Archive

2019


Why a literary festival makes a great family day out

You may think a literary festival would be no place for kids, with lots of long lectures and intellectual discussion but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The breadth and depth of events for children at these festivals is simply stunning. Here's why we love them and are taking a stall at three in the next few months.

Posted on Friday, April 19, 2019

Our pirate book edit

Ahoy, me hearties! This month we sent our Parakeet subscribers a swashbuckling pirate adventure, which inspired us to come up with this edit of our favourite pirate-themed books for kids.

Posted on Friday, April 12, 2019

5 activities to keep the kids busy at home this holiday

With the weather forecast not looking great for the next few weeks our hopes of spending hours outdoors with the kids may be dashed. So we thought it would be good to share a few indoor activities that you can have up your sleeve for the more miserable days. They’re always a hit with our kids and take very little preparation so you can whip them out when a bit of distraction is needed.

Posted on Saturday, April 6, 2019

Parrot Street recommends: 12 things to do in the Easter holidays

The Spring term has whizzed by in a blur of World Book Day costumes and the Easter holidays are just around the corner. We don’t know about you, but the school break has rather snuck up on us. In case you’re casting around for ideas to fill the holidays and keep your little bookworms busy, here’s a round-up of our favourite things to do. Fingers crossed for two weeks of sunshine!

Posted on Thursday, March 28, 2019

The 5 questions we’re most commonly asked

We love chatting about children’s books in general, and our subscriptions in particular. Attending events is a great chance for us to meet parents, teachers and anyone else with an interest in children’s books and reading habits. They’re a great chance for us to listen to what people are saying about reading and our product, but we also learn a lot from the questions that people ask us.

Posted on Thursday, March 21, 2019

Our edit of kids’ fiction books set in Africa

This month we sent our Cockatoo subscribers a very exciting book in which a London schoolboy heads to Kenya to meet his Maasai family and learn all about life in the African savannah. If you’re inspired to explore Africa, here’s a list of middle grade fiction titles that we think make an excellent introduction to this amazing continent.

Posted on Monday, March 11, 2019

Should we ban Roald Dahl from classrooms?

As children of the 1980s, we grew up reading Roald Dahl and there is absolutely no denying the enormous impact his books have had on not one but several generations of young bookworms. But if we keep going back to Roald Dahl, how will kids discover the raft of contemporary, culturally-relevant children’s books that are being published right now?

Posted on Thursday, March 7, 2019

40+ ideas for simple World Book Day costumes

We enjoy making life that bit simpler for parents when it comes to anything book-related, so have put our heads together and come up with over 40 children’s book character costumes that are easy to recreate. Some require a bit more crafting than others but half term seems like the perfect time to get started and even enlist the children’s help too!

Posted on Sunday, February 17, 2019

6 book-related things to do during half term

We thought it would be useful to share a few book-related activities which you can have up your sleeve in case you are in need of things to keep the kids busy over the half term break.

Posted on Friday, February 15, 2019

Our subscriptions in the press

We have been working hard to promote our children’s book subscriptions to new audiences over the past year, so are thrilled to have been featured in two national magazines in the past few months.

Posted on Monday, February 11, 2019

Make your own comic strip

We love sharing comic strips and graphic novels with our children but know that creating our own can be just as fun. We share some tips to get started and a fun downloadable template.

Posted on Friday, February 8, 2019

How to set up a book club for your kids

Informal book clubs organised by a group of friends have become increasingly popular amongst the UK’s adult population in recent years. But what about our children? Why should the grown-ups have all the fun? If you’ve got a young bookworm in your family, why not help them set up their own book club?

Posted on Saturday, February 2, 2019

The reading habit: a recipe for health and happiness?

There’s a lot of focus at this time of year on building healthy habits for both body and mind. What if I told you that there was one simple and enjoyable habit that could significantly impact your child’s happiness and wellbeing? And even better, that you’re probably already doing it?

Posted on Friday, February 1, 2019

Choosing the best children’s books for our subscription boxes

One of the questions we are asked most often is ‘how do you choose the books you send to subscribers?' We are always pleased to be able to reassure customers that we have read (and re-read) every single book we send, plus many more in our efforts to shortlist the most appropriate for our boxes. These are the things that we look for when we’re shortlisting titles.

Posted on Wednesday, January 16, 2019

10 minute craft activity: make a badger puppet

Doing a craft activity that’s related to a book you’ve read is a great way to encourage children to think a bit more deeply about the story or characters. It encourages conversations and can spark little imaginations to get creative too, so here are some instructions for making one of your own.

Posted on Friday, January 11, 2019

2019: your year of reading?

We thought we’d share with you one of our own New Year’s resolutions in the hope that it will inspire you to make 2019 your year of reading. We’ve decided to set our families a reading challenge – everyone can take part and we’re looking forward to swapping notes on the books we’ve each read.

Posted on Thursday, January 3, 2019

2018


Using a Parrot Street Book Club pack: a teacher’s tips

We’re very excited to feature our first guest post on this blog, written by Sarah Waddington from Teatime-English. Sarah is a former primary school teacher who now tutors English to children around the world. It’s a fascinating insight into how our packs could work in a learning environment and we love the activities she devised.

