Child's Play Newsreel 2014

December 2014

This year the Child's Play Christmas Countdown competition features a special advent calendar with a prize behind each door! Every day reveals the clue to the day's book prize, with questions and entries via Facebook and Twitter.

What's in a book... A series of posts and tweets:
Reading a book with your child can be an adventure, a shared secret, a journey maybe, imaginative, interactive, a game, a puzzle, or a lullaby - any or all and even more.
Every time you read a book together, it's never a simple repetition, but a completely different experience to the one before.
As well as stimulating language, books inspire creative play and bonding.
Reading together is also an expression of mutual ease, regard and love.
And when you're not there, your child still has the book, which all by itself becomes a tangible reminder of all those wonderful things - reading, sharing, bonding, creative play, mutual ease and love...

November 2014

Child's Play donates to 'Reading aloud: literacy projects in Oaxaca'
"I made my way to Oaxaca carrying over 100 books kindly donated by Child's Play to visit some of the literacy projects. The 6-hour journey from Mexico City was stunning, driving through mountain ranges full of cacti… The dual-language books donated by Child's Play will be distributed across a number of these projects and I was lucky enough to be able to take a selection of these to the Ciudad de los Niños where I read Airlie Anderson's Momo and Snap to the children! On my arrival, there were a number of reading groups taking place in the courtyard and it was wonderful to see volunteers reading to children in the sun before their afternoon lessons." Sophie Hallam, IBBY UK, International Board on Books for Young People
For more about the IBBY literacy projects in Mexico, please click HERE

New! Kees Moerbeek's irresistible pop-up talents bring new titles to our My Secret Scrapbook series, with diaries from Puss In Boots and The Ugly... Lonely Duckling themselves! These fun diary-format books, full of pop-ups and handwritten entries, engage early readers and inspire children to create their own scrapbooks.

NEW! Discover our Whatever the Weather series and enjoy sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures - whatever the weather! Carol Thompson celebrates the immediate and sensory response of children to the natural world in these beautiful and playful new board books for Child's Play.

NEW! Wild! By Courtney Dicmas, featuring Mealtime, Playtime, Bathtime and Bedtime. This gorgeous colourful board book series celebrates the love, laughter and chaos of daily family life.

It's Picture Book Month, founded by Dianne de Las Casas who celebrates everything picture book, bringing daily themes, which we can't resist joining in with our titles each year.

Trudi Esberger takes The Boy Who Lost His Bumble to Waterstones Chesterfield for a book signing and activity fun.

Hello You! Entertainment uses Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes… to celebrate Young Reader's Day.

Inclusive Minds invites teachers, librarians, booksellers and publishers to A Place at the Table, bringing "the unique opportunity to come together in force to show commitment to achieving real inclusion and diversity in children's books".

The Great Googly Moogly is selected by the wonderful Letterbox Library as a Books for Keeps Book of the Year 2014! Well done, Courtney Dicmas!

October 2014

Neil's Diary: "I'M IN!" Child's Play is in! Find out more about #everybodyin with Inclusive Minds HERE… Discover more about inclusion, diversity and equality in the Child's Play programme HERE… We're in!

Trudi Esberger celebrates at Heffers Children's Bookshop Cambridge with the launch party of her new book The Boy Who Lost His Bumble, plus signing, reading and activities… she's the bee's knees! Meanwhile, we create a buzz on social media supporting our bees and great events and initiatives to help.

Marta Altés gets big YES! "I ABSOLUTELY LOVE MY JOB. It's been very busy, and I don't think I'll ever abandon my racoon face, but it's ALL worth it!! I draw all day long! I'm SO LUCKY! Why am I writing this now? Because I am tearing up after receiving the loveliest letter from a 6-years-old class that have decided to name their class after my book NO! They are the "NO" Class! :-)
THANK YOU VERY VERY MUCH! To them and to all of you for the support! My life has changed so much in the past three years!"

Neil's Diary from Frankfurt Book Fair 2014, Child's Play Hall 8 Stand E191...
"Response to our new titles has been really enthusiastic. Courtney Dicmas' Wild! board books and Carol Thompson's Whatever the Weather series have been warmly received, and everyone loves the colour spreads we have of the new Seasons board books. Our handmade dummies of the new finger puppet titles have proved very popular, as have the picture books scheduled for 2015 publication. And there's been a flurry of interest in Off to the Park! - much more than you'd expect for such a niche title."

Courtney Dicmas took part in the Children's Book Illustration Summer School at Anglia Ruskin University this summer. The Harold finds a Voice and The Great Googly Moogly author said, "It was an absolutely brilliant week! There was a fantastic line-up of teaching illustrators: Pam Smy, Marta Altés (NO!), Ness Wood, James Mayhew - a constellation of stars, really! It was an incredible week of living, breathing, eating, laughing and drawing our way through the craft of making picture books. Students came from all over the world - Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Jordan, the US and Canada, as well. I gave an energetic (and rather nervously sweaty) talk about creating memorable characters."

