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Monday, 25 November 2019

A New Baby: Discussing those "Tricky Topics" with BookTrust #TimeToRead

As most of our regular readers are aware, this year has been a particularly challenging one in the Along Came Poppy household. The Mini Reviewers, now 4, 5 and 8, have had to deal with some huge changes and as a result there have been lots of big emotions flying around. The children have all experienced disturbed sleep, outbursts of anger as well as increased crying. These three things, according to the parents of 4-11 year olds recently surveyed by BookTrust, the UK's largest children's reading charity, are the most common signs of young children being worried or anxious. 

I am a firm believer in being honest and open about my feelings and always encourage my children to be the same, as they say "a problem shared is a problem halved". However, BookTrust's latest research highlighting the importance of reading for children's mental health, indicates that only just over half of children aged between 8-11 talk to their parents when they are feeling stressed, sad or worried. 39% of children in this age range even admit to finding it difficult to talk about their feelings or emotions.*

It is hard to replicate the wonderful closeness created by sitting down and reading together as a family. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce those so often difficult to talk about topics in a calm and non confrontational way. The Mini Reviewers certainly open up and talk more easily when there is a book open on my lap!

Over the past year and a half we have used picture books to help when close relatives have died; to address our changing family dynamics; and most recently to talk about what the children can expect when their new sister enters the world in the new year.

When considering for new books to address those tricky topics, I often turn to my little community of book bloggers and enthusiasts for recommendations. I also scour the shelves of our local book shops and library, as well as reading online reviews and looking at the BookTrust website, which has helpful themed booklists. This is how I first discovered Rabbityness the perfect book for helping young children deal with loss.

Books to prepare siblings for a new baby

The Mini Reviewers would like to share three books, which we have been using to help prepare for the arrival of our new baby:

Snuggle the Baby by Sara Gillingham is an interactive board book published by Abrams Appleseed. This is a brilliant book for toddlers and preschoolers as little readers can feed, change and swaddle the  pop out baby that comes included. Mini Reviewer, Poppy, who has just turned 4 adores this book and reading it together has been an ideal way to explain what the new baby will need and the importance of being gentle!

15 things NOT to do with a baby written by Margaret McAllister and illustrated by Holly Sterling is our second recommendation. I chose this book for Mini Reviewer, Theo (5), in particular as I thought it would make him smile. The book starts by listing a number of ridiculous things you shouldn't do with a baby all of which I think Theo will possibly consider in the near future, in particular swapping her for the school guinea pig! However, the last three pages are dedicated to a list of things that should be done. As the illustrations depict siblings together it is a lovely way to get your child to consider how they can be involved with the new baby by singing, reading, cuddling and so on.

Our final choice is a little different. Described as an activity book for soon-to-be big brothers and sisters, The New Baby from Cicada Books is great for parents to start a conversation about the growing baby from the outset of pregnancy. The fun illustrations and opportunities to doodle and colour encourage the older sibling/s to think about themselves; their connection with the new baby; and what life might be life after her arrival. Mini Reviewer, Izzie (8), particularly likes the images of the developing baby and I think by completing this she will have a lovely keepsake to share with her sister in the future.

About BookTrust's Time to Read Campaign

Credit: BookTrust
In September BookTrust kicked off their fourth Time to Read Campaign by gifting 700,000 free books to 4 and 5 year old school children across England. The lucky recipients received a copy of The Cave by Rob Hodgson. This is part of BookTrust's mission to get families reading together and in turn helping children to share their worries. You can read more about Time to Read here


If you would like to win yourself a Goody Bag of books from BookTrust then follow us on Instagram and keep an eye out for the competition post.

*This is a sponsored post and we were compensated for our time by BookTrust. The research quoted above was provided to us by BookTrust and conducted by Censuswide.

Monday, 18 March 2019

Kipper's Big Blue Balloon Blog Tour!

Kipper the dog is turning 30 and to celebrate Hodder Children's Books have released a special anniversary edition of Mick Inkpen's classic picture book The Blue Balloon. This is the story in which Kipper made his debut appearance and the lovable pup has been entertaining children ever since. It is a book that I have fond childhood memories of and one that I now enjoy sharing with my Mini Reviewers so today we are delighted to be taking part in Kipper's Big Blue Balloon Blog Tour!

Friday, 15 March 2019

Touring Picture Book: In the Swamp by the Light of the Moon

Hello and welcome back to Along Came Poppy! The last few weeks really seem to have flown by here and, as we are already well into March, it is time for another Touring Picture Book choice.

For those of you new to the blog, every month the Touring Picture Book team, comprising of Acorn Books, BookBairn, Mamma Filz and ourselves, choose a new picture book together with activities inspired by the story to share with you. This month our choice is the enchanting In the Swamp by the Light of the Moon written and illustrated by Frann Preston-Gannon and published by Templar Books. 

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Blog Tour: The Dinosaur Department Store

Today it is our stop on The Dinosaur Department Store Blog Tour and we are delighted to be sharing our thoughts on this fantastic new picture book with you. Written by Lily Murray and vibrantly illustrated by Richard Merritt, we are sure this read aloud romp of a story will get you and your little bookworms giggling!

Thursday, 28 February 2019

Touring Picture Book: All Are Welcome

Hello and welcome back to Along Came Poppy after our little blogging break. Today as part of the Touring Picture Book team, we are delighted to be sharing the wonderfully colourful All Are Welcome written by Alexandra Penfold, illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman and published in the UK earlier this year by Bloomsbury.

This is the first Touring Picture Book of 2019 and as always we are collaborating with fellow picture book enthusiasts and bloggers Bookbairn, Mamma Filz and Acorn Books. We have all shared a different activity inspired by the same book so please do take a look at where All Are Welcome took each of us this month.

Thursday, 20 December 2018

New Year, New Challenge?

As the new year approaches, are you like so many others looking for a new challenge? Then why not run your own book business and become a Scholastic Book Champion? 

Friday, 30 November 2018

Christmas Traditions for Book Lovers

I recently read about an Icelandic Christmas Tradition which is part of Jólabókaflóð roughly translated as "the book flood of Christmas” when most publishing houses release a “flood” of new books just in time for Christmas. The tradition involves the exchanging of books on Christmas Eve and then settling down for a cosy evening of reading and eating chocolate. As a book lover and self-confessed chocoholic, this sounds like the perfect way to to celebrate Christmas and a lovely tradition to adopt as a family. Over the last few years there seems to have been a dramatic increase in popularity of celebrating Christmas with books and, in particular, children's books. Here are a few of our favourite Christmas Traditions for Book Lovers together with a brilliant selection of Christmas Books.

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Chapter Book of the Month: Isadora Moon Makes Winter Magic

For those of you that are regular readers, you will know that Mini Reviewer, Izzie, now 7, has a favourite series of books about a little half vampire, half fairy called Isadora Moon. 

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Books of the Month: October

With December just around the corner, October feels like a rather distant memory, however as both October and November are incredibly busy months in our house full of birthdays and lots of excitement, we hadn't quite got round to sharing our favourite reads of last month until now so here goes...

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

The Touring Book Club: The Boy and the Bear #TouringPictureBook

We are back with another Touring Picture Book post and this month The Touring Book Club team comprising of ourselves and three other book loving families (Bookbairn, Acorn Books and Mamma Fliz) have chosen the very beautiful The Boy and the Bear to share with you all. Written by Tracey Corderoy and illustrated by Sarah Massini, The Boy and the Bear is a heart-warming story of an unlikely friendship and is perfect for snuggling up with on a cold Winter's day.