Happy New Year New York and the Nanny Awards

To finish off an amazing year for More to Books and my work as a Nanny, this blog is a whistle stop tour of the Nanny Awards and New York.

Earlier this month, I was invited to New York to receive an award for exemplary work in the Nanny Industry!

It was an absolute honour. I feel so honoured to be recognised for everything I do as far as America.

My ethos that there is more to books obviously still stands but there is more to nannies too.

Alene Mathurin is the founder of My Nanny Circle, has organised 5 Nanny Balls and does amazing work for the Nanny Community. On top of ALL that, she is also a Children’s Author. I am excited to announce that we are connecting for a blog in the new year on that.

New York and Brooklyn


Me outside of New York Library
Me outside of Brooklyn Library

While in New York, I dragged my lovely friend to a couple of libraries. Loving books means I also love libraries. Can I just say, Brooklyn Library is the most beautiful library from the front. And for the nannies; I found this:

I did contact them but they have not replied yet, as soon as they do, I’ll keep you updated. But if you are a Nanny in Brooklyn, and you’re interested in writing, go check this out.

I also dragged my friend to a lot of bookshops and souvenir shops in the Museums and Exhibits we visited. If there are books, I want to be there!

More to books…

City Blocks by Christopher Franceschilli and Peskimo
Night Night New York City by Katherine Sully and Helen Poole

This book reminds me of the Good Night series which I have recommended before.

NYC ABC’s by Mr Boddington’s studio. Brand New in 2019!

This is beautifully illustrated and beautifully written.

New York City Monsters by Anne Paradis

A Where’s Wally for New York, but with monsters.

My first book of New York by Ingela P Arrhenius

This is New York by M. Siseck

I’ve definitely shared him before, it was actually a lovely friend who shared these books with me a while back, but there is one for London with a Nanny in it, and one for Paris, as I know I shared that in my Paris Blog.

This was my first trip abroad in a long time that I’d don’t send postcards back. I would definitely advise adults to write to the children in their life from anywhere that they are. Not just when they go for trips. I currently write for my little cousin, and it brings me great joy when I get a reply in the post. I remember as a child I used to write to an old lady .

Reading and writing improves with opportunities.

This is the perfect time to write thank you cards, for relatives and friends after Christmas. I don’t mean To Aunty and Uncle…, thank you for my present, love so and so.

Encourage extended sentences with what they have received, why they like it, how it makes them feel! A personal little note will improve their writing. Being a nanny, meaning I am the one that is responsible for the thank you notes, I know how difficult it can be to write so many at once. Why not let them draw a picture of them playing with the toy and labelling it. Take a picture of your child with the toy, print it for them to write a caption underneath. Do a couple at a time so it doesn’t get too laborious for you or your child.

Happy New Year. I wish you happiness and lots of books for 2020!

Love Kat xx

Show me pictures of your little ones writing letters, postcards and posting them!

Winter Wonderland

Ice sculpture experience

I got to take my G7 to the ice sculpture experience which was the story of A Christmas Carol! Proving there really is more to books than reading but wrap up warm because it’s -10 degrees in there!

Do you want to build a snowman?The story was written in sentences as you followed the route around. Not only did she have questions about the story but also about the properties of water and what would happen if it all melted. There was a video at the beginning saying it took them weeks to chisel the sculptures. There’s less to books than reading when your books are made out of ICE! This is a sculpture of a book shelf and books. Obviously, my favourite bit!

There’s even a street of shops made out of ice.

This place truly is magical. We were very lucky to be there first thing so we were able to see everything really clearly with no crowds.

There is an ICE SLIDE!

The Disney Version of A Christmas Carol is amazing but I love A Muppets Christmas Carol.

Upside down house

This really spiked G7s imagination.

Of course, I found there’s more to books than reading when they are upside down.

Speaking of upside down things, sometimes, I read books back to front and from bottom to top, try it, children think it’s hilarious.