Bumble author hosts competition to win an amazing creative workshop with Trudi Esberger herself in a venue of the lucky winner's choice! We really enjoy the picture entries of fans reading The Boy Who Lost His Bumble.

Twitter talk:
@stockwell_david Love this book, developed by @ChildsPlayBooks & @InclusiveMinds. So great for interaction & has scratch & sniff!

September 2014

Lynn Ashton takes the entire range to the Autumn Fair International, Birmingham, plus a warm welcome and a comfy seat! Child's Play is also at Top Drawer at London Olympia.

'Creating one inclusive book is not enough' Inclusive Minds Guest Blog for The Publishers Association. Read this great piece HERE.

Airlie Anderson at Princeton Children's Book Festival! She signs copies of the award-winning Momo And Snap are NOT friends at the ninth annual celebration of children's book authors and illustrators.

Child's Play USA at the Dempsey Challenge, a weekend-long event that focuses on raising funds for the The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing. It provides services to people who have cancer, are cancer survivors, and their families, all at no charge. Services include classes, massages, information. Please google them... it's an amazing, amazing place.
The Dempsey Challenge has a Kidzone where children can take part in activities promoting healthy choices for mind, body and spirit. That's where we are. Look out for posts and pictures on Facebook and Twitter, showing the different events and showcasing our booth.

NEW! The Boy Who Lost His Bumble by Trudi Esberger. A boy who loves bees keeps a journal about them, and when they disappear he tries everything to get them back, but to no avail. Until... FInd out more in Trudi Esberger's picture book debut, a gentle story, which is also full of facts about why bees are so important to our world and what we can do. Trudi is signing her new book at a number of venues, along with fun activities for busy bees!

Out now! Arithmetic Lotto, with a NEW design, our addition and subtraction game comes with original features for lots of rewarding number fun!

August 2014

Gillian Hibbs takes Tilly's At Home Holiday to Hackney Pirates for a fun workshop and book reading. Lots of artistic skills exercising of imaginations! Some fantastic pics on Facebook!

Boards and boards of books! Have you joined us on Pinterest? Check out our boards and discover lots of activities such as creating scrapbooks on our board inspired by Tilly's At Home Holiday - plus lots more coming soon HERE

Story and play time ideas inspired by Momo and Snap, The Acrobat and Tilly on our website. Take a look at our collection of fun activities and songs HERE.

Pinterest pop:
Discover lots of activities on our Pinterest boards. For fun and activities inspired by Tilly's At Home Holiday by Gillian Hibbs click HERE.

July 2014

Goodreads celebrates Reach Out and Read's 25th anniversary with recommended books for each of their 25 years... 2004 is Head, Shoulders, Knees And Toes... illustrated by Annie Kubler. "Roly-poly toddlers play this familiar game of naming body parts in this playful board book that will have young readers mimicking the actions on the pages. It's fun from head to toe!" For more click HERE

We're at the Home & Gift Show at Harrogate! Lynn brings her usual huge warmth and the entire Child's Play range including new titles! Now, where did those delicious cherries go… Featured book The Cherry Thief by Renata Galindo.

We listen to Grandma author Jessica Shepherd live on BBC Tees for a whole hour Friday 11th, 2-3pm!

'Prepare Your Class for Summer Fun with Tilly's At Home Holiday!' Some great Tilly-inspired activities and projects for children this summer with Teach Primary HERE

Boards and boards of books! Have you joined us on Pinterest? Check out our boards and discover lots of activities such as our board inspired by Tilly's At Home Holiday - plus lots more coming soon HERE

June 2014

Jessica Shepherd talks to Sharon F Jones about Grandma. "I wanted to be very clear cut and factual and although you have to be sensitive, I didn't want to hide the truth. It's really important, people understand what it means and why it's happening and what they can expect… I went out to the Bologna Book Fair with a friend and met publishers and it was a really valuable experience and that's how we met the publisher Child's Play. They have been amazing fostering my career since I graduated." To read the whole interview please click HERE

We are delighted to announce our Nursery Time book Pat-a-Cake! Illustrated by Annie Kubler has won the Myra Robertson Baby Book of the Year. It will go into Craigmillar Books for Babies' one year book bags and be gifted to all one-year-olds in Craigmillar over the year. Thanks to all 130 families who voted!

It's Not Yours, It's Mine! up for The People's Book Prize. Time for just you, time to share, both have benefits as Blieka discovers with a favourite toy... Susanna Moores' picture book debut has been selected for the award's showcase.

