The tradition of writing meets the future of publishing at Johns Books ASP

Johns Books ASP evolved from John Hampton’s hands on approach to life. Compared to the rigmarole and red tape of large publishing houses making connections with local printers and getting the job done independently seemed far less aggravating. This means all profits go directly to the artist behind the work instead of bloated marketing budgets and middlemen. For the future of publishing to remain democratic more independent publishers are to be championed!

Tips for reading with babies under 1

As a literary champion and paediatrician, Dr Alyson Shaw believes it’s never too early to start reading with your kids. But while a toddler will hang on your every word (and if you miss a word, you’ll be sure to know!), it’s not always easy to know whether you’re engaging your newborn or child under the age of 1.

Dr Shaw began from birth with her eldest daughter – now a teen and, of course, a bookworm. Rather – her husband did. “As I was navigating the transition to full time milk supplier, my husband found that what he could give our baby, apart from clean diapers, was storytime,” she writes in a recent article on the Huffington Post. “By the time her umbilical stump had fallen off, they had finished Harry Potter, everything by Barbara Reid, and fifteen rounds of One Gray Mouse.”

As you may have experienced, and as Dr Shaw points out, in those very early days, your child may not offer much encouraging feedback.”But at birth an infant’s vision is focused enough to see her parent’s gaze from breastfeeding distance, and it was often clear that she was studying our faces as we spoke, sang, and read to her,” she says. “Newborns can recognize their mother’s speech patterns at birth, too, and she would pause in her sucking, as if to say, “I’m listening. Tell me more.”


We’d all love to raise readers, and we’re becoming increasingly aware of the importance of doing so, but if you’re struggling to engage your newborn or young baby with books, these tips may help.

  • Babies under 7 months react to the best bookstore for kids with little to no text. An ideal board book for children aged under 1 would include one object per page – you will find as they become older (between 7 months and 1 year) hearing something they recognise will reinforce their vocabulary.


  • Choose books with high contrast, bright and bold illustrations to capture their attention. Babies under 6 months will respond particularly well to black and white books -black and white images with sharp outlines are much easier for a baby to see in the first few months of life when it is hard for them to focus, and hard for them to differentiate colour.


  • Opt for books with manipulatives (lift-the-flap, puppets and peepholes). Research suggests that giving a young child opportunities to get involved in book reading by unfolding pages and lifting flaps may aid engagement and interest.


  • Remember to use the tone of your voice to inject animation into the book. As well as repeating the book over and over again, try using the same voices, each and every time.


  • Don’t replace reading time with screen time – something Dr Shaw is passionate about. “In my clinic, it’s infrequent that a parent shows up with a book in their diaper bag, though I try to ensure they all leave with one,” she says. “What most parents do have is a hand-held screen. I’ve even seen babies with their own smart phone MacGyvered to their pacifier lanyard. While these devices haven’t been around long enough for us to know their long term effects on young children, it’s clear that the best Facebook for babies is their parent’s face and a favourite book.”


  • Finally – and most importantly – cuddle your child whilst reading to them – in these early months, reading is much more about reinforcing the bond between parent and child than it is about raising a reader.

What’s New in 2018

Scraptastic Summer of Style
There are some big things happening at RPS in 2011. This summer is going to be full of amazing, fun, crafty things for everyone! Here is just a taste of what is to come:


We love fun, we love style and we love being happy here at Readers Feast. These projects are put together by the creative team here at Readers Feast and are exclusive to us, and us alone. Pick one up today and discover what makes each and every project kit so special!

Book Kits
These packets contain all the bits and pieces (plus instructions) that you need to make some amazingly inspiring books! Mix and match, make what you want and never get lost along the way! Perfect for those special craft nights or just for a bit of fun on the weekend.


Copic Classes
Amazingly popular, Copic book allow you to add your very own spunky personalised artwork to your special creations. Draw, colour and airbrush through all of our brand new classes next year!


New Stationery Ranges
It’s amazing that even after being around for so long, Reader Feast is still re-inventing itself and staying on the edge of style and spunk all year round. Nothing will say this more than the new ranges coming out at Reader Feast this January, so get ready for the latest fash in 2018!


Be sure to glue yourself to the Readers Feast website each week to find out what new, exciting and amazing things we are bringing out!

