Landmark Statues Come to Life (Again)!

FeaturedLandmark Statues Come to Life (Again)!

After strong demand from schools and libraries, Theresa Tomlinson’s, Meet Me By the Steelmen, is to be rereleased today!

“Having lived close to steel works for most of my life, this book has become very special to me. I’m delighted with the bright, sparkling new cover and so very pleased that the story of the steelmen is taking on a new lease of life.” Theresa Tomlinson, author.

Nominated for the prestigious Carnegie Medal, when it was first published – alongside the likes of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone! – we’ve taken the opportunity to re-issue the book following an approach from Sheffield Schools’ Library Service so that children across the country can continue to enjoy this much-loved story.

This engaging and accessible novel follows Jenny, her younger brother, Stevie, and the giant bronze statue of the steelworkers at the Meadowhall shopping centre. Stevie is convinced that they can move and talk, but Jenny doesn’t believe him. Is it just his imagination or is there really something else about the statues?

“A gem… Warmly embracing three generations of steel-town dwellers, Tomlinson writes a thoughtful tale that glows with character.”
Scotland on Sunday

Featured in the Accelerated Reader scheme, and regularly used in schools as a resource to support curriculum learning surrounding our national industrial heritage. Its perfectly crafted, pacey narrative and incredible plot engages the reader throughout. Theresa Tomlinson joins award-winning northern voices, Robert Swindells and John Hickman, on our growing fiction list.

This new edition includes the original illustrations, and also features a brand new cover, a note from the author and Book Club questions, to further boost engagement and the reading experience.

9781782703471_in1

“Theresa is an incredible author, and ‘Steelemen’ is such an accessible read – a fantastic chapter book for young readers. Written with pace and imagination, it grips the reader from start to finish – while celebrating the country’s rich industrial history, and bringing it to life for a new generation.”
Anna Wilkinson, MD at Award Publications.

9781782703471_fcABOUT THE BOOK
Title: Meet Me By the Steelmen RRP: £5.99 Release: 01/02/19 Author: Theresa Tomlinson  Illustrator: Anthony Lewis Format: Paperback 80 pages ISBN: 978-1-78270-347-1 Publisher: Award Publications

Get your copy from Hive-Vector-Logos

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Theresa Tomlinson initially qualified as a teacher, and taught in primary schools for many years. She began creating picture books for her own children, and has since written and published many books for all ages. Having spent a large portion of her life in the north of England, many of her novels are located there, and have grown a popular and loyal fan base of readers. Her keen interest in history, and incredible story-telling talent has seen her twice shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. For more information go to www.theresatomlinson.com

🇬🇧 What does it mean to be British? 🇬🇧

With the Euros done for another year and talk of the World Cup beginning to creep into every day conversation, it might be time to pause and think what it means to get behind our boys.

Great Britain has always been a nation of immigrants and that is what makes it truly great… but the current hostility towards our national football team shows a darker side of our wonderful nation. It appears that far too many people were happy to get behind the likes of Rashford, Sancho and Saka when spirits were high and goals were being scored however, as soon as balls strayed from their course, far too many ‘fans’ were quick to dismiss the boys as anything other than English, and even claimed they should ‘go back’ to ‘wherever they came from’.

“Is it time to reevaluate what we are willing to simply pass off as ‘a joke’… and decide what we are willing to stand up for?

Thousands of abusive messages were received by all three men (aged just 19-23) at the end of the match and it continues on social media at this very minute. So, is it time to contemplate what it really means to be British? Is it time to reevaluate what we are willing to simply pass off as ‘a joke’ or a ‘heat of the moment’ remark and decide what we are going to stand up for as our values?

Tolerance or Acceptance?

