** Collaboration with Booktrust. Some of the featured books were gifted. However all views and opinions are my own
Those who know me will know that I’m a huge advocate of reading with your children from a young age (in the womb for us!). Therefore, I’m delighted to be taking part in BookTrust’s popular campaign – Time to Read – which encourages families to read together more often.
What is the Time to Read Campaign?
From 17th September until the 23rd September, Booktrust will be launching their third Time to Read campaign which aims to encourage parents to read with their children and promotes the benefits of doing this. Over the next week, they will be sharing a range of exciting activities including downloadable resources. As well as this, @Booktrust will also be holding a Twitter party on Thursday 20th September 8-9pm!
Also, as part of the campaign, Booktrust will be delivering 700,000 copies of Little Monkey by Marta Altes to reception aged children across England! To find out more about this year’s book or for your chance to win your own bundle of Macmillan Children’s books, read below.
So Why Read?
In our household, reading is a daily occurrence and my little one’s room is full to the brim with illustrated books.
For us, reading a book isn’t just part of a bedroom routine to settle children down for sleep. Reading is about inspiring them and creating ideas. It’s about broadening their imaginations. It’s about fun!
Did you know that children who read tend to perform better at school? I cannot stress to the pupils I teach just how important it is. Reading expands vocabulary, fills children with ideas and encourages independent thinking. And what’s more, shared reading is a great way to bond with your child so why wouldn’t we do it?
Reading Helps in Difficult Situations
As well as developing imagination and vocabulary, illustrated books can help in some of the most difficult situations. I have written previously about books which help children to understand their emotions. More recently, I found myself turning to Julia Donaldson’s The Paper Dolls to tackle the issue of death.
Fortunately for us, we had not found ourselves having to explain that somebody had died. Instead, we were faced with the news that my mum had been diagnosed with cancer. Her outlook, at the time, was unknown. Once this devastating news had set in, my thoughts turned to my toddler who absolutely dotes on his Nana. What if the worst was to happen?! How do you explain death to somebody so young? That’s when I remembered ‘The Paper Dolls’.
The Paper Dolls follows a little girl playing with her paper chain dolls until the dolls suddenly meet an untimely end. In a very child friendly way, the book explains how the paper dolls go into the little girl’s memory along with a selection of lost and broken items, and a very kind granny. For me, this is an extremely delicate way of explaining where things go when they’re gone.
After reading the book, we often talk about things that have gone into our memory like his toy truck that didn’t survive the fall down the stairs or his ball which disappeared over the fence, never to be seen again. It is all very simplistic but at 2 years old, that’s all it needs to be. It’s the understanding that these things are gone and they will not be coming back – except in our memories.
Macmillan Children’s Book
As part of our involvement in the campaign, we were sent four beautifully illustrated books including this year’s featured book Little Monkey by Marta Altes.
Each book is packed with bright, detailed images which bring the book to life and offer lots of talking points. We enjoyed talking about all the oddly named creatures that passed through the Ministry of Silly Animal Names in ‘You’re Called What?!’ By Kes Gray. Each animal was fantastically drawn by illustrator Nikki Dyson and peaked curiosity in my little reader (and me!).
The second book, ‘Vera Jewel is Late for School’ by Nicola Kent, is such an attractive, colourful book which follows Vera’s unsuccessful attempts to get to school. Each page is crammed with illustration which tells the story excellently.
‘I am an Artist’ by Marta Altes, yet again, offers detailed illustrations which compliment the story. This one made me laugh as it follows a little boy who thinks he’s an artist. However, his mum has a slightly different interpretation of his art…mess! I love how the pictures allow the reader to interpret the story for themselves, encouraging independent thinking.
The final book, and definitely our favourite, is the Time to Read featured book Little Monkey by Marta Altes. The book is about Monkey who decides to be brave and climb the tallest tree. Through each page, the illustrations tell the story showing his journey along the way. My little one loved trying to spot the naughty tiger in the later pages of the book.
Giveaway to Win Macmillan Children’s Book Bundle
We’re giving away a Macmillan Children’s book bundle to one lucky reader. The bundle will include the four books featured in the Time to Read campaign (as seen below). All you have to do is enter via Gleam below:
Don’t forget to take part in the Twitter party for the Time to Read campaign on Thursday! You can also share your reading adventures using @booktrust and #TimetoRead
Visit booktrust.org.uk for more information.