Bookstart Week 2014 is celebrating the pleasure of reading with a 'My Hero' theme. We think novelist Brad Meltzer says it best, "We are all ordinary. We are all boring. We are all spectacular. We are all shy. We are all bold. We are all heroes. We are all helpless. It just depends on the day." We celebrate with posts of heroes from the Child's Play Library. In Never Ever by Jo Empson, the girl is having an off day, not seeing the incredible world around her. The reader becomes the hero, seeing it for her.

People submit their heroes to the National Bookstart Week Wall of Heroes where children can make certificates for a friend or family member to show them how much they care. The Wall features Child's Play founder Michael Twinn.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear! features in Booktrust's Bookshine Pack. Bookstart packs are free to every child in England, for babies, preschoolers and toddlers, and they include Additional Needs Packs, such as the Bookshine Pack for children who are deaf, featuring Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear! from our Sign & Singalong series. For more on Bookstart Week and Packs, please click HERE

Joe's Journal: The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC): National Institute for Early Childhood Professional Development. News and thoughts from our Joe at Child's Play USA...
"Three days in Minneapolis, MN, one of my favorite cities (but only if I'm visiting in summer). Feels like I haven't been home in weeks. Book Expo America in New York, lobsters in Maine, and now this.

Such an interesting group here, and different from this organization's show that we went to in Washington last fall. State and county administrators here (and lots of college teachers), all involved in an evolving standards movement, as the country lurches, state by state and in fits and starts, towards universal pre-K [preschool].

As you might imagine, each person we talk to seems to come with particular needs - bilingual books for an underserved population, big books for storytime, GRANDMA for a unit on health and family. One teacher liked TILLY'S STAYCATION for a Social Studies unit.

Perhaps my favorite was the native American woman from New Mexico who told me about her daughter, also a teacher, who had translated THERE WAS AN OLD LADY into Navajo for schools in the southern part of the Reservation.

Now, that is cool..."

The heroes from our book MOMO AND SNAP ARE NOT FRIENDS have been on an exciting tour with creator Airlie Anderson, featuring meeting the real Winnie the Pooh, a book signing at Book Expo America, and collecting the Gold IPPY at the Independent Publisher Book Awards in New York! in person and in plush! For more, read Airlie's brilliant blog HERE

We're at the National Day Nurseries Association 2014 in Manchester!

New! The Cherry Thief Author Renata Galindo's home is Mexico City. She spent a big part of her childhood drawing pictures, fighting with her younger sister, and removing the cherries from every cake she came across... Her second favourite thing in the world is books (the first one is cake). Her new book with Child's Play, The Cherry Thief, is out now!

Joe's Journal: 21st Century Children's Nonfiction Conference
New Paltz, NY, 20-22 June. News and thoughts from our Joe at Child's Play USA...
"When I first thought about going to this, I thought, well, we really don't do a lot of non-fiction, and I'm sure they're going to be talking to people who write/publish for older kids than we do, but then I thought, what the heck, it's an hour and a half away, it's beautiful country, it won't be expensive to do, blah, blah, blah... so I went.

I'm always glad to be hanging out with book people. Always an interesting mix of shapes, sizes and colors - you can't generalize the true book people crowd. This group is a particular orientation, all educational, thinking about text complexity and how a story is told through words and pictures (same as picture book fiction). I especially appreciated the perspective of the librarians, and how books are evaluated and recommended for collections.

It got me thinking about 'Shared Experiences'. We used to do books like this without words, and I've thought that adding suggestions for conversation (as we've done in this series) is like a how-to for parents, giving us all ideas for how to interact with our kids using these stories. I've thought it a good idea because I remember what it was like to have small children and be wondering how do I do it, what do they most need from me?

I'm realizing, though, that the kinds of questions we're asking in these books are just the sort of preparatory conversation we need to be having to get our kids ready for kindergarten - they lead right into the skill sets required in the standards being written for k-2 curriculum.

A lot of experienced people in education are saying about these new standards that there isn't really a lot that's new in them, they sort of give new words to things we're already doing. As I've said before, I think that's certainly true for the things we're doing at Child's Play."

