is there a parent who hasn't dreamt of a peaceful night's sleep?

Or worried about how a child will cope with an unkind friend, a new teacher, a move to a new home?

The New Yorker cartoons

The New Yorker cartoons

At WTBA we collect thoughts, ideas, research and of course books that address those universal concerns and the dreams that go with them. Things like sleep and emotional resilience as well as embracing diversity, healthy lifestyles, coping with anger and more: the sorts of things that occupy the head space of parents, grandparents, educators and, hopefully, policy makers.

Our great hope is that this will be a place to share wisdom. We hope you’ll share your tips as well as your questions - perhaps you have found a way to soothe an angry child that works every time, or perhaps you’re hoping someone else has. There’s a comments link at the end of each of our posts, and of course you can always email us or connect via facebook or instagram. (We’re on pinterest too, but not doing much on twitter for the time being.

Please have a look around – we’d love to hear from you in any comments at all. xx

8 joyful, powerful books that teach s.t.e.m. by osmosis

8 joyful, powerful books that teach s.t.e.m. by osmosis

This post was first published in June 2017. It listed the fastest growing future jobs, with percentage growth predicted over the following five years (U.S.).

Crystal-balling the future is ever moving, but those predictions still seem to be pretty much on point. Which means today's kids will need to become comfortable with s.t.e.m. and s.t.e.a.m. concepts (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) as part of everyday life!

Fortunately, there's a wonderful subset of picture books to help with that. They're fun, beautiful and powerful, and they lead kids to the point of becoming s.t.e.m. and s.t.e.a.m. natives—which gives them so much advantage in interacting with the world, however it turns out for them.

Read More

24 cool things-to-do that work your brain at any age

24 cool things-to-do that work your brain at any age

Fun is ambiguous don’t you think?  One person’s fun is another person’s special agony (I’ve heard there are people who really enjoy cleaning the oven—never met one, just heard), but most of us find that there’s nothing quite as fun as giving our brain a workout ... here's a collection of things-to-do that work your brain at any age—with links to books to cement, inspire and connect that wonderful work.

Read More

a three eyed, long eared alien child reminds us to be welcoming and inclusive

a three eyed, long eared alien child reminds us to be welcoming and inclusive

ages 2 to 8 years
Feeling lost, unwelcome or out of place is one of childhood’s certainties. They’re feelings that will come to every child in one measure or another. Teens, of course, continue to have those feelings, and so do adults. For displaced people, regardless of age, those feelings are frequently more than an emotional reaction—they can be the cold hard facts of life. Beegu is a displaced alien child who....

Read More

3 fabulous stories about authority

3 fabulous stories about authority

ages 2 to 10 years
These three books are all about authority—they let us question who should have it and how it should be used. Those are important questions, as evidenced by the number of times, every day when I was working in junior kindy, that I answered the question: “Why?”.

1)  DON'T CROSS THE LINE!
2)  MY UNCLE'S DONKEY
3)  KING PIG

Read More

new year, new thoughts: thanks for your wisdom, Maya Angelou

 
 

Are there some books that your kids just LOVE but that you really don’t?

A few in that category have made their way onto our shelves (who knows how that happened, it’s a mischief!) and my kids keep asking me to read them over and over again. I hold my nose and do it, but I truly feel like I’m wasting my breath and my time, and can’t see how I’m doing any good to anyone.

Well, this week, I read a quote by Maya Angelou that made me think. She said:

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.
— Maya Angelou

Thank you Ms Angelou, for sharing your wonderfulness and wisdom. I’m taking it on board and I’ve resolved to stop trying to smuggle those books out of the house and cringing as I read them for the 10th time in the one day (!).

Instead, I will embrace the joy of children who want me to read to them and be grateful, immensely grateful, that they are forming a habit of and a passion for reading.

Do you have a quote that has inspired you and helped with the everyday? I’d really love to hear about it.

5 classic Christmas stories to read aloud and linger over

THE GIFT OF THE MAGI  - This is the classic O Henry story of the poor young couple who each sell the thing most dear to them to buy the other a Christmas present – this version is illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger making it especially beautiful.


THE GIFT OF THE MAGI - This is the classic O Henry story of the poor young couple who each sell the thing most dear to them to buy the other a Christmas present – this version is illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger making it especially beautiful.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL  - Perhaps the most famous of all Christmas stories aside from the nativity - this one is illustrated by Sir Quentin Blake


A CHRISTMAS CAROL - Perhaps the most famous of all Christmas stories aside from the nativity - this one is illustrated by Sir Quentin Blake

 
CHRISTMAS STORIES  - my all time favourite author to read aloud, Michael Morpurgo's words are always perfect. Here, they're combined with amazingly beautiful artwork from some of Britain’s best illustrators. There are four stories and they’ll take up to an hour each to read aloud, so perfect for a car trip or plane ride.


CHRISTMAS STORIES - my all time favourite author to read aloud, Michael Morpurgo's words are always perfect. Here, they're combined with amazingly beautiful artwork from some of Britain’s best illustrators. There are four stories and they’ll take up to an hour each to read aloud, so perfect for a car trip or plane ride.

 
AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS  - This is the picture book version of the children’s opera. It’s long and detailed but wonderful to read aloud either before or after watching the opera itself. We saw it live many years ago and have had a jar of licorice out every year at Christmas time since – you’ll see why if you read the book


AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS - This is the picture book version of the children’s opera. It’s long and detailed but wonderful to read aloud either before or after watching the opera itself. We saw it live many years ago and have had a jar of licorice out every year at Christmas time since – you’ll see why if you read the book

AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS DVD  - Watching the DVD has become a favourite Christmas Monday night tradition.


AMAHL AND THE NIGHT VISITORS DVD - Watching the DVD has become a favourite Christmas Monday night tradition.

 
THE FAMILY UNDER THE BRIDGE  - This one isn't a Christmas story as such, but it is set around Christmas time, it’s heartwarming and it’s set in Paris - the story of children who become family to a man who didn’t know he wanted a family.


THE FAMILY UNDER THE BRIDGE - This one isn't a Christmas story as such, but it is set around Christmas time, it’s heartwarming and it’s set in Paris - the story of children who become family to a man who didn’t know he wanted a family.

 

Christmas for me is all about long days, warm nights, outside play in the dark, a bath or a swim and then a chapter or two of a story read aloud to the whole family. Then there's the summer camping trip where a read-aloud book after dinner is essential!

Or, rainy days when it’s thundering and pouring for a whole day which require a play in the rain and an ice-block and still leave time for a few more pages.

All of which means that Christmas stories full of snow and fur lined coats feel almost surreal. But we love them anyway and today's selection are good for both hemispheres.

Names in this post: Amahl