Babies change everything! – Mike Henson

Mike Henson offers us a glimpse into his parenting journey

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Mike Henson

Children’s picture book author and illustrator Mike Henson, inspired after reading The New Baby and Me, has written a few words, about his own experience of having children. Read his insights below:

Babies change everything. Everything! Drop your expectations and your plans – they are only bin-worthy.

I’m still surprised at being partly responsible for creating a real life human being. And the challenge of showing them the ropes – basic things like eating and sleeping – have taken my wife and I on a brutal journey of self-discovery.

I used to think that I was relatively admirable, until I discovered how impatient and short tempered I could be at the meandering nature of bedtime.

Amos, Mike’s eldest, looks happy!

Most mornings, my wife or I are woken by our one-year-old’s talons clawing at one of our faces. And then the other week it dawned on me that most of life seemed to revolve around poo. But then there are those moments when our youngest toddles up to my legs, with arms up-stretched. I hoist her up and she cuddles in close. Pure magic! It is spiritual and transcendent, and it reminds me that life in it’s fullness, is a messy blend of bodily functions and love. It’s the natural and the supernatural. It’s science and it’s poetry.

Parenting is relentless. Children are full of surprises. But, as with anything that is challenging, struggle produces depth. And it is in the digging that treasures are unearthed.

  • Read about this mother who used picture books to prepare her children for a new arrival
  • Check out this interview with author of The New Baby and Me Christine Kidney
  • Read a lovely review of this book by Parents in Touch

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Music is a powerful magic!

Tiny Owl Music & Storytelling campaign continues

Music is one of most emotional and enduring forms of storytelling; early cultures often share their stories through music. With the launch of our brand new series called Children. Music. Life, of which the first book of the series, The Drum, is coming out soon, we have started a campaign to explore the relationship between children, music and stories. You can keep up to date by searching for #TinyOwlDrum and #ChildrenMusicLife.

We contacted experts in all kinds of areas such as parents, illustrators, teachers, and librarians, and asked them:

What do you think about the role of music in children’s lives and its relationship to stories? 
What song do you remember from your childhood?

Here are two more responses, from Alan Gibbons and Sophie Anderson.


Alan Gibbons

Alan Gibbons:

Music creates associations with people

Music taps reservoirs of emotion few other art forms can. It has the ability to resonate deep within you. It creates associations with people, places and experiences that can last a lifetime.

The first piece of music I remember having that impact was the blues classic Freight Train by Elizabeth Cotten. I lived in the railway train of Crewe. My grandad was a railwayman and was killed in an industrial accident in 1936. For that reason, the song has added family meaning.


Alan Gibbons is an award-winning children’s author, living in Liverpool. 


Sophie Anderson:

Music is a universal language of the human soul

Sophie Anderson

Long before we can talk or understand speech, music can provide an introduction to how we communicate, how we feel and express emotions, and how we use our imaginations to create and tell stories. Music is a powerful magic, a universal language of the human soul.

One of my earliest memories is listening to Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf on vinyl with my brothers. The instruments bringing the animals to life felt like magic. I also remember being utterly captivated by my grandmother’s fingers as they flew over piano keys playing the fast movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. I loved how that music made me feel, and I used to beg her to play it over and over again!


Sophie Anderson is a Children’s book author, living in Lake District.


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