How wild can your kids get?
When you chance the opportunity on a daytrip into town and take your son or daughter into a bookshop (remember those days?) for a browse or a treat, what draws their eye?
Do they head straight to find the series that they've been following? Do they hunt out the biggest books on the shelf? Scour for books about their favourite topics? Perhaps even reach for those they already know, that safe familiarity of recognition. Do they reach for books that you would consider out of their age range? Maybe even look longingly at books they would have read when younger?
Recently, I've really enjoyed following Jo from @thelittleliteracysociety on Instagram. Jo is a huge advocate for picture books for all ages and shares a wealth of wonderful recommendations on her feed. There are, of course, books that are more accessible to older children with developed understanding. But, as Jo suggests, if a little one reaches for the book then - wahey! - let's encourage their enthusiasm and share it with them too. Equally, if an older child wants the comfort of a safe and known read, their engagement should still be encouraged. In fact, the stigma of picture books being just for younger children is quickly losing traction with more stunning publications in the non-fiction market claiming 'coffee-table book' status and beautifully illustrated fiction books for older readers gaining greater recognition.
In November, the first Discover With Me box offered one such book in Lindbergh; The Tale of a Flying Mouse. Your feedback was overwhelming: 'I love it as much as the children do - the illustrations are stunning!' and 'We loved it so much, we invested in the series for Christmas'.
I was, however, asked whether a 12 year old would really enjoy a picture book. The answer, from parents and teachers alike is a resounding YES! It's so exciting to see a child's reading progress and their hunger for words, chapters and a series that they can't help but devour under the duvet with a torch. But, I challenge you to also show a picture book, such as Lindbergh, to them and I promise that they will be taken in by the illustrations, drawn into the story of the wee mouse that inspired a great invention and asking questions about their new discoveries.
Each Discover With Me box is designed to do just this. Alongside fiction and non-fiction picture books that will capture the interest of children and adults of all ages, I will provide you with resources to probe deeper, adventure further and spark even greater interest. Each activity is designed to invite conversation and collaboration. Older children may wish to complete the activities alone whereas younger children may need more support. Seize these opportunities to share in memory-making moments, praise their accomplishments and talk about their finds; search for clues in the pages and savour the precious days of relishing books together before this chapter of childhood closes!
As we roll into a new quarter, your next book box in this range is inspired by Ben Lerwill and Harriet Hobday's Wild Cities. This beautiful non-fiction hardback takes you round the world examining the wild inhabitants of major cities. Here's a sneaky peak of some of the vivid illustrations that cleverly assume the vibe of each country's culture. If you're anything like me, you'll want to hold hands with Mary Poppins and Bert to jump right in! A far cry from the monotony of lockdown, the escapism is almost as good as a city break!
Along with the book, this box delivers a host of colourful resources including a watercolour set, card, tracing paper, wild paper clips, crayons and origami paper. As you discover together, experiment with mixed media collages and turn the packaging of the box into Beijing's Forbidden City Palace, decorated by origami birds. Why not have a go at making an origami bird now with my nifty video demo:
So, if you need to a blast of vibrant colour and excitement through your children's reading, brighten up their bookshelf with a wild picture book and take a trip around the world together.
The Wild Cities box is available as an individual Discover With Me box for single or sibling children, or save with the quarterly package and receive four book boxes across the year. Next quarter, we'll be heading to Ancient Egypt...
For now, let's embrace beautiful illustrations for all ages and share the appreciation. Grown ups, drop me a comment below and let me know what picture books YOU have been enjoying this month.