I believe characters in stories should be as diverse as the people who read them, but only a very small handful of children's books feature a deaf character. There are more than 45,000 deaf children in the UK. Most are born to hearing parents and go to mainstream schools where they may be the only deaf child, so they can feel quite isolated.
If you were going to give an extra special Valentine this year what would it be? This year, I'm not going to send cards, flowers or cute teddy bears to anyone, even if I do love them. Instead I'm giving gifts to people I don't know and might never meet, and my heart feels full just thinking about it.
I am an actress and the truest things I know are a stage, faux fur, black literature and cotton knickers. It really isn't a lie when I say I wasn't trying to be an author. It happened by the virtue of a forgetful mind ,a spilt cup of tea, some magic and five pieces of paper. With this haphazard spell, I broke the internet on a Wednesday afternoon. Literally.
Since 2001 more than two million pupils left primary school without the ability to read well. Reading well, and with enjoyment, is a skill that unlocks opportunities at school and in life. If children do not read well, and enjoy reading, by the age of 11 they are likely to suffer social, economic and cultural exclusion as adults.
The best way to learn about the wide range of books available in the market and get to know the taste of our little ones is to visit a public library with them and let them explore. Let them discover. Let them show you what they like and what they don't really like. They might surprise you at times!
As an example let's look at Snow White. Leaving aside the fact, that is pretty disturbing, that her step-mother wants to kill her, Snow White not only talks to a stranger in the woods (the murderous queen disguised as an old hag) but accepts an offer of a bite of a poisoned apple. Why would she do that?
Flo Of the Somme, the latest picture book to help children engage with the World War 1 centenary commemorations and a bygone age, centres this time on the role of mercy dogs and other animals in the World War 1. 2016 marks the centenary of the battle of the Somme - the most costly engagement in the four year brutal war.