Thursday, May 25, 2017

Hi, I’m Kim.

I am a mom of three (still cannot believe it) - two boys and a baby girl.  My eldest Calin, is 12 years old, Sashin just turned 6 and then there is little Lyra, who is just a year old.  I have worked in the entertainment industry in South Africa for the past 20 years, producing rock concerts and live comedy events. Right now we live in Istanbul Turkey. We moved here about a year and half ago, for my husband’s work… A move that has proved quite scary and exciting at the same time. The boys are at school here and I spend my days with Lyra. Lyra was born in Istanbul, a tough decision but it worked out well in the end.  She is our little Turkish Delight. 

Moving here has given us the opportunity to travel more as a family and I love being able to spend all this time with the kids, exploring the sights, sounds and food of this amazing city (that sits across two continents). I find so much happiness in the things we do and making sure the boys are happy, especially since we so far way from home. Friends and family are very important to me. Seeing their faces light up thanks to new experiences and their willingness to try new things makes me happy. But we also cannot wait to come back home.

I believe that reading opens up a whole new world for both adults and children. Growing up, I escaped into books. I read everything.  We learn so much from books.  We learn about love, loss, empathy and honesty.  We learn about being brave, and smart and kind.  We learn about being loyal and about friendships.  

Calin is twelve and is an avid reader.  His all time favourites are the Harry Potter books, The Hobbit, Holes by Louis Sachar and Varjak Paw by S.F Said.  He recently finished reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and The Maze Runner by James Dasher.  He is currently reading Beetle Queen by M.G. Leonard, and The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy by Douglas Adams. He also loves watching movies, but will not watch a movie based on a good book, until he reads the book first :)  

Sashin has so many favourite books. He loves the Hat Trilogy series by Jon Klassen,  “I Want My Hat Back”, “This Is Not My Hat” and “We Found A Hat”.  Simple, funny, dead pan text, Illustrations to swoon over and beady eyes that would tell the story even if there were no words.  

Calin loves comics and Sashin wants to read them too.  So he loves reading Hilda and the Trolls and Hilda and The Midnight Giant by Luke Pearson.  The Hilda books are a comic series which shares the adventures of a brave little girl called Hilda who lives in a cottage in the woods with her mom.  They are a good introduction to getting your young kids to enjoy reading comics and I love that the stories are about a blue-haired heroine who meets the most whimsical of characters.

Both the boys are enjoying Drew Daywalt’s (author of The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home) new book: The Legend of Rock, Paper Scissors. A clever,  laugh-out-loud, raucous story about the tale of Rock, paper scissors. “Drop that underwear and battle me, you ridiculous wooden peg-man” says rock to a wooden peg on a clothesline. Rock also calls an apricot "a fuzzy little butt.” My kids like that :)

Lyra and I spent a lot of our time lost in books. Now, when all is quiet and I cannot find her, I go looking and find her on the bed with her favourite board books which are:
Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman about a sweet little panda with the biggest sneezes.
Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell, a classic about all the animals a zoo send to the baby but they are either too big, too grumpy, too tall or too jumpy.
My favourite board book we bought from The Smithsonian National Museum of American Indian "Mama Do You Love Me”, is also one of Lyra’s favourite.  A timeless story about a mom reassuring her child that a parent’s love is forever.

Picture books to read in 2017:

1. Du Iz Tak by Carson Ellis
An absolute gem of a book.  Unique, creative and has a language of its own. Learning the language of insects is pretty fun. Beautiful, delicate artwork takes us through the seasons as we watch the insects build a fort. Every time we read this book, we discover something new.

2. The Bear Who Stared by Duncan Beedie.  
     This bear stares at everything from the time he wakes up and everyone he stares at gets offended.  The poor bear does not stare to be rude, he is just a shy curious bear.  One day he meets a frog who helps him realize that “Sometimes a SMILE is all you need”.  Wonderful advise from a google eyed frog who has the widest smile in the whole forest.