The whole team at Readers Feast would like to wish you a very merry Christmas, an exceptionally happy new year and a safe holiday season! We all look forward to seeing you for even more excitement in the new year!

Introducing our Mum’s Book Club

Let’s face it, if you want to raise a reader, there’s a good chance you love a good read yourself, am I right? Yet, if you’re anything like us over at Readers Feast HQ, you don’t always give yourself the time to sit down and enjoy a good book. There’s the washing to do, tomorrow’s sandwiches to prepare, the toys to put away, and all this after a full day at the office…

If this sounds like you, or someone you know, we’d like to introduce you to our latest subscription box: our Readers Feast Mum’s Club Box. Available for a one, three or six month subscription, each box contains a new women’s fiction book for you to read, love and keep, as well as everything you need to unwind and relax, and create space in your day for reading. The Readers Feast Mum’s Club Box is now available to buy on our website, and will be sent out with the regular (and first ever!) Readers Feast boxes in April 2016. We’re beyond excited.

Whilst this new product is targeted very much at women, we know you Dads like to read too and, as we grow, we promise we’ll start looking at ways to serve you as best we can. Please bear with us. For now, Dads, you’ll have to make do with indulging your partner’s reading habit – a happy wife is a happy life, after all.

Which box should I choose for my child?

When is comes to placing your order with Readers Feast, we’re often asked which subscription is best for your child. It’s right up there with, “Do we get to keep the books?!” (Answer: “Yes! Yes you do!”).

At Readers Feast, we offer three subscription box services for children (plus an increasingly popular box of books for mums and other carers with a passion for women’s fiction!). These are based on the reading ages 0-2; 3-5; and 6-7.

To answer which box is right for your child, let me tell you a little about how we go about selecting the books for each box.

Each month, we’re sent advance copies of books for review, as well as details of all the new titles being published in the coming months from publishers around Australia. Typically, each book is assigned a recommended reading age – for example, it may be designed for children aged between 1-2, or for newborns, or for those aged 4-7. This recommendation has been made by the publisher, and we certainly take this into account when assigning books to each age category.

It’s also important for us to select appropriately formatted books for each age category. For example, a board book is appropriate for a 0-2 -year-old, but not for a 6-7-year old. Similarly, a paperback book with only a few illustrations is not the right choice for a newborn.

So, what can you expect from each box?

0-2-year olds: This box is designed for children from newborn to two years old. The box will include picture or board books, lullabies, lift-the-flap and beautifully illustrated books. Reading at this age is less about the story, and more about establishing a beautiful routine of reading aloud with your child.

Example books: Blocks; Doodle Cat; Wee Gallery Board Books: Safari; Noisy Farm; Australian Lullaby

3-5-year-olds: Designed for your inquisitive toddler, this box includes books that have been chosen for their stories and illustrations. You will find books which touch on interesting themes, often featuring faultless rhyme to encourage your child to engage in the words and story.

Example books: Go Home Cheeky Animals; Let’s Play; Blue and Bertie; Gorilla Loves Vanilla

6-7-year-olds: Your 6-7-year-old will be starting to enjoy reading themselves. You will find a mix of books in this box either designed to read together, or for your child to begin reading aloud (with your help!).

Example books: What Do Grown Ups Do All Day; Milo; Rockhopping

But what if you have a two-and-a-half-year-old who loves their books? Or a five-year-old who’s less inquisitive. Which box is right for them?

There is always going to be some cross over and some exceptions to the rule. Ultimately, you know your child best, and we can only give guidance based on the recommended reading age of each book. A two-and-a-half-year-old with a thirst for books will devour our toddler box, whereas a six-year-old who’s only just discovering books may also be best suited to our 3-5-year old box. Rest assured, there is an option for everyone, and if you have any questions, all your have to do is ask. You can always email us at or drop us a message via Facebook or Instagram.

eGuestbook Benefits

Flexible Usage

Any event needs an eGuestbook unit. It allows your guests to give you a truly unique and diverse outlook of your night. The unit not only provides you with still imagery but also eBooks, making eGuestbook a truly versatile addition to your event. Like nothing you have seen before, it is set up with minimal effort and floor space, using only a table.

How it works?

