One of the wonderful things that I have discovered when starting the little feminist book club is that there are so many fantastic and ins...

Little Feminist Book Club: Little People Big Dreams Series

Sunday, May 27, 2018 BookBairn 6 Comments

One of the wonderful things that I have discovered when starting the little feminist book club is that there are so many fantastic and inspiring women out there that I know very little about and BookBairn and I are getting to explore these incredible role models together. The series that I love the most for this is the 'Little People Big Dreams' series from Lincoln Children's books. There are eleven currently available in the UK: Ada Lovelace, Agatha Christie, Amelia Earhart, Audrey Hepburn, Coco Chanel, Ella Fitzgerald, Emmeline Pankhurst, Frida Kahlo, Marie Curie, Maya Angelou (which we are still to add to our collection) and Rosa Parks. And there are more wonderful women set to join the series! Jane Austen, Georgia O'Kefffe and Harriet Tubman titles are released next week and other wonderful women: Josephine Baker, Simone de Beauvoir, LM Montgomery, Mother Theresa, Anne Frank and Jane Goodall planned for later this year. You will also be able to collect box set editions with the historical figures collated into artists and scientists as well as paper doll play sets and board books so that even the youngest readers can join in the fun! Why has this series gone from strength to strength?

Firstly, it's riding a tide of fantastic emphasis on sharing these wonderful role models as 'feminist kidlit' becomes it's very own genre, addressing the gap of strong female characters in children's books that is historically entrenched in the publishing industry. And publishers have realised this and their response has been a great flooding of books with strong female characters as well as biographies telling the stories of women whose lives, experience and expertise have influenced and changed perception of traditional gender roles and stereotypes.

But this series has perhaps, for me, been the best answer to the question: where are the books about strong women? Because it's aimed at our youngest readers. So many of the anthologies and books spreading the word about feminist role models are aimed at upper primary school and high school aged children, and adults. But the Little People Big Dreams books are for our little girls (and boys).

 All the stories are written in short concise sentences making them easy for little readers like BookBairn to follow and are not at all overwhelming as some books in this new genre of 'feminist picture books' for very young readers. They would also make great early-readers for children who are ready to tackle reading some more challenging vocabulary. Each book also features a timeline with a more detailed biography giving you even more information as well as a final page that includes suggestions for further reading. The majority of the books are written by Isabel Sanchez Vegara (with some others by Lisbeth Kaiser) who clearly knows the importance of telling a story simply for younger children but also the power of not patronising them. She has found the perfect balance to tell these women's stories in a approachable, entertaining and true way. 

The series also celebrates a wide variety of artists: as this series has expanded so have the number of illustrations. Most are bold and colourful and all are wonderfully engaging and I love that the illustrations of the mighty women never cross the line into becoming caricatures. They remain true to the women they represent and are beautiful.

Basically, this is my favourite example of 'feminist kidlit' because it is well thought out, each word carefully considered, each illustration a work of art, and there is such variety that there is a role model for every girl (and boy).

If you are going to have a Little Feminist Book Shelf in your home - like we do - then you really should have some of these brilliant books on it! Once you start collecting these you won't want to stop until you have them all!

In June we will be reading books the fairytale series from Bethan Woolvin - Little Red, Rapunzel and Hansel & Gretel! One of our new favourite series of books!

Happy Reading, 

The Little Feminist Book Club x

Disclaimer: we have very kindly been sent the majority of these books from the publishers as they were released. Some were sent at our request and others were a delightful surprise in the post! Words and opinions, are as always our own!

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After my previous post ' What Is Mummy Reading? ' I got a few questions about how I manage to fit in so much reading with a todd...

Finding Time to Read as a Busy Mum

Saturday, May 26, 2018 BookBairn 17 Comments

After my previous post 'What Is Mummy Reading?' I got a few questions about how I manage to fit in so much reading with a toddler and a baby. So I thought I'd write a little blog post about it with some tips for reading when you have little children.


The way that I unwind at the end of a busy day is to escape into a story. I find it hard to fall asleep as soon as I go to bed if I don't read something. Even a couple of pages. And if I'm too tired to read I often pop an audiobook on my phone and listen to that whilst setting the sleep timer (both audible and my library apps have sleep timers). But most nights I go to bed at 9.30 to read for at least half an hour before falling asleep.

