An interview with Alastair Chisholm, author of science fiction adventure Orion Lost

The book we sent our Cockatoo subscribers in August is a cracking sci-fi adventure, starring a brilliant cast of characters and providing the perfect jumping off point for discussions about the role of AI in our lives. We asked author Alastair Chisholm about what inspired the book and which other sci fi books for kids he would recommend.

Posted on Monday, September 7, 2020

An interview with Matty Long, author of Super Happy Magic Forest and The Humongous Fungus

This month we sent our Parakeet subscribers the fantastic Super Happy Magic Forest and The Humongous Fungus by author and illustrator Matty Long. Super Happy Magic Forest started out as a series of picture books, which Matty has evolved into a companion series of highly illustrated chapter books for young readers – our favourite kind of fiction! Here Matty tells us what inspired the series and about his favourite childhood reads.

Posted on Friday, August 21, 2020

Guest post from Elle McNicoll, author of A Kind of Spark

A Kind of Spark is one of our books of the year so far - one of those books that should be read by kids and adults alike. It is inspired by author Elle McNicoll’s own experience of neurodiversity and her commitment to accurately representing neurodivergence in children’s books. In this guest post she tells us about her journey to publication and why diversity in children’s publishing matters.

Posted on Friday, July 31, 2020

An Interview With Judith Eagle

This month we sent our subscribers off to Paris with The Pear Affair, a wonderful adventure story that roams across the French capital, from the deepest, gloomiest underground tunnels to the smartest haute couture boutiques. We were completely gripped by the mystery of Nell’s past and were excited to find out more about what inspired the book from author Judith Eagle.

Posted on Thursday, July 23, 2020

Any questions? An interview with Paul Mason, author of The International Yeti Collective

In April we sent our Cockatoo subscribers the brilliant The International Yeti Collective by Paul Mason and we were thrilled when the Books.Ink team chose it as their Book of the Month for June. They asked us to put them in touch with Paul so they could interview him and they’ve kindly allowed us to repost that interview here.

Posted on Tuesday, July 14, 2020

An interview with Samantha Baines, author of Harriet Versus the Galaxy

The book we sent our subscribers this month tells the hilarious and heartfelt story of Harriet whose hearing aid helps her understand aliens from across the universe. We were lucky enough to interview author Samantha Baines, who told us how her own experience of hearing loss inspired Harriet and which planet she’d most like to visit.

Posted on Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Author interview with Emily Snape, creator of Fergus the Furball

This month we sent our Parakeet subscribers the laugh-out-loud story of Daniel and his brother Fergus – who he accidentally turns into a guinea pig! We were thrilled to hear from author and illustrator Emily Snape about why she loves writing for children and how her own two sons inspired the book.

Posted on Monday, May 18, 2020

An interview with Shoo Rayner, author of Walker

When Walker by Shoo Rayner landed on our desks a few months ago, there was no way we couldn’t choose it for our April boxes! This month our Parakeet subscribers have been getting to know the extensive cast of brilliant pooches in Shoo’s book. He kindly agreed to answer a few questions for us and, even better, recorded his answers in this video.

Posted on Monday, April 27, 2020

An interview with Piers Torday

One of the highlights of our lockdown is listening to the wonderful Piers Torday reading The Last Wild on Instagram every afternoon. What a treat! If you haven’t been listening along (and haven’t already read the book), we would highly recommend getting hold of a copy – it’s a Parrot Street favourite! In between readings, Piers kindly agreed to answer a few questions for us.

Posted on Sunday, April 19, 2020

A Books.Ink interview with Remy Lai, author of Pie in the Sky

We were thrilled when the Books.Ink team chose Pie in the Sky as their book of the month for March and asked us to set up an interview with author Remy Lai. They’ve kindly agreed that we can repost that interview here.

Posted on Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Africa books edit for younger readers

One of the things we love about reading with kids is the wider world it opens up for them and the book we sent our Parakeet subscribers last month is the perfect example. Too Small Tola is set in bustling Lagos, Nigeria, and stars Tola, a young girl who lives with her brother, sister and grandmother. Here we share 6 more books set in Africa which you might like to look out for.

Posted on Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Parrot Street Guide to Children’s Book Prizes

A very wise publishing person once told me that, in the world of children’s publishing, ‘prizes don’t sell books’. It’s true that even the biggest children’s book prizes don’t get the same media coverage as, say, the Booker Prize, meaning that of course the winning books don’t get the same exposure as the equivalent adult prize-winners. And yet they are a fantastic way to identify some of the best new children’s books and authors and a great place to discover your next favourite read. We share our guide to the children’s book prizes worth following.

Posted on Thursday, March 12, 2020

Everything you need to celebrate World Book Day

Our favourite day of the year is almost here – hooray! Don’t panic if you haven’t got your costume sorted yet, as we’ve got some super easy World Book Day costume hacks for you, plus lots of other creative ways you can celebrate with your young bookworms this week.

Posted on Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Reading the classics

When asked which books you think a child should have read by the time they reach their teenage years, many parents would reel off a list of classics. But how accessible are they really to today’s young readers? Why do we spend so much energy trying to get our kids to read the classics, when there is such a wealth of fantastic (and high quality) children’s publishing happening right now? We share our thoughts on this thorny issue and three new adaptations of classic texts which have impressed us recently.

Posted on Sunday, February 23, 2020

Highly illustrated books for kids aged 8+

Not only do illustrated books make beautiful gifts, they can also be a great gateway to more challenging content for struggling or reluctant readers. They are inclusive and great for sharing – books for the whole family to enjoy, young and old. So we're sharing just a few of the highly illustrated chapter books worth looking out for.

Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2020

5 brilliant kids’ books set in Australia

The book we sent our Cockatoo subscribers this month tells the story of a young boy and his family who have immigrated to Australia. Between that and the current bushfire crisis, this amazing country is very much at the forefront of our minds at the moment. Here are five chapter books set in Australia which we think would make perfect reading for anyone who would like to explore more about life Down Under.

Posted on Friday, January 17, 2020

Great new books on our shelves

The Parrot Street Support Crew were lucky enough to unwrap loads of new books this Christmas and we thought it would be fun to share a few of the highlights.

Posted on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

9 of our favourite Christmas books

Christmas is coming and that means it’s time to dig out our favourite Christmas reads! Reading for us is a social experience and a brilliant way to spend some precious family time. Here is our round up of our favourite Christmas books for kids.

Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Parrot Street Christmas gift guide for bookworms

There have been some truly amazing books published this year by some of our favourite authors and illustrators. So, in our Christmas gift guide for bookworms, we are pleased to be able to highlight some of the best books published this year, all of which we think would make great stocking fillers.

Posted on Wednesday, November 27, 2019

6 kids’ books starring animal heroes

Kids love animals and animals feature in many of our favourite children’s fiction books. Creating animal characters with human features and personality traits offers authors a way of exploring difficult situations and some of the insecurities kids feel themselves in a way that is relatable but not too serious. Here are six more brilliant kids’ books with heroic animal characters!

Posted on Monday, November 18, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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