We already know that books are the best gift for all celebrations. And what better way to make the gift even more special, than presenting your chosen books as a book basket?
We now offer a book basket service. You choose your books, or we can choose for you if you tell us your budget and theme. Then we will package them into a delightful book basket, ready to hand over to the lucky recipient.
This book basket service costs just £5.
We require a day’s notice to create the basket, with payment requested upon ordering.
There are many perks – proof copies of books, meeting new readers every day, calling your obsession with reading ‘research’…the list is quite extensive.
However, one of my favourites is meeting authors and having the privilege of seeing them interact with their audience. In the last couple of weeks we have taken not one, but two authors into schools.
The first was Sara Grant, who we have been lucky enough to work with before. Sara was booked in for a talk and signing at Brentwood County High School, with an audience of Year 7s and Year 6s from Holly Trees Primary School. Little did they realise what was in store for them, as Sara not only shared excerpts from her latest book, Chasing Danger, but also lead the pupils through a story planning session. It was a joy to watch – with well over 300 pupils to keep engaged, Sara had set herself quite a task, but it was incredible. I think that the audience (including the teachers) were surprised by the fantastic ideas that Sara teased from them in just one hour.
Sara also helped to launch a writing competition which is exclusively for the Year 7 pupils at BCHS. We can’t wait to read their stories.
And this week, yesterday in fact, we took Nikki Sheehan into two schools. We started at Ingatestone and Fryerning Junior School and finished at Brentwood County High School, which is rapidly become our second home!
Nikki’s books are beautifully written tales of magical realism, full of believable characters who have extraordinary experiences. The audience at Ingatestone and Fryerning explored the idea of how an animal’s characteristics can be likened to our own. There was a lot of discussion amongst the pupils, as well as a chance to hear Nikki read excerpts from Swan Boy.
The Q and A session was great, with some really searching questions, such as ‘Do you write for yourself or for your audience?’ Nikki says that initially she writes for herself, and then thinks about the audience once she begins the editing process.
We then whisked Nikki off to Brentwood County High School, for two back to back writing workshops with Year 8 pupils. I will never get tired of watching, in awe, as authors inspire and cajole original ideas from pupils. The creativity was wonderful.
Our thanks go to Sara and Nikki, the willing pupils and the schools for their enthusiasm and promoting of reading.
We have just finished Book Club for November and it was a real circus! Our chosen title was The Enemy Within, by newly published author Gary Nott.
I don’t want to give too much away, as this is a mystery with many a twist and turn. But I will tell you that it’s set during one summer holiday in the 1970s; there’s romance (not too much), crimes to solve and firm friendships made, all within the space of one hectic school break.
The Book Clubbers absolutely loved The Enemy Within, as you can see from this 5 star review by Julia (aged 11).
The Book Clubbers got to ask Gary questions about the life of an author, as well as getting their book signed, which is always a treat,
We’re looking forward to Gary’s next book, which is a collection of original short stories. Watch this space for an update.
OK, it’s not been a week yet, but we’re pretty close to it. Anyone who tells you that running a shop is easy is either a liar, has a huge number of self-motivated/ managed staff or is a little bit loopy. I didn’t think for a moment that it would be ‘easy’, but equally, I wasn’t aware of quite how much goes on behind the scenes day-to-day.
I should have realised though. My parents ran a shop when I was a child and they worked their socks off. My father-in-law owned a garden centre and did the same. But seeing from the outside is very different from actually doing! I am not complaining. This whole experience has been a huge learning curve for me and Mr Frog, which I am sure will continue to get steeper over the coming weeks and months ahead.
You know what makes it worth it? The fact that we still get excited by what we’re doing. The fact that opening a box of books or a bag of goodies from a publisher fills us with glee; that’s magical to me. And the fact that children come in to have a good old nose at our glorious selection of books. They are interested in what we have to offer. Don’t get dragged into the media hype that kids don’t read, it’s a myth. They do read, they just do other things too.
The future is looking bright for Chicken and Frog. Long live the book!
The keys were finally handed over on Friday, which is great because we can get in there at last. It’s also a little terrifying, because we can get in there at last!
We keep on saying naive things like ‘Oh it doesn’t need much doing to it,’ to convince ourselves that the two week deadline we now have is not completely crazy. But it is; it’s doable, but slightly unhinged at the same time.
If you happen to find yourselves pootling along the Ongar Road in Brentwood, you may spy a lovely little shop which now sports splashes of purple and green. That’s us. And if you happen to see a tired looking woman with similar splashes of paint in her hair, that’s probably going to be me. I should qualify the ‘tired’ with ‘happy’. Yes, it is exhausting working full time, being a mum to three radishes (four if you include Mr Frog) and starting up a new business, but it’s also totally exhilarating. After years as a dream, we can see Chicken and Frog Bookshop becoming a reality and it feels good.
The shelving should be in and up by Thursday, ready for the books which are due to be delivered on Friday. Our sign is coming early next week, we’ve got loads booked in for our opening day and the painting is almost done.
I don’t mind admitting that I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself right now. I love the fact that all weekend I have heard people making positive comments about a new bookshop as they walk past and see us working away.
The next couple of weeks promise to be crazy busy. I’ll keep you posted.