Tolerance is a word often bandied around when talking about British values but I want to challenge what this actually means; should we be more accepting of others, rather than just tolerating them? Tolerance is defined as “the ability or willingness to tolerate the existence of opinions or behaviour that one dislikes or disagrees with.” whereas acceptance is defined as the “general agreement that something is satisfactory or right, or that someone should be included in a group” and I wonder if it is time for us to be less tolerant of our fellow man who believes that they have a right to diminish someone else’s worth based purely on their skin colour, their upbringing, their gender, their religious beliefs (or lack thereof), their economic standing, or anything else which fundamentally DOES NOT DEFINE WHO THEY ARE and show our acceptance of a multicultural society where out differences are our biggest strengths. If we merely stand back and allow people who we are friends with, work with, or simply follow on social media to continually perpetuate this racist and bigoted language, then it can be argued that we are willing to accept them too. Should it not be that, as a great nation, we stand up for others and show compassion in all things? Should it not be our job to lead by example and show our young people how to behave in the face of failure? How to be a model citizen, and accept that everyone makes mistakes?

So how do we move on from this?

Even the most harrowing of events can have a silver lining in that we, as a nation and individuals, can learn from them and make decisions about who we want to be. In schools up and down the country on Monday 12th, conversations were being had about respecting others, about how to deal with defeat, and how to challenge both overt and casual racism… something many children are exposed to at home every day.

Surely then, if even our youngest children can grasp what it means to be respectful and accepting of others, we can too? With this in mind, I urge you to have those difficult conversations, to challenge the people around you if you hear something which is racist or bigoted, and to stand up for the type of country you want to live and raise our children in.

If you need any help with how to start these conversations with your children, or how to approach the subject of ‘Values’ then our newest publication ‘The Children’s Book of Values’ is out this Summer via Amazon, Book Depository, Bookseller.org or any good book shop.

What’s the difference between weather and climate? … You can’t weather a tree, but you can climate 🤣

What’s the difference between weather and climate? … You can’t weather a tree, but you can climate 🤣

Now that we can leaf… gettit… leaf the bad jokes behind, we can focus on an issue which is at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now: going green.

With the likes of Netflix dropping documentaries such as ‘Seaspiracy’ and ‘Life on Our Planet’ at our doors this year, everyone I know is not only forgoing fish but is now looking for ways to make their lives greener and live a more conscientious lifestyle. But can we really change the course of our planet’s fate?

As Attenborough states “Since the 1950s, animal populations have more than halved, while domestic birds’ populations have skyrocketed; 70% of the mass of the birds on the planet are domestic birds- mostly chickens. Humans account for over one-third of the weight of mammals on Earth. A further 60% of animals are those that are raised for us to eat. The rest- “from mice to whales”- make up just 4%. Domestic animals require vast swathes of land and half of the fertile land on the planet is now farmland,” so you’d be forgiven for thinking that, with stats like that, it’s all pretty hopeless.

But do not fear.

If we change the way we live now, drastically and definitively, if we teach our children about protecting our earth and all of its beautiful inhabitants, our planet does have a chance at repairing itself… but it isn’t just about swapping plastic straws for paper ones, although that is good too.

“Since the 1950s, animal populations have more than halved”

Sir David Attenborough, Life on Our Planet

If you look at the facts presented by Sir David, we can see that not only is climate change a real issue, WE are the ones who are in control. WE, the consumer, are the ones who can shape our children’s future and the planet they they will inherit from us. Companies only produce what is in demand, therefore we shape what they create…cool right?

So, what can WE do?

All is not lost and there are thing we can do, and can help our children to do, which will help heal our planet. And do you want to know the best way we can help? Teach our children from a young age so that they don’t make the mistakes of the past.

Excerpt from our newest ‘go green’ title: Children’s Book of Being a Planet Protector.

If we shift our energy sources to become more sustainable, if we teach our children about renewable and cleaner energy sources, such as wind and solar power, the amount of greenhouse gasses would reduce hugely. Globally, renewable energy may be the dominant source of energy in 20 years but only if we all make the shift together. So, have a look through your energy bills, look at your energy providers, do they offer a ‘green’ alternative? Lots of companies are offering discounted rates from renewable sources now so this could be the perfect way to make a step in the right direction. Then have a chat with your children about wind farms – what do they think about the big ‘fans’ lining the horizon? What do they already know about energy? You might be surprised what young ones have already picked up from school, nursery, the news and you.

Excerpt from our newest ‘How it Works: Environment’ showing a detailed depiction of ecosystems.