Hilarious it’s think children, it try!

Elf on the shelf

I am sure many of your houses have been over taken by that Elf!?

G7 was desperate to buy all the Elf on the Shelf memorabilia!

Show me your elves!

Send a picture of You and Your child in a Christmas Market from where ever you are in the world?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

love Kat x


Kidzania is AMAZING!


This is an “indoor city run by kids” and they have them all over the world. What I’m most excited about is that they have Careers fairs coming up for children in January and March in London so they can start to think about what they’d like to be and what they need to do to get there.

When I was younger, I didn’t realise there was a different option other than going to University. I think it was my Secondary School, being a Grammar school, we were never really told about other options to getting to the career you wished for.

I always wanted to be a teacher, and I was! For 6 years, when I got disenchanted with our Education system. Having a Kidzania when I was younger might have meant I had different ideas. But I’ve ALWAYS wanted to be a writer.

We got to experience Kidzania in an adult only evening. (There may have been Prosecco for us big kids)

In Kidzania, the children can be newspaper reporters and even host a radio show!

They earn Kiddos which they can spend in the shop or save. Some experiences such as the Smoothie making or Burger building, means the children have to pay to take part.

There’s an amazing experience where they dress up as Emergency services, ride in mini Fire Engines or Ambulances to work together on the scene of a burning building.

There’s fashion designing opportunities.

And it wouldn’t be More to Books without sharing the KidZania National Library!

More to books…

Raz, myself and Mary attempting to deliver all the Christmas Presents in Kidzania Town

For the postal deliverers, excite them with The Jolly Postman at Christmas. An interactive book with envelopes. One for supervised reading with your younger readers. A book to cherish forever.

More to Reading…

It is a great idea to give our children a plethora of different material to read, from fiction to non- fiction, from books, to leaflets, to recipe books to newspapers and magazines.

To inspire our older readers. The Week Junior is for 8 to 14 year olds and is available as a subscription.

My favourite part is the Book Club which recommends a book of the week, a reader recommendation, and ask the author sections as well as a column for books about a certain topic. This particular issue that I picked up for free at Kidzania also had a “Books for Christmas” 7 page section, of which Lego Christmas Iseas were recommended. I totally bought that for a few of my Nanny children, past and present.

Photo taken from The Week Junior Newspaper- books for Christmas Section

What do your children want to be when they grow up?

Send in a picture of them with a book or dressed up as what they would like to be when they are older?

Love Kat x

Excitable Edgar

It’s not Christmas until you’ve seen the John Lewis Christmas Ad (or the Coca Cola ad- which I’ve not actually seen yet- but I don’t watch live TV anymore so I have to look up adverts these days! But I did see it in Picadilly Circus last night)

I thought this years ad was wonderful, and yes I did cry at the end- because of the slogan “show them how much you care”

Excitable Edgar by Lucy Feather and Jo Lindley

Watch the advert here at https://youtu.be/r9D-uvKih_k

In this radio clip, The Additional Needs Blogfather speaks about how he sees Edgar as having additional needs. He says it’s a story about acceptance saying we need to “think about the Edgars that we know and what it’s like to be an Ava”


So I thought this blog could feature books to support us and our little ones to understand children with additional needs.

I met, author, Janet O’keefe. Her book, The Ordinariness of Impairment- has inspiring stories about children with special needs.

More to books…

I also spoke to a wonderful Mum who has a child with additional needs, Michelle Miley, who recommends the following books to help support your little ones.

My Super Hero Brain by Christel Land (photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)

For older children, the author was 13 when he wrote it, answering questions on why he behaves the way he does.

The Reason I jump by Naoki Higashida (Photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)

Michelle also really recommended anything by Temple Grandin who has lots of books for adults on supporting your children.

On further research, I found a book with a foreword by Temple:

The Spectrum Girls survival guide by Siena Castellon (Photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)

The book is due to be released in March of 2020 and the author is a 17 year old advocate for autism and anti bullying and is award winning and internationally recognised. I can’t wait for this to come out. For ages 12 and up.

