Thursday, 11 December 2014

Christmas Books for Children

For us, the best thing about Christmas is being snuggled up in new PJ's on Christmas Eve, with a book in hand and treats to eat and drink. Of course, Christmas Day is tons of fun and to see children's faces light up when they get their gifts from Father Christmas is priceless but we love the anticipation of it all. It is easy to get caught up in the mayhem of toys, turkey and tinsel on Christmas Day, so Christmas Eve is a great way to take time out as a family to relax and get in the mood for what is to come. Once you have finished wrapping all of your presents and prepped your sprouts, pop on a pair of PJ's (Kyna Boutique is our favourite for kids and we can't resist a pair of Cath Kidston's for adults)

For a cold winter evening, Cleo in the Snow is a fun book to read to babies and young toddlers. The book sees friends Cleo and Casper playing outside and discovering magical white flakes falling out of the sky. It may not snow in your region of the world this year but children will delight at the thought of what the first experience of snow may feel like. We dream of a white Christmas each time we read this book!

If you are looking for a traditional Christmas Stories with a twist, Babushka is a fun story that can be simply read aloud or acted out in the style of The Nativity. The book introduces children to Babushka, a woman who is so busy focusing on the little things, that she hardly notices the miraculous events going on around her. This touching Christmas story shows that the more you give away in love, the more you will receive. We love the bright and engaging illustrations, by the brilliant Sophie Fatus, in this book as they really help the book come alive.

For Independent readers Winter Shadow is a glorious tale to be read on a cosy night in by the fire. We read this at out first book club of 2014 and it left the whole group in tears, bittersweet tears nothing too deep! The book follows the story of a young girl who stumbles upon a wolf cub and goes on to raise it, until it finally needs to return to the wild. A book that adults and wolf lovers will enjoy just as much as children.

Other favourites for Christmas and winter include, A Skip Through the Seasons, a great book for toddlers and young children to learn about the changing weather and what to expect during winter. For older children, The Abominable Snowman' is a modern retake on the traditional tale and The Snow Queen is one of the most well known fairytales of all time, particularly as it was the base story children's favourite Frozen.

All of these books are wonderful tales that will give children the gift of stories for Christmas, something that cannot be replaced.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

December Book of the Month

With Christmas upon us, there will be lots of people looking for books as gifts for children. Books for bedtime, annuals and  anthologies are top of the list for many people, with hundreds of books to choose from. To help you out with your choice, we have chosen My Big Barefoot Book of Wonderful Words as our December Book

The book follows a lovely family throughout their busy dat, with pages filled with everyday activities and products. Each scene is filled to the brim with people, places and things, and you’ll meet people of all races, cultures, lifestyles and abilities as you go. With images of children and adults with disabilities, breastfeeding, baby wearing, different types of family and much much more, children's eyes are opened to all that is diverse in our wonderful world.

This book is vibrantly illustrated and immerses children in detailed scenes of daily life, which are followed by simple spreads of labelled illustrations to help with vocabulary building and word recognition. It is a great choice for a Christmas gift as it will last for years and can be passed drown to younger children. We would not wait to get our copy when it was released during the summer, it has not been put away since we opened it! Another Barefoot Books gem.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

The Tear Thief

As well as running Little Scribbles' Stories and this blog, owner Deb (me) is a person-centred counsellor who works with children, young people and families. I am currently working with Oakleaf , a Liverpool based charity that is dedicated to helping children and families during the difficult process of grief and loss, as a result of death or separation from a loved one. 

We were recently featured in this years Children in Need programme and are partly funded by the charity. As you would expect, the publicity drove more people to our services and whilst we are doing the best that we can to support as many children and young people as possible, we still need lots of help. Take a look at this BBC video to hear more about Oakleaf's services 

The team are busy looking at fun ways to fund raise and will be taking part in next Month's Santa Dash in Liverpool. I will not be taking part myself but I am thinking of innovative ways to raise money with my family and friends, if you do have any ideas, please let me know!

