Inside Storytime Issue 46!

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It’s our favourite time of the month because it’s new issue time! Storytime Issue 46 is even more cosmically awesome than usual, as it features a party-loving alien from Out of this World – a new story written by Christine Kelly. There’s also a fun fairy tale, a Japanese legend, a story from the Amazon rainforest, wonderful poems, an old folk tale and a fable. Plus we have the usual mix of activities, puzzles, colouring and a game. Find out more about Storytime Issue 46 and its talented contributors here…

Inside Storytime Issue 46

Writer Christine Kelly returns to Storytime Issue 46 with a brand new story about a little girl whose best friend just happens to be an alien from the Planet Zog. Is she real or a figment of her imagination? Everyone’s about to find out at her birthday party. In addition, we welcome back illustrator Vicky Amrullah, who provided the bright and cheerful artwork for this story and our cover. (Vicky previously illustrated the poem Eletelephony in Storytime Issue 34.)

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The Tailor’s New Coat – a folk tale illustrated by Forrest Burdett in Storytime Issue 46

The Tailor’s New Coat is an old Jewish folk tale with variants all over the world. It’s a really clever story with a surprise ending that will give you all something to think about. The gorgeous illustrations come courtesy of Forrest Burdett. The last two pages are especially magical.

Our first poem of Storytime Issue 46 is by Laurence Alma-Tadema (not the famous Dutch painter, but his daughter). It explores the whimsical world of Playgrounds through the eyes of a child. What’s your favourite playground? This is a good poem to begin a discussion about looking closely at the world around you, using your imagination and finding the magic in everyday places. We love the creativity in the illustrations by Ana Sanfelippo.

This issue’s fable follows the exploits of The Famous Firefly as she tries to widen the audience for her impressive light show. As with most fables, things don’t go quite to plan and she learns a valuable lesson. Can you guess what it is by looking at the pictures? This is a good technique to try with developing readers.Cn they tell the story in their own words before you read it to them? Did they guess right? Our super-colourful illustrations are by Chorkung.

We’re really excited to bring you another fairy tale that tells the story behind a famous fictional character. In Storytime Issue 46, it’s the nursery rhyme favourite Old Mother Goose. (In Storytime Issue 44, we had Hey Diddle Diddle.) We’ve put together a fantastic Teaching Resource Pack to go with this story, which all schools and home schooling subscribers can get for free. Find out more on our Storytime For Schools site. The wonderful illustrations are by Marine Cazaux, who had great fun creating Mother Goose flying away on the back of her gander.

Alphabet Zoo fans will be delighted to see the artwork of Tim Budgen again for our one-off poem, Alphabet Ocean. This time, we dive into the deep blue sea to meet animals ranging from anemones to the zebra turkeyfish! To make sure you’ve spotted all the animals in our underwater A to Z, download our Alphabet Ocean posters here. Look out for more of Tim’s work in our October 2018 Storytime issue.

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The storm god Susanoo wield a special sword in Storytime Issue 46’s Japanese dragon legend. Art by Bao Luu

We love a Japanese legend here and Storytime Issue 46’s doesn’t disappoint. It stars a stormy god who takes on a fearsome, people-munching Eight-Headed Dragon – with a little help from a famous Japanese drink. Illustrator Bao Luu has done a brilliant job of bringing this legendary hero and his enemy to life.

Our last story transports you to South America, where you can experience The Magic of the Rainforest when a young girl loses her way. It features monkeys, a jaguar god and a magical blue morpho butterfly. It’s the perfect starting point for learning more about this spectacular part of the planet. Nathanna Érica is responsible for the lovely illustrations. Do have a look at her website – it is stunning.


Why You Need Storytime!

As ever, we’re tried to give you a great mix of stories from all over the world. There are six in this issue and two poems, and the more issues you collect, the bigger and better your library of stories will become. In fact, you could probably boast you own the best stories in the universe! Furthermore, you can come back to them again and again, because we print every Storytime issue on high-quality paper. Plus Storytime is a tried and trusted way to improve your child’s reading skills – we’ll be blogging about that soon! If you haven’t subscribed yet, you can do so here and become part of a passionate army of worldwide readers or you can pick up Storytime Issue 46 from our Back Issue Shop.

We hope you think Storytime Issue 46 is as out of this world as we do. What are your favourite stories or illustrations? Are there any stories or poems you would like to see in Storytime? Is there anything you’d like to see more of? We value your feedback, so let us know via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

Let your imagination fly this month,

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Illustrator Interview: Tom Knight

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Sometimes the universe conspires to pair a story with the perfect illustrator – as is the case with Storytime Issue 45‘s fairy tale, Jack the Giant Killer, and the artist who brought it to life so brilliantly – Tom Knight.

We had high hopes for this story because we can’t understand why it isn’t more popular and widely known. It’s the ideal follow-on fairy tale from Jack and the Beanstalk with an even braver hero and even better giants – and it even comes with a good helping of ‘Fe Fi Fo Fum’. The campaign to win Jack the Giant Killer the fame he deserves starts here – and Tom’s illustrations are sure to help. Did we mention the giants?

We caught up with Tom to get some insight into his life as a children’s illustrator and he gave us heaps of inspiration along the way.

Illustrator Interview: 11 Questions with Tom Knight


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Ace illustrator of heroes, giants and animals rocking out in bands, Tom Knight.

1. Did you do an illustration degree? How did you get started in illustration?

My degree was in graphic design. The design department was part of the art school, so we had access to all the printmaking and life drawing facilities. I loved it! The smell of an art department is one of my top five favourite smells of all time. (The other four are libraries, boat sheds, freshly cut grass and coffee.)

I had a very happy career in graphic design for a long time after I did my degree, but my work became more and more illustration based until I took the leap and started illustrating full time.


2. What drew you to illustrating for kids?

I used to draw a lot of birthday cards for my friends to make them laugh. My friends all have a very childish sense of humour, so it was a natural fit to start illustrating for actual kids. Then I had children of my own, and so the idea of making art that they would find funny or affecting was very appealing.