3. The Journey by Francesca Sanna 
     Poignant, Heart breaking, Necessary, Relevant, Important, Stunning, Beautiful, Fear, Sensitive and hope are all the words rear describe Francesca Sanna’s The Journey for us.  This book highlights the plight of the refugee status in the world right now.  It shows the strength of parents who will do anything for their children and safety.

4. Triangle by Jon Klassen and Mac Barnett.  A mischievous tale about sneaky Triangle who plays a trick on Square, but of course things don’t always go to plan, when Triangle finds that their roles are reversed.  We laughed and laughed with this one.

5. Grumpy Frog by Ed Vere.  We have all had one of those days, grumpy grumpy grumpy.  Grumpy Frog is NOT grumpy, That is just his resting face.  Why can’t it be his birthday today? What doesn’t make him happy is every other color except Green, but the worst color of all is PINK! What happens when he meets Pink Rabbit then? A funny, colourful bold book about friendship and learning to compromise.

6. Harry and Clare’s Amazing StayCation by Ted Staunton and Mika Song,  is about a brother and sister, who are on Spring break and are stuck at home.  So they make their own fun at home.  They go to Mars, they survive some quicksand and the “Abdominal Snowman”.  Harry also cannot believe how bossy his sister is, so he comes up with his own plan. This book is a reminder that with your imagination anything is possible and you can have fun anywhere.

7. A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston.   “I am a child of books.  I come from a world of stories, and upon my imagination I float” so begins this masterpiece.  A little girl sails her raft across a sea of words, arriving at the house of a small boy and calling him away on an adventure. Through forests of fairy tales and across mountains of make-believe, the two travel together on a fantastical journey that unlocks the boy’s imagination. Extracts from forty different children’s books create amazing landscapes throughout the book. This story and illustration sums up everything we love about books and stories.

8.Archie, Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake Tiberius Cat by Katie Harnett.  A sweet story with amazing vintage illustrations about a  stray cat who is adored by everyone in Blosson Stree.  Everyone in the street calls him a different name, Archie, Snufflekins Oliver Valentine Cupcake and Tiberius.  A story about compassion and friendships and a sense of community.

9. Tidy by Emily Gravett.  This story is about Pete the badger who is a total neat freak. Pete is a little too worried about tidying up the forest. He is so tidy that he removes all the mess from the forest which proves to be a bit perilous and almost leads to the destruction of the forest. “Then the animals came - from the strong to the weak, and they lent him a paw, or a claw, or a beak”.  With the help of this woodland friends, Pete the Badger sets things right again.  A perfect rhyming read aloud gem. 

10.  There’s a Tiger in The Garden by Lizzy Stewart.  “Tigers don’t live in gardens", says Nora.  “Are you real?”.  “I don’t know”, says the tiger.  “Are you?” . A child’s imagination is a wonderful place.  A funny, warm story with gorgeous illustrations about a little girl exploring her grandma's garden.  

I hope you’ve enjoyed these recommendations from Kim. I am going to use her top 10 books for 2017 as a book bucket list for Sophie. For more from Kim:

Follow her blog >
Follow her on Instagram > (highly recommended as she posts a lot about the various books she’s ready with her little ones).
Follow her on Twitter >

- Main image via
- Additional images curtesy of Kim Mari - @kimmari


  1. Great list and guest post done very well.

  2. I'm so excited to start tracking (hopefully) most of these down! We started a thing last Christmas whereby we only gifted our boys books. They get soooo many presents from their 4 grandparents, 2 great-grandparents and big pile of aunts and uncles, that we'd rather Father Christmas just (not that I'm undermining the value AT ALL because we LOVE reading) we also love making our own audiobooks (something I did with all the families I worked for on completion of my contract) of our favourite stories. And they are a hoot to listen to: mommy yawning (I will probably never learn to breathe properly while reading aloud) and the odd baby gurgle or you in he background. We also have a favourite list of books. We should compare notes!


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