In the meantime, I will be donating all profits from one of my favourite Barefoot Books, 'The Tear Thief'. All copies of the book, sold through my Barefoot Books page or over at Little Scribbles' Stories, will not only give a child a wonderful story to read but will also provide a little bit of help that will go a long way for Oakleaf.

Each night, in the hours between supper and bedtime, the Tear Thief carries her waterproof, silvery sack as she steals the tears of every child who cries. But what does she do with all those tears? This warm, poignant, and beautifully illustrated story offers a thought-provoking message and a starting point to share children's emotional experience. The book is a great tool for children to explore new feelings and emotions and enables parents to support with different situations that lead to children feeling sad. At the end of the book, we find out that all of the tears that children cry are placed onto the moon, so that it shines as bright as possible. There is an accompanying CD, read by Juliet Stevenson, that is ideal for bedtime reassurances and a dreamy end to the day.

I will keep you all updated on how much the book is making for the service and will also be holding some special book sales to support too. 

Thank you in advance to all those who support us through buying this book and don't forget to leave a comment if you have any fun ideas on how I can raise some more funds!

Buy your copy of The Tear Thief

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

World Nursery Rhyme Week

This week sees children, and all those that work and care for them, celebrate World Nursery Rhyme Week. The week aims to highlight the importance of nursery rhymes in the development of language and communication skills and to champion just how much fun singing can be. We often include nursery rhyme time at the beginning of our storytelling sessions as it is a great way for little ones to get involved, have some fun and really practise their babbling skills.

We love to get our Nursery Rhyme Puppet Set out, which we put into a bag so that each child can have a go at choosing a puppet out of the bag and be surprised at what they get! It adds a little bit of fun to the session and encourages children to explore the bag and engage with the group as they all guess what song it will be.

You will probably remember a lot of nursery rhymes from you were a child or when children around you were growing up. For those who are a little rusty, Baby's First Book is great introduction to favourite nursery rhymes and short stories that are ideal for babies and toddler. The illustrations are just beautiful, from the wonderful Clare Beaton once again, making the book a real keepsake and a great gift for Christmas babies or as a unique christening gift.

For a more laid-back singing session, Mrs Moon's Lullabies for Bedtime is a lovely book to encourage a peaceful nights sleep. Bedtime rhymes is also a very relaxing book, that fits not small hands and will have your little one drifting off to sleep in no time!


There ate lots of great resources on the World Nursery Rhyme Week website, but why not have some fun and think of fun activities that you can do with your little ones. After 3, 1...2...3...Baa baa black sheep.................

Sunday, 2 November 2014

November Book of the Month

We can't believe that we have just typed November 'book of the month'! What a quick year it has been? We have loved introducing to new titles and old favourites and for November we are bringing you a bit of both. Our book of the month for November is ' Magic Hoofbeats ' from Barefoot Books. The book is back by popular demand, after going out of print for a few years. Magic Hoofbeats is a must for all horse lovers and would be a great addition to any child's bookshelf.

Children can lose themselves in the world of the equestrian with this beautifully illustrated collection of mystical tales of memorable horses. The collection brings together tales from many different cultures and traditions and is written by horse whisperer Joseph Sherman.

As with many Barefoot Books, there are fantastic endnotes that will educate children on different breeds of horse give you fun facts about this wonderful animal. The book also has an accompanying CD, which is ideal for a quiet pre-bedtime wind down or for long car journeys.

We love a good collection of short stories as it allows for great shared reading amongst the whole family, each reading out a story to practise storytelling skills and bonding together when discussing each others favourite story. As well as being inspired by the stories, children will be inspired by the fantastic illustrations by Linda Wingerter, so there is plenty of opportunities to get pencils and paints out for a creative post book craft session. A truly enchanting book.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

An Autumn Walk

We are very lucky to have lots of parks and green spaces in and around the city we live in, so there is plenty of opportunities to go exploring. Sundays do not get much better than a long lazy morning of coffee, pancakes and newspapers followed by a nice family walk. A family walk can be enjoyed at any time of the year but I always think they are better during autumn and winter.