Books over Buttons

When naptime reading meant
 watching this cute one sleep.
In the past, I wasted far too much time on social media. And don't get me wrong, I really like social media but when I consulted my battery usage app on my phone it told me I was wasting up to three hours a day on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, I got a real wake up call for how I could be using that time more productively. So I cut back. I check Facebook twice a day - once in the morning with my cup of tea, and once again in the evening once the kids are in bed; I hop on Twitter to promote blog posts and message my friends but don't usually spend more than a couple of minutes a day on there anymore; and Instagram, which is my real weakness, I pop on throughout the day and save photos using the 'save for later' function and then in the evening just scroll through these saved tabs and check out my favourite accounts as well as preparing a few posts for the next days to share. And I cut my time wasted in half. So there's at least an extra hour I was wasting now repurposed for reading.

The Ten Minute Rule for TV

My husband and I have really cut back on TV shows we watch. So now something has to be really good to capture our attention. We have a ten minute rule (and we use this for films too) if we watch something and in the first ten minutes it hasn't grabbed us, or we feel it has gratuitous sex or violence in the first ten minutes (a sure fire sign that they have had to add that to boost ratings) we switch off. There are so many better things to do than to waste time watching boring or monotonous TV shows and films. Honestly, I'd rather read a good book.


I find sunshine always makes
 me want to read outside!
The Wee Page Turner is still too young to command the radio in the car, so after we have dropped BookBairn off at nursery and are driving to and from his swimming or yoga class I put on an audiobook. That works out at over an hour and twenty minutes of listening time for me in just those two return trips. So I try and choose something that I don't mind him overhearing and have been re-reading the Narnia series and started Harry Potter as I don't think these have content that is too worrysome for him to overhear.

I also listen to audiobooks whilst doing some chores. I don't always listen as I need to be concentrating on the story so I can't do that when I'm doing something that requires my focus. But I can listen whilst doing the washing up, sometimes when cooking, when folding laundry, whilst ironing and whilst doing general tidying up. That's a lot of listening time.

Quiet Time

One of the best parenting tips I got was when BookBairn stopped napping was to introduce quiet time. So every afternoon, when The Wee Page Turner naps, I also put BookBairn in her bed, read her a story and let her choose a selection of toys to take with her. Sometimes it only lasts half an hour, but other times she accidentally takes a nap and I get two hours peace and quiet. So I usually do a few chores, sometimes some blog admin and emails and then I put my feet up and read a few chapters until they wake or until it gets too close to the danger nap time zone when I wake them up and cross my fingers that they will still go to bed on time.


Sometimes if a book is really good, I hide from my kids to fit in ten extra minutes reading. I put on CBeebies (or something that I know will keep them glued to the spot for 7-10 minutes), tell them I'm going to the bedroom to put washing away, or in the kitchen to do dishes and I sneak off and read until they eventually come and find me. I'm sure this is not the best parenting strategy but it's a great one for fitting in an extra chapter.

Finding Time for my Hobby

Having a snack always helps!
But in short, I love to read so I make time to fit it in. When my husband looks after the kids at the weekend and says 'go and take some time for yourself', I pretty much always run a bath and read a book. If the sun is shining I desperately want to sit in my garden and read my book. That's my favourite thing in the world. So I find time to fit it in.

Ultimately, if you want to read, you will find time to fit it in.

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Hope you found a little tip to help you read more!

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
BookBairn has read 37 books toward her goal of 48 books.

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For those of you that have been following for a very long time, you may remember that my original profile photo and image on social med...

What the Ladybird Heard Show

Friday, May 25, 2018 BookBairn 1 Comments

For those of you that have been following for a very long time, you may remember that my original profile photo and image on social media was of BookBairn sitting in my lap reading 'What the Ladybird Heard' by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks. This book choice was not a coincidence. It was the book we read most often, in fact it's the first book that we ever took a photograph (and video) of her obviously enjoying. It's a story that will always be seriously special to us.

So when the 'What the Ladybird Heard Show' was coming to a theatre near us (and just days after The Wee Page Turner's birthday) I knew that we would go and see it. I was pretty nervous to be honest, taking them both (and Daddy) in case someone misbehaved (especially Daddy) and we had to leave. But I needn't have been concerned. The show captured both their imaginations as much as the book!

