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We were sent this constellations activity from Cubs, but the website no longer exists, and i can’t get hold of the owners to ask for permission to share.

It was originally posted on

The craft is to make a viewer to look at constellations, without needing to go outside!

ConstellationViewer  (click this link to download)

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Christmas Catalogue 2020

It’s here!

We have a digital edition of the Christmas Catalogue available below for those of you who haven’t been able to get a copy of the paper catalogue – we had a limited number of those, so they’ve gone to houses in our local area (Sittingbourne). Just click on the picture and it’ll pop up in a new window.

Details of all of the books are in this digital edition – you’re not missing out on any of the wonderful descriptions or pictures of the books!

If you wish to order any of the books in the catalogue, pop the ISBN or title into the search box at the top of the website, and it’ll take you to it.

If you have National Book Tokens to spend (or want to buy them) then please email us to process those (or telephone us on 07731152089)

We’re available by email or phone to discuss any other book or related gifts questions, so please get in touch!

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Black History Month (October)

October is Black History Month – this is an annual event where the history of black people is highlighted – people from African countries, people scattered all over the world because of slavery, forced immigration or invitation.

There’s an amazing website dedicated to Black History Month – (opens in a new tab), so I hope you’ll take some time this month to have a look at the facts, stories, archives, evidence and personal accounts that are on there.

I’ve made a small list of books that you might be interested in – all are available now, either in stock or through Send My Book – just “search” through the site for the listing (if I haven’t been able to link directly)

Please note that many of these books are focussed on American Black History, but I’ve included worldwide ones where I can.
If you would like to order any other book about Black History, then please complete the form or send us an email.

How to Be Extraordinary by Rashmi Sirdeshpande

Your little reader will discover the real-life stories behind some of the most extraordinary people. From Nelson Mandela and Abdul Kalam to Mo Farah, Michelle Obama and many more, all of these people have done amazing things – and with this colourful and easily-digestible read, you can explore their stories together.




Little Leaders: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison

All throughout history, Black men have stood up and fought for justice and what they believe in. This book tells the stories of 40 Black men, from campaigners, athletes, fashion journalists and musicians who realised their dreams and made the world a better place. Read about the amazing lives of Prince, Paul Stephenson and Kofi Annan with your own future little leader and learn about these great men together.



The Extraordinary Life of Mary Seacole

A nurse in the Crimean war, Mary Seacole cared for the wounded soldiers on the battlefield, despite being turned down to work alongside Florence Nightingale. Mary did invaluable work during the Crimean War, where she rode into battle on horseback to treat soldiers of both armies. She is a maginificent figure, and led a very interesting life.




Timelines from Black History : Leaders, Legends, Legacies

A veritable encyclopaedia of important (and unknown) people throughout black history – with timelines, so that children can see the journeys from pre-history, through ancient civilisations to the modern world.




Africa, Amazing Africa: Country by Country by Atinuke

Discover the amazing diversity of the African continent in this beautiful book, with words by Atinuke and lively illustrations from Mouni Feddag.
A celebration of all 55 countries on the African continent! Her beautifully-written text captures Africa’s unique mix of the modern and the traditional, as she explores its geography, its peoples, its animals, its history, its resources and its cultural diversity.
The book divides Africa into five sections: South, East, West, Central and North, each with its own introduction. This is followed by a page per country, containing a delightful mix of friendly, informative text and colourful illustrations. The richest king, the tallest sand dunes and the biggest waterfall on the planet are all here, alongside drummers, cocoa growers, inventors, balancing stones, salt lakes, high-tech cities and nomads who use GPS!

Image for Josephine Baker : 16Josephine Baker

Meet Josephine Baker, the world-famous entertainer, activist and French Resistance agent in this true story of her life! This board book version of Josephine Baker – from the beloved Little People, BIG DREAMS series – follows the incredible life of Josephine Baker, from growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, during segregation to defying expectations and performing on the stage in Paris, where audiences fell in love with her.

Josephine Baker was born for the stage. But growing up in segregated St. Louis, she didn’t have the same opportunities as white entertainers. So, she moved to Paris where audiences fell in love with her. Josephine worked as a dancer, an actor, and even a spy. She then spent the rest of her life spreading the word that people of all colors can live together in harmony.

(available in Hardback for older children or in a board book with simpler text for younger children)

Wilma Rudolph

New in the critically acclaimed Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the life of Wilma Rudolph, the remarkable sprinter and Olympic champion.