*special announcement* Creative Steps Magazine

It’s been a nerve-wrecking few months. My book was entered in to the Creative Play 2019 Awards in August of this year.

Independent testers have judged my book and I’m so proud to announce that….

*drum roll please*


Photo Credit: creativesteps.co.uk

Check out my book and the other winners here:


I found out a couple of weeks ago and was told to keep it a secret. I literally have been wanting to shout it to the world as soon as I found out!

There’s More to Books than Reading- how to help your child bring stories to life is the winner in the Books- Adult category.

Ironically, it’s EXACTLY three years TO THE DAY! Since I won the last award in ‘inspiring creativity within children’ where I was invited to Amsterdam to receive it.

Autumn 2019 Edition (photo credit- Creativesteps.co.uk)

Creative Steps is a wonderful magazine for all those in childcare and teaching. With great content to inspire you to inspire your children, it’s available in digital and print copy. You can find it on their website


or in Hobby Craft stores

(or come to The Childcare and Education Expo in London Olympia, Manchester or Coventry where they have a stand)

((P.S I’ll be speaking on Saturday the 21st of March, 2.30pm at London Olympia! Come and say hi!))

The winter edition will come out on the first of December (which can’t come soon enough for me!)

There’s even free projects on offer on their website:


And to buy my book head to Amazon


Or click on the amazon link on my website at


Show me pictures of you or your little one reading the Creative Steps magazine!

Bonus points if you can spot my book in the magazine!

Thanks giving

Thanks giving is on Thursday the 28th if November this year. I’m going to make my Nanny children a thanksgiving feast. Does England even sell pumpkin pie? We do baking Thursdays so I might check out a recipe for us to make.

I’m not American but I’ve always loved the friends episodes of Thanksgiving. I love the idea of giving thanks, gratitude is huge at the moment. I even have a gratitude diary which I (am supposed to) fill in for a few minutes in the morning and evening. I mainly use it when I’m feeling down or when a lot of things feel overwhelming and out of my control. But it really does help. Focusing on what (or who- my Nanny children make a regular occurrence) makes you happy and what brings you joy. But also realising all you have can outweigh the things you feel you’re lacking in. They say that your thoughts are on a frequency and whatever you give out, comes back. If it’s true, then I’d much rather get back all that I love than all that is negative.

In my last nanny job, lead by the children, they loved going round the table and everyone saying one thing they were grateful for that day.

G6 writing what she was grateful for!

I put out a call on Facebook for help from American Nannies for activities and books they would recommend. The lovely Hellen Prideaux is a regular on my blog now and without any irony, I’m hugely thankful for her input.

Sending some more love twinkls way! If you’d like your child to learn about the origins or have some comprehension and purposeful learning, head to twinkl and search for Thanksgiving.


More to books…

Just as Bonfire Night is interesting to learn about even if you don’t live in England. I think we should encourage our children to read about traditions around the world.

Spot’s Thanksgiving by Eric Hill (photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)

Happy self journal (photo credit: happyselfjournal.com

I have bought this as a Christmas present for my nanny kid. I’m looking forward to journaling together. According to their website, it uses “scientifically  proven methods that promote happiness, develop healthy habits for life and nurture enquiring minds.” So after she’s written in it for a few months, I’ll get back to you on what I think! (For ages 6-12- and great for purposeful writing opportunities)

Send me pics of your thanksgiving crafts or celebrations

Fall or Autumn trees by Laura Rideout Schroeder from Charleston, SC.

And turkeys!

Thank you Laura!

And you can even use your feet, like Jaime Satter (Western Springs, Ilinois) has with her nanny child.

Keeping with the theme of feet, pumpkin pie by Jessica Elizabeth Levering from Columbus, OH!

Thank you to Maria D Johnson (Cincinnati,Ohio) for this lollipop craft!