Jessica Shepherd enjoys her first radio interview... "I definitely need to work on my 'public speaking' skills (the first person to count how many times I say 'yeah' and 'amazing' gets a free signed book!)." Chatting with Peter Dixon of Radio Teesdale about Grandma HERE

Alex Strick posts a great Bookstart article about Child's Play and Booktrust's journey to create a wonderful book for ALL children - OFF TO THE PARK! illustrated by Stephen Cheetham: "...We wondered whether it might just be possible to create a mainstream tactile book for ALL children - appealing to a wide age range and engaging all audiences, including those with visual impairments and other needs. Such a project would take a very special publisher - and we were exceptionally lucky to find one in Child's Play. This truly inclusive publisher, already committed to making sure all children are engaged by books, bravely agreed to take on the challenge of creating and publishing such a book. So together we started to form the plan for a touch and feel book with a difference..." For more of this fantastic piece by Alex Strick, 'Sensing change: creating 'Off to the Park!' please click HERE

Twitter tweet talk:

Princess and the Pea
Great tweets and pics from our friends at Bookhappy!
@ChildsPlayBooks My daughter is being quiet for the 1st time today! ‪#‎princess‬&thepea ‪#‎bookstotherescue‬
Haha! Now one of my sons has found it! @ChildsPlayBooks

May 2014

Huff Post article: Head, Shoulders, Knees And Toes… from our award-winning Baby Board Books series chosen as one of 50 Best Kids' Books of the past 25 years by Reach Out and Read and Goodreads.
"Roly-poly toddlers play this familiar game of naming body parts in this playful board book that will have young readers mimicking the actions on the pages. It's fun from head to toe! Reach Out and Read" The Huffington Post More HERE

We're tumbling for joy as The Acrobat gets Gold at IPPYs. Congratulations Gabriel Alborozo who wins in the Children's Picture Books category of the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2014.

Ta da! Badum! and all kinds of celebratory noises as Momo and Snap are NOT friends wins Gold in the Children's Picture Books Under 7 category at the IPPYs. Congratulations Airlie Anderson!

Off to the Park! selected for Booktrust 2014 Bookbuzz programme for secondary schools.
Booktrust said, "Stephen Cheetham's highly interactive board book takes the reader on a fun-filled journey through the park with lots of sensory stimulation, encountering laces to tie, smooth buttons to press and much more - including a special treat at the end! The simple rhyming text also provides lots of repetition and plenty of opportunities to join in.
"This engaging and delightfully interactive book will be enjoyed by children of all ages, including children with sensory impairments, and moderate to severe learning disabilities."

Tidy Books and Child's Play promote reading in Digital Journal article: "Ruth Duncan of Tidy Books said, 'Kids learn through play and reading is no exception. Kids love reading when they can explore books independently. Child's Play books and Tidy Books bookcases both encourage kids to interact and play with their books.'
Child's Play is more than just a publishing program, it is a philosophy through our understanding that a child's early years are more important than any other and this is when they learn the most about the world around them. Child's Play has a history of creating innovative, award-winning books for children from 0-7 years that promote learning through play." Read on HERE

Grandma author Jessica Shepherd reads to Breckon Hill School pupils at Middlesbrough Central Library, followed by memory-themed activities for the children to take part in, bringing awareness during Dementia Awareness Week. Jessica is also touring with the Alzheimer's Society, taking GRANDMA to schools. "There are currently around 800,000 people living with dementia in the UK, with figures set to rise to over a million by 2021," said Jessica. "My hope is Grandma will provide an invaluable resource for children and adults alike, enabling them to understand and cope with the special demands that this will make of them."

Child's Play is at Book Expo America 2014, more from Neil's Diary... Part 1 "A smooth flight over spent watching two brilliant films - Dallas Buyers Club and Her - spoiled only by unnecessary delays at JFK. Over two hours spent waiting for a gate (ours was taken up by a broken-down Ukrainian airline (is that a metaphor?) and then our (temporarily misplaced) luggage. Temperatures in the 80s yesterday - lovely! But today is very British - dull, gray (am sp), cloudy and only 55 degrees. Just as well it's set-up day.
Off to the IPPY awards this evening, where Momo and Snap (and Airlie) will pick up their deserved Gold Medal Award."

Part 2 "Struggling with technology this morning - my internet keeps falling over, so dealing with my emails is a bit of a hassle. Two hundred years ago, I suppose I'd have been struggling to light a fire in the grate or making a slimy potato feed seven starving kids, so I mustn't grumble. Though while I am, here's a plea to manufacturers of hotel room coffee makers the world over to develop a widget to prevent unwary guests making a cup of something that is both pre-used Guatemalan breakfast roast and English Breakfast tea, which is what I appear to have created this morning.
The (currently working) Internet tells me that it's going to be sunny today, hurrah. (I suppose I could have looked out of the window to check on the weather, but the Internet seems more reliable. When it's working.)
I'm looking forward to a brisk walk later down to Javits Exhibition Center. We have a shiny booth bursting with lovely product, and we're not afraid to use it.
Went to the IPPY awards ceremony last night, where Momo and Snap and The Acrobat both won well-deserved Gold Medals. As a local, Airlie was able to show up in person to collect her award; while Gabe was stuck back in the UK following the Twitter feed frown emoticon. Two wonderful books that we're truly proud to have published.
Dinner afterwards with Airlie and a group of good friends, and conversational topics including children's books (surprise!), the soccer World Cup, Elmo and Clifford impersonators (and their role in true love) and Ro-bats. Momo and Snap were gracious hosts, and truly stole the show.
This is the world's first day without Maya Angelou, and it seems a smaller place. Favorite quote? How about: 'I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way (s)he handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.' (Or, I add, an unstable internet connection)."

