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Books

A while ago, I was sent The Children’s Garden a book filled with inspiration for things to make and do with children the garden. It’s written by Matthew Appleby, a former primary school teacher and author of The Allotment Planner. An aesthetically pleasing hardback, full of beautiful and helpfully instructive images, it’s a real pleasure to own and lovely book for the kids to flick through to see if anything appeals if they’re at a loose end. The book presents 52 family projects, themed and ordered by season, ranging from

We’ve just finished a happy romp through the wonderfully bizarre world of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Having realised from page one that this chapter book was going to be a hit, I gathered a few ideas for activities we could try alongside it. For my four-year-old, it was delightful to dig deeper into the experience of the story. For my 21-month-old, it meant she didn’t keep trying to pull the book out of my hand or take me some place else. Make a family tree The book

I first came across indie publisher Mother’s Milk Books a few years ago, both through La Leche League (the breastfeeding charity that has been a source of strength, support and community to me since becoming a mother) and through chatting about breastfeeding and parenting online. Their tagline “Celebrating femininity and empathy through images and words” pretty much encapsulates what drew me to them and the books they publish. I say “they” but the press is run solely by at-home mother and founder Dr Teika Bellamy. Mother’s Milk Books receives no

My parents visited us from Trinidad over the summer holidays and the girls especially relished the time with their doting grandparents. My mother must have read Talitha hundreds of books. Among them was the Jake and Tizzy collection, a series of books aimed at equipping parents and professionals supporting preschoolers with language delay. To Talitha, they were just delightful stories but I figured my mother, as a special educational needs teacher would have good insight into what else might be going on here. Here’s her review. ‘“Let’s read this, Nana!”

I remember asking on a Caribbean bloggers group a few years ago for Caribbean book suggestions for young children, especially the preschool bunch. Lots of mentions of Brer Rabbit and Anansi were thrown in but nothing came up that I felt really suited kids under five. Still, between my mother and I (she always has an eye out for Caribbean books and music, keen for her grandchildren to keep their ties with Trinidad and Tobago) we’ve managed to furnish our playroom with a few. So, in case you’re looking for

I first heard about the Meek family from Laurence. He’s a fan of their adventuring blog. Then, they kept popping up all over the place talking about their year of roadschooling or their “EdVenture”. Since we’ve decided to home educate and since wanting our children to be outdoors as much as possible plays a significant part in that, my interest in their journey was peaked. So, when I heard that Frances Lincoln was publishing the Meek’s book, 100 Family Adventures, I was excited about reviewing it. Tim, Kerry, Amy and

I’m a big fan of reading parenting books. I know some people think they distract you listening to your instinct. I believe a good book, with solid footing in science, common sense and compassion can help you separate what you do because it’s left over from your own childhood and how you are naturally wired to parent. Mayim Bialik’s Beyond the Sling is very much that kind of book. Best known these days for her role as Dr Amy Farah Fowler on insanely popular American sitcom The Big Bang Theory,

How cute are these Mini Myths books? When Abrams & Chronicles Books asked if I’d like to review them, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I loved the idea of children getting a (very) early introduction to the classic Greek mythology. It’s foundational to Western literature, after all. But could complex and somewhat terrifying stories like those of Pandora’s Box and Hercules’ Twelve Labours really be re-imagined for toddlers? Three-year-old Talitha and I love these books. She requests them over and over and I’m happy to read them repeatedly.

Every now and then I read a parenting book that makes me think: “I must give someone a copy.” La Leche League International’s Sweet Sleep: Nighttime & Naptime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family had me at the introduction. I mentally listed every mother I knew who consciously seeks to parent gently, rooting her decisions in instinct and evidence. Written by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants and La Leche League Leaders Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, Linda J. Smith and Teresa Pitman, this book is likely to stand out from any other

You might remember that one of the items on my summer bucket list was to read five novels before Autumn officially starts. I’ve only read one so far, so I’m rather behind but one is better than none! I’ve just read Vanilla Salt, a first novel by Iberian chef Ada Parellada. Admittedly it isn’t my style, really, and the translation felt clumsy to me but what a fun romp. What’s more, it’s full of powerful culinary descriptions that reveal where the author’s true passions lie. Alex is a fiery an

I think we started actively reading to Talitha when she was three-months-old. We felt a little ridiculous reading to this tiny baby who hadn’t a clue what was going on but persevered, hoping that she’d come to share our passion for books. In many ways, books were the best part of my own childhood. I love seeing Talitha really taken with them now. She can often be found on the sofa “reading” to herself. She also loves to bring books to “read” to Ophelia. When we’re out and about, she

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