A staff member brings out the unit prior to the start of your event, straight to your venue, sets it up and away you go! The staff member will stay at your event all throughout the booked time – which is included in the cost, to ensure everything runs smoothly throughout the required time. Normal usage is from anywhere from 5 – 7 hours, however we know you and your guests will still want more. Setting up the unit not too far away from your guests with only power required, we suggest your MC along with our attendant, encourages all guests to use the unit, so you get the most value.

What else can I get?

An album with a twist. Photos that your guests have taken can be embodied into an album in eBooks for you which you can create a perfect bookstore to revisit time and time again. We can also provide the original photos to your photographer to incorporate into the album they provide. Prompting cards are also available, which we leave on every table, in an effort to remind people to utilise eGuestbook. Additional hours, and extended online web gallery duration is also available.

What do you and your guests get?

Included in the package is the unedited and professionally edited eBooks of your guests Books messages, which is set to music of your choice. These same eBooks which are all high definition quality, are printed on the night for your guests on the night all free of charge, along with a login to our website if they want reprints or enlargements for themselves. You are also provided your own login to our web gallery with all the imagery and videos shown if you would like to upload them to Facebook or YouTube.

Are the eBooks and Videos mine?

Yes all eBooks and videos taken on the night are fully copyrighted to yourself. Almost all of the packages will keep all eBooks and videos up on your own web gallery within our website for 3 months – unless you want it up for more! Within the 3 months, you and your guests can upload all content to Facebook or YouTube, and order reprints and enlargements. Don’t forget you also get the professionally edited DVD of all the eBooks and videos from the night, as well as a USB with all the unedited footage. After the standard 3 months, all content is deleted off our server.

Review: Rockhopping by Trace Balla

Trace Balla’s intricate illustrations in Rockhopping – the companion title to last year’s Rivertime – immediately draw you into what is a delightful story of adventure and discovery.

Aimed at readers aged between 5 and 10, Rockhopping tells the tale of 10-year-old Clancy who, having travelled by canoe along the Glenelg River in Rivertime along with his Uncle Egg, now has a thirst for adventure. In Rockhopping, Clancy has set his sites on hiking to the source of the river in Gariwerd (The Grampians).

Such an adventure demands fierce training, and Clancy is set to task by his Uncle, skipping the bus to school in favour of walking with a backpack full of baked beans. After several weeks, Clancy is ready, and he and Uncle Egg begin packing for five days in the wilderness.

Throughout their journey, Clancy and his Uncle encounter a wild array of native Australian wildlife, flora and fauna. Theirs is a story of swimming in ponds and camping in caves that is bound to inspire young adventurers to get outside and explore themselves.

The journey is depicted alonsgside detailed illustrations, and can be read together at once or poured over for hours. This is a beautiful book that nature lovers and adventurers are bound to fall in love with.

Rockhopping was published by Allen and Unwin in April 2016. It was featured in our April BookWormz box for ages 6-7.

What makes a child a frequent reader?

We all know the positive influence reading can have on literacy and academic outcomes. However, research is also telling us that Australian children’s literacy performance is in decline.* So how can we raise a child who devours their books? How can we go about raising a nation of readers?

Late last year, children’s book pubishers Scholastic, in conjunction with YouGov, conducted a survey to explore family attitudes and behaviours in Australia around reading books for fun. Known as the Australian Kids and Family Reading Report, the research engaged nearly 2,000 individuals, including parents of children aged between 0 and 17.

The survey revealed that there are three dynamics that are among the most powerful predictors of reading frequency for children age between 6 and 16. These are:

– how often a child is read books aloud;
– a child’s reading enjoyment;
– and child’s understanding of their reading level.

For those aged between 6 and 11, additional predictors included parental involvement in encouraging reading, and how early they started being read books aloud, whereas for children aged between 12 and 17, having parents who were frequent readers was flagged as an influencer.

Clearly, as parents, there are a number of things we can be actively doing to encourage our children to become frequent readers – defined as those who read books for fun 5–7 days a week.

We can start by setting a good example. Have books accessible around the home, and let your children see you reading – and enjoying it.

We can read aloud to our children, every day, from as young an age as possible, introducing them to a wide range of books and stories through visits to the library, bookstore, and subscription book services.

Most importantly, perhaps, we can ensure this reading time is fun, engaging and never ever forced.