Moving on, another way in which children can really get involved, at any age, is in restoring-or “rewilding”- biodiversity on the planet. When ecosystems are more diverse, they are better able to perform essential ecosystem services, like neutralising carbon emissions. So, use this as an opportunity to chat to your children about how they can make the environment more bee and bug friendly. Maybe change a section of your garden to become a wildflower habitat with flowers and weeds you would usually pull up, but butterflies and bees love? Or maybe, you volunteer to plant trees in a local woodland…these changes don;t have to be expensive, but they do make a difference.

“Maybe change a section of your garden to become a wildflower habitat with flowers and weeds you would usually pull up, but butterflies and bees love”

The final way in which you can help, is by choosing meat free alternatives a few times a week, or by shifting to a more plant based lifestyle. If we all had a largely plant-based diet, David Attenborough says, we would need half the land we use now. In nature, large carnivores are fairly rare; for every predator on the Serengeti, there are more than 100 prey animals. But now, we are the large predators and we eat VASTLY more meat than those carnivores. Getting your kids involved in this one is easy too: you can look up plant based diets on the internet; you can go shopping together and have competitions to see who can come up with the best veggie meal ideas; you can write menus together and then get them cooking with you so you all learn together to discover new tastes and textures as well as preserve our planet.

These are just a few of the ways in which you and your family can make a change for the better, and can protect our planet. If any of these ideas interest you, or you would like more information on how to teach children, both pre-school and of school age, about how to be more of a planet protector than a planet polluter, check out our two latest publications:

How it Works: Environment & The Children’s Book of Protecting our Planet. Both of which are available through Amazon, Bookshop.org and any good Bookseller.

Protecting our Planet is available to buy on : 21 June 2021

ISBN: 9781782704553

How it Works: Environment is available to buy on 21 July 2021

ISBN: 9781782700036

Can I have a snack?? How to help your kids move on from 350358458 snacks a day whilst homeschooling…

Image: a selection of fruit in the shape of a smily face.

As the dramas of life in lockdown are now (hopefully) moving their way into the past, many parents are still struggling with the lingering whines of “I’m hungry!” and “Can I have a snack?” but is there a way for us to move away from the constant grazing of homeschool, to a more structured and healthier mealtime?

We are all guilty of it… when you’re on your 50th Zoom call of the day or 3hrs into a meeting which could’ve been an email, what do we do? Reach for a choccie bar to get you through those last few hours, of course! Well, with kids learning the ‘joys’ of staring at a screen for hours on end, it seems they have been wanting to do the same; snack, after snack, after snack! And who can blame them, really? They have had their whole worlds turned upside down for the last 12 months and even now, when they are looking forward to returning to school to see friends and teachers, normality is still a long way off. With new bubbles, regular testing for secondary students, and many schools having to stagger mealtimes to ensure social distancing, kids won’t have an easy time adjusting… especially when coupled with pangs of hunger!

“With new bubbles, regular testing for secondary students, and many schools having to stagger mealtimes to ensure social distancing, kids won’t have an easy time adjusting”

So, what’s the solution? No, not exciting cutters, or stylish bento boxes, or even nifty homemade versions of sugary snacks (not that I’m slating any of these ideas, they’re all amazing and good on you if you can get it to work for your kids! However, I have never had the time or inclination for such things; I like an easy life!) It’s getting your kids to pack their snacks and lunches themselves, or at least do it with you if they’re too small.

The way this can work is by not only giving them the novelty of creating their own combinations but allows them to know, totally in advance, what they’re got to graze on during them day; they take ‘total’ control over the food they eat and, as a result, know how long they’re got to make stuff last. Winner!


You’ll need to spend a little time planning before you start (but the time saved in the long run and lack of anxiety will more than make up for it) and make a list of all lunchbox/snack box friendly foods your children like and you feel comfortable with from a nutritional standpoint.

Next, separate your items into categories: protein, vegetables, fruit, grains, and snacks, and make a chart for the fridge—nothing fancy, if your child doesn’t know how to read yet, you can include pictures of the various foods, too.

