Meet Nicola – a mom of 3, soon to be 4, and a Barefoot Books Ambassador! Read on to get her full story.

“Being a Barefoot Ambassador allows me to combine my skills and my interests doing something worthwhile – we don’t just sell books, we promote child literacy.”

Name: Nicola Kelsall

Hometown: Nottinghamshire, UK

Family stats: Husband Tom, children – Cian aged 6, Cacha aged 1 ½ , baby due Christmas 2012. Interests – crafting, being in the forest, gluten free cooking, reading (of course!)

Why Barefoot: When Cian was 5 months old, I bought a copy of How Loud is a Lion.  He already had quite a number of books, and liked them, but he reacted to Lion in a completely different way.  He was fascinated with the pictures and couldn’t stop touching them.  There was so much going on in each picture compared to the other books we had.  When I investigated more, I found the rest of the range was a great fit for me – as a philosophy and religion teacher, I was teaching about religion and cultures from all over the world and I loved the multi-cultural basis of Barefoot. I joined Barefoot later that week.

Favorite success story: I love running my Barefoot business because it gives me so much freedom.  Until Cacha was born, I was a full time teacher and was head of the philosophy and religion department.  I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it was hard work and required long hours.  When Cacha was born I realised I wanted a change.  I was already an Ambassador, selling a few books here and there to colleagues with young children, but it seemed like the natural time to make Barefoot a larger part of our lives.  I  love the fact that I can spend quality time with my children, be around for the important times – nativity plays, sports day, seeing my son sing on stage as part of a music festival – and still earn a living.  I have complete control over when I work and we have all benefitted from the change of pace!  It’s also allowed me to do other things – I trained as a breastfeeding peer supporter in 2011 and volunteer once a week at a support group. And in 2011 I also joined the PTA at my son’s school and was elected as Vice-Chair earlier this year.

I became a teacher because I wanted to make a difference, and I feel that I can still make a difference in my new role.  As Ambassadors we don’t just sell books, we’re promoting child literacy and demonstrating the importance of reading to and with children.

All in the family: Cian is quite keen on getting involved. He likes to know what’s coming up in the new releases, and tells me which ones he would like!  When I’m at outdoor events especially, he likes to come with me and divides his time between playing and helping me.  When he sees a customer looking at a book he particularly likes, he likes to tell them more about it, and why he likes it.  He’s quite a good little salesman!  We have also started making some crafting videos, with crafts based on the Barefoot Books we like most.  We spend time curled up reading some books, then deciding which craft to do next.  He likes to be involved in the planning, and most of the vides feature Cian doing the crafting, whilst I film, edit and narrate.

Top tip: Most of my events are at weekends, and I try to go to community events and family events.  During the week, I sometimes go to toddler groups with my books.  It’s easy to take Cacha to these – she can play whilst I work, and I can easily keep an eye on her.  I stock the books I like the most.  It’s much easier to sell something you’re enthusiastic about, so the books I stock are the ones we have enjoyed as a family, or that I really like.  I always have a range of Miriam Latimer books in stock.  They’re very popular with teachers and grandparents for their gentle approach to life’s little lessons.


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