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.