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#giveabook returns

This year’s #giveabook campaign launches on Saturday 3rd November.

It’s a very simple idea. We’re teaming up with Children First Fostering Agency again to get as many books as possible out to children in care. You pick the book, we’ll wrap and deliver it.

Not local? Don’t worry, we can take orders over the phone or via email. Payments can be made to PayPal: (please click on ‘friends and family’).

Let’s make this year’s campaign the biggest and best yet!


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Book Club?

I’ve been inspired by the brilliant author and storyteller extraordinaire, Chitra Soundar, to float an idea your way. Rather than try to word it myself, I’ll just share Chitra’s Tweet, which gets straight to the point:

So, my question is, who’s interested? I’m thinking one evening a month, here at the bookshop. Attendees purchase the book from us, in advance and get a free cup of tea or coffee at each meeting (plus biscuits of course). The first meeting could be an opportunity for us to meet and discuss our current favourite books – anything from picture books to YA, fiction and non-fiction, poetry…

If you’d like to get involved, let me know!

Happy reading,


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Are you Raring2go?

Hello all. Here’s some lovely news to finish our working week – we have been nominated for a Raring2go! Award.

If you would like to show your support, please click on the link. We don’t know which category we have been nominated for, but there are plenty to choose from, so you can support us and your other favourite, children-friendly businesses too!

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Did you hear the one about…

We are welcoming the hilarious Gareth P.Jones to Chicken and Frog, on Saturday 27th October. To celebrate this and Gareth’s new joke book, we are issuing a challenge. You have until Monday 22nd October, to tell us your best joke. The winning jokester will receive a signed copy of this book:


  • The joke must be an original.
  • Include your name, age and contact details.
  • One joke per entrant.
  • You can email or drop in your joke, between now and 17:30 on Monday 22nd October 2018.

Good luck!

(The winner will be invited to meet Gareth at Chicken and Frog on the 27th October).

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‘Tis the Season

No, not that one, although it’s not far off. I’m talking about returning back to school after the long break.

September has arrived! We hope that you have all had a wonderful summer break. Now that the heatwave is over, we can all complain about the slight chill in the air and how awful British weather is. We had a brilliant summer, with loads of workshops, summer, the Brentwood Children’s Literary Festival and much more besides, but now it’s back to reality. 
As of this week, the full tuition schedule and our Tuesday Rhythm and Rhyme sessions make a welcome return. Please note the slightly earlier time for Fine Motor & Handwriting on Saturdays, which has shifted back by half an hour, to start at 9:30am.
We are already planning an exciting few months, with more workshops, author events (in store and schools) and of course, the grotto will be back in time for Lighting Up Brentwood. You can keep posted by visiting the events page or liking us on FaceBook.
See you soon!
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My French is ropy at best, so I am not going to attempt any French in this post.

So, this is a quick post to let you know that we have added a regular session to our Saturday schedule:

Julie may be away during school breaks, so please check first. She will be here next week though!

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Write away!

Here at Chicken and Frog we understand the importance of writing. Of course we do; it goes hand in hand with reading. As a teacher, I guide children through what I call the secretarial skills of the process – the grammar, spelling, the physicality of writing, structure etc. And whilst these elements are important, for me, the creativity and therapeutic nature of writing are key. Yes, a person should be able to construct a letter, a C.V., even a note; these practical elements of writing help us through life. Rightly, or wrongly, without skills such as these, it can be a struggle to access all that we are entitled to in this world.

But, the absolute joy of writing is that it can act as a gateway to another world, or help us to clarify our thoughts cohesively and coherently. I am in awe of authors who take the step to set their writing free, into the world. It is such a personal journey, that to share the end result with others is rather brave. My witterings are one thing. They are, believe it or not,  edited and tweaked along the way, but a ‘real’ body of work is far more important. Even if it is not to everyone’s taste, what an author does is inspirational.

The difficulty is that the curriculum does not give much time to true creative writing, in the sense that it can be completely personal, and private. Teachers must teach to a standard, which means that both teachers and students have targets to meet. This is not a blog from a jaded teacher, I am not going to digress into a rant about education reforms and the like. Quite frankly, others have said their piece far more eloquently than I ever could, so I shall leave that thought there.

However, I am interested in the therapeutic properties of creativity. Drawing is not a skill that I possess and my musical ability? Let’s just say that I can clear a room in a matter of moments. But, writing. Writing I love and know a little about. I am not an expert, but I do know that if given the freedom, tools and encouragement to do so, a person’s writing can literally change the world.

To that end I am a woman of two halves. When I am wearing my teacher’s hat, I need to keep in mind the hoops of the curriculum, so that my students can cope and achieve to the absolute best of their ability in that world. But, when I am just being myself, the designated adult in the creative writing club, well that’s a different story. Doodling, crossing out, editing, not editing, completing a piece, leaving something unwritten…anything goes in that setting. And it works! We have children who have started off as non-writers, creating little in the course of 90 minutes, who evolve into avid writers. This is their safe and happy place. No judgements are passed, their writing is theirs to do with what they want. Some choose to share it, others don’t. It is a true privilege to gently guide children through their own process.

If you know of a child who is bursting with ideas, but is unsure of how to express themselves on paper, then perhaps finding a writing club is the way to go? You never know, it may be just what they need!