Part 3 "The show has a much smaller footprint than it used to, but we had a pretty full day of meetings yesterday. There's a full schedule today, too.
Courtney's Wild! and Carol's Whatever the Weather books are going down a storm, and Off to the Park! is generating a lot of interest. The new picture books are getting a very positive reception, also.
Courtney is signing copies of The Great Googly Moogly today at 2pm. It's her first time ever in NYC, so she's very excited about that!
I think I've mastered the coffee machine, but the Internet continues to frustrate me. There it goes ag-"

Part 4 "Packing for the trip up to Maine this evening, and wondering why there would be enough clothes in my case for a month's stay...
Another busy day on the fair yesterday. A very positive meeting with our Canadian distributor, discussing some exciting plans for future growth. Some very promising discussions about new markets in the US. And one of our major Korean distributors is developing some fantastic strategies to come to fruition in the next few months.
There was time to talk with Airlie about her next projects, too. More news to come in due course.
Courtney enjoyed her signing session, and made some very special friends along the way. Her partner Tom was encouraged by news of his luggage, lost somewhere via London and Reykjavik.
It'll be a quieter day on the floor today, but plenty of time for that golden client to turn up out of the blue..."
Neil's Diary features on Facebook and Twitter #neilsdiary

Twitter tweet talk:

Old Lady "Perfect"
Zoe Toft @playbythebook
Lots of suggestions for books for brand new babies in my twitter stream this morning… I'd add @ChildsPlayBooks Old Lady who swallowed a fly

Inkology @InkologyStories
@playbythebook @ChildsPlayBooks that's one of my favourites. Loved the poem since hearing Jon Pertwee read it.

Zoe Toft @playbythebook
@InkologyStories Oh, I haven't heard that. But I think the colours and cut outs are just perfect.

The Acrobat "Immensely Deserved"
Winner 2014 Ippy Gold
Cathy MacLennan @cathy_maclennan
@ChildsPlayBooks @gabrielalborozo @IPPYAwards Wow! Well done Gabe! Not entirely surprising tho - this book is BRILLIANT!

Emma @mybookcorner
@ChildsPlayBooks @gabrielalborozo @IPPYAwards oooo it looks gorgeous & full of smiles!!

Jo Byatt @JoanneByatt1
@gabrielalborozo @ChildsPlayBooks @IPPYAwards Congratulations, but well deserved, It's gorgeous!

@ChildsPlayBooks @gabrielalborozo @IPPYAwards Its wonderful, fab illustrations by the sooper Gabe

Rob Husberg @ArtofRob
@ChildsPlayBooks @gabrielalborozo @IPPYAwards Congratulations good sir - Immensely deserved - terrific illustrations! Yipee :>))

April 2014

One, two, three… Run! Mary had a Little Lamb and Off to the Park! chosen for Booktrust Inclusive Booklist and Bookstart Star packs. "These are great books for every child to enjoy, whilst finding themselves reflected in the pictures and stories." The Bookstart Star pack is for children with disabilities that impact on or delay the development of fine motor skills. It includes books and resources to help families enjoy reading together every day. Off to the Park! was created with Booktrust. For more please click HERE

Harold Finds A Voice selected for Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2014 shortlist! Well done Courtney Dicmas!

Child's Play is at the London Book Fair 2014, while Child's Play USA heads to the Texas Library Association event.

A March of Dimes April event features Child's Play books in the prize raffle to "raise money for the smallest of babies".
Fundraiser Mary Kate Corbyons, mother to two sons born prematurely, sent us pictures of the weekend's event [see Facebook]. "You helped us raise $400 to help make prematurity HISTORY! PS This is my son, he is the reason we support the March of Dimes. He was born at 29 weeks weighing 2lbs and we are blessed that today he is a happy healthy 4-year-old!"

A fabulous Tilly's At Home Holiday book launch had by all at the Bookseller Crow, Crystal Palace, when Gillian Hibbs read to and met children there. The launch went really well, lots of copies sold, and one little angel later demanded that it be read to her four times at bedtime!

Child's Play partners Tidy Books for brilliant competition. The prize is a Tidy Books Kid's Bookcase and a bundle of 25 Child's Play's Classic Books with Holes donated by Child's Play USA for World Book Day in the US!