3. What or who is your biggest inspiration?

I think my biggest inspiration must be Hergé, the Belgian creator of Tintin. I loved the Tintin books so much as a child – the sense of place and adventure that Hergé created had a huge effect on me. As I got older I could see how amazing he was at drawing and creating his scenes technically too. He’s definitely my drawing hero!


4. What’s your illustration process? Do you have preferred creative medium and why?

My process changes all the time! My studio is divided in two with my tidy computer desk on one side and my messy drawing table on the other. I always try to stay on the messy side for as long as possible! I do most of my colouring digitally because it’s so much faster (and easier to change later on for all those fussy art directors). But my favourite bit is looking through all my jars of pencils and pens and charcoal and choosing what to use. I usually end up using everything.


Good Knight Bad Knight, Tom Knight, Illustrator Interview, Storytime magazine, kids magazine subscriptions5. As well as illustrating for other authors, you also write children’s books. We love Good Knight, Bad Knight. How did you get into writing as well as illustrating?

I never thought I would be good enough to write something that would end up on someone’s bookshelf, even though I’ve always had loads of story ideas. My agent basically bullied me into it, and then Katie, my lovely editor at Templar, showed a huge amount of faith in me by signing me up to write two books for them. (Note from Ed – Good Knight, Bad Knight and Jimmy Finnigan’s Wild Wood Band.)


6. You’ve done a brilliant job of Jack the Giant Killer for Storytime – thank you! What’s your favourite fairy tale and is there one you’d love to illustrate?

That’s a good question! I’ve just finished a book for Scholastic about a very naughty bogey who romps through lots of fairy tales and spoils them all, so I had lots of fun drawing the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella’s palace, as well as lots more. I’d like to have a go at The Little Mermaid I think – I’m fascinated by the world under the sea, and would have fun painting all the colourful seaweeds.


7. Are there any exciting projects you’re working on at the moment that you can tell us about?

At the moment I’m working on the next adventures of Good Knight, Bad Knight for Templar, which is very exciting. They are chapter books for older readers, and will be out later this year. There’s also The Big Bad Bogey written by Timothy Knapman, which will be out in September, and a spooky Halloween story called Bone Soup by Alyssa Satin Capucilli, which is out in July with Paula Wiseman Books.


Tom Knight, Illustrator Interview, Storytime Magazine, Storytime, kids magazine subscriptions, magazine subscriptions for kids8. Is there any past work you’re particularly proud of that you’d like to point to?

I’m very fond of Jimmy Finnigan’s Wild Wood Band, which was the second book I wrote for Templar. It joins my two passions, which are drawing picture books and playing music, so it’s quite dear to my heart. Plus I got to draw a lot of trees, which always makes me happy!


9. Your location on an island by the sea sounds pretty inspiring. Does it influence your work? If you could work anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Yes, our island is quite an inspiring place! The nicest part is coming home when the tide is high (but not quite high enough to cover the road, which happens a lot!). When there’s no wind, the sea looks like a mirror and all you can hear is the squawk of the seabirds – there’s no better place! BUT if I could work anywhere it would have to be Machu Picchu, which is a 15th century Inca citadel on top of a mountain in Peru. I’d never get any work done because I’d always be looking at the eagles and the condors.


10. Are there any different creative areas or illustration styles you’d like to explore?

Yes, all of them! I’m really interested in printmaking again, and also fabric and wallpaper design. I won’t rest until the world is covered in my drawings!

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Jack discovers the giant’s secret treasure stash and tries on an invisible cloak for size in Storytime Issue 45. Illustrated by Tom Knight.

11. Is there any advice you can give to aspiring illustrators, young and old?

I would say learn your craft first, and the most important part of an illustrator’s craft is DRAWING. You can’t draw too much. Draw everywhere, all the time! Draw on the bus, draw in the bath, draw while you’re watching telly. You probably shouldn’t draw when you’re mum is telling you off (she won’t like it) or if you’re driving a car.

It would also be useful for you to learn how to use Adobe Photoshop too, because you’ll definitely need it at some point. Finally, remember to be interested in everything! You never know where your next idea is hiding, and you don’t want to miss it. It might be behind you RIGHT NOW!


Fantastic answers and loads of inspiration – Storytime illustrators really are the nicest people in the world. We can’t leave it at that without urging you to visit Tom Knight’s website and encouraging you to check out his print shop, which features a rather wonderful Hunt for the Wilderpeople print. Also, for more eye candy, fabulous giants and brave knights, check out Tom’s blog, his Instagram feed and show your support and admiration by following him on Twitter too. Best of all, buy his books!


Many thanks, Tom, for taking the time to speak to us.


See you next time, story lovers!


stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Storytime Issue 45 – Out Now!

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Giants beware, Storytime Issue 45 has been unleashed on the world and the star of this new issue is none other than boy hero, Jack the Giant Killer! This issue features heroes large and small, stories new and classic, poetry to make you smile, tales to tickle your imagination and activities to keep your little ones happily occupied (while stealthily learning). If, for some unfathomable reason, you haven’t subscribed yet, you can join our worldwide team of story lovers here or you can pick up Storytime Issue 45 in our Back Issue Shop, so you don’t miss out! To find out more about what’s inside our issue and our amazing contributors, read on.

Inside Storytime Issue 45


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Dreaming of pirates in a poem by Mabel Forrest. Art by Rogério Coelho

Opening Storytime Issue 45 (and just in time for that royal wedding), we’ve got a sweet new story by children’s author Amanda Brandon called The Royal Birthday Surprise. Prince Henry has a long list of demands for his birthday party, but it doesn’t go quite as planned. Thankfully, his little (and only) guest has big ideas. Lovely illustrations are by Jessica Gibson.