So, after a lazy Sunday morning last weekend we went off to explore Greenbank Park, a small but beautiful park that is ideal for little legs.

There has been lots of talk of autumn this past couple of weeks, as our eager toddler rushes home from pre-school to tell us all about how leaves are falling from trees and how painting with a conker is 'amazing '. So, off we went in search of more conkers and autumn leaves, for crafting during the week ahead.

After searching for fallen goodies, it was time to take a walk around the lake and feed the duck, with porridge oats of course (bread is bad for ducks). I love how the simple things can put a smile on my daughters face.

Oh, we fed the swans too

After free time to run around and play on the rocket ship in the playground, it was time to go home, have a warm drink and watch the football and read some of our favourite autumn themed books.

Our conkers were used for painting and making little conker men with googly eyes and our leaves were used to make these cute little autumn leaf hedgehogs. My daughter got a little bored of the autumn colours and decided to make a funky feathered hedgehog too

What have you been getting up to so far this autumn?

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Book of the Month for October

Wow, this decision this month was very difficult as there have been so many great releases from Barefoot Books as well as lots of other releases from our other favourite publishers. After much deliberating, we have chosen Dara's Clever Trap and we think you are going to love it.

Meet a cunning princess who is known for her brains, not her beauty. Dara uses her talent as an engineer to foil a wicked plot and save her husband in this Cambodian traditional tale.
The Book is part of Barefoot Books' latest early reader collection, Princes Stories, was released this week alongside The Princess of the Springs

Now in general, we are not huge fans of princesses, especially super pink princesses, but we feel that Barefoot are taking a step in the right direction when it comes to stories about traditional princess tales. In this series of books we do not see images of Barbie doll princesses and the plot lines do not revolve around a simple search for true love. Yes, there is a little love in there but this is not the sole life purpose for these women. Take Dara for instance, she is an engineer who loves nothing more than designing buildings and using her skills to help others, in this case her husband. 

I personally think that the covers could have steered away from the pink banner at the top as it is still playing on gender stereotypes but that I could be here forever talking about my issues with pink. Whilst the styling is not perfect for me, there is definitely substance in the story and I hope that it appeals to both boys and girls who are interested in science and engineering. I like that there is a story to tell, based on a traditional Cambodian story, rather than simply churning out age old tales of girls who flutter their eyelashes and meet a prince that solves all of their problems.

I can't wait to get feedback from young boys and girls about this books, so do let us know what your child thinks.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Best Books for Stepping into Autumn

As the leaves start to fall and the fires start to burn, we head into a season full of warmth and colour. Nothing beats getting out and about in the fresh autumn air, searching for conkers and picking leaves for crafts then having a nice hot chocolate on the way home. If you cannot always get out for a walk then you can step inside autumn themed books to explore what the season brings for us all. Here is a selection of our favourite children's books for autumn.


Listen, Listen

Introduce young readers to the sights and sounds of the year - from summer's sizzling sun to winter's crackling snow. Featuring signature illustrations by internationally renowned illustrator, Alison Jay, this book will open your child's eyes and ears to the world around them!

Cleo and Casper

For babies, books are all about colour and engaging images. Cleo and Casper are the unlikely friends who learn to love each other despite a shaky start. The colours of the book are a celebration of autumn with orange, brown and yellow tones to warm your heart!


This Barefoot Books favourite will see you through Autumn before jumping into January and dancing 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.

Ferdie's very worried. His beautiful tree is losing its leaves. Ferdie tries everything he can to save them, but it's just no use. When the final leaf has 'plopped' off, Ferdie feels all hope has gone... until he goes back the next day and a glorious sight awaits him. This is a fun walk through Autumn and would be a greta accompaniment for a family walk in the woods or as past of am outdoor school lesson.

Primary School Children

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. A great book to read for Harvest Festival celebrations and one that somehow reminds us of Halloween too!