Wilma was born into a family with 22 brothers and sisters, in the segregated South. She contracted polio in her early years and her doctors said she would never walk again. But Wilma persisted with treatment, and she recovered her strength by the age of 12. At school, Wilma showed a talent for basketball and sprinting, earning the nickname ‘Skeeter’ (mosquito) as she ran so fast. Wilma was in college when she went to the 1960 Olympics. She not only won gold in sprint events, but also broke world records with her sprinting skill. She had beaten polio to become an Olympic champion. She is a huge inspiration to many women in sports around the world. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the athlete’s life.

Rosa Parks (Little People Big Dreams)

Discover the incredible life of Rosa Parks, ‘ The Mother of the Freedom Movement’, in this inspiring story. In this true story of an inspiring civil rights activist, Rosa Parks grew up during segregation in Alabama, but she was taught to respect herself and stand up for her rights.
In 1955, Rosa refused to give up her seat to a white man on a segregated bus, sparking the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Her decision had a huge impact on civil rights, eventually leading to the end of segregation on public transport. With stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, this empowering series celebrates the important life stories of wonderful women of the world. From designers and artists to scientists, all of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream.
These books make the lives of these role models accessible for children, providing a powerful message to inspire the next generation of outstanding people who will change the world!

I Am Rosa Parks

Rosa Parks dared to stand up for herself and other African Americans by staying seated, and as a result she helped end public bus segregation and launch the country’s civil rights movement. This book tells the story of one of America’s icons in an entertaining, conversational way that works well for the youngest nonfiction readers.


Remember to share with us anything you post on social media – we’re on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – please use the tag @nickelbooks, and hashtags #nickelbooks #blackhistorymonth.








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Roald Dahl Day (13th September)

Roald Dahl Day is this Sunday!

The wonderful people at the official Roald Dahl website have created a party pack for you to download and use, so you can find that by clicking here.

And yes! They’ve also made one for titchy toddlers – click here to download that one




There’s even more interesting activities, videos and downloads provided by Puffin Books, all based on Roald Dahl’s fabulous stories!

Here’s a video of a storytime of The Witches (an excerpt) – opens in a new tab

What about activity ideas based on Charlie and The Chocolate Factory? Click here to download that one!

This whipple-scrumptious activity pack is filled with fun inspired by Roald Dahl’s story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Did you know Roald Dahl used to be a chocolate tester for a rather well known chocolatier while he was at school? Perhaps that’s when he first started dreaming about oompa-loompas and chocolate rivers . . . .

This pack includes:

  • Roald Dahl book quiz
  • Inventing room challenge
  • Golden ticket maze
  • Willy Wonka’s pick ‘n’ mix wordsearch
  • Character dress up ideas
  • Top hat template
  • Golden Ticket template
  • Wonka Bar template

Or you could join Quentin Blake in drawing Willy Wonka or an Oompa Loompa!

If Matilda’s your favourite, you could download her paper ball activity, a writing prompt thinking about the future , make a newt float, or download a diary for you to fill in (this one’s big, so maybe ask your parents if it’s okay to print pages out!)


Puffin also created a learning pack all about George’s Marvellous Medicine – it was aimed at schools, but we’ve looked through it and there are some awesome activities in there that we think you’ll love, and can do at home!
Download that one here


You can print out and make some fabulous Bookmarks (print them out onto card and they’ll be sturdy)

There’s an Enormous Crocodile Word Game to make (Here’s the direct link to the Puffin website, because it’s got a lot of instructions!)


As always, we’d love to see what you’ve been up to, so please hashtag #RoaldDahlDay #nickelbooks and @nickelbooks mention us on social media!

And the websites we’ve used for the links are:, and


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We love wordgames, and when I realised just how much paper we were going through with Hangman, I thought I could make something more permanent.

We have laminated ours, but if you don’t want to create more plastic, you could place your sheet under a piece of glass or perspex that you’ve already got, blutack it to the other side of a window, or even use it under tracing paper!

As it’s a PDF, you can print it out as small as you like – this is A4 size, but if you go to the Print dialogue box you can print 2 or 4 to a sheet to save paper.

It’s really simple to use – just draw your letter lines on the green lines, and use the faded hangman to draw the gallows.