Our first poem of the issue is an abridged version of My Dreams (originally called Boy Dreams) by Mabel Forrest and it’s a fantastic exploration of a child’s imaginative dream world. It features pirates, fairies and mermen, and can be a great starting point for some fun role-play games. You might recognise the illustration style of Rogério Coelho, who has illustrated for Storytime several times now.

Nancy and the Pixies is an old British folk tale, supposedly based on a true story, about a woman who doesn’t believe in magic. We love the final image in this story of a pyramid of playful pixies proving their point. The whimsical art is by Tatiana Petrovska. You don’t have to see to believe, readers.


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Farewell to Alphabet Zoo in Storytime Issue 45! Art by Tim Budgen

In this issue, we’re sad to announce that our long-running poetry series Alphabet Zoo comes to an end with animals beginning with the letters X, Y and Z. It seems to have flown by and we’ve been incredibly lucky to work with illustrator Tim Budgen. Can you believe we featured 64 animals in total? That’s a very busy zoo and, if you missed any issues, the series ran from Storytime Issue 29 onwards, which you can still pick up from our Back Issue Shop. Don’t forget, you can also download and print out every single one of our Alphabet Zoo Activity Packs with puzzles, facts and posters from our Free Downloads page. If you’re a Tim Budgen fan, catch our interview with him here and also look out for next month’s issue, when we’re diving into a special one-off Alphabet Ocean!

Now to our cover star and Favourite Fairy Tale, Jack the Giant Killer, which has been brilliantly illustrated with the most amazing (and amusing) giants you’ve ever seen by Tom Knight. This is one of those fairy tales that you’ll be familiar with but might not know well. Jack has many parallels with Jack and the Beanstalk (from Storytime Issue 5 (buy the back issue here), but they seem to be two distinct characters. The Jack in this story is a wee bit bolder and braver and takes on not one but five giants, including one with two heads! Jack and the Beanstalk fans will love following his adventures.

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The Giant Cormoran – Jack’s first battle. Art by Tom Knight

From adventure to the absurd in our Around the World Tale from Poland about Kopytko – a cobbler with gigantic ears, a duck sidekick and a penchant for playing pranks. But when he takes one practical joke too far, he learns an important lesson. The illustrations, which should hopefully make you laugh, are by Rodrigo Folgueira.

More lessons can be learnt in this issue’s Famous Fable from India, which features a mysterious missing bell, angry gods and mischievous monkeys. Thank goodness someone has their wits about them. Illustrations for The Musical Monkeys are by Fabiana Faiallo. (You can also see some fascinating work-in-progress illustrations for the story here.)

Lastly, we bring you an Egyptian myth that’s truly fascinating about the Great Sphinx and how it once came to life. If you’re studying Ancient Egypt in the classroom or want to open up whole new worlds at home, this is the perfect story. The Secret Sphinx is illustrated by another frequent collaborator Júnior Caramez. If you’re a school subscriber, look out for our teaching resource pack all about the Sphinx, pharaohs and Ancient Egypt, which you’ll get for free. (If you’re a school and would like to find out more, visit our Storytime for Schools website.)


Throughout Storytime Issue 45 we also give you activities and mini challenges and, as with every magazine, we end with puzzles, drawing, colouring, a craft, a story-themed board game AND our favourite books of the month (enter to win a book here!). We really do try to cram each issue full of story goodness for you!

We hope you enjoy it. Let us know your thoughts on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. We’re always happy to hear from you.


Watch out for two-headed giants!


stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Nursery Rhymes in Storytime

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Though Storytime‘s regular Poems and Rhymes strand is mostly dedicated to children’s poetry, we like to mix it up every now and again and include classic nursery rhymes or songs. In Storytime Issue 44, we’ve mixed it up even more by featuring a fairy tale by L Frank Baum, which explains the fantasy origins of the famous nursery rhyme Hey Diddle Diddle. We’ve thrown in the rhyme too for good measure.

Hey Diddle Diddle is an iconic nursery rhyme bursting with imagery that fires up the imagination, but on closer inspection – like most nursery rhymes – it makes little sense. Many intellectuals have tried to trace the origins or deeper meaning of this rhyme, but the general consensus is that it’s nonsense – nonsense powerful enough to have lasted for hundreds of years.

Hey Diddle Diddle in Storytime Issue 44 with art by Begona Fernandez Corbolan.In this time, there have been a few variations of Hey Diddle Diddle. A fork ran away with the spoon at one point and, in some versions, a pig jumped over the moon, which makes more sense because, as we all know, pigs can fly.

Perhaps our favourite legacy of this nursery rhyme is that it spawned the phrase ‘over the moon’, meaning extremely happy.

We’re over the moon to feature both the story and the nursery rhyme in Storytime, because we know that nursery rhymes play a crucial role in improving childhood literacy.

5 Reasons to Read Nursery Rhymes


1. Lots of studies, including this one, show that sharing nursery rhymes with young children has a positive impact on their phonics skills and language abilities as they grow older. It helps them develop an ear for language and the rhythm and beat of how sentences are structured.

2. If you take a break from saying nursery rhymes out loud and refer to our magazine or a book, make sure you point out the words as you read them. This helps children to make the link between sounds and letters, improving their recognition of words and also their ability to use rhyming words at a later stage.

3. If you play as you share nursery rhymes, the result is even more powerful. You can clap along, use puppets, act out the rhyme with toys, do actions – whatever works best for you and your child. The simple act of bringing a nursery rhyme to life makes it more memorable, but also makes it more engaging and fun, leaving your child with a good feeling about language and reading. Download our Hey Diddle Diddle Finger Puppets here.

4. Hearing nursery rhymes improves listening and concentration skills, but hearing them repeatedly also boosts memory skills. Try to miss out words when you say an oft-repeated nursery rhyme out loud and, in time, your child will fill in the gaps.

5. Finally, sharing nursery rhymes is an opportunity to spend quality time with your child and it brings you closer together. Possibly the best reason of all.