These next crafts are by Courtney Katich with her two nanny families in Michigan.

I love the leaf wreath! There really is more to books than reading as you can also use them as a leaf press!

“that was fun to make. We got to pick leaves outside on a walk and then press them overnight with books!” Courtney Katich

“For those parents tired of footprints”

Fall trees by the Nks of Bonnie Logan from Fidalgo Island, WA!

A huge thank you to all the nannies who have contributed to this blog from America (and England)

Chico Chugg

There really is more to books than reading with this next blog. While speaking at the Childcare Expo in Coventry last month, I met so many wonderful people. Chico is a cheeky dog who goes on adventures on a narrow boat and his owner, Janet Roberts has shared them all in her books.

I “interviewed” the author all about how her books came about and why she thinks children love Chico so much!

A brief background
I started my teaching career as a qualified NNEB and went on, years later, to become Deputy of a primary school.

I retired early to embark on a new career of writing. It was something I’d always wanted to do but teaching full time had never allowed me the headspace, or time to try.

Using all my experiences of over 25 years reading stories to children and helping them learn how to write, I wrote my first book about a little dog who went to live with his family on a narrow boat.

Which is exactly what my husband and I did. They always say write about what you know! 

8 years later I now have 4 books in print and two live action TV series, based on the books.

I met a producer from the BBC who wanted to start her own TV production company, so now I’m constantly writing and pitching ideas for new TV series as well as writing new books.

I’ve always toured the country delivering workshops and assemblies to schools, putting my teacher hat back on, inspiring children with story telling and reading.

Recently I joined a company called Authors Abroad, who now book and organise all my school visits.


I think children love Chico Chugg’s character because they can relate to him. Not only can they see their own pet dogs in his personality and antics but also recognise themselves. Chico has a very childlike way, often getting into trouble without realising quite how it happens.

There’s a moral in every chapter and lots about friendships, canine and human, family situations, getting on with siblings and relatives, as well as learning how working together is fun.

The songs in the TV series reflect the story lines and children love learning the tunes and words so they can singalong.

Back to me:

Catch up on all Chico is doing here www.chicochugg.com


In my own book “There’s more to books than reading- how to help your child bring stories to life” I talk about the ‘hook’ being really important to getting children excited or motivated about any topic through books. The most memorable things for children are trips or visits as it’s out of the ordinary. I really recommend children meeting authors to be inspired. I look out for author book signings in local book shops to take my children to.

But if you are a school, nursery or club and you’d like to book Janet Roberts for school assemblies or workshops follow the link here:



How many times have I recommended Twinkl? Too many times to count probably.

And now there’s another reason to love it. Jan and Twinkl teamed up to make a video on well being for your children.


More to books…

Photo credit- eBay.co.uk

Chico Chugg books are available on EBay.

And you can even enjoy them on YouTube, for when you need a little time to do some house work as a Nanny or a Parent, sometimes a little purposeful screen time goes a long way! All the programmes are from the perspective of Chico, which gives a brilliant opportunity to discuss.


Show me a picture of your animal child aka fur babies (with your real child if you like!)

Eliana (5) with her dog, Manchester

Poppy’s Fur babies (Paris) who help with furry therapy after school for her nanny children. Cacahuète and Noisette , they’re 1 year old dwarf rabbits.

Geo (4, Loughborough) with her teddy
Guillermo Boris Johnson (about 6years old, Wimbledon)

Olive (aged 14, London)

Arya (aged 8, London)

Pedro (aged 2, Rochdale)

Georgie and Betty the Basset. Both 2 (Glossop)

Charlotte (9 weeks, North West England)

Bryony and Pip (Rossendale)

The National Gallery

This weekend, I went to the National Gallery.

I’d really encourage you to take your children to an art gallery and let them lead the way. Let them be curious and find the paintings that they are most interested in.