Rabbityness by Jo Empson inspires fantastic project by teacher blog Rowdy in First Grade. "The illustrations are absolutely so beautiful that I knew I wanted to do some kind of art project related to it in class." Check out the project HERE

March 2014

Momo and Snap are NOT friends! by Airlie Anderson is selected for The People's Book Prize spring showcase. "Hilarious story told without words, only assorted grunts and noises. How a competitive relationship between a crocodile and a monkey turns into a supportive one." This award is decided by readers and encourages buying from bookshops and borrowing from libraries.

Happy World Book Day 6 March - what better day to remind us all of the central importance of books and reading in every child's life every day. We celebrate with a super-duper competition with Tidy Books with a children's bookcase and huge book bundle prize!

Never Ever author Jo Empson spends World Book Day at Bishops Cannings School and they make an extremely long book…

'Book helps kids understand gran's dementia' Jessica Shepherd talks about Grandma in the Teesdale Mercury. "It's aimed at helping children understand what's happening... it's a shame to cut that relationship short."

NEW! Off to the Park! Come with us to the park! Which way shall we go? What shall we do? What will we find? Have fun using your senses in our NEW exciting and interactive visit to the park. Illustrated by Stephen Cheetham, Off to the Park! is a collaboration with Booktrust Bookstart, developed in consultation with children, families and organisations working with blind and partially sighted children. A journey of discovery designed with every child in mind!

Let Toys Be Toys - For Girls and Boys campaign makes a big impact. Child's Play Ltd believes books should open up our children's horizons, not close them down. What do you think? Child's Books feature in their book list from Letterbox Library.

Child's Play USA: 'A Good Story?' Joe's Journal takes a trip to the Educational Book and Media Conference in San Diego 2014... "In our schools, the concern is standards, and the Common Core Curriculum, designed by the nation's governors, and adopted by 48 of the 50 states. What the Common Core does is put texts together - fiction, non-fiction, picture, primary source - around a central theme, encouraging students to synthesize information and present it with an individual perspective.
Even though the standards are primarily for k-12, pre-school educators are adapting their curriculums to prepare students with the creative thinking and communication skills necessary to succeed in later years. The emphasis in early childhood is on predictability and rhythm, multiple formats, and active learning.
Those of us who think about marketing books think about coming up selling tags, labels, short sales pitches that will make customers buy our books from looking at the cover. This is a little harder to do now.
What teachers want to know from us is why the book we've published is a good story - what is it about? Why is it important? What will we learn from it, and what will it make us talk about?" Joe Gardner, VP Child's Play USA

Now on display at the National Centre for Language and Literacy is The Great Googly Moogly, new from Courtney Dicmas (Harold finds a voice); Off to the Park! illustrated by Stephen Cheetham and created with Booktrust; Tilly's At Home Holiday by Gillian Hibbs; and also One, two, three… Run! by Carol Thompson.

'A Good Story?' part 2 from Joe's Journal. "What teachers want to know from us is why the book we've published is a good story - what is it about? Why is it important? What will we learn from it, and what will it make us talk about?
I'm remembering my first trip to Southern California with Michael Twinn, our founding publisher. We were out here for a convention in 1992, and we took an extra couple of days for company meetings. We made our way down to the Newport Beach area, and I went with Michael to visit a vacation home that he had stayed in with his family some years before.
I was thinking of Michael and this trip while I was in San Diego. Michael said he was interested in more than just teaching children how to read. He wanted to encourage them to think, to experience, to make judgments and to communicate.
At Child's Play, we've always thought long and hard about the 'why.' We've been asking ourselves the same questions that teachers are now asking, and our program has been developed in this way. I can't help but think that, as more school systems recognize the importance of early childhood education and brain development, and parents are included more as partners in the child's early learning, these communities will be looking for just the sort of thing that we've been doing all along." Joe Gardner, VP Child's Play USA

Lynn Ashton takes new Big books to the 2014 Education Show.

"We're great fans of Child's Play International and not just because they produce great books for children. It's because they know all children are different," says The Bookbag in a review of Off to the Park!

Neil's Diary heads to Bologna Children's Book Fair 2014 "Disappointingly, Italy's weather is becoming a bit English (yes, I remembered to pack my coat this time). We could be in Torquay.
We think this is Paul's 19th Bologna. I've been here over 30 times, but never get tired of the city, the food, the weather (on a good day) and the fair itself."
We remember Bologna from a time when skies were blue and cloudless, temperatures were 25 degrees, and meetings could be held in the outside courtyards with gelato...
Busy opening day. The halls were buzzing. Lots of interest in the new picture book titles and new board books. It was great to meet new illustrators, as well as existing ones - Susannah Moores was there to talk about new titles, and Renata Galindo jetted in from Mexico. Saw some very exciting prototypes of very clever novelty books by a talented Japanese designer.
Nice dinner in small pizzeria off the Via dell'Independenza, although the waiter forgot our order twice (he was using an iPad!)."
Neil Burden, CEO HQ UK. You can read Neil's full diary on Facebook.

