Monday, 25 April 2011

Shellybobbins invites Philip Bell from Beachy Books to the Spotlight

Welcome this competition will be on until 1st of may 8pm which is next Sunday winner will be chosen from the comments below :- Good luck & a fantastic competition too thank you so much xx

The “special” importance of reading to your child – and you can do it anywhere!

The Education secretary Michael Gove recently announced he wants British school children to be reading 50 books a year. Children’s Laureate, Anthony Browne, said in response: “It’s the quality of children’s reading experiences that really matters.”

Whatever your view, a book a week may be a tall order in a world where children’s attention is courted by social networking, computer games and TV, and, according to The Literacy Trust, school children’s top leisure time reading choices are text messages, magazines, websites and emails.

But there’s no hope of ever becoming a voracious reader unless you start them young. Research carried out by The Literacy Trust has repeatedly shown that parental involvement and engagement with reading, and access to books at home, is the key to encouraging a child’s enjoyment of reading, which ultimately forms their future educational achievements.

So how are we going to get children’s books charting as the top leisure reading choices? The Department of Education’s guidance for early years for reading, from birth to 11 months, recommends that children should “Listen to familiar sounds, words, or finger plays.” Any parent reading this will have already stirred their child’s love of books if they’ve simply sang their child to sleep, retold a nursery rhyme or read a tongue twisting verse from a picture book. This is important as it also encourages early talking, language and vocabulary development, listening, reading and writing skills.

Only last week, research from Mark Taylor of Oxford University, who says: “How much you read isn’t that important, it’s just a question of whether you do read,” conducted research on 17,000 people born in 1970 and concluded that reading for pleasure when you are young increased the chances of going onto further education and achieving career success. He also found there was “something special” about reading for pleasure.

I like that, something special. There is something special about reading for pleasure. Or, for young children, being read to for pleasure. Any parent who has cuddled next to their child to share a picture book has witnessed the special connection between you. The enjoyment, engagement and ideas a child receives is invaluable in my opinion. I admit this is not always reciprocated from a tired worked-to-the-bone parent desperate to get their child to sleep and escape to the sofa, which is why sharing a story shouldn’t be confined to bedtime reading.

There are many places you can share a book with your child. Our picture book, Jack and Boo’s Bucket of Treasures, is set on a beach in summer, following the adventures of two children discovering beach treasure at low tide. We’ve had feedback from parents who’ve taken the book to the beach on holiday to read after a picnic and used the spotter guide in the back to help them tell a slipper limpet from a mussel.

Our books are inspired by our own family trips into nature – beaches, woods, countryside. In fact, the reading of a book, within it’s context and setting – on a beach for example – only helps inspire the imagination because, as well as pouring over the images in the picture book, the child can look all around their environment, all the time making connections between the story and real world experiences.

Reading together provides the child reader with a platform to talk about ideas raised in the book – Questions? Questions? Questions? Kids are full of them! Children are hungry for knowledge and thirsty for experiences. And it’s not called sharing a book for nothing because you’ll learn things you never knew too, like what’s a Hagstone?

I’m giving away a copy of our children’s picture book, Jack and Boo’s Bucket of Treasures, picked by as one of their books about summer for children, to the person who tells Shelly the most original place you’ve ever shared a picture book with a child? Answers on a blog reply below and then we will pick out a winner. Good luck and happy treasure hunting on a beach near you!

Philip Bell has occasionally earned money professionally from writing, but mostly writes for love. He is the author of the children’s picture book, Jack & Boo’s Bucket of Treasures (available at and together with his illustrator wife, Eleanor Bell, he runs an independent children’s publishing company called Beachy Books. More information at

Thank you Philip for being a guest on the Shellybobbins Blog, we appreciate your offer of a fantastic price, I'm sure every child will love this book.



  1. I agree that children should be encouraged to read for pleasure- and since I love stories, I encourage children in my family to read them. However, my partner reads mostly history books, and when I was teaching I did notice that what many boys (not all) read for pleasure was factual- football magazines, Horrible Histories, dinosaur/ shark/ bird books.

    When I was 11 or 12 I started reading Smash Hits obsessively. At 15 I moved on to Melody Maker and NME. Music writing is now mainly online, as is much sports reporting. So does it matter that young people read blogs or websites? Does that mean that this is all they read? I was still reading novels as a teenage girl. I am a little concerned that by shoving books at children as though it was something that was good for them, like cabbage or porridge, we adults may actually put them off reading. (This is not at all what I suggest you are doing, by the way- more a response to Gove. My own post is here:

    And I suppose the strangest place I have read to children is in a cave while on a school residential trip. It was the Lyke Wake Dirge, and it was deliciously scary.

  2. The place where I've shared a picture book with my kids where it mattered the most, or made the most difference, was in hospital - reading and sharing helped make things a little better. Perhaps not so unusual, but books were extra important for those days in hospital.

  3. I am lucky my kids love reading so we read everywhere - car, bath, garden, beach:)

    I think probably the most unusual place is lying on a blanket under the stars reading a book about space travel with a torch - was a lovely warm evening:)


  4. All of my children are avid readers which I am grateful for as I think it is so important and a real opener to the world in a literal and fantasy format.

    The most unusual place I shared a book with my child was on a boat whilst whale-watching in Mexico - she was 2 at the time.....


  5. I'm writing on behalf my niece as she is on "nurse" duty this weekend...last week she sent me a picture during the Arkansas tornadoes showing her holding one of the 2-yr old twins, the other sitting very close by...they were reading in what they have taught the children is the Harry Potter Room which is a tiny little room under the staircase and in the middle of the house, their safest spot!

  6. 8pm last night a winner was picked by our guest Philip from Beachy Books ~ Some fantastic comments left thank you to all of you

    Winner picked by Beachy Books .................Is Zoe Congrats !!! Yay xxx

    Please email me with your details please

    Love shellybobbins xxx