Here at Philly & Friends HQ, we love engaging with other authors, parents, carers, educators and those interested in child development. We are firm believers of the African proverb which says "It takes a village to raise a child".
Since I published my first children's book, Who Do I See in the Mirror?, I have met so many amazing women (and men!) doing remarkable things. We have shared tips, ideas, hugs (virtual and physical), encouragement and much more. There's such a great online community of men and women championing each other's lives, businesses, achievements, and so on. To celebrate this, we will be featuring articles from some of the lovely people we have met on our journey.
First up, we have Pelena Cosme. She's mum to two adorable girls, 5 and 3. I met them a few weeks ago and they are the right dose of smart, sassy and oh so cute. Pelena loves adventures and has passed this on to her two littles. You will often find them exploring an exciting part of London (unless there's a lockdown, sigh). In this post, she takes us through Ama and Neri's books of the moment. Enjoy!
Becoming a children’s author really gives you a greater appreciation of books. Not only the practical process of putting together a whole book, but understanding how important it is to have key lessons within the book to capture the imagination of not just the child, but the adult who will do the reading. I’ve been fortunate enough to write my first children’s picture book entitled ‘Exploring London with Ama and Neri’ a fun tale that follows two Black British sisters around spaces such as the London Zoo. The book seeks to promote more adventures for ethnic minority families around certain spaces in London such as farms, galleries and museums.
We can never outgrow a great story. Children and adults alike can appreciate a soothing story that opens up our imaginations. This is why every night Ama and Neri pick three books each on average! When the busy antics of the day have passed, a fun-filled bubble bath has come and went; and all is still, warm and comfortable, the books become the key to our final bonding before bed.
Do you want to add great books to your collection? Here are some of the books we love and cannot get enough of right now.
1. Little Monkey by Marta Altés
This book encourages Ama and Neri to be brave and determined to succeed no matter what. The book follows little monkey who goes on a journey of self-discovery after being unable to do certain things because of her size. With some self-belief, she appreciates what makes her unique and enjoys the people around her. Definitely up there in terms of being one of Neri’s favourite books.
2. The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson
A fun and a calming tale of an unlikely duo; a snail and a whale! This rhyming book is so soothing, beautifully illustrated and has a happy ending thanks to people working together. It sounds incredible when read aloud. This story is most requested by Ama.
3. Baby goes to Market by Atinuke
Set in a busy African market Atinuke expertly combines a fun story of baby accompanying mama to do some shopping but counting and eating snacks along the way! Educational, sweet and entertaining all at the same time. Most requested by Neri but you can tell Ama enjoys it too!
4. Look Up by Nathan Bryon
Rocket is such a bubbly character! Funny, adventurous and a go-getter she aspires to be like Mae Jemison the first African-American woman in space. To get her first glimpse at a once in a lifetime event in the sky, she needs the help of her big brother Jamal (who rarely looks up!). In the end, Rocket gets her wish! A joint-favourite for both the girls by far.
5. The Cave by Rob Hodgson
Definitely the funniest book on the list, with an amusing and unexpected ending that we won’t spoil for you. The book follows the wolf who is eager to get to the little creature no matter the cost. The girls enjoy the build-up and all signs that something significant is going to happen again and again. This book can never get boring, a favourite of Ama without a doubt!
6. Oh Dear! By Rod Campbell
An absolute classic, first published in 1983! The girls love going on the journey to meeting the animals with Buster on the farm to hunt for the eggs to have for breakfast with Grandma while shouting out “oh dear” in unison. In essence, a favourite particularly of Neri but Ama is always happy to get involved.
7. Busy London by Marion Billet
We love going around London when we are free, so it was only right that we had a book that focused on famous London landmarks such as Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace. The book is interactive with the ability to push and pull to reveal even more on each page. Busy London is jointly highly requested by both girls.
8. What will I be? By Dawn Allette
A fun book that teaches young children that they can be anything they put their mind to be. The story follows Tyra who explores different professions knowing that anything is possible so long as she focuses on her writing, reading and spelling. Ama and Neri recognise certain professions from family members within the book, which makes the book relatable and educational. A personal favourite of Ama.
9. Clip-Clop by Nicola Smee
A short but memorable story about four animals riding on a horse yet wanting to ride again and again. When you read the book, you’ll see why Neri makes me read it two to three times in a row! A timeless, ageless book that brings about many giggles in our household.
10. My first 10 Prayers by Chloe Joseph
This is a beautiful book that lists ten different prayer points. These encourage children to slow down, reflect on the day’s actions and speak to God. The different prayers include thanksgiving, love and prayer before bedtime. Most importantly there is space that the back of the book to write our own prayers which is such a great idea and adds a personal touch. Favoured by both girls, this book is a treasure.
I hope you have enjoyed reading Ama and Neri's books of the moment, written by mum, Pelena. We love the wide selection of children’s books they are currently obsessed with. If you would like more suggestions, you can see what’s on Philly’s bookshelf by reading about some of Our Favourite Children’s Books.
If you have a lovely story to tell or would like to write up on your favourite books of the moment, send us an email hello(at)phillyandfriends.com, and we would be happy to feature you on our blog.
Philly & Friends is a children’s brand that publishes diverse children’s books and creates products and media content. Our books and products are designed to instil confidence and positive values in children. Our debut children’s book is titled, Who Do I See in the Mirror? You can see more by clicking the picture below.