Just a brief synopsis for those of you not familiar with the story. It's the story of a little ladybird who never before has said a word until one night she hears two bad man plotting to steal the fine prize cow. But don't worry the little spotty ladybird has a plan that means all the animals make lots of noises and not their usual sounds. It's a funny story that gets little ones laughing as you make all sorts of silly animal sounds!

And I wondered how they could turn a five minute story into an hour long show! But it is crafted brilliantly. As you watch the show, the animals come to life in front of you - some are puppets but the majority are crafted from odds and ends lying around the farm. And the ladybird - well she's a little shining light that flutters around the stage as little ones chant "ladybird, ladybird, where are you?". The staging is utterly brilliant, and for me that was the most exciting part.

For The Wee Page Turner, who skipped his morning nap to attend (always risky!), he delighted in the music and when he did occasionally make a sound it was only because the music had stopped. It clearly was a real enjoyment for him. For BookBairn it was definitely spotting the little ladybird and getting to go up close to the stage after the show had finished to see the animals up close.

Both my kids are still relatively little and would potentially have preferred a slightly shorter show of 45mins rather than a whole hour but that's certainly not a criticism of the content of the show. The actors were bright, bubbly and fun and conveyed the magic of the story brilliantly and the script, music and staging really were enchanting.  And I loved that the show encouraged the children to interact and join in parts of the story, but without becoming a pantomime, the actors did a great job of engaging with the audience. But the best bit was seeing the joy on BookBairn's face! She loved it!

If you're interested in seeing the show, they are still touring and you can find all the tour dates on their website.

A really fun morning out for the BookBairn family! And a lovely to celebrate a birthday with on of our favourite stories!

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Happy reading, show watching and singing!
Mummy, BookBairn and The Wee Page Turner


One of the things that I love about reading books with BookBairn is that I can see that books inspire her play. When she puts her dolly i...

Kids Knead Play

Wednesday, May 23, 2018 BookBairn 4 Comments

One of the things that I love about reading books with BookBairn is that I can see that books inspire her play. When she puts her dolly in the pram she is "off to the library, mummy"; when she tucks her toys up in bed she reads them a story; she gathers all her Peppa figures around and plays 'Bookbug', singing the songs from our library sessions. She also uses the stories to inspire her play. I've seen her make Nibbles the book monster eat her books, she uses her finger puppets to act out fairytale stories, she feeds the very hungry caterpillar lots of food from her play kitchen.

But one of the most exciting child-led book-inspired plays that I have seen is when BookBairn opened her 'Kids Knead Play' box. before I tell you about her awesome play I should say that I deliberately ordered a box based around BookBairn's favourite book (yes, she has declared it her favourite!), 'Lost and Found' by Oliver Jeffers. She's knows this story off by heart: we read the book regularly, we listen to the audiobook in the car on every journey and she has recently become fascinated by the short film too. So I knew she would be confident and comfortable with the story to be able to really use it as a basis for her play. (If you haven't read this story yet you have too! - I'll link back to a very old post so you can see our love of Oliver Jeffers is long-lasting but I probably need to do an update too!)

When BookBairn opened the box she really enjoyed getting the play doh out and exploring the three different colours and the smells. She quickly realised that this was no regular play dough box: it's "Penguin and the Boy play dough, Mummy!" and she put the characters straight into the little boat to sail off to Antartica. She loved seeing all the different loose parts that would support her character play. She wanted to roll out the dough to make the white snowy lands of Antarctica and the blue into the sea with "waves as big as mountains" (her favourite quote from the book).

She quickly moved on to use the straws to make a castle for the penguin and pushed the buttons into the white dough to make stepping stones. I have never really seen her play like this with play dough before - perhaps it's because I left her to play without trying to lead  her. I sometimes can't help myself! But it was so lovely to see her using her imagination. We got lots of other little bits including an umbrella shaped cutter which we used with the red dough to make a boat for the penguin to try to find the boy and re-shaped the white dough into an iceberg that they would be sailing around.

