Books at Bedtime: The Great Flood

Friday, July 6th, 2007

These last couple of weeks there has been some bad flooding in parts of the UK and I was very sad to hear from author and publisher Debjani Chatterjee that her independent Sahitya Press has been badly affected, with the loss of their books stored in a community centre in Sheffield. Our thoughts go out to her and her colleagues.

AtticusTheStorytellers100GreekMythsIn an interview with PaperTigers a few months ago, Debjani talked about how certain stories crop up in many different traditions: one of these is the Great Flood. There are many versions of Noah’s Ark, which we enjoy reading – but this week was the first time my boys had come across the story outside its biblical context and they were intrigued. We are reading Atticus the Storyteller’s 100 Greek Myths by Lucy Coats and Anthony Lewis, which we all agree is a “superb retelling of the Greek myths for younger children” and “a really lovely book for all the family to share” (Books for Keeps). Like in The Barefoot Book of Knights I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the stories are brought together by a narrator: here it’s Atticus, who is on his way (more…)

Books at Bedtime: anthologies and audio books

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

SunI have just received this lovely e-card from Barefoot Books, which I would like to share with you all – it’s based on their recently-published Whole World, which not only celebrates the world we live in but reminds us that we need to look after it – something that Barefoot Books are really focussing on with their new “Go Barefoot, Go Global” emphasis on environmental issues.

As well as family favourites like The Emperor who Hated Yellow, The Gigantic Turnip and The Great Race: The Story of the Chinese Zodiac, we love Barefoot Books’ anthologies of stories from around the world. Son Number One has taken The Barefoot Book of Knights out of the library on a regular basis over the last three years. I like its format of the traditional tales being woven into the story of a young steward who is learning to be a knight, although it does sometimes mean reading time goes on for much longer than you intended!

PiratesGenerally, however, these anthologies are great for dipping into or for quenching a child’s thirst for “More, more, more!” without having to resort to carrying around great piles of books – a relief on train or plane journeys… Then, what is really great is that so many of Barefoot’s publications are also available in audio format and can be enjoyed on car journeys too – somehow, no matter how many times you hear them as child or adult, you never get tired of them. At the moment, my children particularly enjoy listening to Animal Tales From Around The World and Pirates (I love the story from Japan about Mochimitsu who is saved by his beautiful music). They like to have the book open too so they can follow the illustrations, which are always so vibrant and full of extra details.

And what about in your family? Which audio books do your children like listening to – and when?