Cambridge Children’s Books publisher goes full-time ‘to make dreams come true’
Cambridge Children’s Books has become a full-time venture – just as its latest title, Cambridge Punting by Pip Barber, goes on sale.
The publishing house was set up by Greg Hodder in 2018 and has already published The Little Lotus Flower, by Greg, in 2018 and A Melting Planet by Yasmin Kinsey in 2019.
Now the company has become a full-time project, reports a delighted Greg.
“For the last 11 years I have been working in the charity sector, my last job was working for an organisation called the Access to Justice Foundation that funded free legal advice services,” he says. “It was great work, very fulfilling, paid the bills, and I have done the children's books in my spare time. I think like many, the Covid pandemic has given me time to pause and think about what I am doing with my life.
“Now I have my third book ready to launch, Cambridge Punting, and more on the way, I decided to make a leap and give it a go going full time as a publisher.
“I think it is important to have a go at making your dreams come true, if you can.
“My degree was in Education and English Literature, and education and reading has always been very important to me. For me reading played a big part of growing up and I want to focus on books that will educate. Whether that is reading, and history like Cambridge Punting and the rest of this series, or about climate change like A Melting Planet, or self-discovery like The Little Lotus Flower, it doesn’t matter.
Cambridge Punting was written by local teacher, Pip Barber, and is designed to encourage children to read with phonics. Phonics is a method of learning to read, matching the sounds of spoken English with individual letters or groups of letters, that is taught from the start of reception. Reading is a key part of development and can really make a difference in a child’s confidence in exploring and learning about the world around them.
Pip noticed as a teacher that there were not many children’s books about Cambridge and none that focused on phonics and teaching reading. Cambridge Punting focuses on phase 4 phonics and introduces consonant clusters, phase 4 tricky words, and revising some phase 3 phonemes. At the same time it will also teach children all about Cambridge and punting and some of the history around it, which she finds fascinating.
With this in mind, she wrote a reading series that covers phase 3, 4 and 5 phonics that can be used to teach children to read. Cambridge Punting is the first of a trio of books written by Pip to be published by Cambridge Children’s Books.
“The city and university are so recognisable to children, and full of iconic buildings and interesting history,” she says. “This has all been brought to life by some colourful and classic illustrations that are full of playful little details.”
The book was illustrated by Charlie Spurrier, a London-based illustrator who works primarily within watercolour and ink. His drawings seek to capture a story in which the element of humour is key. He takes inspiration from such notable illustrators as EH Shepherd and Charlie Mackesy whose works capture a nostalgic childhood innocence.
Cambridge Children’s Books has put together a Kickstarter page to help raise support that will get the book off the ground – details here. The closing date for donations is June 18.