Saturday, 9 April 2016

Make Mine an Indie: Roost Books

Full disclosure, the publisher featured in today's Make Mine an Indie is an imprint of another (independent) publisher who will also probably be featured fully in a forthcoming installment, but for today I really wanted to focus on the imprint because they publish some of my current favourite books. Also disclaimer - if you're not into crafts, cookery, parenting or creativity in general you might want to sit this one out and come back next week!

Roost Books

So now all that's over, this week's publisher is from across the pond. I did say I'd like to mix up the geography of the publishers I featured this year so here we go. Roost Books is (as I mentioned) an imprint of Shambhala Books and was founded in 2011 as a home for their titles on crafts, cooking and creativity. I discovered them after I'd finally caved and bought my own copy of Jean Van't Hul's The Artful Parent (after loving it from the library) and The Artful Year. Of course as part of my project I checked out the status of the publisher and was super excited to discover that they identify as an indie!

From the titles published by them that I've read I probably could have told you their aim, which is to "celebrate the small actions that can fill our days with joy", and honestly their books do too because the ones I own are so beautifully designed and laid out that they make me happy just to look at. It helps that the content is also fantastic and inspiring of course! As you'll know if you've been around these parts long enough, I'm a big fan of simplicity and finding joy through arts & crafts, cookery and gardening among other things, so I really feel like I've found my spiritual home with Roost. This post was inspired by my (accidental in that I didn't know they were both published by them, not accidental buying) purchase of two more of their titles yesterday, both of which showed up in the post today and both of which are gorgeous and inspirational!

Seriously, if you're at all interested in any of the things I've mentioned that they publish you should just go over there and check them out yourselves. It should go without saying that this will be one of the weeks I will struggle to stop talking about their books. I've narrowed it down by just looking at their most recent catalogue, but the ones I already own and can strongly recommend (all kid related, so probably for those among you with kids/who teach young kids) are The Artful Parent and The Artful Year by Jean Van't Hul, Tinkerlab: A Hands - On Guide for Little Inventors by Rachelle Doorley, and The Garden Classroom by Cathy James.

Made to Play! Handmade Toys for Growing Imaginations by Joel Henriques
From the Roost Books website:

Delight young children and encourage play through unique handmade toys. From sewn and stuffed musical instruments to interlocking paper building blocks and wooden animal figurines, the projects in this book are meant to encourage open-ended play. Organized by kid-loving subjects, the toys here follow the themes of Zoo; House; Blocks, Cars & Trucks; Dress-Up; Music; and Art. Overall, the projects here are meant to stimulate imagination, build confidence through success and enjoyment, and enhance the bond between family and friends through the creation of unique, artistic handmade toys and crafts.
The thirty-five projects in this book include a variety of crafts, from drawing to sewing and light woodworking. The toys presented here are made out of wonderfully tactile materials—repurposed fabrics, wood, and paper—and invite opportunities for creative and imaginative play. Every project is easy to complete, made with accessible materials, and requires little time to make. The projects are simple enough that endless variation can come from the making of each, leaving enough room for you to make the item to suit your own personal interests.
You guys know that I used to run a business selling handmade children's toys right? Before the nightmare of CE marking entirely took over my life and made me want to cry constantly, that is. I gave it up, but I didn't give up my love of making toys for my own kids and friends kids so this sounds entirely like something I would absolutely adore. Also I hate toys that light up and make noise and don't actually encourage kids to do anything. Throw them all away and bring back the dressing up box!
Home Grown by Ben Hewitt
In this most personal of his books to date, Ben Hewitt shows us how small, mindful decisions about day-to-day life can lead to greater awareness of the world in our backyards and beyond. In telling the story of his sons’ unconventional education in the fields and forests surrounding his family’s northern Vermont farm, he demonstrates that the sparks of learning are all around us, just waiting to be discovered. No matter where we live, Home Grown reminds us that learning at any age is a lifelong process, and that the best education is never confined to a classroom.
Again, people know how much our current government's education policies make me want to scream, right? I've been seriously seriously thinking about homeschooling the boys (I probably won't, mostly because they would end up totally unsocialised if I did because I hardly ever voluntarily enter social situations with other parents, but it's a nice thought) and I love reading about people who do. This sounds awesome. 
The Green Hour by Todd Christopher
The National Wildlife Federation, on its website, recommends that parents give their kids a “Green Hour” every day—a time for unstructured play and interaction with the natural world. Whether in the backyard, the local park, or a green space farther afield, time spent outdoors is essential to the healthy development of young minds, bodies, and spirits.
Todd Christopher, the creator of the, has filled this book with activities designed to encourage discovery, creative play, and a wonder of nature. Here you'll find a range of projects, fun facts, and science lessons meant to engage and invigorate your child, as well as the practical advice for parents that makes getting outdoors easy and worry-free. With creative, science-based ideas for a variety of natural settings, getting your family's daily dose of nature just got easier.
I often feel like my dad as I stomp around our house shouting about how I want to throw the Wii away or give the TV to charity. It's not that I hate these things, I don't, but I do hugely feel the benefit on my kids when we have less screen time and more outdoor time. They're little things with masses of energy and they need somewhere to channel it, so yes yes yes to more outdoor time and more inspiration for how to incorporate that!
The Down and Dirty Guide to Camping with Kids by Helen Olsson
Whether you’re a first-time camper or a veteran backpacker befuddled by the challenges of carting a brood—and all the requisite gear—into the great outdoors, here you’ll find all the tips and tools you need to plan the perfect nature adventure with your family. Humorous and irreverent, yet always authoritative, this guide to camping with kids, from babies through pre-teens, is filled with checklists, smart tips, recipes, games, activities, and art projects. Helen Olsson, a seasoned camper and mother of three, shares lessons learned over the years of nature outings with her own family. Learn the basics of family camping, from choosing a destination and packing gear to setting up a campsite and keeping little ones safe. Create the perfect camp menu with simple and tasty recipe ideas. Discover foolproof tips and tactics for keeping kids happy and entertained while hiking. Explore nature through clever and creative camp arts and craft projects. This guide is your game plan to unplugging from the digital world and connecting your kids to nature. Whether it’s roasting marshmallows around a crackling campfire or stretching out on a camp mat to gaze at the stars, the memories you’ll be making will last a lifetime.
I don't know how much this book will be transferrable, although I imagine the basics of camping are pretty similar everywhere! We want to start camping with the boys in a few years and it would be nice to have some guidance, as my family didn't start camping until we were a lot older. 
So I think I've lived up to my promise to be completely overenthusiastic and in love with every title this week! 
Find Roost on their website, twitter, facebook and pinterest.
Catch up with the Make Mine an Indie series here.

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