And there’s no need to abandon nursery rhymes when your children are older. Kids enjoy the absurd and many nursery rhymes are equal in absurdity to the works of literary greats like Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll. This is one of the many reasons that nursery rhymes have endured. Plus you can challenge older children by asking them to make up their own nonsense nursery rhymes, or ask them to change rhyming words or characters in existing rhymes. What happens if the word ‘Diddle’ changes in Hey Diddle Diddle? Or if the cow jumps over the sun?

If you want to expose your children to more beautifully illustrated nursery rhymes, then see the rhymes and songs we’ve featured in Storytime so far…

Nursery Rhymes in Storytime

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  • Old Mother Hubbard (Issue 2)
  • There Was An Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly (Issue 5)
  • As I Was Going to St Ives (Issue 6)
  • Animal Fair (Issue 11)
  • The House that Jack Built (Issue 16)
  • She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain (Issue 19)
  • Tom, Tom the Piper’s Son (Issue 33)
  • Have You Ever, Ever, Ever? (Issue 43)

You can pick up these issues in Storytime’s Back Issue Shop.


We hope you enjoy sharing L Frank Baum’s story (just in case you didn’t realise, he is the brilliant creator of The Wizard of Oz) and have fun sharing nursery rhymes too. Don’t underestimate how powerful they can be!


Happy rhyming,

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Storytime Issue 44 – Out Now!

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One of the great joys of creating Storytime is bringing you new stories in addition to well-loved classics. In Storytime Issue 44 we’ve had a ball, creating a character we think kids will love – Sammy, a skateboarding stunt hamster who defies expectations and proves that you can be brave and brilliant no matter how small you are.

The gorgeous illustrations for the cover and story are by Mette Engell and the story is by Laura Thomsett. It makes a perfect bedtime story and is just the right length for circle time or storytime at school. (Teachers, check out our special Storytime subscription deals for schools.)

As ever, there are lots more brilliant stories and poems inside this issue. Find out more about them here.

Inside Storytime Issue 44

Storytime Issue 44 kicks off with an unusual fable, Tortoise’s New Home – unusual in that it not only teaches the usual lesson in life, but also explains the origin of how the tortoise got its shell. This kind of story is great for getting kids thinking creatively about how various animals or features in the natural world came to be – and you can use it to kick off your own story-writing activity. How did the elephant get a long trunk? Or how did the platypus end up with a flat beak? Illustrations are by Laís Bicudo.

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Ducks love the rain! From our puddle-splashing poem, illustrated by Alisa Coburn.

As I type, spring in the UK seems to be refusing to put in an appearance, so our poem by Clara Doty Bates, Who Likes the Rain? may be met with a universal “Not me!” Don’t let the title deter you – the poem is a celebration of rain in all its puddle-splashing glory. It comes with fab illustrations by Alisa Coburn.

Our Alphabet Zoo poetry series, illustrated by super-talented Tim Budgen is still going strong and, in Storytime Issue 44, covers animals beginning with U, V and W. Look out for howling wolves, hilarious wombats, vicious vampire bats and a bird that’s well suited to our rain poem! Don’t forget to download our free Alphabet Zoo Activity Pack too, which comes with animal facts, puzzles and a poster.

We travel all the way to Cambodia for our Around the World Tale for an inspiring tale about a smart princess who outwits a trio of greedy baddies with her engineering skills. Clever Amaradevi is illustrated by Lenny Wen.

Next stop is Central America and an Aztec myth about how Quetzalcoatl brought humans back to life in The Feathered Serpent God. Illustrator Guille Rancel has done a brilliant job of visualising this awesome god and we’ve put together a whole pack of Aztec educational resources for teachers to use in the classroom. School subscribers get this pack for free or you can buy it here.

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Hey Diddle Diddle in Storytime Issue 44, art by Begona Fernandez Corbalan.

Our Favourite Fairy Tale in this issue is by the creator of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L Frank Baum, and gives the famous nursery rhyme Hey Diddle Diddle a fun back story. All the characters are here – the cat, the fiddle, the dish, the spoon and a cow who jumps over the moon. Our lovely illustrations are by Begôna Fernandez Corbalán.

Finishing off the issue, we have a funny folktale in Storyteller’s Corner called Mr and Mrs Vinegar. Find out what happens when catastrophe strikes and they accidentally smash the vinegar bottle they live in. We absolutely love Simone Krüger’s illustrations for this.


We hope you have fun travelling back in time and around the world with us in Storytime Issue 44! As ever, we’ve packed this issue to the hilt with stories, poems, activities, puzzles and some brilliant book recommendations too. We love taking you on adventures, especially with skateboarding hamsters, and there are many more to come.

Which story is your favourite? Any classics you’d love to read in our magazine? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. We’d love to hear from you.


Happy stunt-reading folks!


stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Easter Stories for Kids

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Easter means different things to different people. Whatever you think of it, for most children in the Western world – even those with religious beliefs – Easter has come to mean chocolate. We’re all for a bit of choc in the Storytime studio, but if you feel like escaping the gluttony, then why not use the long weekend as an excuse to share some of our favourite Easter stories for kids?

We’ve picked out some of our favourites, so why not flick through your Storytime back issues and hold an Easter story session?

Our selection features chocolate, chickens, bunnies and even an Easter Crocodile, because why should fluffy animals have a monopoly on Easter?

10 Easter Stories for Kids


storytime magazine, easter stories for kids, magazine subscriptions for kids1. The Easter Crocodile in Storytime Issue 43. This story by Dylan Rourke came from a simple idea – who delivers the Easter eggs in countries that don’t have cute bouncing bunnies? Rocky is a croc with a passion for choc, so when the Easter Bunny catches a cold, Rocky steps in to save the day. Except it’s not easy carrying eggs on a scaly back when you’re swimming down a river. Find out how Rocky gets around the problem. With art by Giovanni Abeille.