Finally, pitch the idea to your child/ren. Each night, they choose at least one item from each category, and pack lunch themselves. (as a side note, from experience, don’t try and do pack ups in the morning as it winds up everyone up and makes everybody late.) You can supervise and suggest combinations if they want you to, but otherwise it’s up to them.

This method can be extended to snack boxes for when they get home too, or put together on a Sunday evening so they know what they’ve got for the week and stops them whining at you for top ups!!

Here’s an example list which you are more than welcome to pilfer and adapt to your needs.

So, there you go! It might take a little while to get used to, but not only should this help your child/ren become more aware of what they’re eating and healthy habits, but it should free up valuable time for YOU after all the chaos of COVID life.

Here’s a recap:

1. Establish Guidelines

Post a chart on the fridge with lunch fixings sorted by category. (See above for a sample chart to get you started.) Let your kids pack whatever combination appeals to them, as long as it includes one choice from each category.

2. Involve Your Kids

Talk to your kids about the new routine and get their input into its implementation. Ask them if there are certain foods they want you to buy for the week, show them where you keep the lunchboxes and container, and talk to them about how best to pack their food so nothing spills and it stays cold until lunchtime.

3. Sort Out the Schedule

Make sure you know how this will work logistically: do your kids want to put together a plan for the week ahead of time or just wing it? Do they want to pack all their lunches on Sunday or put them together each night? You will probably need to cook extra pasta or veggies at dinner time to put into the fridge

For more ideas on how to keep your children healthy and happy during this transition, why not check out Healthy Habits, part of the Star Reward series? This series gives small, easy to follow examples of how to be a better world citizen as well as providing a fun reward chart and stickers!

The full and complete Award Publications catalogue is available through Amazon, The Bookshop.org, and through any good book seller.

Flushed with success over Number 2! Steven Vinacour author takeover!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Before you ask me any questions, I’ll tell you a little bit about myself. That way I might inadvertently answer all your questions and then we can fill the time playing hangman or eating cake.

So, I write the Ted & His Time-Travelling Toilet series which are all about a young boy trying to get through school whilst being faced with all the usual problems that plague school children. The only difference is that Ted gets help solving his issues by flushing himself down the toilet and travelling back in time.

I’ve been a writer and director for over 20 years. I’ve written for TV shows, high profile live events, commercials and even the Royal Family (although there is absolutely no proof of that, you’ll just have to take my word for it). A lot of people think that I wrote the Ted books because I am a historian and wanted to share my passion with a young audience. This isn’t true, I just like writing fart jokes.

“I just like writing fart jokes.”

What have you been doing to keep your mental health in check this last year?

When the first lockdown forced us all inside I was right in the middle of a school’s tour, reading passages from Ted and running creative writing workshops. So, I decided to start a Facebook live show and every day I’d host a 30-minute show whereby I’d oversee the writing of a book as long as the viewers came up with all the ideas. I’d then self-publish the book, raise some money for charity and give everyone that came up with an idea a co-author credit. In 5 months, we created the first ever novel written by 200 young authors with over 450,000 children tuning in. I also got to live the dream of finally being a ‘broom cupboard’ style presenter, which after getting down to the last 2 (for real) in the early nineties  (but losing out to someone else), was a box ticked for me.

Have you found out anything new about yourself?

I’ve discovered I can grow a beard which is quite an achievement. I also discovered that my wife absolutely hates me with a beard but, my theory is that during lockdown if you can’t do little things to annoy each other then what’s the point? I think I look like George Clooney, she thinks I look like Worzel Gummidge.

How do you react to, approach or cope with change?

If you are referring to underwear then I encourage it, daily. Otherwise,  I am conflicted really, half of me wants everything to stay exactly the same making my life easier and half of me wants the challenge of new things. Does that answer your question?

Not really, no.

Oh. Obviously, I like some sort of order and routine in my life but, having said that, I left working for a company a few years ago and started my own production company. Every time the phone rings now there’s someone asking me to do something new (or asking me if I have been mis-sold PPI or if  I’ve been injured in an accident). So, I love the fact that every day I’m challenging myself with new projects. I face things with optimism and try and look for the positive. It’s sometimes hard and not always obvious at first but if you look hard enough you’ll find it – it’s definitely there.