Pat-a-Cake! illustrated by Annie Kubler has made the shortlist for the 2014 Myra Robertson Book of the Year as voted by families in the area. Craigmillar Books for Babies, which encourages and supports parents and carers to share books and stories with their babies, will put the two winning books in its One Year bag to gift to all one-year-olds in Craigmillar!

Twitter tweet talk: Grandma "Genuinely proper good"
Rhino Reads @CarmenHaselup
It's a stunner of a book. Encountering dementia in children's books
ReadItDaddy @Readitdaddy
If anyone could do a sensitive book on the subject it's CP
Rhino Reads @CarmenHaselup
It's genuinely proper good. Looky here
ReadItDaddy @Readitdaddy
Ooh that does look awesome.

February 2014

Never Ever by Jo Empson is selected for The People's Book Prize winter collection. This award is decided by readers and encourages buying from bookshops and borrowing from libraries.

The Child's Play programme heads to the Spring Fair International at the NEC Birmingham where visitors also get the opportunity to see new titles for the first time, such as The Brave Little Tailor and Pinocchio from our Fairy Tales range.

Child's Play joins Inclusive Minds at the Imagine Festival event 'What about me? Put yourself in the picture' at the Royal Festival Hall. Our editor Sue Baker and art director Annie Kubler took part and had an amazing time. Here are some of their highlights:
"We arrived at 12.30pm and the venue was buzzing with the sound of excited children. Tables were laid out with copies of pictures from published books with spaces for the children to draw themselves into the pictures. There were some children who were reluctant to put themselves in the picture. Once they were drawing, it was quite obvious that gender stereotyping is still prevalent in the way children depict themselves. But they seemed open minded when challenged or steered away from the stereotype. Some very young children saw themselves very differently to how they actually appeared. It raises the question, what is the perception of self in the very young? This theme reflected the fact that every child should be able to see 'themselves' in picture books.
There were also printouts relating to creating a superhero and storyboard adventure. This was particularly interesting as many published superheroes are male, and it allowed the children to explore the concept of superpowers and challenge the stereotyping.
There were sessions to meet artists and chat, and a huge paper mural was created by artists and children together. A discussion panel at the end of the day covered aspects of 'What is Normal'. The event was valuable on many different levels. It focused attention on the many aspects of inclusivity in children's books and gave us the opportunity to talk to lots of children and find out how they felt."
And another great review of the event from Rhino Reads HERE.

The Princess and the Dragon is picked for the 2014 Summer Reading Challenge collection. The event is run by the Reading Agency and takes place throughout the summer holidays.

The Bookstart Star launch features our new super tactile title Off to the Park! illustrated by Stephen Cheetham. This new Child's Play title is part of a new book pack from Booktrust, designed for children with disabilities that impact on or delay the development of fine motor skills. For more please click HERE.

"The Bookstart Star pack contains an exclusive book from Child's Play publishers, Off to the Park!, which has tactile features such as a squashy ball, a glittery path and a page that sells of ice-cream," said Bookseller article 'Bookstart Star targets kids' motor skills'. Read the Bookseller piece HERE. Off to the Park! also features in KidAround Magazine HERE.

Bookstart Star and Off to the Park! in KidAround Magazine: "Head of Booktrust Early Years Sector Justine Hodgkinson said: 'There is so much enjoyment to be had from engaging with the stories included, from the exciting tactile pages of Off to the Park!... Reading has a huge impact on a child's development and the pleasure of sharing a story should be accessible for every child.'" For more, click HERE.

Harold finds a voice by Courtney Dicmas is selected for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2014 shortlist for Best Picture Book. Well done, Courtney! handpicks our innovative 3D design Information Books with a panorama of colour and facts for children who ask a million questions. "Our kids just can't get enough of these books!"

Child's Play takes part in the New York Toy Fair 2014 in the Javits Center. Pics on Facebook HERE.

Out now! BIG Classic Books with Holes:
Hickory Dickory Dock, Mary had a Little Lamb, Little Miss Muffet and Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Out now! Tilly's At Home Holiday by Gillian Hibbs. Tilly wonders, can staying at home with Mum really be as exciting as her friends' trips away?

