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Encouraging Reading

  • Giving the gift of reading. Why a book is extra special at Christmas

    I love getting books at Christmas. My husband, Matthew, and I always buy each other books so I purposely don’t buy any in the lead up to the festivities – then when I undo the wrapping paper I get really excited to see which one I’ve got. I feel like a big kid really.   I love giving the gift of reading, too – knowing the recipients are going to get so much pleasure from opening up their book and immersing themselves in the story inside.

    Giving the gift of reading is a great way to get children into books. It makes books feel extra-special when they’re wrapped up as a present and given with love. And the Christmas holidays are the perfect time for children to snuggle in and enjoy their new books. They can visit exotic countries, join in exciting adventures and discover new things to learn – all in one place.

    giving the gift of reading, kids books, gift of reading, tidy books, book box, book storage box Unwrapping books this Christmas. Photo credit @tthese-beautiful_thingss

    In Iceland, they’re as enthusiastic about reading at Christmas as I am. They have a tradition there called Jolabokaflod, or ‘The Christmas Book Flood’, where around November time every household is sent a book catalogue and people order books as gifts for family and friends. Then, on Christmas Eve, when it’s traditional to exchange presents, people stay in to read their new book, accompanied by a mug of hot chocolate or glass of jólabland, a mix of fizzy orange and ale. It’s brilliant that books are such a big part of their life, and that at Christmas time parents and children can spend time together reading.

    If you like the idea of having a book-filled Christmas, our Book Storage Box is a great way to keep all your kids’ books in one neat and tidy place. It’s portable so you can take it into the living room during the day then pop it upstairs ready for bedtime reading. It’s like a little moveable library so your children always have their books near them and they can dip in and out to read whenever they like. When my kids were younger, we used ours all the time.

    My two children may be in their teens now, but I still love sharing our reading. Later I’ll be popping into a book shop to buy my daughter a Christmas present. She’s into crime thrillers, which isn’t a genre I read, so I’ll have fun browsing the shelves, checking the reviews and finding out more. Who knows, I may discover a fascinating new world we can explore together this Christmas.  

    * Are you doing a Secret Santa at work this Christmas? A great idea from Beanstalk, the national literacy charity that we support, is to give one of your books as a gift and donate the money to them.  It's one more way to be giving the gift of reading!  Find out more  

    geraldine grandidier, tidy books

    Geraldine is Tidy Books’ founder, designer and CEO, as well as mum to Adele and Emile.   She started Tidy Books in her violin workshop because she couldn’t find a good bookcase for her kids.  Now her Tidy Books bookcases and storage designs are encouraging independence and a love of reading in kids all over the world.

  • The Usborne Book of Night Time - Kids books review by our parent panel

    Are you looking for a new book to read with your children this month?   Our new series, kid's books reviewed and recommended by our panel of parents is a great resource.   Each month, our panel of three families will read and review a kid's book from a leading publisher.  So you can decide which kid's book to buy next.

    Read what our panel thought of The Usborne Book of Night Time, published by Usborne Children's Books

    usborne books, tidy books, kids book review, recommended kids books reading, usborne book of night time The Usborne Book of Night Time © Usborne Publishing Ltd, 2018

    We loved reading this Usborne book and learning what goes on while we are in bed asleep.  Our favourite bits were learning about how new sea corals are made and how the northern lights are made! We also enjoyed the way the book is set out in a fun way with lots to look at and discover, As always a quality book from Usborne;  from the pictures to the text, and I loved the way it encourages my child to read.  Laura and Ruby Jo, 6

    usborne books, tidy books, kids book review, recommended kids books reading, usborne book of night time The Usborne Book of Night Time © Usborne Publishing Ltd, 2018

    This is a great book with the usual writing and illustration quality you come to expect from Usborne books. Both educational and fun, it explores our world both the natural one as well as city life through the night.  It provides lots of opportunities for questions about our surroundings.  It is also broken down in to short, self contained chapters so you could read it as a whole or pick and choose.  My daughter loved reading this book.  Stella and Lola, 5

    usborne books, tidy books, kids book review, recommended kids books reading, usborne book of night time The Usborne Book of Night Time © Usborne Publishing Ltd, 2018

    For children who are struggling with being ‘afraid of the dark’, this is an interesting and ultimately reassuring book about the things which happen once they are safely tucked up in bed. Oscar thought that if you were afraid of the dark, then this might reassure ‘scared children’,

    Each chapter deals with a separate aspect of ‘night time’, such as what happens in the British countryside, different global cities and the Australian outback. My boys, Oscar and Stanley, aged six and four, were particularly enthralled by the pages about the nocturnal animals who emerge from their daytime hiding places each night and learning about the ships and trains which carry cargo whilst the rest of the world is sleeping.