“I love the fact that every day I’m challenging myself with new projects. I face things with optimism and try and look for the positive. It’s sometimes hard and not always obvious at first but if you look hard enough you’ll find it – it’s definitely there.”

How do you handle stress and has that changed during lockdown?

OK, I’ll be serious for a moment. I became quite stressed in an environment I wasn’t happy in which is why I left and started my own business. Usually I am laid back and optimistic but, being in a place I didn’t want to be together with the fear of the unknown having never run a company before started to stress me out and I wasn’t myself for a few months. Fortunately, I have a very supportive and understanding wife and family who encouraged and motivated me. I learnt that your own happiness and mental well-being is the most important thing and if things aren’t right then don’t let it fester. Move on. New opportunities await. During lockdown I found creative outlets, enjoyed the sunshine and time spent with my family and tried to remain as positive and optimistic as I could.

Steven presenting the books he and his fellow Facebook authors (mostly children) put together over the first lockdown!

How has writing helped you during COVID?

I am never happier than when I am writing (don’t tell my wife that) but writing Ted brings me so much joy because it’s an excuse to be silly. When I read reviews of how it has made readers laugh I know I’m doing a good thing and  it further motivates me to be even sillier. I have very nearly finished writing book 4 in the series and am already thinking of ideas for book 5. I very lucky to call myself a professional writer but I am even luckier to be an author. When I got the call from Award offering me a book deal I was very emotional. I’d only ever been that emotional three times before – when my children were born and the time I watched Jersey Girl (it’s an old Kevin Smith movie starring Ben Affleck and J-Lo, everyone hated it and it was panned by critics but I loved it and cried my eyes out – there I’ve said it).

“I am looking forward to getting back on tour and reading Ted in schools which is not only ridiculous amounts of fun but I also really like school dinners.”

What’re you looking forward to when the restrictions end?

I am fortunate because my industry (production) has been allowed to continue so I am still able to get out and work with people but, I am looking forward to getting back on tour and reading Ted in schools which is not only ridiculous amounts of fun but I also really like school dinners. I also want to go out and do things like eating out, going to the cinema or theatre just something – anything rather than walking round the block every day! I would also love a holiday. I love to travel and can’t wait for more mask-free adventures.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

I never eat chocolate, I’m not that keen on chips, I get sea sick and I have absolutely no interest in football. I’ve also been to the North Pole, have worked with hundreds of celebrities and can tell you some really juicy stories and I am the voice of a well-known range of toys. How about that?

That’s great, can we finish by you telling us some juicy gossip about celebrities then?

No.

• ‘Ted and his Time Travelling Toilet: Roman Rewind’ and ‘Tudor Tangle’  by Steven Vinacour is published by Award Publications (RRP. £6.99). To order a copy go to https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/award_publications  Delivery charges may apply.

Exclusive Author Takeover! Laura Wall reveals all about her time in Lockdown 3.0

Honk Honk! The gorgeous Laura Wall showcasing the book which started it all; the beloved ‘Goose’.

“The biggest challenge for me has definitely been not being able to hug my family and friends.”

Laura Wall 2021

Hi Laura, thank you so much for agreeing to talk to us about your experiences during the last three lockdowns! For the newbies to our brand, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself and the incredible artwork you do?

Well, I am the author and illustrator of Goose – a series of children’s books published by Award Publications about a little girl called Sophie and her unlikely friend – Goose! I am also an artist and own an art gallery in the seaside town of Teignmouth in Devon. I sell my artwork on lots of things, from big art prints, to lampshades, limited edition watches to notebooks. I have lots of things to manage in the gallery, like making sure we have enough stock, creating new product lines and sourcing manufacturers, as well as marketing them and selling them through our gallery and website. We have to package up orders that are made online and deliver them… and in between all that I paint and illustrate books. It’s good fun, but sometimes I need help and that is what I realised during the last lockdown. Whether that is in a practical way, or simply words of encouragement from a friend. 