2. Augustus Gloop’s song in Storytime Issue 2. Greedy Gloop gets what he deserves! If this extract gives you a taste for more, you can always tuck into a full serving of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Surely the perfect Easter read?

3. How Rabbit Got Long Ears in Storytime Issue 3. Kids love this Native American tale of how the mischievous rabbit ended up with long ears, and it’s always good to open their minds to stories from different cultures too.

4. Persephone and the Seasons in Storytime Issue 5. A fantastic Greek myth about how the seasons came to be, with stunning springtime illustrations. A great starting point for discussing the seasons and we have a Seasons Activity Sheet to download too.

kids magazine subscription, easter stories for kids, storytime magazine5. The Velveteen Rabbit in Storytime Issue 9. Our extract of this classic story by Marjery Williams not only features the world’s most adorable rabbit, it will make you completely nostalgic for childhood and give you a new appreciation for your child’s own bond with their toys.

6. Hans the Rabbit Herder in Storytime Issue 12. This Grimm brothers’ tale is sheer good fun and sees Hans win the hand of a princess through a little good luck, determination, quick wit and a hundred hopping rabbits.

7. Dolly Daydream in Storytime Issue 18. Dolly’s dreams of cute chicks, chickens and eggs go a little bit wrong in this funny fable. Kids will adore the colourful illustrations in this story.

8. Henny Penny in Storytime Issue 19. Also known as Chicken Licken, this story has so much going for it – vibrant and eye-catching illustrations, repetition (which is a secret weapon in helping kids to fall in love with reading – learn about it here), funny names and loads of humour.

storytime magazine, easter stories for kids, william wordsworth, daffodills, kids magazine subscriptions9. Brer Rabbit in Storytime Issue 19. This trickster is hugely popular for his mischief-making in American folklore and is just as well loved on this side of the pond. Find out how he tricks Brer Fox and Brer Bear in this well-loved but little-told tale.

10. Daffodils in Storytime Issue 31. Daffodils are the ultimate icon of spring and Easter, so what better poem to share at this time of the year than William Wordsworth’s homage to this happy flower? Our extract from this famous poem is ideal for learning off by heart if you feel like showing off after Easter lunch too! If you’re a school subscriber and want to get hold of our Daffodils Teaching Resource Pack to accompany this poem, drop us a line from your school email address to (If you’re a school and would like to subscribe, visit our dedicated schools website.)


If you’re hankering after fluffy ducklings, Storytime Issue 43 also features fairy-tale classic The Ugly Duckling by Hans Christian Andersen. This story comes with a rather important message about acceptance and kindness. Whatever your beliefs, it’s a lesson we all need to remember.

We hope you enjoy these Easter stories for kids. If you don’t have all of the issues listed above, you can pick up individual copies from our Back Issue Shop here.

Happy Easter everyone – enjoy the chocolate and happy story reading too!


stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Storytime Issue 43 – Out Now!

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When we first had the idea to launch Storytime magazine, one well-meaning soul suggested we might run out of stories. No chance! We’ve made it all the way to Storytime Issue 43 and we’ve had so many stories to pack in, Hans Christian Andersen’s Ugly Duckling is only just putting in an adorable but scruffy appearance. Rest assured readers, we will never run out of stories.

Storytime Issue 43 is special – not just because it features the long-awaited Ugly Duckling, but because it has one of my favourite ever stories in it, (I’ll reveal what it is below), and it has a lovely Easter story too. As usual, we’ve crammed it full of great content to help children at home and at school discover the joy of reading.

The illustrations that go with our stories are an important part of encouraging that passion. They help bring characters to life and make words more memorable, so find out more about our brilliant contributors below.

Inside Storytime Issue 43

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The adorable Ugly Duckling – who could possibly reject him? Art by Miriam Bos.

We’re very lucky to have illustrator and in-demand surface pattern designer Miriam Bos returning to Storytime for the third time with illustrations for The Ugly Duckling. Miriam’s work is famously joyful and colourful, so the transformation from a little grey duckling to a beautiful swan is extremely satisfying. We’re sure Hans Christian Andersen would approve. (Miriam also did our Bambi cover for Storytime Issue 18.)

School subscribers will be receiving our free Ugly Duckling resource pack full of lesson ideas for literacy, PSHE, science, art and more, so you can explore this classic fairy tale in more detail.

The Easter Crocodile is a funny new story by Dylan Rourke about a little crocodile who decides to step in when the Easter Bunny falls ill. But how exactly do you deliver chocolate eggs across a river on a scaly back? We hope you enjoy it along with the fabulous illustrations by Giovanni Abeille.

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Matteo Gaggia’s fun illustrations for our Storytime Issue 43 action rhyme Have You Ever?

Our first poem of the issue is the wacky and wonderful Have You Ever? This is a great action rhyme, which kids will love getting involved with. Give it a go too and you’re sure to end up laughing. Bonkers illustrations are by Matteo Gaggia.

Our Around the World Tale comes from Puerto Rico this month and features a favourite fictional character from that area called Juan Bobo – Bobo means ‘blockhead’, so you can probably guess how the story goes. Every culture has its own fool stories and we just love discovering new ones. We hope you do too. Juan Bobo’s Pot is illustrated by Andrés Pabón.

Another heart-warming tale in this issue, besides The Ugly Duckling, is our folktale in Storyteller’s Corner: The Clever Carpenter. It tells how a brother and sister who fall out with each other are reunited by the kindness of a stranger. It’s a lovely story from America with sweet illustrations by Marina Pessarrodona.

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Rhitta the Giant in a Welsh legend illustrated by Guilherme Franco, Storytime Issue 43

Now for one of my favourite stories ever – The Giant’s Beards. It’s a Welsh legend, sometimes known as Rhitta of the Beards, about a giant who gets a bit too big for his boots and decides to make a cloak from the beards of his competitors. It’s funny, daring and features beards galore, but best of all, it’s set in Snowdonia National Park. I hope you enjoy it! Fantastic illustrations are by Guilherme Franco.

