Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Review: 'Words And Your Heart' by Kate Jane Neal

You know when you read a book and you get that feeling that it's really important? Well, that's the feeling I got when I read my latest Toppsta win, 'Words And Your Heart'.

'Words And Your Heart' by Kate Jane Neal
(Firstly I'd like to apologise for the quality of the photos in this post - I have an ear infection so can't lean over to take photos of a flat surface so had to improvise!)

This is an absolutely gorgeous little book addressing a really big issue for young children - the power of their words. It talks through how words can hurt, but also how they can make people feel better, and what a great feeling that is. It uses a repeated refrain describing the heart as 'the little bit inside of you that makes you, you' which helps reinforce the message for younger readers.

'Words And Your Heart' - how words affect your heart
The illustrations are just adorable - really simple with a very limited palette, but to me that give them more power. They keep the message clear and powerful without distracting the reader with extra details. I think the illustration style would also make it more palatable to slightly older readers, so they feel more like they're reading a cartoon rather than a picture book.

'Words And Your Heart' - Your words have power!
I could see this book being used really effectively in early years settings and schools to teach children about the power of words. It surprised me how early on children start to use words as weapons against each other so I think it's really important to get this message right from the start.

'Words And Your Heart' - looking after each other's hearts
I have to admit, when Eleanor (6) read the book she wasn't impressed. She's going through a 'picture books are for babies' stage and thought the repeated phrase was 'silly'. Pfft, six year olds. Having said that, I've spotted her sneaking a read of it a few times since so I suspect it was all show! I really hope she comes round to it, she's at a really tricky stage where words are often very hurtful and I think this message would really help her.

As for Ezra (1), he's a little young for it but I definitely plan to keep rereading it so it becomes ingrained in his mind to use words for good. (His main use of words right now is to demand things in single words, to be fair.)

I really recommend this book for anyone with children of preschool/early school age, and anyone working with those children. It's a beautiful book that you'll appreciate as an adult, and it's message is so key it needs to be spread.

Linking up with 'Read With Me' hosted by Mama Mummy Mum.

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Monday, 8 January 2018

Review and GIVEAWAY: 3 New Picture Books From Maverick

So, it's 2 weeks since Christmas - have your kids read through all their new books already?! If so, I have some fab new books to share with you.

November 2017 releases from Maverick
Back in November, before Christmas took over my reading life, Maverick Children's Books sent me their latest picture books to review. These three books are a lot of fun to read aloud with little ones! 

Bears Don't Eat Egg Sandwiches by Julie Fulton and Rachel Suzanne

Bears Don't Eat Egg Sandwiches

In this clever little story, Jack is just settling down to a lunch of egg sandwiches when a very hungry bear comes to visit. But bears don't eat egg sandwiches - and this bear has his eye on a rather larger lunch! This is a really fun one to read, as the bear gets increasingly annoyed with Jack's offer of egg sandwiches so you can really go to town with your angry bear voice! It could be a bit frightening for more sensitive children, but it's great to see how Jack outsmarts the bear in the end. The illustrations are very charming and will make you crave egg sandwiches!!

Game Of Stones by Rebecca Lisle and Richard Watson

Game Of Stones

Pod and his brother Hinge are bored of the Stone Age, so Pod decides to invent a new game to entertain them both. But each one ends in disaster until he creates his biggest invention yet. This is a good book for lovers of word play, not only because of the tongue-in-cheek TV reference in the title, but because of the puntastic names that Pod comes up with for his games! It's also a good book for encouraging children to make things for themselves and find their own remedies for boredom. Watson's illustrations are very entertaining too!

Beware The Mighty Bitey by Heather Pindar and Susan Batori

The Mighty Bitey Piranhas are feeling hungry! They lie in wait under a rickety bridge while a string of musical animals pass over on their way to Cougar's party. Can they persuade enough animals to stop and play their instruments and make the bridge break? This is another fantastic one for reading aloud, as you can really enjoy mimicking the animals and their instruments! It's another slightly perilous one but don't worry - the piranhas get their comeuppance!! Again, the illustrations are full of fun  with plenty for little ones to spot.

Do you like the sound of these? I have a copy of each book to give away to one lucky winner! To be in with a chance of winning just enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below. Don't forget to comment on this post - why not tell me about the best book you or your children received over the holidays?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Open to UK residents only. Please see the giveaway for full Terms and Conditions.

Disclaimer: I was provided with the above books for the purpose of this review.

Linking up with #ReadWithMe hosted by Mama Mummy Mum and Kids Love To Read #KLTR hosted by Laura's Lovely Blog and The Inspiration Edit

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Friday, 5 January 2018

Awaiting Assessment

There's been an elephant on my blog for the past few months. You may not have noticed it, but I certainly have. With every parenting post I've written it's been there, silently watching as I type, willing me to acknowledge it's existence. But I wasn't quite ready. Until now.

You see, Eleanor, my wonderful, funny, bright, confident, exhausting 6 year old daughter, is now on the waiting list to be assessed for autism.

I've said it. Deep breath. OK, elephant, you can come out now.

I won't go into a long run down of all the steps it's taken to get this far, but I will say it's been happening a while. It was picked up in preschool that she was struggling with the social and emotional side of her development  but we assumed that, as she was so advanced 'academically', she simply needed time to catch up.  When she moved onto a school nursery they hinted at the possibility of autism, but never actually said the word, and various other things going on meant I didn't pick up on it. Then in February last year her teacher at her new school suggested we refer her for an assessment. And it took from then to December to be accepted onto the waiting list, via various appointments and paperwork.

Don't let anyone tell you that they give out autism diagnoses easily!

I'll write about all this in time, but right now I just want to get it out there. I had debated waiting until we had an official diagnosis but as the wait could be up to a year for that (yes, really) I didn't feel I could carry on writing about parenting without acknowledging the elephant.

While going through all this I've drawn strength from reading blogs by other autism parents, and I can really see how this is an instance where the blogging community can bring much needed reassurance. If you're interested in checking out other blogs on this topic, the ones I've found helpful are Mummy Tries, Someone's Mum, And Next Comes L, Steph's Two Girls, Faith Mummy, Wee Ohana and It's A Tink Thing. If any of you read this, thank you.

So there we are. The elephant is out. Phew. Now for the long wait for assessment.