Twitter tweet talk: Princess and the Dragon "I LOVE THAT BOOK!"Abie Longstaff @AbieLongstaff
@ChildsPlayBooks @ChildLedChaos I love that book! One of my all time favourites. I have a very dog-eared copy
Anne-Marie @ChildLedChaos
@AbieLongstaff It's great for my daughters, who are definitely more like dragons than princesses @ChildsPlayBooks


One, two, three… Run! in Books for Keeps Books of the Year 2013. From our Little Movers board series by Carol Thompson, Run! has been chosen by Books for Keeps' friends and contributors as one of the best books of the year. "Letterbox Library is famous for its selection of inclusive children's books, so here are our Diversity Stars for 2013: One, Two, Three…Run! …led by a voice traditionally under-represented in children's literature; [not] self-consciously; utterly joyful. A child with Down's syndrome bounces and scrambles in [Run!]." Alex Strick is a disability advisor and co-runs Outside In and the new Inclusive Minds venture. "My favourite books of the year are (unsurprisingly) eminently inclusive. I love the exuberance of One, two, three… Run! (and indeed the whole 2013 series) by Carol Thompson, which demonstrates how even board books for babies can include disabled children in a natural, and appealing way."

Brilliant signed performance of Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, featuring our book and music with ITV Signed Stories' Keith and Peter. Heads is just one of our titles available with the Signed Stories app and Book Bundles, including First Time: Nursery and You and Me. Click HERE to join in!

The Cloud, "another utter smasher", by Hannah Cumming is picked for ReadItDaddy's Top 50 Children's Books of the Year 2013! "As we've come to expect from Hannah and indeed from Child's Play, this is a book destined to become a modern classic, with the kind of beautifully told and wonderfully conveyed message that the very best of our children's book writing talent seem to make look so effortlessly easy. 'The Cloud' should be in everyone's collection." For more of this fantastic review, please click HERE.

Joe's Journal returns as our guy from HQ USA regales us with tales of the Educational Book and Media Association Conference in San Diego.
"I'm sitting on a veranda, with blooming bougainvillea moving gently with a breeze (if I didn't see it, I couldn't tell you there was any wind at all). The sun is hot and bright overhead. I am wearing sunglasses and drinking iced tea, and it is the middle of December. Working for Child's Play can be a tough job, but someone has to do it... Everyone here is about education, about schools and libraries, and like all of publishing, this group is seeing a lot of changes."

Harold finds a voice! in Hampshire
… Courtney Dicmas' gloriously noisy story is shortlisted for the Hampshire Picture Book Award 2014. Some 7,500 Year 1 children, age five to six, from 145 schools that subscribe to the School Library Service, take part in the judging process of this award, now in its fifth year.

Out now! Grandma, the beautiful and sensitive debut by Jessica Shepherd, bringing awareness to dementia through the words of a young boy who tells of his relationship with his grandma and how they cope when she needs to move to a care home. Along with an information section encouraging discussion and providing answers, Grandma is a touching and positive new title.

Out now! The Great Googly Moogly by Courtney Dicmas is the tale of a terrifying legend of the sea and how Stella aims to catch it. But happens if she succeeds? When Courtney (Harold finds a voice!) was six years old, she caught a giant fish with a stick and some pepperoni - no, really she did! This is her second book for Child's Play, and features a strong and spirited girl determined to achieve her goal, but also reflects our responsibilities to other creatures, and our place in the natural world.

Tweety New Year! Just some of the action on Twitter recently:
@KitsuneKuro23h "I actually really want to buy Rabbityness"
@MrsKGoulding "Kismet: asked to talk about recent children's books & your image pops up! 'Rabbityness' in mind!"
@Eric_Heyman "lovely artwork"
@TowHarmony "some amazing gender and toys/books"
@JesSSShepherd "@ChildsPlayBooks amazing! Thank you, you fantastic bunch! Very excited for the launch. You are wonderful to work with! X"
@WException "Having a lunchtime read of some fabulous @ChildsPlayBooks due out"
@gabrielalborozo "Woohoo! Acrobat has its first 'real' person review on amazon! Chuffed! @childsplaybooks"
@AngelaMuss "Super happy to see the Catalan & Castilian editions of Puppet Pals @ChildsPlayBooks Take a look"
@Stricolo "@LetterboxLib and the fact that we BOTH chose @ChildsPlayBooks's One Two Three Run means it must be doubly brilliant @BooksForKeeps"
@chloesuzannebon "@gabrielalborozo I checked out The Acrobat at @ChildsPlayBooks meet yesterday. It's SO beautiful in real life!"
@ChildLedChaos "We got some @ChildsPlayBooks for review & my girls were more engaged than had been for months. Very impressed."
@LetterboxLib "Wow. What a teaser. Inclusive tactile book coming from @ChildsPlayBooks & those IM folk: @WException @Stricolo"
Follow us on Twitter @ChildsPlayBooks for more!

Tue, June 24th, 2014

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