We’ve reached letter T in Alphabet Zoo which can only mean TIGER! But also tapirs and toucans. Though we have great fun with our Alphabet Zoo poetry series, there’s a lot to learn and a serious message about conservation too. As always, our illustrations are by Tim Budgen and you can download our free Alphabet Zoo Activity Packs here.

Finally, our fable The Golden Plate comes from India and sees a greedy man get what he deserves. If only some of our world leaders had read more fables as children. Pamela Wehrhahne provided the glittering illustrations for this fable.


It’s another varied issue and features a careful balance of stories and poems that are light-hearted and funny alongside ones that are deeper and more meaningful. The Ugly Duckling is especially poignant – now more than ever. It’s a story of difference, bullying and self-acceptance that we can all learn a lesson from. As we say in the introduction to this issue, we’re all beautiful deep down and stories are a great place to learn that, along with one of the most valuable skills of all – empathy.

Do let us know your favourite stories and illustrations from the issue on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. We truly value your feedback.


Until next time, swans!


stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Illustrator Interview with Gaia Bordicchia

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A lovely thing about working on Storytime is watching the careers of illustrators we’ve worked with blossom – and cheering them on from the sidelines. We’ve seen many illustrators land their first book deals, win prizes or simply develop their style into something truly unique and special.

We think Italian illustrator Gaia Bordicchia has been blessed with a uniquely beautiful and recognisable style from the start, but we’ve loved watching her career go from strength to strength in the last few years. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to continue working with Gaia and, to date, she has illustrated four stories for Storytime, including our magical Nutcracker Christmas cover.

In our latest Storytime Issue 42, she illustrated our fable Little Mouse Makes Friends, so we thought it was high time we featured an illustrator interview with Gaia Bordicchia to give you an insight into her extraordinary creative mind.

Illustrator Interview: 11 Questions with Gaia Bordicchia


1. How did you get started in illustration? Were you arty as a child?

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Gaia’s beautifully coloured illustrations for Heidi in Storytime Issue 14

Yes, drawing has always been part of my life. My grandad was a painter and bought all kinds of art supplies for my cousins and I. I think every kid enjoys drawing, though for some there’s a sense of wellbeing connected to that moment. Those are the children who could potentially pursue a career in art or illustration, because that very simple feeling stays the same even when you grow up. I didn’t really consider becoming an illustrator until I was 19.


2. Do you have any favourite artists or illustrators who have influenced your work and why?

I have so many it’s hard to name all of them! I’m intrigued by stories and I like both children’s books and comics. There are many hugely talented people working today. I grew up admiring Arthur Rackham’s and Edmund Dulac’s fairy-tale llustrations. I’ve always been a big fan of N.C. Wyeth and his son Andrew, as well as Edward Hopper and Norman Rockwell. I’m also very interested in French books as the illustrators are excellent – especially Rebecca Dautremer, Annette Marnat and Clément Lefèvre.


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Gaia’s gorgeous and vibrant Nutcracker cover (Storytime Issue 27)

3. We’ve had the pleasure of working with you on four different stories in Storytime – Fate Finds a Fish, Heidi, The Nutcracker and Little Mouse Makes Friends. Which was your favourite to work on and why?

Tough question! I enjoyed all of them for different reasons. Illustrating your cover was a lot of fun (Storytime Issue 27) and The Nutcracker offers so much in terms of detail and atmosphere, but I’m also a huge fan of folk tales and classic fairytales!


4. What was your process for creating your Little Mouse Makes Friends illustrations for Storytime Issue 42?

Little Mouse was a bit more experimental. Thank you for trusting me with a new technique! I created a base rendering in pencil and then I added the colors with Photoshop. I also did some minor tweaks to the drawing, but it’s quite different from a fully digital illustration and it’s important that the composition is planned well ahead.

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A scene from Little Mouse Makes Friends, illustrated by Gaia for Storytime Issue 42

5. You’ve had a lot of exciting new projects in the past year as well as moving house and juggling family life. How do you fit it all in and keep the creative spirit going? Do you have any top tips?

I try to stay on top of the madness and I often fail! Juggling work and life is always very tricky, but taking care of yourself should be the top priority. We tend to push to the finishing line, often disregarding sleep or fun and it’s a big mistake. I’ve learned to accept the bad days where I can’t get any art done because I’m not in the right headspace. Instead of forcing it, I quit immediately and tend to the practical things (house chores, admin work) or I simply go for a walk. I know that the following day I’ll work twice as much if I allow myself to stop. I’m also a little more careful and realistic with the commissions I take. I try to avoid overlapping schedules, but it’s not always possible.


6. Your illustrations for The Amazing Animal Atlas with Flying Eye Books are stunning. When did your passion for wildlife illustration begin?

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We highly recommend The Amazing Animal Atlas by Nick Crumpton and Gaia Bordicchia

Wildlife illustration is how I started in the late 90s. I took two beautiful classes at the end of my illustration degree. The first with Massimo Demma and the second with Franco Testa, who was Massimo’s former teacher. They worked together in a little studio in Milan and after graduation they invited me as a kind of apprentice. For a few years I had my little desk there, I could use their library and they introduced me to some of the wildlife magazines and clients they had. All the work was done in watercolours, though towards the end of the 90s many of these magazines closed or replaced illustrations with stock photography. In 1998, I was selected for the Illustrators’ Exhibition at Bologna Children’s Book Fair and I stopped working as a wildlife artist.

The Amazing Animal Atlas was an incredible opportunity to bring that old world back to life and, even though the art in the book is digital, the process was the same. There is one scorpion on the African spread that is done in watercolors and luckily you can’t tell the difference! Flying Eye asked me to add this element when my computer was broken so I picked up the brushes again for a day.

I’m very proud of The Amazing Animal Atlas. It’s the best book I’ve done so far!