The most wonderful thing is the the stories they can make up from looking at a painting, and that they can let their imagination run wild.

Counting/tally charts

To make it a really personal experience but also a great learning experience, choose something they are interested in such as their favourite animals. With a hardback note book and pencil (you could even buy it from the shop as a souvenir) model how to make a tally chart, with the names of the animals and the lines to make the gate. This gives a purpose to art gallery visit, but also, a purpose to the maths. Young children need encouragement to get in to the habit of making the tally into a gate after the four lines. And you practice your five times tables too!

For younger learners, you could make a pictogram where they draw that animal every time they see it and then support them to count with one-to-one correspondence and model the formation of the number for them to try and copy.


I would let the children take photographs of their favourite paintings. We can’t get away from technology being a massive part of our lives, and they need to know how to use things. Obviously, lots of things can be done on the smart phone these days, but if you can, get a Polaroid camera or Instax camera so the pictures can be printed straight away. Put them in that notebook you’ve just bought and ask them to make notes about the painting. I think what’s brilliant about looking at art is using how the child ‘feels’ about the painting. Using what they think. But also, helps generate description. Encourage them to use their senses as if they were in the painting, just like in Mary Poppins, when they jump inside the painting.


Well, obviously, an art gallery has the potential to inspire some amazing artwork. They can copy their favourite artist/painting when they get home.

Alternatively, get an expert in to support you. Artnight is a company that has venues across England but you can host parties where you choose the venue yourself. They bring the paints and materials. Could be a great birthday party opportunity.


They have a range of pictures that can be ‘taught’

I am dying to do the London Skyline Artnight for adults.

I absolutely love watercolour painting as it’s easy to set up and easy to clean up after. Don’t worry if they mix the colours together. I just grab a wet wipe and clean each colour in a circular motion.

I also like the paint pens that the toddlers can squeeze and brush if I’m tight on time to clear up.

If you have more time, let them make a mess, but encourage them to help you clean up after. I looked after one toddler who LOVED washing up. So that helped.

Check out the National Gallery website for more information:


More to books…

I have shared James Mayhew’s books in my book and blog before. Katie visits art galleries around the world and books focus on different artists or styles. There really is more to books than reading with his wonderful adventures in Art!

Bonfire Night

Guy Fawkes

You wouldn’t want to be Guy Fawkes by Fiona MacDonald and David Amtram (photo credit: Amazon.co.uk)

For our older learners, I love these sets of books, it’s like a colourful version of Horrible Histories. And that says singed as in burnt by fire, instead of singed, la la la (as it’s not a word) and a play on signed, very funny! I am easily amused. Maybe that’s why I like children’s books so much.

Fire safety

For our younger learners, although it will help to remind everyone, head to the Cheshire Fire website, who teamed up with Fireman Sam to give tips on staying safe this November.


Also, use this opportunity to pick up some other Fireman Sam books to read, and this lends itself nicely to talking about People Who Help Us which is a topic in EYFS. Get some role play going to embed fire safety.

Fireman Sam and the Bonfire by Diane Wilmer (photo credit: eBay.co.uk)

You can only buy this book second hand, as it’s from 1988! Head to eBay or WorldofBooks.com for a pre-loved copy at £1.99.


Fire works is a wonderful way into honing those fine motor skills and talking about shapes and colours with your toddlers and pre- school aged children.

For older learners, I love the Owl that was Afraid of the Dark, where animals tell them what they love about the night, Bonfire Night and Fireworks being something that they love.

The Owl who was afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson and Paul Howard (photo credit by books.google.co.uk)

Send me pictures of your little ones enjoying bonfire night!

Love Kat x



Pongwiffy books by Kaye Umansky (photo credit: amazon.co.uk)

Pongwiffy was one of my favourite book series when I was in lower key stage two. I even made a fancy dress outfit, entirely by myself for a dress up day. I won an award for it. It was probably the only non-bought outfit. I probably looked a mess, but hey! That was the point.