Download Hangman Game







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Very Hungry Caterpillar Activities

How to make Very Hungry Caterpillar paper chains

A perfect cutting-and-sticking activity for Very Hungry Caterpillar fans, these paper chains will brighten up a rainy day!  You could even use them to decorate for a Very Hungry party…

You will need:

• A piece of green paper or thin card

•  A piece of red paper or thin card

•  A piece of yellow paper or thin card (although this isn’t 100% necessary)

•  A purple felt-tip pen

•  A pencil

•  A ruler

• Some scissors (grown-up use only)

• Some double-sided tape

• Some blu-tack or glue

Step 1. Divide your piece of A4 green paper into 6 even-size strips using your ruler and pencil.  Then carefully cut the strips out using your scissors.

Step 2. Add a small piece of double-sided tape to the top of each green strip and peel off the tape-cover so that the sticky bit is exposed!

Step 3. Bend the first green strip into a circle and stick it in place using the double-sided tape.  You will now have one green card circle.

Step 4. Now, take the second green strip and loop it through the first circle.  Bend this second strip into a circle and stick in place using the double-sided tape.  This is the start of your chain!

Step 5. Repeat with each strip of card until you have a green paper chain.

Step 6. Now it’s time to make your caterpillar’s face.  Cut out some yellow ovals for the eyes and use a felt-tip or pencil to draw some pupils inside the eyes.

Step 7. Cut a circle out of the red paper or card.  This will be your caterpillar’s face!  Using blu-tack, stick the eyes onto the face, and use your felt-tip to draw the caterpillar’s nose.

Step 8. Using a purple felt-tip, draw and colour in some antennae and cut around those too.  Attach them to your caterpillar’s face with the blu-tack.

Step 9. Finally, use the blu-tack to attach your caterpillar’s face to the front of the paper chain to transform it into the Very Hungry Caterpillar!

Step 10. Give your caterpillar a name and display him with pride in your home!





Paint your own Very Hungry Caterpillar

Crawl into spring with this Very Hungry Caterpillar-inspired egg painting tutorial. Little egg munchers will just love getting their hands messy with this fun craft, inspired by the classic Eric Carle story.



You will need:

• An egg

• Acrylic or poster paints

• A paintbrush

• Some card or thick paper

• Some glue

• Scissors

How to make: 

1. Place your egg in a pan of water, and boil until hard, for around about ten minutes. Remove from the water and leave to cool, until cold to touch. (note: little ones should always do this with the help of a grown-up!)

2. Using different mixes of green, paint your egg in bright, caterpillar-like stripes. Once it’s dry, add some red for the face, and then leave to dry again

3. Using some yellow paint, add the features to your caterpillar’s face

4. Cut out some long, caterpillar-like antennae from your card or thick paper, and then paint them purple and leave to dry

5. Using glue, gently add the antenna to the top of the caterpillar’s head. Careful now, you wouldn’t want him to break!

Now your Very Hungry Caterpillar Easter egg is complete. Why not take him egg rolling, and see if you can spot some beautiful butterflies!


Make a Very Hungry Caterpillar inspired butterfly painting

Inspired by the moment when Eric Carle’s Very Hungry Caterpillar transforms into a beautiful butterfly, this simple craft will delight toddlers and help them learn about colours, patterns and symmetry.



You will need:

• A piece of green paper or thin card

• A piece of A4 white paper or thin card

• Some colourful poster paints – whichever colours you would like!

• A pencil

•  Some coloured card (any colour you would like)

• Some scissors

• Some glue

• A felt-tip pen of any colour

Step 1. Take a plain sheet of white paper or thin card and fold it in half horizontally – push down to create a ridge.

Step 2. Unfold the paper again – now you can see a fold line which will be the middle of your butterfly!





Step 3. Using a pencil, draw a big triangle from the top right-hand corner of your page to the bottom right-hand corner of your page and across to the very middle point of your page.  It doesn’t need to be neat, this will just be a guideline. Then, take some poster paints (any colours you like).  On the right-hand side of your paper, fill your triangle with rough splodges of colour.  These can be anywhere inside your triangle and in any formation you like – let your creativity run wild!

Step 4. When you’ve finished liberally splodging paint onto the right half of your paper, fold the left half on top of the right half along your fold line and gently press together.

Step 5. Carefully peel the two halves of your paper apart and…

Step 6. Voila!  You have some beautiful butterfly wings!  Leave them aside to dry for 20 minutes or until the paint is dry to the touch.








Step 7. Take your piece of coloured card and, with a pencil or your felt-tip pin, draw a long, thin sausage shape onto the card.  This will be the body of your butterfly.  Make sure you add some antennae and a smiley face!


Step 8. Carefully cut around your butterfly’s body.