Posted on Friday, December 28, 2018

Giving the gift of reading

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the gift-giving, parties and Christmas goodies at this time of year. And, as a small business, at what is inevitably our busiest time of year, we’re well aware that we have been merrily contributing to the Christmas shopping hype. So, here’s a timely reminder of a few ways we can give back at Christmas (while still sticking to our mantra that books make the best gifts!).

Posted on Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Make Polish gingerbread cookies

This time last year we had just sent our trial subscribers the beautifully written and illustrated The Fish in the Bathtub by Eoin Colfer. It's a story set in Poland at Christmas and we included a recipe for delicious Polish gingerbread, or pierniczki (pronounced pier-nitch-key), in the activity pack that accompanied the book. Why not have a go at making some yourself this year?

Posted on Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Parrot Street on the road this Christmas

The countdown to Christmas is well and truly on and we are in the thick of the Christmas shopping season. We’ve had our busiest ever two weeks phew! It’s exhausting, but the truth is we love getting out and about to Christmas fairs, festivals and shopping markets. As a small online business, these events represent an invaluable opportunity to meet young readers, their parents and grandparents face-to-face.

Posted on Saturday, December 8, 2018

Our favourite books of 2018

Having thought back through the year we came up with these 10 fabulous titles which we’ve particularly enjoyed sharing with our families. Some are new books, others are old favourites and all of them would make a fantastic present under the tree this Christmas.

Posted on Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Our Christmas book edit

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? With only a month to go, we’re sure you are already racking your brains for Christmas gift ideas. It won’t surprise you to hear that, in our opinion, books make the best gifts for kids of all ages! So we've shared five of our Christmas favourites.

Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The power of funny books

Funny books are a serious business. It’s easy to dismiss them as frivolous and silly, but for nurturing a love of reading and encouraging reluctant readers in particular, they are extremely powerful.

Posted on Friday, November 16, 2018

Meet the Parrot Street Advisory Board

We're very lucky to be supported by an advisory board that provides feedback on our book selections and activity packs, discusses topics, themes and techniques appropriate for our age groups, and suggests age-appropriate activities for our packs.

Posted on Saturday, November 10, 2018

Our Halloween reading recommendations

We've recently enjoyed reading (and re-reading) some Halloween-related books with our kids. Here we share our top 6 spooky reads for you to try.

Posted on Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Bookish activities for half term

We find it useful to always have a few activities up our sleeves when the kids are on school holidays, for those moments when tempers are fraying, or the weather has scuppered our plans. We share some of our favourite book-related activities from around the web.

Posted on Monday, October 22, 2018

Inspire a lifelong love of reading

Reading builds language and literacy but that’s not where the benefits end. Studies show that reading for pleasure also has an enormous impact on our children’s emotional and social development. We share our tips for making reading an integral part of your family life.

Posted on Monday, October 15, 2018

Let’s talk about books

By sharing and talking about the books we’ve read, we are able to explore what they mean to us and how they relate to our own lives, and that applies as much to our children as it does to us and our book club friends. Indeed, books allow our children to explore, question and work things out for themselves. So how do we encourage our kids to experience the joy and benefits of talking about books?

Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2018

Go on a literary adventure in London

Pairing a book with a day out is a great way to build the excitement and anticipation for your trip but we also know that encouraging children to think a bit more deeply about what they’ve read, and connect it to their own experiences, is hugely beneficial. We share ideas for five fabulous days out in London.

Posted on Saturday, October 13, 2018

Our favourite female heroines

Children’s literature is packed full of inspiring and empowering female characters. We were spoiled for choice when compiling this list, so share just five of our favourites.

Posted on Friday, October 12, 2018

Why reading matters

Parrot Street Book Club is all about reading for pleasure. In this digital age, with so many things competing for our kids’ time and attention, we risk raising a generation who can read, but choose not to. We have to work harder than ever to inspire a lifelong love of reading in our children, so we're sharing the five reasons why we think it’s worth the effort.

Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2018

Our favourite graphic novels

Graphic novels are a great way of getting emerging and reluctant readers of all ages reading by themselves. They are a feast for the eyes, packed full of images to help engage young readers, while at the same time offering the sort of complex plot lines and deeper characterisation that middle grade readers are ready for. We share some of our favourite books and series for you to explore.

Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Reading together

We are great advocates for reading together with our children, regardless of how young or old they are or how confident they are reading independently. We are all well aware of the benefits of reading aloud with young children, emerging and reluctant readers. But how many of us continue to read with our children once they have grown into confident independent readers?

Posted on Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Discovering great (new) books

One thing we hear from parents time and again is that their kids will only read books by their favourite author or in their favourite series. While this sort of reading behaviour isn't neccessarily a bad thing, we share our tips for encouraging your child to read more widely.

Posted on Monday, October 8, 2018

5 top tips for inspiring your child to love reading

The aim of our book club is to get children thinking about and enjoying good books, not testing them on their reading skills. With so many digital distractions competing for their time and attention, how do we inspire them to choose and engage with a good book?

Posted on Sunday, October 7, 2018

Who we are: 6 things you might not know about the Parrot Street team

We share a few lesser known facts about ourselves, by way of introduction to our blog!

Posted on Saturday, October 6, 2018