Early Years at the Heart Conference

I had a lovely time at University College Birmingham last week, introducing ‘Hattie and friends’ to delegates at their 1st Early Years Conference.

All the Childcare Professionals were very interested in my inclusive books and resources.

If you’d like me to come to your event just get in touch!

 

It was lovely to see this comment on social media later from a happy customer :

Got some wonderful literature today, thank you for signing them, ‘a day at the seaside’, is already my favourite xx

Newark Book Festival – July 2019

A fantastic weekend at Newark Book Festival! This is the first time I’ve had a stall here and it was great fun. I met so many people who loved my inclusive books, I feel newly inspired to show them to as many people as I can.

I also won 2nd prize for Best Dressed Stall, a voucher for a local restaurant. I think I’ll be spending that with my Dad who was a fantastic help all weekend.

I’ve got lots of contacts to follow up; teachers, parents, authors, illustrators.

I’ll definitely be going again next year!

Second Editions have arrived!!

It’s been an exciting day at Hattie HQ!  Boxes and boxes of the new editions have arrived and I’ve been sorting out pre-orders and a special delivery for the CCMA Conference. I’m delighted with the new layout, it’s so clear and easy to read now for everyone. Much more inclusive!

There’s still chance to take advantage of our special offer before the end of February – Set of 4 Books for ONLY £20 – Just e-mail: lesley@hattieandfriends and tell me how many sets you would like to order and an address to send them to. I will send an invoice with the books, payment within 30 days please.

LET’S GET INCLUSIVE!

Coming Soon – Updated Design!

Over the last few years I’ve had so many lovely comments about ‘Hattie and friends’, wherever I go people love the concept, the stories and the cheeky little characters!

It’s time to order more stock and I want to ensure the books are as good as they can be. I have listened to your feedback and agree that the best way to improve the books is to separate the text and the illustrations.

I’m currently working with Ruddocks, Print and Design, and the new books will be available soon.

Here’s an example of the new design. The black text on white background is much clearer and makes the books even more inclusive for anyone who is visually impaired. I hope you like it!

 

Positive Images of Disability

As Childcare Professionals we are aware of the need to be inclusive within our settings. In 2005 I owned 3 Day Nurseries and 2 Kids’ Clubs in Lincoln. An Ofsted Inspection made me think more about the resources we were using in my Day Nurseries, particularly those featuring disability.

After more research and finding it difficult to find suitable story books to use in my Nurseries, ‘Hattie and friends’ was born! My inclusive story books are now used by hundreds of Nurseries, Childminders and Primary Schools to promote a positive image of disability.

 

How many of your story books feature disability? How is the disability shown? Is the character with a disability portrayed as a super-hero?

Disability is part of everyday life and I believe children, from a young age, should see characters with disabilities in their story books. Inclusion means accepting differences and accepting everyone, therefore the character’s disability should be entirely incidental, in my opinion.

Some story books about disability describe the condition to help people to understand. I think there is a place for these books but this isn’t the purpose of ‘Hattie and friends’.

All the characters in my stories are young children who enjoy a day out with their family and friends. They have their own personalities, and they appear as happy, friendly, everyday children. I hope that all children can identify with my cheeky little characters and enjoy the familiar theme and content of my stories.

I don’t want my characters to have magic powers or appear different or ‘special’.

When I created my characters I have also considered gender, ethnicity, skin / hair colour, their parents, background, financial background etc. to be as inclusive and relevant to as many children as possible.

I have also ensured that there are plenty of learning opportunities in the content of my stories. They include: shape, colour, weather, texture, sound, travel, animals, time etc., making them ideal for all EYFS settings.

The important message is that all children can be friends and have fun, abilities are not important. All young children easily accept differences, their curiosity will raise questions, and they then develop attitudes from the answers they receive. We must show, through our attitudes and actions, that we value all children equally.

If young children see positive images of disability and receive a consistent message of tolerance and acceptance I believe this would lead to many benefits to society. Unfortunately people with disabilities have daily struggles with disrespectful attitudes towards them and their disability. I believe these attitudes have been developed over many years and one way we can improve this is to address how we present disability to our children.

I often visit Primary School classes to talk about my books and I’m always pleased when the children don’t even notice the disability aspect in my books. I intentionally leave this issue for the end of my presentation then ask the children if they can see anything different about my characters. They often can’t see any difference which is exactly the point!

My first title ‘A Day at the Zoo’ was published in 2006, there a now 4 titles in the series and Posters are also available.

Over the last decade I have noticed more story books featuring disability but they are still difficult to find and certainly not the norm. It’s hard to believe that authors and illustrators are still not including disabled characters in their stories in 2018.

I always welcome feedback about Hattie and friends, you can contact me: lesley@hattieandfriends.co.uk

For more information about my books please visit: www.hattieandfriends.co.uk

 

 

 

Cranwell Primary School

I visited Yrs 1 & 2 today at Cranwell Primary School, 3 lovely groups who enjoyed hearing all about ‘Hattie and friends’.

I’m going back next week to see 3 more groups from the Foundation Stage.

Do you know a local primary school who would like me to visit? It’s completely FREE for the school – just get in touch.

New Venture – Lincoln Fun Bus

I hope you’ve all had a great summer and you’re getting back into the swing of the new academic year. Summer has flown by here, mainly because I’ve been busy with my new venture. A friend and I have bought a double-decker bus! It’s fully refurbished as a soft play area and we will be offering children’s parties on board really soon.  If you’re in the Lincoln area you may want to take a closer look.

Our Facebook page and website have created a lot of interest and we have 6 parties booked already!

   

For more information please visit: www.lincolnfunbus.co.uk

I will, of course, be continuing with my Hattie and friends work and I have 3 school visits booked this term. I think both businesses will compliment each other in the future.

I’d love to hear what you think! E-mail me: lesley@lincolnfunbus.co.uk   or   lesley@hattieandfriends.co.uk

 

 

 

Bluecoat Academy

It has been an absolute pleasure to visit Bluecoat Academy, Nottingham today. I spoke to around 150 children, in 3 groups, who all enjoyed learning about writing and publishing ‘Hattie and friends’. 34 took away a signed copy of a  book and some more orders are on their way!

Many thanks to Mrs Marklew for inviting me, and to all the staff and children for making me so welcome.

New Sales Record!

I’ve enjoyed some really lovely school visits over the last couple of months. These pictures are from Sir Francis Hill School in Lincoln where I talked to 7 classes about ‘Hattie and friends’! I was also invited back to the school to take part in their end of term ‘Bonkers about Books Celebration’.

Early in May I visited Norton School in Sheffield where Mrs Walton had been very busy collecting lots of book orders for me. A new sales record of 77 books for 1 school!!

Following last week’s Facebook post I’ve had lots of enquiries and booked 6 more school visits for June and July. Please ‘Like’ Hattie and friends page on FB to see all the latest news and offers.

If you would like a school visit just get in touch!