That sounds massively busy! No wonder you sometimes need help! So, what has been your biggest challenge during these crazy lockdowns?

The biggest challenge for me has definitely been not being able to hug my family and friends; it’s so hard not to have that close contact like I’m used to.

We definitely feel that. How’s this made you feel, do you think? Has it tested your resolve?

There were moments during the last lockdown where I felt tearful at times, I am normally a very positive and happy person and this came as a surprise. I was working hard, driven by the fact we were locked down during what should have been our most busy and important time of year. So I was using lots of brain power trying to be creative in my ideas to keep customers interested and buy from us online and of course keep staff, customers and loved ones safe. I didn’t think I was justified feeling stressed or down. I thought because I didn’t have children, or elderly relatives or medical issues to worry about, which were trigger stress points my other friends had, that I shouldn’t feel anything but happy and grateful. I knew I was incredibly lucky compared to many others I knew, but it didn’t stop me feeling a bit sad at times. Sometimes all I wanted was a hug from my mum.

“It’s good fun, but sometimes I need help and that is what I realised during the last lockdown…”

But it took one kind act from a friend to completely lift me and make me realise there doesn’t always need to be an obvious reason to feel a bit low. My friend gave me some bubble bath, a Gratitude Journal and a teddy owl to hug if I needed a cuddle from a friend (I call her a wise owl so this is her animal representative I suppose – in the same way a Goose might be mine!) Not only did it make me laugh, but knowing someone was thinking of me, that I wasn’t alone, even when she was going through a very tough time herself was overwhelming and gave me a fuzzy feeling. There is always love to go around. I started seeing the kindness around me, from those who love me – like my family, but also customers who would smile and wave at me through my studio window as they walked past on their daily walk. I wasn’t seeing all the good stuff until then. It’s taught me that it’s OK to feel a bit wobbly sometimes, no matter our situations, and that small acts of kindness go such a long way.

How wonderful that you’ve managed to stay so close to your friends even though they’re physically distant and that they have been able to support you too. Along those lines, what have you learned about yourself ?

I’ve learnt that I need help sometimes, and have become better at delegating jobs in the gallery and also reaching out to friends if I just need to laugh or chat. I’ve been trying this lockdown not to put too much pressure on myself and do too much all at once. For instance, my to-do lists are purposefully shorter, becoming less overwhelming and more manageable. I am used to doing a hundred things in a day, but actually sometimes it’s an achievement to get one thing done, and do it well! 

I’ve also learnt that we are all probably feeling the same at some point or another and that being kind to others whether it is offering a smile, phoning a friend, or sending some chocolate to someone might just make their day a bit better. Kindness is one of the best things we can give. 

You’re so right! Kindness costs nothing and is vital to our mental health and wellbeing, especially during these times. So what else have you done to keep your mental health positive? Any new hobbies?

I try not to go on social media or look at the news too much as this can sometimes be a trigger to anxiety. I also make sure I get out of the house everyday for exercise. Last time I was so busy working I realised I hadn’t even been out for a walk for days! So I am really trying to make an effort to walk everyday, and also do yoga if I can which is great for relieving tension in the mind and body.

Kindness is one of the best things we can give.”

I also ate very unhealthily at times in Lockdown 2.0 and I had too many take outs! [didn’t we all?!] So this time I am trying to at least cook wholesome meals at home, and I have found joy in that! I’d forgotten that I actually like cooking, I put on a record and sing and cook and this makes me very happy! In fact, music has been one constant the whole way through this year. I love my record player and listen to my favourite records loudly! I love painting to music and this is also my happy place. On those occasions where all I need to do is paint, I love it! Music on or off I go into a happy place. Although art is my job, painting never gets tedious or old. It is me and part of who I am. 

We completely agree – music is an amazing way to escape, as is art or doing something creative which takes you away from the humdrum of everyday life…we hope our readers and customers can take something from your incredible resolve and positivity. So, finally, what are you most looking forward to when this is all over?