    Favourite pages were the ones at the beginning which explained about how it was night in some parts of the world, compared to others. We have grandparents in Australia, so this was personally of interest to them both.  Each page is beautifully illustrated with a wide range of facts to interest the young reader, meaning you can ‘dip into’ the most relevant facts for your own children to enjoy. Engaging and informative, I would recommend this book for informative bedtime reading. Sarah, Oscar aged 6 and Stanley, 4

    Thank you to our panel of reviewers; Sarah, Oscar and Stanley, Laura and Ruby Jo and Stella and Lola.  Thank you to Usborne for supplying our panel with great kid's books to review.    You can find The Usborne Book of Night Time  illustrated by Bonnie Pang on sale on the Usborne Children's Books website  to add to your child's library!

  • Stop the summer reading slump

    Schools out – and kids can’t get their uniforms off quick enough. With the summer holidays here they’ve got six whole weeks to relax and have fun, so doing anything remotely school-related will be the last thing on their mind now. Trouble is, when kids go back in September they’ve often forgotten some of the things they learned in class. It’s what teachers call the summer reading slump.

    One brilliant initiative to keep kids reading through the holiday is the Summer Reading Challenge run by the charity The Reading Agency. Once they’ve signed up at their local library, kids can take out six books to read over the summer and there are competitions, games and rewards to collect to keep them motivated, and stop the summer reading slump.

    You can help your kids with the challenge by letting them choose their own books. According to Scholastic’s Kids and Family Reading report  9 out of 10 kids are more likely to finish a book that they’ve picked themselves. And as they’re allowed six books for their summer reading challenge, this is a good time for your kids to be free with their book choices – fiction, non-fiction, poetry, picture books or whatever else takes their fancy.

    The Tidy Books Box puts books within easy reach of kids to help stop the summer reading slump The Tidy Books Box puts books in easy reach

    It’s all about making reading enjoyable for the kids while they’re away from school and not turning it into a task. But of course the books need to be accessible so kids don’t forget they’re there. You could put them in our Portable Book Box , which makes a handy mini-library that can be moved around the house. It can go with them into the garden or over to their grandparents’ house – even in the car to take on holiday.

    The box’s front-facing design means books can easily be identified by their covers, so kids won’t get impatient trying to find the one they want! It holds up to 40 books – plenty of room for all your kids’ books – and also comes with a play clock so they can have fun learning to tell the time as well.

    Kids deserve the summer off but reading doesn’t need to feel like homework. All they need is a little inspiration and they’ll soon see that reading a book at any time is fun!

    Happy summer reading everyone!

     

  • International Book Giving Day

    I’ve just read an incredibly sad statistic. Almost one in eight children in the UK has never received a book as a present, according to the National Literacy Trust. It’s upsetting to know that, for whatever reason, so many kids could be missing out on such a wonderful gift.

    As a parent, I’ve always bought books as presents for my kids. Over the years, giving them books has given me a great deal of joy as I’ve watched them unwrap their gift and excitedly open their new book. I’ve loved seeing them with their head buried in the pages, soaking up the pictures and words as they’ve got lost in the story.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all children could be given the gift of a book to encourage and nourish their love of reading? Well, one fantastic initiative is working to help make that happen. Held every year on 14th February, International Book Giving Day was set up with the aim of getting a book to as many children as possible.

    book giving day, kids books, reading, Tidy Books Celebrate International Book Giving Day!

    What’s great is that it’s really easy to get involved. You can donate kids’ books to a charity, children’s hospital, hospice or refuge. You could pop one round to your neighbours’ kids. Or you might want to leave a book somewhere a child might find it, like a dentist’s waiting room. You could even make the gift really special by wrapping it up and adding a note.

    I love this idea – but of course, you don’t have to contain your book-giving to Valentine’s Day! Here at Tidy Books, we’re passionate about getting books to kids all year round, which is why on the first Friday of each month you can donate your quality books to us. We then pass on the books to the charity Give a Book, who give them to school breakfast clubs. If you live in the area why not pop your kids’ books into us – we’re at 10 Hatherley Mews, Walthamstow, London E17 4QP.

    * Are you giving someone a book this Valentine’s? Why not drop me a line and tell me about it. I’m excited about every single child that gets to experience the magic of books.

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