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De’s Bedtime Bookhabit

IMG_1602Our Bedtime Bookhabit

Hello, my name is De. I live in Sydney, Australia with my 3 (soon to be 4) year old son. Here’s our Bookhabit Bedtime.

Our evening routine changed last year when I became a single mother. Whereas I had once had the assistance of my son’s dad in the evenings, I was now the only adult in the house. Doing everything on my own meant that by the time evening rolled around, I was ready for bed myself. I could hardly keep my eyes open at 7pm to read together, let alone clean up the house afterwards.

So, I merged our evening routines and now we do everything together, very early! This way, we both have the energy to enjoy story time.

Dinner:

So, we eat dinner together at 4:30pm. 4:30?! I hear you say. Yes, I’m all ready for life as a retiree.

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Clean up and bath

While I clean up the kitchen and pack the dishwasher, my son normally watches TV or plays for a bit. Sometimes he helps me with the dishes. He bathes, I shower and we’re both fed, clean and in our pyjamas by 5:30pm.

The resistance

IMG_1592We get our heat packs ready, brush teeth (with much resistance) and faff about until I’m able to convince him that it’s time for bed, after some yoghurt and strawberries, that is. It’s 6:30 and we’re both ready for bed.

Books

Reading has always been a key part of my life and I view the passing of this gift onto my son as one of the most important parts of my role as his mother. So, to be sure that our bedtime stories are done well, our entire afternoon and evenings hinge around being ready for bed early enough.

IMG_1596My son started sleeping in my bed last year, which means bedtime stories are now shared in our big, comfy bed. Darcy the cat is often involved too, mostly against his will.

IMG_1599We read four books at night. We tend to stick to current faves for a few weeks, then I try to introduce a new book into the mix. We’re currently reading Billions of Bricks, Superman; an origin story, Gaston and Stickman (an old favourite brought back by my son).

IMG_1600At this stage they are all picture books, a mixture of fiction stories about animals and non-fiction. Space and dinosaurs have been hot topics over the past year. My son’s recently shown an interest in comics so that’s an exciting genre for us both.

After stories, we say a prayer of gratitude, then it’s hugs, kisses and goodnights. Whilst he’s drifting off to sleep, I check out what’s been happening on Instagram or read a book for myself and I’m asleep soon after.

The changes we made to our evening routine have made it a much more enjoyable time, because neither of us is beside ourselves with fatigue at this earlier time and sharing a bed means much less nagging and bedtime battles because he knows I’m going to be there.

So, that’s it, our Bookhabit Bedtime.

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I have loved reading this post. I think that it is so inspiring to see how De has literally rearranged her daily routines because bedtime stories are such a huge priority for her family. If you’d like to know more about the books she loves and what she and her (supercute) son are reading at the moment, be sure to follow along on Instagram. You can find her at @booksandbabycinos Thanks so much for sharing, De!

Claire x

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Chapter Books

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The time has come. Little Miss Bookhabit is starting to investigate the world of chapter books. Now, that is not to say that we will be putting away the picture books any time soon. My love of picture books will last long after she has finished with them. But I also believe that reading books at different ages and stages of development helps you to discover new things that you didn’t see before. She is also just getting to grips with reading and so she loves picking up familiar books and half reciting, half reading the words in them. It gives her a huge sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when she gets to the end of something that isn’t a reading book from school. Most importantly, she still gets a great deal of pleasure from picture books. But she is now also excited by the idea of chapter books and the lure of something unknown and ‘grown up’.

DIMG_0835espite being a KS1 and 2 teacher, my repertoire of chapter books is a tiny drop in the ocean in comparison to what I know about picture books. It tends to be based on a few failsafe authors and the classics that we read at school (Roald Dahl, Michael Morpurgo, The Iron Man, that kind of thing) so I thought it would be fun to share our journey into chapter books with you. I have no doubt that we will read some that we love and some that don’t capture our imagination in the same way and it will be very much a case of trial and error (thank goodness for libraries!) but I’m excited to dive in. I’m also interested to know if you have any recommendations for us.

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So far, I know that the chapter books have to still include illustrations. They need to be reasonably short to suit her five year old attention span. She prefers chapter books that make her laugh. She isn’t bothered if the main character is male or female but she seems to like people rather than animals.

I’m working on a wishlist of books to see us through the next few months and will be posting what we read on @alittlebookhabit on instagram as #chapterbooktuesday so if you are at a similar stage do join in and share what you are enjoying and/or have a go at reading some of the ones we’ve enjoyed. Happy reading!

 

 

 

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Silly, cheeky, gross: books to make you giggle

Instagram is filled with beautiful pictures of amazing books, carefully styled and tastefully displayed, showing the wonderful array of inspiring children’s fiction that is available at the touch of a button. I know this because a lot of the time this is what I am trying to share as well. However, occasionally I do wonder whether these images would be as appealing to the target audience of the books as they are to the many dedicated adult kidslit fans out there who are swooning over the latest picture book beauty.