TRAVEL! Oh I can’t WAIT! At night I think of the places I have been lucky enough to explore and the cultures I have been able to experience and I imagine myself there again, thinking about the sounds, what I can see, the heat or the cold and what I felt, it’s a great way to fall asleep. For instance, I might imagine myself sat in the Arabian desert around a fire cooking flat breads after dune bashing in 4 x 4s with new friends I have made, or walking round an unfamiliar town – a place not many westerners have been, down a street with wooden shutters flung open, lined with spice and date stands and with unfamiliar faces animatedly chattering to each other in a language I don’t understand. Or I might remember trekking for orang-utans in a Sumatran Jungle with a guide who resembles Mogli (in not just his appearance but oneness with nature) and camping for the night in a place that assaults the senses with it’s cacophony of sounds (the jungle is not quiet!) And that moment you see an orang-utan in the wild for the first time. Or the sticky heat of an Asian city at night, lights everywhere, beeping horns and temples on street corners alive with activity and thick with incense. As you can tell I could go on and on…but remembering these memories fills me up and keeps me going and makes me excited to think ‘where next?’

• ‘Goose’ and the complete series by Laura Wall is published by Award Publications (RRP. £5.99). To order a copy go to https://uk.bookshop.org/shop/award_publications Delivery charges may apply.

The one thing we all dread this time of year…

What’s the one thing most parents dread at this time of year? Other than dinner and making niceties with their in-laws, that is… Travelling with kids!!

“Gonna travel, gonna travel wild and free

I’m gonna pack my bags because this great big world is calling me”

Elvis Presley – Harem Holiday

IF there’s one thing we’ve all missed during this seemingly never ending cycle of lockdown, tier one, tier two, tier three madness, it’s the freedom to be able to just jump in a car, or on a plane, and GET AWAY! Get away from the endless loads of washing and ironing, get away from the same petty squabbles between siblings, and, most importantly, get away from feeling quite so isolated inside our four walls.

So, with new ‘bubbles’ being formed over this holiday season, it might seem like the stars have aligned and it’s the perfect opportunity to escape from it all and head to a family member or friend’s house for some well-earned festivities. No matter if it’s your first trip with your first child, or your fifth with your fifth, travelling with children will always be daunting. From what to pack to how to get there, it’s rife with potential worries. So, is it worth the hassle?

Short answer, yes!!!

If this year has taught us anything, it’s that being close to those we care about is the most important and, luckily there are lots of ways to make travelling with young ones more bearable. We’ve put some tips together that can help you prepare and save you from going insane, below.


First of all,

Don’t overpack

Remember that almost everything can be bought abroad or in a supermarket their way. It might not be the same brand, but you’ll manage. Pack the essentials only as you just know you’ll be the one carting it around like the little donkey of Bethlehem whilst your angels run amuck.

Packing List

  • 1 Comfort item: If it’s a dummy, be sure to bring more than one, lest it get flung down the aisle or on the floor.
  • Sanitiser, wipes, Pull-ups, and nappies. I mean, no-one in their right mind would forget sanitiser now, would they?? Also, make sure you pack one nappy per hour of travel because you never know when that poo-nami might hit!
  • Smartphones and tablets loaded with your kids’ favourite movies or shows. Let them share a device with headphone splitter.
  • Kid-size headphones
  • A colouring book and don’t forget the crayons…
  • Plastic bags for rubbish
  • Water
  • Low-sugar snacks: Cheerios, cucumber, crackers, nuts, string cheese, and snack bars are good options.

“I’m leaving on a jet plane

Don’t know when I’ll be back again”

John Denver – Leaving on a Jet Plane

Leave plenty of time

If you are travelling overseas, or even if you’re just going by car, leave plenty of time. Everyone will have had the same idea as you and you know queues are going to hit on motorways. In an airport, while you want to minimise time in queues, you certainly don’t want to have to rush. Leave home with hours to spare – if you get to the airport quicker than expected, make use of the play area and get those children exhausted: the more energy they spend on the ground, the less they’ll have in the air.

Keep calm

If your child chooses the worst possible time to turn into a screaming banshee from another dimension, take a deep breath and try to keep calm. Focus on the fact their grandparents can take over for a bit when you get there…

Enjoy it

Leave lots of time, pack well, and make the travel part of the journey. Just remember that you’ll be OK, and you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself! We’ll all be back in our Covid-safe houses before you can finish a round of Jingle Bells!