7. Looking at your Instagram feed, we see that you’re pretty playful with art supplies. We love your biro drawings. What’s your preferred creative medium and why?

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We’ve been lucky enough to work with Gaia since Storytime Issue 5 and this folktale, Fate Finds a Fish

I’m an old dog who gets bored very easily so playing is important. I started as a traditional illustrator and I often find computer work frustrating. I love watercolours and pencils. With computer work, I tend to be lazy, because almost everything can be altered at a later stage (colour, composition, etcetera.) Watercolours are one of the least forgiving mediums, so thinking ahead is important and it’s a great exercise.


8. Are there any favourite projects you’re working on at the moment that you can tell us about?

I am working on a pop-up with Usborne that will be published next year and I’m finishing a book with Editions Milan. Also I’m very excited about some black and white illustrations I’m developing with my new agent and I hope they will eventually become a story.


9. What would be your dream project or are there any different areas you’d like to explore?

As a wildlife artist I’d love to work with museums, botanical gardens and aquariums. I really enjoy collaboration with people who have something new to teach me and scientists are incredibly nice.


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Another wonderful scene from Gaia’s illustrations for Heidi in Storytime Issue 14

10. Is there any advice you can give to children (or aspiring artists) who want to get into illustration?

Drawing is a matter of practice, so as long as you’re passionate about it, there is a lot you can learn just by investing your time. Listen to the advice of those who are more experienced than you. Take in what you need and ignore everything that doesn’t ‘feel’ like you or is too big to tackle at the moment. You can always go back to that bit of advice when you’re ready.

Illustration is a never-ending learning curve. We never arrive. It can be very frustrating, but it also means that it never gets boring unless you allow it to. Ultimately though, it’s also a business and you’ll be running it as a one-man-band. Don’t be discouraged by rejections, but be prepared and realistic about it.


11. Finally, what would be your dream fairy tale to illustrate?

Peter Pan!



To see more of Gaia’s amazing portfolio, visit her website – it’s a bit like bathing in a rainbow… a tasteful one! You’ll see what we mean. To keep up with her latest work, don’t miss her inspiring Instagram feed, which comes with the occasional video, so you can watch her illustrations in action. You can also catch up with Gaia on Twitter.


We hope this has inspired you. Whether you’re a wannabe illustrator or not, there are many gems here for creative types.

Be inspired and passionate this week,

stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

Storytime Issue 42 – Out Now!

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At Storytime, we’re all about bringing joy, so we hope kids will be delighted this month to discover that dinosaurs do still exist – or at least they do in Storytime Issue 42, which is out now!

Once again it’s bursting with brilliant stories, old and new, and awesome illustrations too. Plus, there are activities throughout the magazine, puzzles, a game, a craft and a Book of the Month (win it here!). You can find out more about it and our contributors below.

But first, in this issue, we reveal the winner of our 3rd Anniversary Create-a-Creature Art Competition, which we ran in our September 2017 issue. Congratulations to the super-talented Lara McKeating, aged 6, for her imaginative and colourful creation, the Octamerdog. Isn’t it amazing? We hope this is the beginning of a career in illustration for Lara. It was tough coming up with a shortlist as there are so many incredible entries, but we were helped by ace illustrator and judge, Luke Flowers. Our thanks to Luke!

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Congratulations to Lara McKeating – our competition winner!


Inside Storytime Issue 42

This month’s issue opens with our cover story – a new tale to stoke the fire of every child’s imagination. Who knows what you might find at the end of your garden? Leo’s Dino is the creation of new writer Emma Sheedy and was illustrated by Karina Lemesheva. We’ve created a dino-tastic teaching resource pack with facts and activities to accompany this story. Our Storytime school subscribers get it free.

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Seals are one of the stars of our latest Alphabet Zoo with art by Tim Budgen.

Alphabet Zoo returns with the letter S. We have a stupendous sloth, not-so-smelly skunks, skydiving sugar gliders and swimming seals. Tim Budgen provides the wonderful animal illustrations and we have an Alphabet Zoo Activity Pack for you to download for free!

Gaia Bordicchia returns to Storytime with illustrations for our Famous Fable – Little Mouse Makes Friends. It’s a cautionary tale for first-time explorers. This is Gaia’s fourth outing in Storytime and we’ll be interviewing her about her work soon, so do watch this space.

Our Around the World Tale comes all the way from Africa and tells of a female adventurer who was the first person to bring stories to her people. The beautiful illustrations for How Stories Began are by Francesca de Luca.

This month’s Favourite Fairytale brings you a story you may not have heard before, but is hundreds of years old. Prince Dearborn and Grandfather Knowitall features a fairy godmother, a young man who defies the odds, a greedy king and a grandfather with a magical surprise. It has a fabulous art by Soyun Park.

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Sophie Beer’s colourful camel for Storytime Issue 42!

We love a funny poem, so The Camel by Charles Edward Carryl just had to be in Storytime. It should give you a new-found respect for camels and Sophie Beer has done a brilliant job of the illustrations.

We’ve given a little nod to Valentine’s Day with the tragic Greek myth Echo and Narcissus, which is illustrated by Giada Gatti. Not all stories have happy endings, like this one, but its link to the origin of echoes and the narcissus flower give it a romantic quality that makes it as popular today as it ever has been.

Finally, from Ireland, we have a famous folktale of fairy mischief – The Legend of Knockgrafton. Alexandra Badiu rose to the challenge of illustrating the difficult lead characters in this story. It’s unusual, but also memorable. We hope you’ll singalong!


We hope that inspires you to get hold of a copy or to subscribe to Storytime. Here’s a quote from one of our new subscribers, who was chatting with us on Facebook the other day:

“Fantastic magazine… got our first issue on Monday and already read one story and a poem… kept little man’s attention which means it’s definitely a winner!!!”