Not only was her play much more creative than I had seen it before it was also wonderful to here her using all the rich vocabulary that she had picked up from the story! She made the characters talk to each other, she explained and described all the things that she was building and creating. Such rich and valuable play!

If your child has a favourite book that you want to extend into their play 'Kids Knead Play' make custom boxes to suit your child's interest in a variety of sizes and if your bairn isn't really a huge book fan, they also make cools boxes on lots of other kid-friendly themes like dinosaurs, jungle, construction sites and or older kids they have great letter and number boxes too.

And some wonderful news is that we are collaborating with them to do a giveaway!

**GIVEAWAY** I've chosen five of our favourite books and if you are chosen to be the lucky winner, you can choose a book and Kids Knead Play will create a box for you on the theme of that book and we will send you a copy of the book! Pop over to our Instagram or on Kids Knead Play's Instagram (or why not enter on both) and simply tell us which book you would choose! **GIVEAWAY**

Happy book-based play and reading!
Mummy, BookBairn and Kids Knead Play!

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DISCLAIMER: I had bought a Kids Knead Play Box in the past for BookBairn (an Easter themed one) and I reached out to ask if they wanted to work with us by sending us a box for review and working together on the giveaway above. We did receive this box free for review but I will definitely be buying from them again! It's worth every penny to see that awesome playspiration!


BookBairn is really loving spotting letters all over the place at the moment! She is particularly fascinated by the letter 'L' - ...

It's as easy as ABC...

Saturday, May 19, 2018 BookBairn 21 Comments

BookBairn is really loving spotting letters all over the place at the moment! She is particularly fascinated by the letter 'L' - I'm sure you can guess why?! After all her name isn't actually BookBairn! So we've been exploring lots of alphabet books and activities so I've got some of our favourites to share!

Alphablock by Christopher Franceschelli

One of the most stylish books in our alphabet collection this little cube-shaped book with gorgeous cut-out letters and corresponding illustrations. I love that the letters are cut out and encourages little fingers to trace over and explore them and I love that the letter comes first and you have to turn it over to see the corresponding illustration, which is beautifully drawn/painted. Obviously with two pages for each letter (one of the letter and one for the illustration) it is quite a chunky little book, as are all the books in the series but it is so well-crafted and quite small so not too heavy and both the bairns love to explore this one on their own and with mummy!

Peekaboo A to Z by Gareth Lucas

This is a book we've had for quite a long time (if you want to see photos of baby BookBairn reading it check out our old post here). This is a large and sturdy board book (two years later and not a singe rip or lost flap with flaps that small hands can flip with ease, illustrations that are utterly adorable and silliness that will appeal to grown-ups and little ones alike. It has an animal for every letter of the alphabet and with alliterative text, it  extends it's appeal far beyond little ones who have already mastered their initial sounds. The short sentences and corresponding illustrations mean that these books will also be great for early readers. So it's no wonder we are still enjoying it!

a b c by Aino-Maija Metsola

This is a stylish collection of illustrations using bright bold high-contrast colours making it a perfect first ABC book for babies. I love the 'Learning Garden' series of books as they feature some common images - a for apple, b for balloon etc but the illustrations are crisp and stylish! The bold, graphic designs paired with the large images are perfect for little ones who love high contrast books still and I love the fact that it mixes both upper and lowercase so that children can see both alongside each other. As a teacher I see a lot of letter activities focussing on capital letters but we want children to make connections with lowercase letters too. BookBairn and The Wee Page Turner love reading this one together!

Touch Think Learn: ABC by Xavier Deneux

We love the Touch Think Learn books and both the kids love to explore them with an adult or by themselves though it is worth noting that this is an extremely large and heavy book so it's one for reading stretched out on your tummy on the floorFeaturing spreads that have one page with raised shaped objects that neatly fit into the scooped cutouts on the opposite page, they are such a wonderful multi-sensory books with letters and corresponding illustrations. BookBairn loves looking at the bold, bright illustrations and tracing her fingers over the raised and cutout shapes as well as beginning to say the names of the pictures. This is an abc book to touch, think and learn with!