The lazy rooster and the mischievous mouse can’t be bothered to help the little red hen tend her ear of wheat. They can’t be bothered to help her take it to the miller either, or bake it into bread. But when her loaf of warm, fragrant bread is ready, the little red hen is not at all inclined to share it with them. The rooster and the mouse soon mend their ways. With a recipe at the back for making your own bread, you can bring this story to life and talk about how wheat is harvested and processed. Educational as well as lots of fun!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014


After picking up a copy of Hector and the Big Bad Knight at the library last week, we have been dragon mad in the Little Scribbles household. The book is a fun journey taken by little Hector saves the day, despite his doubters, after his Grandmother's wand was stolen by the bad knight. With plenty of laughs along the way,  Hector's escapades offer great fun for toddlers and older children alike.

The book started us on a dragon book spree, taking in Barefoot Books fantastic Herb The Vegetarian Dragon then dancing along to A Dragon on the Doorstep singalong CD book.

We left the CD playing whilst we got stuck in to our dragon crafts. After returning from France with a knight helmet, we had previously made our very own shield so it was time to make a dragon so we could go into battle. We used an old tinfoil tube for the body and cut a dragon head from some cardboard before paining it all read and adorning with feathers and gold crepe paper. A simple crafts that allows for lots of messy play and creativity.

If you don't have time to make your own dragon, you could always use this fun Folkmanis dragon puppet or make your own little paper dragons with this Djeco Dragons and Chimeras Folding Paper Toys.

Once our crafts were finished and dried, it was time to get active and have some dragon fun. I love how a simple bit of cardboard can a lot of imagination can allow for hours of fun. Free play is an essential part of a child's development in terms of nurturing creativity and spontaneity. Although I admit that after 3 hours of playing shopkeeper I get a little bored, I can see how much fun my daughter has during role play so it something that I always want to encourage. Speaking of which, its time to leave you and get practising my dragon roooooaaaaaaar !

Friday, 5 September 2014

Why We Need More Diverse Books

Little Scribbles is a passionate supporter of all things that promote diversity and equality when it comes to children. Since starting up this blog and opening our Little Scribbles Stories online shop I have come across so many wonderful books that celebrate cultures from all over the world and shout out about how we are different yet all the same. My journey into diverse books really took off when I came across Barefoot Books, for whom I am now an ambassador for. I had just had my daughter and was looking for a book about Kenya, a country that I left a little bit of my heart in a few years ago, so I could tell her all about my time there and enjoy a traditional Kenyan village tale. I found Mama Panya's Pancakes in the Barefoot Book store, ordered it straightway and my love affair with the company began. The range of multicultural and diverse books Barefoot have on offer are superb, ranging from magical tales from Nepal in 'Chandra's Magic Light' to stories from a very vibrant India in Indian Tales.  I have since gone on to develop my book store by adding a wider variety of books and storytelling accessories that celebrate diversity, introducing children to same-sex marriage, disability, different type of family and much more.

Whilst I am out and about at events and storytelling sessions in my community it is wonderful to see people so engaged with the books that I stock. I recently had one little girl so ecstatic to find a doll on my stall that looked just like her, which was both heartwarming and sad at the same time. We need diverse books in order for children to learn about different cultures and countries but equally we need them so that every child can relate to stories and images that they see on the page. I do feel proud that I can introduce diversity to children and schools through my storytelling and it is great that when somebody asks if you have a book about Nigeria as my brother has just adopted a child from there and i just happen to have one on the stall (Catch That Goat). This is why we need diverse books.

On the flip side of all the positive responses I get for my books there is still much work to be done. It is so disappointing to hear parents tell there little boy that he can't have a book because its for girls or for children to chuckle at the doll with darker skin than theirs. This is why we need diverse books.