In contrast, the books in this blog post are probably not the most beautiful. They may not have a particularly inspiring message at their heart. But they are pretty much guaranteed to get your children laughing, you will probably find yourself having to read them multiple times and they may even become one of those books that your child remembers in twenty years time. So, without too much fuss, I give you my favourite (if that’s the right word?) books about toilet humour, bodily functions, nudity and everything that makes kids laugh. I have added a scale (from 1/5 silly to 5/5 gross) so you have an idea of what you’re going to be getting. I hope your little ones love them as much as mine do. Enjoy! Continue reading “Silly, cheeky, gross: books to make you giggle”

Weekly pick: The Little Gardener

I really love instagram but there are times when I feel like I’m not really doing the books justice when I feature them on there, so I have decided that I’m going to try something new. Enter the new hashtag #bookhabitweeklypick.

It was tough picking which book woud go first but after a weekend where I finally felt like we were beginning to see some signs of spring I chose Emily Hughes’ beautiful ‘The Little Gardner’.

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When I bought this book it was just a chance encounter. I didn’t flick through the pages, I hadn’t heard of it before or read anything by the author I just saw the cover and thought it looked interesting. I’m so glad I did. It has become a well-loved book in our house for both me and the little Magpie (my daughter, currently 3 and a half).

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The text is simple, repetitive and gentle. It guides you through the story of a tiny gardner (perhaps some kind of fairy folk, although he doesn’t seem to possess any magical powers) and his friendly worm. Between them they try everything to keep the garden beautiful but it is just too much for them. After realising that the job is too big, the gardner wishes for help and then falls into a deep slumber for a month. When he awakes he finds that the universe has granted his wish (nearby children have cleared and planted while he slept). Where once it was overgrown and dangerous there are now flowering plants and new wildlife.

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Part fairy tale, part fable, this story puts a great emphasis on the qualities of trying hard, perseverance, asking for help and most of all having hope. The text is used sparingly and all the emotions and extra details come from the intricately beautiful illustrations. Every time we look at them we find another hidden detail that we haven’t spotted before and this helps to keep the book exciting for little ones. The colour palette is more muted than many children’s books but it really adds to the atmosphere of the story and makes the garden transformation more visual and exciting at the end.

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Emily Hughes is a really special talent and has a style which is instantly recognisable. If you haven’t given her books a try yet I would urge you to track them down and give them a whirl. They are truly magical and timeless and would easily earn their place on the most beautiful bookshelf.

If you have already enjoyed ‘The Little Gardner’ or would like to look out for more of her work, Emily Hughes has also published ‘Wild’ and has recently illustrated ‘A Brave Bear’ written by Sean Taylor.

Reading: a gift for life

A lot of the time, when people read with their children they do it to help them with their literacy skills and there is no doubt that works but to me reading is so much more than that. Reading benefits every part of who they are. Social skills, problem solving, patience, motivation, empathy, understanding of relationships can all be developed by simply picking up a book and diving in. And if you manage to help your child develop a love of reading then it is something that will be with them for their entire life, and that’s not something you can say about a lot of things. Being a child can be hard work but when they immerse themselves in a book they can really switch off. Not just the older children either. If my three year old is having a bad day a book can really break into her mood and it can be like pressing the reset button. This does not always work but is well worth a try! Below are just a few of my thoughts on what books can do for us and our children and not one of them is anything to with literacy. (Please remember that all of these also apply to adults reading books as well!)

Books can cleverly take something scary and make it funny.

Books can make you feel as though you are not alone.

Books can make you laugh when you want to cry.

Books can transport you to a million places when you can’t leave the house.

Books can make you see things from a different point of view.

Books can help you find an answer to a question noone else can answer.

Books can make you believe in magic.

Books can make you think for yourself.

Books can give you goals and dreams.

Books can turn an ordinary day into a magnificent adventure.

Books can be something different each time you read them.

 

 

Reading on repeat

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Lately my daughter came home from nursery with her ‘Next Steps in Learning’ one of them mentioned retelling familiar stories. This is something she loves to do and that’s probably because she has always been read to. But did you know that it is the rereading of the same books over and over again which helps young minds to absorb the structure of stories so that it becomes part of their everyday vocabulary, then their play and eventually one day their writing? Which means it doesn’t matter too much if you have access to hundreds of books or a carefully selected few, if you read them together regularly this will have a positive affect on your child’s use of language. Great news, hey?

Continue reading “Reading on repeat”

World Book Day 2016

Hooray for World Book Day! The day of the year where:

a) parents hurriedly try to find/ make/ buy a costume for their children, while…

b) teachers carefully plan opportunities for their classes to love books even more whilst managing a pack of excited children in fancy dress, dressed as (in my case) a giant red crayon and…

c) children get giddy because their teacher is dressed as a giant red crayon and they get to be superheroes/ princesses/ animals for the day.

It has its critics but for all that, I still love it. Continue reading “World Book Day 2016”

Is there such a thing as a bad book?

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Whilst browsing Instagram this morning I saw a beautifully illustrated quote on Chris Riddell’s feed which said “I don’t think there is such a thing as a bad book for children.” He was quoting Neil Gaiman. It really set me thinking. Is it really snobbery and foolishness that makes us believe some books are better for our children than others or is there a good reason why we carefully select some books for our children and push others away? Continue reading “Is there such a thing as a bad book?”

Welcome!

Hello, I’m Claire. You may have seen me sharing my excitement about children’s books over on Instagram during the last six months. If so, thanks for following along and welcome to the new venture- a blog! I have procrastinated long and hard about this but with a few gentle nudges in the right direction here I am and I’m very excited to enter this brave new world.

I haven’t shared a lot about me over on instagram so here’s a little more about how I came to have a book obsession. Continue reading “Welcome!”