Alphamals A-Z by Graham Carter

If you're looking for an alphabet book for slightly older children, or children who require a bit more than just ABC then this is the perfect book for you! Alphamals is just magical! The illustrations are both soft and bold using a sumptious graphic design. I love the depth that is created in the patterns that add a wonderful texture. The accompanying text is a lovely short poem for each animal that will teach you a thing or two about many creatures from all corners of animal kingdom. There's a fairytale quality to this one and you could easily forget that it's an alphabet book! A mesmerising book! 

Amazing Animal ABC and Fabulous Food ABC by Krina Patel

These two books are another pairing where the alphabetical order comes second to great lyrical rhyming phrases and collage illustrations that will visually engages readers. One exploring the animal kingdom and the other perfect for food enthusiasts, both these books read like long poems which are coincedentally in alphabetical order. I particularly love the food one - as there are lots of alphabet animals books so it seems a little different and I loved exploring new and unusual foods from all around the world.  These books are bright and colourful and are great fun to explore together!

ABC Mindful Me by Christiane Engel

We shared this one recently as part of our list of Meditation and Mindfulness books for kids but of course we love it so much it has to be part of our ABC list too! It pairs each letter of the alphabet with a word that teaches children about mindfulness principles like compassion, empathy, gratitude and kindness. The illustrations are bright and playful and the rhyming phrases on each page make it lovely to read aloud too! There are so many things you can talk about with this book but I love that it has taken an ABC format and turned it into something so much more meaningful, powerful and enjoyable.

ABC French by Daniel Roode

If you are looking for something a little different for an alphabet book why not try one in a foreign language? I couldn't resist this French one (as I lived in Paris for a year during my studies) and I love exploring the language with my two petits bairns! The graphic illustrations are so appealing and the friendly characters are incredibly adorable. It's also another book which makes great use of bright high-contrast colours to appeal to little readers so it's a really great way to explore language and sounds with your little one. And of course, BookBairn loves telling me "that's not the real word, mummy" and correcting me! Each French word has the corresponding English underneath and for those who aren't confident in pronunciation there is a pronunciation guide to make it fun and easy for you too! If you fancy exploring multilingual books this is a great way to start!

ABC Shapes by Ingela Peterson Arrhenius

This is such a quirky alphabet book introducing children to unusual shapes and will no doubt help your little one learn about the alphabet and shapes at the same time. The illustrations are vibrant and engaging and its use of shapes make it rather unique and special! This book has certainly taught me a thing or two about shapes using unusual and lesser-known shapes like nanogons and helixes to share a shape for every letter of the alphabet. Little artists and engineers in the making will love this! Such a unique and special look at both shapes and the alphabet. This is one for readers who want to think outside the box (square, cube... you get the idea!).

ABC: A Walk in the Countryside by Rosalind Beardshaw

Part of a series of first concept books, created alongside the National Trust, this board book takes young readers on a Springtime walk through the countryside spotting things from nature (in alphabetical order) along the way. Created with a gentle narrative, loveable animals and lots and lots of things from nature to spot and name, this is a lovely book to explore together. The beautiful and soft illustrations are incredibly appealing and will have you wanting to pack a picnic, a magnifying glass and get your wellies on to go out and explore all the sounds of the alphabet on a wonderful wildlife walk!

My Awesome Alphabet Book and Canvas by Dawn Machell

This book and canvas combination have been of great interest to BookBairn as she loves to point to all the pictures on the canvas and talk about the things she can see and is beginning to tell me some of the letters too. The accompanying book is a fantastic introduction to letters: each page is filled with several words and pictures for each letter. The illustrations are adorable and clearly labelled and it's a great way to explore the alphabet together. 

Alphabet Cards by Jam Tart Designs

Not a book but so beautifully illustrated I just had to include the alphabet cards from Jam Tart designs. We have these all stuck up in BookBairn's new room and she loves to take her fairy wand and tap them as she sings the alphabet song. If she gets out of place, she uses the illustrations to catch up and match the sound to the letters. These are really beautiful and make a wonderful gift!

And there you have it! It's a long list but these really are some of our favourite ABC books! 

Mummy and BookBairn xx

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DISCLAIMER: The majority of the books in this list (except Alphablock) were sent to us by the publishers free for review purposes. Please know that our review policy is that book sent for review are accept on a review consideration basis meaning that I only review ones we really like. That's our quality guarantee to you. If you want to know more about our review policy it's available here. Words and opinions are our own.

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