As you can imagine, this absolutely made our day. Why not get in touch with us too? We’re also on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Read happily every after!


stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)

A Story for Every Month of the Year

kids magazine subscriptions, a story for every month, magazine subscriptions for kids, storytime, storytime magazine, bedtime storiesIn our latest edition of Storytime, Issue 41, we had great fun commissioning the illustrations for Christina Rossetti’s classic poem, The Months, and also creating a teaching resource pack for our school subscribers. (Find out more about getting these free resources on our Storytime for Schools site).

The months of the year and the order they come in are essential facts that children need to learn, like the days of the week and the colours of the rainbow, but they’re also wonderfully emotive. We associate the months with special occasions that are personal to us, major events and the weather – all of which provoke strong feelings. It was a challenge for illustrator Tuomas Ikonen to cram this all into two pages, but he handled it brilliantly.

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How do you feel about December and January? Art by Tuomas Ikonen.

In her poem, Christina Rossetti expresses in a few choice words what each month means or brings, yet her use of the words ‘bleak’ and ‘desolate’ for December and January reveals that perhaps these aren’t her favourite times of year. It’s a short and simple poem, but it says a lot – and it’s an excellent starting point to inspire children to create their own month poems. What does each month mean to them?

This poem inspired us to think about stories that express the emotions or events of each month of the year – is there a Storytime poem or story for every month of the year? We looked into our ever-expanding story archives and discovered that yes, there is! Here’s what we came up with…


A Story for Every Month of the Year

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January: Cosy up with The Polar Bear Son from Storytime Issue 16. Art by Anais Goldemberg.

January – You have two options for this most challenging month of the year. You can embrace the bitter cold and cosy up under a blanket with a snowy story, like the Inuit tale, The Polar Bear Son (from Storytime Issue 16). Alternatively, you can rebel against it, book your summer holiday and fill your life with colour. If you fall into this camp, we recommend Storytime Issue 4’s vibrant Aborigine myth The Rainbow Snake.

February – Whether you pay attention to Valentine’s Day or not, you can’t deny that it lifts an otherwise dreary month at the tail-end of winter. With a vengeful goddess, a magical palace, and a series of challenges to face, the Roman myth Cupid and Psyche is action-packed enough to satisfy even the most romance-averse young reader. It’s also probably the inspiration for Beauty and the Beast. We featured it in Storytime Issue 17.

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March: The Velveteen Rabbit, illustrated by Lisa Sheehan, in Storytime Issue 9.

March – Though Easter doesn’t always fall in March, excitement is certainly building for the spring holiday and the thought of chocolate eggs galore. Though we have an Easter story coming up soon (The Easter Crocodile in Storytime Issue 43), we recommend a vintage classic: The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco. It appeared in Storytime Issue 9 with illustrations by Lisa Sheehan. (Read an interview with Lisa here.)

April – We can’t think of any better way to start this month than with William Wordsworth’s spirit-lifting celebration of spring, Daffodils. Follow it with a daffodil walk and see how many nodding golden heads you can spot. We featured a learn-off-by-heart version of this famous poem in Storytime Issue 31.

May – May is the trickster month. It can’t quite decide whether it wants to be warm or not. Just when you’re lulled into a false sense of summery security, it pours with rain. The perfect story to sum it up is the fable The Wind and the Sun from Storytime Issue 12, which is battle of the elements. Read an interview with its illustrator Luke Flowers here.

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June: Alfie the Pirate sets sail in Storytime Issue 30! Art by Jen Taylor.

June – The days are longer, the weather’s fine and it’s time for adventure. Alfie the Pirate sails the seas of his own back garden and takes on his greatest enemy, Rufus the Wretched in this new story, which appeared in Storytime Issue 30. It will appeal to little explorers everywhere.

July – With thoughts turning to summer holidays and seaside adventures, stoke the excitement with a story set by the sea. We like the fable The Crab Walk (in Storytime Issue 24) for its silly humour and bright illustrations, but also the poem Minnie and Winnie by Alfred Lord Tennyson for its depiction of children sleeping in a seashell. Read it in Storytime Issue 23.

August – If you’re staying at home for the summer holidays, use stories as your escape route to exotic climes. The perfect story for this is the Hawaiian myth The Volcano Goddess, which has wall to wall tropical illustrations. By the time you’ve finished reading it, you’ll feel like you’ve been there. Find it in Storytime Issue 36)

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September: I Want to Be a Pencil Sharpener. A story by Eszter Molnar, illustrated by Jess Pauwels, in Storytime Issue 35.

September – Back to school can be both exciting and daunting. Lighten the mood with one of our school stories. We recommend I Want to Be a Pencil Sharpener by Eszter Molnar in Storytime Issue 35. It’s a story about being yourself – something worth reminding every child at the beginning of a school year.

October – It’s spooky season and plenty of witches, pumpkins and giants have graced the pages of Storytime since we launched. However, for atmosphere and because it’s a classic folktale, the story we’d go for this month is The Fire Fairy (from Storytime Issue 14). It’s also a cautionary (but not too scary) tale for children who don’t go to bed when they should.

November – The seasons pass and autumn fades into winter. The Queen of Winter is an old Scottish legend, which is not heard or read nearly often enough. It describes how winter comes and how it refuses to go and, best of all, it reminds you that it will be spring again before you know it. It appeared in Storytime Issue 15.

December – The year draws to a close with dreams of a white Christmas, festive excitement and lots of opportunities for snuggly storytimes. We recommend the wonderful folktale The Red Mitten (from Storytime Issue 27), which features a cute cast of animal characters. Or, if you want a classic, there’s no better poem than Clement Clarke Moore’s A Visit from St Nicholas – the star of Storytime Issue 40.


How about starting each month with one of these stories? If you don’t have all of the issues listed above, you can pick them up from our Back Issue Shop. Or why not get together with your child to make up your own story or poem inspired by a particular month of the year? Or a story for every month – it can be short! We’d love to see what you come up with.

You can let us know if you completed the challenge on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest!

Happy reading all year round,


stories for kids

(Storytime Ed.)