Step 9. Once your butterfly wings have dried, glue the body right in the middle of your paper to complete your colourful butterfly.  You might like to choose a name for your completed butterfly, too!

Activities devised by the Penguin/ Puffin team. The originals can be found at
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Jacqueline Wilson Activities

If you’ve been inspired by Jacqueline Wilson’s stories, then we hope you’ll enjoy these activities!

Dress up as Tracy Beaker

Dress up as the feisty and laugh-out-loud funny Tracy Beaker from Jacqueline Wilson’s well-loved books, using this easy DIY costume hack.

You will need:

•  A black curly wig

•  A red jumper

•  Blue trousers (or skirt)

•  A copy of the book!

Now you’ve everything you need to transform yourself into everyone’s favourite heroine. Time to have some crazy adventures, just like Tracy!

Draw Hetty Feather with Nick Sharratt

Get your pens and paper ready – it’s time to learn how to draw Victorian heroine Hetty Feather with illustrator Nick Sharratt.

Create your own Hetty Feather Christmas tree decorations

In Hetty Feather’s Christmas, Hetty is entranced by the beautiful Christmas tree at the Rivers’ house. Why not have a go at creating some wonderful decorations for you own tree?

You will need:

•    A printer

•    A4 paper

•    Tracing paper

•    Card

•    Some string

•    Colouring pens or pencils

•    Scissors (always ask a grown up for help when cutting out)

Download Decoration Templates

How to make it: 

1. Find some tracing paper and trace around the bauble shapes on the downloadable pages – or if you have a steady hand, see if you can simply copy them onto a piece of card.

2. Colour them in and ask a grown up to cut them out carefully

3. Pop a little hole at the top to attach string so that you can hang your baubles up, and have a very Victorian Christmas, just like Hetty!

Bake some Hetty Feather Christmas gingerbread

People have been baking gingerbread for more than a thousand years! But the Victorians (like Hetty Feather) loved gingerbread as a special festive treat.

Here’s how you can make your very own gingerbread biscuits – wrap them as gifts for your friends, thread them with ribbons to add a sweet touch to your Christmas tree or munch them all away with a glass of milk and a good book.

You will need:

•    50g plain flour, plus a bit extra for dusting

•     1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

•     2 tsp ground ginger

•     1 tsp ground cinnamon

•     125g butter

•     175g brown sugar

•     1 large egg

•    4 tsp golden syrup

Optional, for decorations:

•    Icing in whatever colours you like!

How to make them:

1.  Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4 (make sure you ask a grown-up for help when touching hot things).

2. Line two baking trays with greaseproof paper.

3. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon and butter, and whizz in a food processor or rub it in with your fingers until you have a mixture that looks like breadcrumbs.

4. Stir in the sugar.

5. Beat the egg and golden syrup together and add to the mixture. Stir or whizz again until the mixture clumps together.

6. Tip the dough out onto a clean surface. Knead until smooth, wrap in clingfilm and leave to chill in the fridge for 15 minutes.

7. Roll the dough out on a surface lightly dusted with flour, so it about a centimetre thick.

8. Using cutters, cut out shapes in the dough. Place carefully on the baking tray, leaving a gap between them. If you want to thread a ribbon through, make a small hole in one point of the shape.

9. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until light golden brown. Leave on the tray for 10 minutes and then move to a wire rack to finish cooling.

10. When cooled, you can decorate your gingerbread with icing. Then wrap them in cellophane to make a lovely gift, thread with a ribbon for a Christmas decoration or enjoy them as a tasty festive treat.


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Make your own Diary of a Wimpy Kid Costume

Zoo-wee-mama! Dress up in your best DIY Wimpy Kid outfit with these fun printable Greg and Rowley masks.

You will need:

•  A Greg or Rowley mask, printed

•  A pair of scissors

•  A piece of elastic or string

•  For added effect: A white t-shirt, black shorts, white socks, black shoes and a black backpack for Greg, or a bright t-shirt with ‘Zoo-wee mama!’ written on it for Rowley

Dress up as Greg Heffley

Or his best friend Rowley Jefferson


How to make it:

1.  Print out your favourite mask on A4 paper

2.  Carefully cut out the mask and each of the eyeholes

3.  Cut out the holes for the string and thread through the back of the mask

4.  Tie a knot at each side, and put your mask on for some frightening Halloween fun!

Complete your look with a copy of your favourite Diary of a Wimpy Kid book! Now you should have everything you need to look like Greg or Rowley, for the perfect Wimpy Kid inspired outfit.