose from, including some lovely African stories, your little one can enjoy a book themselves whilst helping support others.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Barefoot Book of the month: September

As you know, Little Scribbles is an ambassador for Barefoot Books . Barefoot have lots of amazing books for children and I will be highlighting one as book of the month, that I think you and your little ones would love. As September is Organic Month, I have chosen a book that enable children to learn about how food grows and healthier food options.  'Grandpa's Garden' is a beautifully told story, following Billy from early spring to late summer as he helps his grandpa on his vegetable patch. They dig the hard ground, sow rows of seeds, and keep them watered and safe from slugs. When harvest time arrives they can pick all the vegetables and fruit they have grown. Children will be drawn in by the poetry of the language and the warm illustrations, while also catching the excitement of watching things grow!

Written by Stella Fry and illustrated by Sheila Moxley, this book is a very popular for Grandparents wanting to pass on their love of gardening to their grandchildren. With great end notes on the vegetable featured in the book and ideas on how you can grow your own, this is a fun way to get to know vegetables and encourage healthy eating.

To learn more about how you can make a small difference this Organic September, and for some great organic check out The Soil Association

Like the look of this ? Take a further look at Barefoot Books and get 20% off your order using the code GIRAFFE13 at checkout.