Posts tagged ‘summertown’

When we moved the UK office from Bath to Oxford last summer, one of the changes I most enjoyed was being in close contact with our young audience. In Oxford, our desks and our conference room  are separated from the first floor studio by no more than a slender glass partition, with a glass door in the middle. All kinds of exciting things happen in the Studio: drumming workshops, postnatal yoga, baby-signing sessions, birthday parties.

I don’t remember when I first heard the story of ‘The Snow Queen’ as a child, but as an adult this story continues to exercise a powerful hold on me. The Snow Queen herself is the embodiment of the dark side of feminine energy, rather like the white witch in Narnia. The shattering of the mirror is the fracturing of our childhood innocence, and Gerda’s courage as she heads into the unknown to rescue Kay is a metaphor for all of our journeys from childhood to adulthood.

If you’ve been into our Oxford Studio, you’ve probably met some wonderful characters who spend their days helping children bring out the best of their creativity, and introducing them to far off lands through stories, art and more. One of these people is Susannah Lambe, a volunteer storyteller who comes in regularly simply because she loves reading to children. We’re pleased to share with you a bit about her personal story, so read on and let us know what your favorite part about reading to children is!

We have just been hijacked by one of our local radio stations! Every week, JACK FM descends on an Oxford business and broadcasts its breakfast show from their premises. Well before sunrise, the JACK FM team were on site, setting up their recording equipment while our peerless kitchen crew conjured up steaming hot chocolate, rich coffee, fresh pastries and my favourite, porridge with brazil nuts, alfalfa, sunflower seeds and grated apple. And then the action started!

When was the last time you walked inside a store and felt as if you had entered a different world, or stepped inside your favorite story? Watch this video for a taste of what we’re up at the Barefoot Books Oxford Studio, a wonderful place full of vibrant colours, fun events, stories that spark the imagination and artisan gifts for all ages. We welcome your comments any comments and suggestions you may have about what family activities you would love to see take place at our Studio.

Every November, the BBC’s charity, Children in Need, is at the centre of a nationwide fundraising campaign on behalf of disadvantaged children. Children in Need’s vision is to ensure that every child in the UK is safe, happy, secure and able to fulfil their potential. Friday was national ‘Children in Need’ day. At Barefoot Books, north Oxford, we had our first fund-raising storython; a ‘pay to add a sentence’ creative storywriting contest, and utterly irresistible spotty sock biscuits on sale in the Storytellers’ Cafe. We added in face-painting here, and a little African drumming there and everyone had a lot of fun! See below for a glimpse of some of our antics.

engagement dress

Now that our Oxford Studio is up and running, we’d like to share with you some of the unique products and services we offer at our new location. We asked Louisa Maybury*, who sells an eclectic mix of ethnic pieces from South Asia in the Studio, to tell us a little more about herself and her products. In her words…

This past Saturday, we hosted the grand launch party of the new Barefoot Books World Atlas at our Oxford Studio. Author and explorer Nick Crane was there to share stories from his many travels, sign books and let some very lucky kids try on his hat collection from countries around the world. And on top of all that, there was a very special and delicious Barefoot Books World Atlas cake! For those of you who weren’t able to be there, here’s a look at the festivities!

…who would you be? This was the question we asked the guests who came to our launch party earlier this month. We invited the wonderful Sophie Herxheimer to paint everyone’s vision of themselves. Sophie sat talking, listening and painting from 7.00pm til 11.00pm, by which time she had created over 30 remarkable pieces of work. Here are some of the results. Puck is my older son, Francis, and I chose to be the fairy godmother in Cinderella. Who would you be, and why?

We have had a hectic half-term week in the Oxford Studio.  Thank you to everyone who has come along to enjoy the many performances that were on offer, to browse and buy our books and to savour the many treats in the Storyteller’s Cafe. A special thank you to Amanda Morley, of the Phil & Jim Puppet Theatre Company, who adapted ‘The Drummer Boy’ from The Barefoot Book of Indian Tales to mark the festival of Divaali.