The countdown is on. In just a few days – on March 1st 2023 – our pioneering Signing Friends books that teach Makaton signing to children and their parents will hit the marketplace!
We are so proud of this collaboration between ourselves and the fantastic team at Singing Hands, which was set up by mums Suzanne and Tracy.
Suzanne is mum to Ella, and Tracy is mum to Miles, and they learnt Makaton signing because of their children’s additional needs. However, they found very few resources for parents in their position, so they set to fill the gap in the market and founded Singing Hands.
We’ve collaborated with them to create a set of books based around four friends – Poppy, Lola, Jack and Zack, who have different needs. Jack uses his rolator, sometimes his wheelchair, and other times he can be seen with his sticks & AFOs. Lola and Zack are twins; Lola is left-handed (it was very important to ensure signing for left-handed children was included) and Zack wears glasses.
Singing Hands have written the stories, and our very own Sarah-Leigh has illustrated them. This was no mean feat, as for the first 13 books that are about to launch Sarah-Leigh created around 250 illustrations! Each book has a QR code taking the reader to extra content that provides additional help with learning how to sign. Barry, our Studio Manager, wrote, composed recorded the theme tune for them!
We’re so very honoured and thrilled to have been involved in this project, as it was a dream for Sarah-Leigh to learn signing, and through this project, she is learning on the job!
The Makaton Charity has been really supportive too, and we know the community of parents and families with deaf children and children with communication difficulties cannot wait for the launch. Teachers, educators and even librarians are also very excited to use these as a resource.
“We’ve had lots of praise about the diversity and inclusion element” – Suzanne (Singing Hands)
We will start taking preorders for the first 13 books in the series very soon – we like to call them the ‘Baker’s Dozen’ – and all orders can be placed via the Singing Hands website….
We’ve received some really lovely comments from the Singing Hands community, and we want to share some of these with you here:
“Congratulations on your wonderful achievement.”
“Exciting! Very useful.”
“This is so exciting, I can’t wait to get started!”
The series includes such titles as ‘Poppy’s Birthday’, ‘Poppy Goes to the Farm’, and ‘Poppy & Zack’s ABC’. We have three different ranges within this first set of books: Let’s Get Started, Storybooks, and an activity range. We have a second set coming out in June and a third in October – watch this space for more details!
Written by Jo Smyth (www.wordworker.co.uk)