On researching this book for you, I found out that they made a cartoon of it! With French and Saunders. Honestly, I’m thinking of checking that out as an adult!

For younger learners, there is the wonderful Meg and Mog.

Meg and Mog by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski (photo credit by Amazon.co.uk)

There’s so many wonderful maths activities you can do which can suit young and older learners with a few little tweaks.

One of my favourite is Cauldron Maths.

Make a spell and ADD in literally whatever they want! It makes it better if you can do it physically, so draw the pictures or use soft toys.

One to one correspondence

Just choose one animal, such as 5 frogs!

Then help the child put the frogs in one by one and support them to count!

Simple addition

One frog, three cats! That’s a simple maths sum. 1+3=

Make it more difficult by adding three animals.

One frog, three cats and 6 mice!


Multiplication and two (or more step) problem

If you have older siblings. Keep the same animals but they have to put the eyes in!

You’ve transformed a simple addition sum. Every animal has to be doubled.




And then add them altogether.

To make it harder, do legs! So it’s times by four. (Unless you do owls and then they have to two times table and the four times table in the same sum!)

Or even say eyes and legs! Multiplying by 6 if it’s a mammal and 4 if it’s a bird.

You could even use made up monsters, so they can make their own monsters with as many eyes or legs or wings as they wish…and that generates the sums.


Immediately, if you put those in the cauldron, you could practise your 8 times table.

But I’m more excited by the spiders web!

This can be used for younger learners as well as old. I actually was inspired by Twinkl which is a great resource printing membership, they had targets, like a dart board. But I wanted something more halloween-y!

You can use it as an activity for number formation.

You can do one more, one less!

Add 10 (add any number in fact)

For older learners, you can put the number of the times table in the middle, and then fill out the answers.

I put 0 on because when you times by zero, the answer is always zero. It’s a good one to reiterate as some adults don’t even know that!

More to books…

Spinderella by Julia Donaldson and Sebastian Braun (photo credit by amazon.co.uk)

You can’t go wrong with a Julia Donaldson book. She is amazing. And this book is literally helping your little ones how to learn to count, and if boys aren’t excited by the spiders, they will be about the football.

(Nb girls generally take to most content and I’m all for books that get boys motivated to read or indeed count. I’m fully aware that girls can like football and spiders as well, and boys can have other interests. From a child centred approach, I’d say, find something your child is interested in and run with it- regardless of sex or gender)

Also, have a look at non-fiction books with spiders in them.


Aside from the carving, putting faces on a paper pumpkin can help your young child with shapes. Provide a pumpkin template with small triangles, circles, semi- circles, squares and rectangles to create their face while talking about how many sides and corners/edges they have. Repetition is key, the more you look at them, talk about them, count sides and corners, the easier it will be for them. I like to sing songs at the same time.

Singing shapes

A square is like a box, a square is like a box, it has for sides, they are the same, a square is like a box!

A circle is like a ball, a circle is like a ball, round and round it never stops, a circle is like a ball!

A rectangle has four sides, a rectangle has four sides, two are long and two are short, a rectangle has four sides!

A triangle has three sides, I triangle has three sides. Up and down and back again. A triangle has three sides.


I love to do baking Thursdays, but with my new nanny family we have changed it to cooking Thursdays so they can make their own main meals. (It’s a day with no clubs and less home work)

So next week, we will be using the pumpkin after we’ve carved it.

Recipe books are a brilliant way to help children with instructions, lists and bossy verbs. (Non-fiction texts)

As well as all the maths and science and art that goes along with it!

Enjoy Halloween and send me pics of your little ones all dressed up!

Love Kat x

Me as a skeleton for Halloween

Funnybones by Janet and Alan Ahlberg (photo credit: amazon.co.uk). For some reason, my last nanny children thought this was hilarious and would request it a lot! It was wonderful to hear their giggles!
I let (then) g4 do my face paint! Can you guess what I am?