If you enjoyed this article, or want some more ideas for books and activities to keep your little angels entertained, why not check us out on our social and hit subscribe! 🙂

The route to happiness?

Finding happiness even in the darkest of places might be as simple as searching for the light… but now we’ve entered into Lockdown 2.0 on the run up to Christmas, that light might be at the end of a very, very long tunnel. So, how do we help ourselves, and our children find happiness when the world is upside down?

“Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.”– Carl Jung

Maybe now is the right time to discover, or perhaps rediscover, what makes you truly happy. Perhaps cycling in the fresh air clears your head? Perhaps drawing the ones you love or painting the scene out of your kitchen window brings a smile to your lips? Or maybe just reading to your children from your favourite books allows you time to just be…something which is so rare in our ever spinning world.

“Just be…something which is so rare in our ever spinning world.”

5 little things to help you stay positive.

Keeping our kids happy

It’s not just our own happiness we need to consider now either; with children being isolated from friends and family for weeks at a time, we need to help them to build emotional resilience and stay positive too.

Emotional resilience isn’t something we’re born with, it’s something we have to learn with the help of our family and those around us. The best way to help your children to develop this skill is to practice mindfulness and happiness techniques as a family so they can imitate what you do. The bonus is that it’ll help you de-stress and bond as a family too!

Why not try this quick and easy breathing technique together:

Grab a soft toy and lie down on the floor.

Pop the soft toy on your tummy so it’s facing you.

Take a big deep breath into your tummy through your nose so that the soft toy rises up and you can see them.

Blow the air slowly from your mouth so that you tickle your soft toy’s nose/face and they sink back to your back bone.

Repeat 10-12 times to feel totally chilled.

If you enjoyed this article and fancy learning more about how to build emotional resilience and happiness in your kids, why not check out our latest pre-order:

Available to preorder from Amazon, Bookstore.org, and HiveBooks. £5.99RRP.

Why should I look at books with my newborn?

“Kids whose parents talk and read to them often know more words by age 2 than children who have not been read to.”

Kidshealth 2020.

It might seem odd to be looking at a book or reading to a baby which can barely focus on the world around them, but studies show that the more you look at books together with your baby, no matter their age, the more successful they will be in later life.

“Children with higher reading skills ended up having higher incomes, better housing and more professional roles in adulthood,”

Timothy Bates and Stuart Ritchie, Edinburgh University

Timothy Bates and Stuart Ritchie, at Edinburgh University, have proven the connection between reading well and future job success, empirically. They analysed the relationship between early reading skills at seven and later socio-economic life, following more than 17,000 people in England, Scotland and Wales over 50 years from 1958. They showed that reading well at age seven was a key factor in determining whether people went on to get a high-income job. Reading level at age seven was linked to social class even 35 years on. “Children with higher reading and maths skills ended up having higher incomes, better housing and more professional roles in adulthood,” the authors concluded.

Our newest baby book for newborns!

So… What’s this got to do with MY baby?

Well, as parents, we just want the best for our children. It’s something universally acknowledged… along with a man with a good fortune…yadda, yadda, yadda.

Even looking through high contrast picture books, books with little or no words, books you make yourself out of pictures of the family who’re distant because of lockdown restrictions, or your favourite newspaper can all be a treasure trove of wonders for your baby to explore and enjoy; just the sound of your voice explaining what’s on the page will have them captivated and lead them to enjoying sitting down with a good book when they’re older.

Why not create your own books using pictures of family members you might not be able to see right now?

If you fancy having a look at what you can get in the way of Award Publication titles to enjoy with your little one, no matter their age, why not head to HiveBooks where you can search for us in their taskbar? You even get to nominate your favourite local bookseller to receive a small commission from the sale as we’re all stuck indoors!

Please do keep in touch with us via the social, we love hearing from you! Plus, if you have any great ideas for future blog posts or books you’d like to see on your shelves at home, DM us… you never know what might come of it.