It is also disappointing to see rows and rows of books about princesses,knights, pirates and fairies all neglecting the diversity we see around us. Children's education and reading should be varied and stretch both knowledge and imagination. It should create conversations about our place in the world and the importance of accepting others. This is why we need diverse books.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Ganesh Chaturthi: Crafting and Storytelling

29th August was a grey day here in the UK and it was extra miserable due to Big Scribbles and Little Scribbles feeling a little under the weather. To brighten up our day and add a splash of colour we thought we would join in with the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations. Ganesh Chaturthi is the Hindu festival celebrated in honour of the god Ganesha, the elephant-headed, remover of obstacles and the god of beginnings and wisdom. Clay images of Ganesh are placed at various public shrines and rare worshipped for up to 10 days. As people will still be celebrating, why not hold your own Ganesh craft afternoon. We began our session by reading a short story from Barefoot Books fantastic Indian TalesThe eight stories in this anthology, each from a different Indian state, feature educational facts and information about the cultures from which they are chosen.

To set the mood for our crafting sessions we put on our Asian Dreamland CD which is full of soothing music from across Asia. The ten tracks are accompanied by extensive liner notes in English, Spanish, French and German.

Our craft session consisted of making our very own Ganesha mask! Now, I am not the best at drawing but I think we got it to somewhat resemble a colourful Indian elephant. The thing I love about children's crafting is that the fun and the learning is all in the process of design and making with the outcome not the most important. We simply took a paper plate and cut out two semi circles on either side, leaving a trunk like shape in the middle, perfect! The semi circles acted as ears, which we stuck onto a circular piece of metallic card. With a little paint, some glitter and stick on gems meant we had lots of fun creating out very own Ganesh.

Look how cute it looks! Maybe not quite as good as traditional images but it was a great way to introduce multicultural traditions and celebrations through storytelling and crafts.

There are lots of Hindu and other India based religions throughout the year, with Divaali (or Diwali as it is more commonly known) being the next big festival in November. Plan ahead by practising your storytelling skills and checking out out Pinterest page for ideas on snacks and crafts.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Barefoot Book of the Month:September

WOW, so summer is over (well not officially but there is only a slight hope of more sun and a late holiday) so it's time to think about getting back to school and making a fresh start! Our Barefoot Book of the month for September had to be the fabulous new addition to the ' Bear' series, Bear's School Day.

With Bear as your teacher, you can join in and follow the fun of the school day. There’s singing, crafts and story time, and even a map to help you find your way around. The illustrations are so colourful and engaging, with so much detail put not every page. Our favourite is the super cute nap time image, which helps children see that there first year at school can be comforting and fun. A lot of children will be looking forward to school, so this book is a great opportunity to be excited together and for your children to talk to you about what they are most looking forward to or are most apprehensive about.

We especially love the last  page, which shows a map of a school where children are encouraged to show bear around the different parts of the school. This is a very useful tool to help prepare children for their first day and what to expect. Why not ask your school if they have a map so that you can talk your little one through what to expect and encourage school to be a fun place to be.

If your children are a little on the quiet side when they come home from school, take a look at this article for some tips on what questions to ask about their school day and how they are feeling. Children will have had a busy day and will be full of different emotions that they may not be used to, so the last thing they may want to do is take about it all. Some of the questions in this article are a little intrusive for our liking but there are some great conversation starters that may just help your children talk about their day without feeling the pressure.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Book of the Month:August

With school out for summer and many of us jumping on a plane to a sunnier climate, what better book to choose for a shiny holiday read than Off We Go To Mexico!

Travel to Mexico and discover its many wonders, from the amazing monarch butterflies in the Highlands to a mariachi show in the village square. Like most Barefoot Books, this story is so full of colour and verve, with images jumping out of the page as if we were in Mexico ourselves (we can dream). It is great for reading aloud and putting lots of animation in your voice to really get the children engaged. Such a fun book.

We love how educational this book is without taking away any of the fun. The rhyme and lyricism of the text is complemented by endnotes about the history of the country, national fiestas, and a glossary of simple Spanish vocabulary. This book would be great at home or for schools, for language and history classes. 

Why not extend your storytelling session by making a Mexican feast and indulging in some Mexican crafting to extend the learning process. Arriba!