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Getting Kids Reading

  • Giving the gift of reading, from prison

    “Shows I need to sit down and read more to my kids. Good to give to the kids and they’ll enjoy it.”  Storybook Dad

    Our guest blogger, Olivia Loveridge of charity Give A Book talks about their work to give the gift of reading to disadvantaged families. 

    At Give a Book, our aim is to give books where they can really make a difference. We work mainly with schools & prisons and are working more than ever on family reading initiatives in prisons. The importance of family contact for both prisoners and their families is well-recognised and shared reading is a great way for families to stay connected.

    One of the projects we support is Storybook Dads, a charity which allows fathers in prison to record stories to send to their children.

    Give a Book now supply corresponding books to be sent with these story discs, so that children can not only watch and hear their parent read to them but can read along too.

    gift of reading, tidy books, charity, give a book Story Book Dads project connects dads in prison with their children through stories

    It makes life easier for the little one at bedtimes. It's as though they’re reading to him, he really loves his stories and it helped all of us. Thank you for this opportunity to bond with my family.”

    This year we also piloted a new Family reading initiative, Making It Up, at HMP Wormwood Scrubs. Leading up to a prison family visit day, fathers took part in workshops where they learnt about the importance of reading with their children, different types of stories, and created their own storybook for their children.

    On the day, families who came into the prison watched and listened to author and illustrator Chris Riddell as he sketched and read out loud from his new book. We plan to repeat the project in more prisons next year, following wonderful comments like these from the families who took part:

    “Could have written more…Something for [my child] to take back. Really good.”

    “Shows I need to sit down and read more to my kids. Good to give to the kids and they’ll enjoy it.”

    gift of reading Give a Book's family reading projects with dads in prisons

    If you'd like to give the gift of reading this year, find out more about more about Give a Book’s projects, please have a look at our website.  If you would like to make a donation to support our work, you can do so here.

    Thanks to Give a Book for their guest post, and thanks to everyone who's supported their work through the Tidy Books E17 Kid's Book Drops, which we host on a weekly basis in our East London office.   If you'd like to give the gift of reading to another family this year, donate quality children's books at our offices for Give a Book's collection, or make a donation to Give a Book

  • 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!

  • Literary days out the kids will love

    I love literary destinations – so much so that when my partner, Matthew, and I tied the knot earlier this year we had our honeymoon in Yorkshire so I could visit Brontë country. It completed our love story, really, because the first book I read when I moved from France to England was Jane Eyre – a gift from Matthew when he discovered my love of 19th-century literature.

    Visiting literary destinations can be a brilliant way for kids to connect to reading, too. What better way to spark their interest in books than by taking them to places where writers have created characters and magical worlds from the inspiration around them. There are also some great museums and visitor centres where kids can learn more about their favourite author through interactive exhibits and activities.

    You might like to try these...

    tidy books, literary destinations, literary days out, days out with kids, getting kids reading, literary places, literary tour The books that inspired literary days out, on a Tidy Books bookcase

    The World of Beatrix Potter

    Peter Rabbit, Squirrel Nutkin, Mrs. Tittlemouse – you’ll meet a whole host of Beatrix Potter’s characters during this tour. You can pop into Mrs Tiggy-winkle’s kitchen, see Tom Thumb hiding under the floorboards and get a photo of Mr. Jeremy Fisher on his lily-pad boat. There’s also a short film that introduces you to the author and her stories. While you’re in the Lake District, take a trip to Potter’s house, Hill Top, which has been kept exactly as she left it when she died in 1943. http://www.hop-skip-jump.com/ https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hill-top

    The Gruffalo Trail

    At Thorndon Country Park in Essex, kids can use a map or app to find the cast of characters from The Gruffalo – which, by the way, is my favourite business book Just follow the clues and you’ll discover hand-crafted carvings of mouse, fox, owl, snake and, of course, The Gruffalo himself. http://www.visitparks.co.uk/education/gruffalo-trail/

    Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre

    You’ll find the fantabulous world of Roald Dahl in the Buckinghamshire village of Great Missenden, where the writer lived and wrote for over 30 years. The galleries are packed with things for 6-12 year-olds to see and do – like creating a character, making up a gobblefunk word, smelling chocolate doors and finding the mouse in the gobstopper jar. http://www.roalddahl.com/museum

    Pooh Country Tour

    It’s a real adventure tracking down the places that inspired author A A Milne’s Winnie the Pooh books. A map will help you find the East Sussex locations for Roo’s Sandy Pit, The Heffalump Trap and Where The North Pole Was. A favourite for kids is Poohsticks Bridge, where Winnie the Pooh and Eeyore had fun racing their sticks in the stream. http://www.pooh-country.co.uk

    The Harry Potter Experience

    At the Warner Bros studio tour Harry Potter fans can step into the Great Hall, marvel at the Forbidden Forest and see the Hogwarts Express on  Platform 9 ¾. There’s also chance to view props like the Puking Pastilles dispenser and a whole range of movie costumes. Plus you can find out more about the special effects used to bring Harry’s magical world to life.   https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk/experience

    * Do you have a favourite literary destination where you take the kids?  Tell me in the comments below

     

    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. 

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