An Interview With Sharna Jackson, author of *High Rise Mystery*
This month we sent our Cockatoo subscribers the wonderful *High Rise Mystery*, about two sisters who are very skilled detectives and get to work on a case when a local resident is murdered. We thought it would be fun to quiz author Sharna Jackson about what inspired the book and her writing routine.
Posted on Saturday, October 12, 2019
7 detective novels for kids who love a mystery!
This month we have sent our Cockatoo subscribers an absolutely cracking murder mystery novel, packed with drama and intrigue and starring an inspiring pair of sisters and aspiring detectives. Here we share 7 more chapter books for children aged 5 to 11 starring some of our favourite literary detectives.
Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2019
5 kids’ book bloggers to follow
The sheer volume of kids’ books published every month can be a bit overwhelming – how do you find the gems? Of course, one answer is to join our book club! Another great way to keep track of the finest (and funniest) kids’ books as they are published is to follow some of the excellent kids’ book bloggers out there. Here are our top five:
Posted on Monday, September 30, 2019
Parrot Street in the press!
We were thrilled to be featured in the recent Little London Schools Guide and thought it would be nice to do a round-up of some of the other great articles about books and reading that it included.
Posted on Tuesday, September 24, 2019
7 series for independent readers aged 9+
Kids just love a series. Children of all ages like the familiarity of a series, of a character they’ve got to know over a number of books and having the confidence that they are picking up a book they know they’re going to enjoy. But what do you do when they’re stuck in a bit of a Harry Potter rut? We share our recommendations for series that are perfect for older readers.
Posted on Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Tips for using our activity packs
One of the things that sets our kids book club apart from other book subscriptions is the carefully curated activity pack that we create to accompany each and every book we send. We talk a lot about the many social and intellectual benefits of reading for pleasure and our activity packs are designed to help you and your child connect with and get as much as possible out of each month’s book. These are our tips for getting the most out of your child’s Parrot Street subscription.
Posted on Friday, August 30, 2019
Book-inspired activities to do at home this summer
The books our children read, and that we read with them, are the perfect jumping off point for some fantastic activities at home that flex their creative muscles and fire their imaginations. Here we share 5 simple ideas that could build on a child’s enthusiasm for a few different book genres (although in all honesty, we think they’d be fun for anyone!).
Posted on Thursday, August 22, 2019
10 things to do before the kids go back to school
There are still a couple of weeks left before the kids go back to school, which means there’s still plenty of time to get out and enjoy these literary-related events around the country
Posted on Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Quick science activity: Make your own compass
In this month's book for our Cockatoos, the main characters go on a breathtaking adventure and rely on their compass to get by. So we thought it would be fun to show you how you can make your own compass using a pin, a magnet and a few others bits you will have at home.
Posted on Thursday, August 8, 2019
6 books for primary-aged kids that take you on a journey
This month we sent our subscribers two fantastic books that vividly evoke the thrill and adventure we experience when we take a journey. Both stories depict journeys of discovery and courage. They explore what it means to push boundaries and to understand your sense of self, what it means to belong and what you are capable of. Inspired by these remarkable books, we’ve put together a list of six more middle grade titles that take us on a journey.
Posted on Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Quick craft activity: Make tissue paper flowers
We love getting crafty with the kids and when we can link it to a book we’ve been enjoying it’s even better. Back in December 2018 we sent our subscribers a simply magnificent book by Bren MacDibble called How to Bee. The activity pack we produced contained instructions for making these beautiful tissue paper flowers and we thought the summer holidays were a great chance to share them again.
Posted on Tuesday, July 23, 2019
The summer events that have been keeping us busy
We’ve spent 4 full days outside at events over the past month and we’re extremely grateful that the weather was so kind to us. There’s no doubt that being so busy made navigating all the usual end of term commitments with the kids that much trickier. But we’re so glad we did it and had great fun in the process.
Posted on Friday, July 19, 2019
What do you get in a Parrot Street Book Club pack?
One of the things that makes our kids book subscription unique is that there is more to it than just books. We also believe there’s more we can do to get kids thinking and engaging more deeply with what they’re reading. Our carefully curated monthly parcels are designed to take the reading experience beyond the page.
Posted on Friday, July 12, 2019
Great series for making the transition to chapter books
Taking that step from picture books to being read chapter books can seem like a big milestone in any child’s reading life. We’ve picked 5 chapter book series for kids that we think are perfect for making the transition to chapter books. They’re all highly illustrated but long enough that the story is enjoyed over the course of a few reading sessions.
Posted on Monday, June 24, 2019
An Interview With Chloe Daykin
This month we sent our Cockatoo subscribers the wonderful The Boy Who Hit Play, a quirky, touching tale that explores our sense of identity, the power of sound, and the role of social media in the lives of young people. Here we quiz author Chloe Daykin about what inspired the book and her writing routine.
Posted on Saturday, June 8, 2019
What Reading in the Park is all about
Reading in the Park is our way of celebrating the social side of reading with our local community. What a pleasure to be able to enjoy the warmer weather, get outside and get kids reading!
Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2019
5 festival highlights from Chiddingstone and Barnes
We spent 4 full days earlier this month at two amazing children’s literature events. It was great to meet so many families that are as excited about books and reading as we are. So we thought we'd share our 5 most memorable highlights.
Posted on Thursday, May 23, 2019
Funny books for kids who love animals
This month we sent our subscribers a very funny book about a boy who discovers he can change into animals – anything from a flea to a rhino, sometimes at the most inconvenient times and always with hilarious consequences. Animals in books also provide the opportunity for lots of humour – and kids love funny books! We're sharing seven of our favourite funny books for animal-lovers.
Posted on Friday, May 17, 2019
All books are for everyone – keeping our book club gender neutral
One of the things that makes our kids book club unique is that, within the two different age categories, everyone gets the same book. It’s a book **club**, after all, and our aim is to develop an inclusive community of book-loving kids and parents who enjoy sharing their reading experience with others. We share the thoughts behind our books choices and 5 series recommendations that are great for both boys and girls.
Posted on Friday, May 3, 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
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
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