Paid collaboration with Librio and Y Goeden, Yr Allwedd & Fi
As the third child and second son, Littlest lives in a world of hand-me-downs. The majority of his clothes, toys and books were once owned by his older siblings. Some of his belongings are even fourth or fifth hand, having been previously used by older cousins and friends before his siblings.
So when I presented him not just with a new picture book that was his and his alone but also featured him in the story he was thrilled. “That’s my name!” he said pointing to the cover.
A magical adventure story – Y Goeden, Yr Allwedd & Fi
The book in question is called Y Goeden, Yr Allwedd & Fi – a Welsh-language picture book that translates as The Tree, The Key and Me (and indeed if you don’t speak Welsh there’s an English-language version available too… not to mention other languages).
It’s a charming and magical story personalised to feature your child in the central role. Just like Littlest, the child in the story loves playing outside and dreaming of magical adventures. One day he (or she depending on how you personalise the book) finds a magic key that takes him on an adventure where he discovers the forest is losing its colour because the old witch who usually keeps the forest safe keeps getting her spells wrong.
Along the way our hero meets a host of characters including a squirrel and a bear and discovers why the forest is so important to so many creatures. He helps solves the problem of why the witch’s spells are going wrong and is even rewarded with a ride back home on a flying dragon.
It’s a heart-warming tale with themes such as friendship, being brave and problem-solving intertwined throughout. We’ve read it many times now and Littlest really loves listening to it and often recites the words along with me.
The illustrations are hand-drawn and contain such lovely detail. We are always noticing new things when we read the book.
I was also really impressed with the quality of the paper and the matt finish to the pages. I’d read online that the books are printed on high quality 100% recycled FSC certified paper and printed with award-winning sustainable printers the Pureprint Groups but until I’d had the book in my hand I didn’t appreciate what a lovely texture the pages would have.
Personalise the main character to look like your child
What I really loved about this book is what a central role your child plays in the story. They are the main character and central to every element of the plot. Littlest loved seeing himself going on a magical adventure.
There are great options online to ensure the character in the book resembles your child. The website is so easy to use with options to personalise your child’s name as well as gender, skin tone, hair and eye colour, hairstyle and colour of glasses (if applicable). You can see a preview of how he or she will look so you can continue through the different options until you find the perfect combination.
Easy to order online
The book was so simple to order online. A few clicks and I had personalised it with Littlest’s name and appearance. You can add a dedication at the front of the book or use the one already supplied. This is a lovely touch if the book is a special gift. You can even preview the book online to make sure you’re happy with the story.
Once you’ve ordered your book, it sits in a print queue for 10 hours which gives you time to double-check for errors and make any changes. It’s then printed in the UK (it can be posted worldwide) and dispatched within three working days. Ours arrived three days after ordering in a discreet brown cardboard envelope, meaning if it was ordered as a surprise little eyes would not be able to get a sneak peek.
The book is published by a Swiss company called Librio. They realised that all children’s books there are published in High German, a variant of the language even more different to Swiss German than the Queen’s English is to Glaswegian. Librio wanted parents to be able to read their children a book in the language which they use every day – rather than a language prescribed by the publishing companies – and so decided to publish their books in nine Swiss dialects. No book had ever been published in more than one dialect before.
Following this success Librio looked further a field and the book is currently available in 18 languages and dialects, including UK and US English, French, German, Swiss, Italian, Spanish – and Welsh.
Great for children in Welsh-medium education
All three of my children are in Welsh-medium education and although I speak some Welsh it is very rusty and we are not a Welsh-speaking household. I do however make a real effort to read my children Welsh stories so that they can hear the language outside of school and improve their vocabulary and comprehension.
Although the book is aimed predominately at three to six year olds, my older two children (eight and seven) were just as enchanted by the tale featuring their little brother.
The book was translated into Welsh by Manon Steffan Ros, a renowned Welsh author who has also translated children’s books by David Walliams.
To help those parents who are learning Welsh, Librio provides a handy translation with Welsh language orders. This printed sheet has the story in English so parent and child can follow the book in both languages or check the meaning of any unfamiliar words.
The language used has more of a North Walian tone with words such as o instead of the South Walian e and rwan instead of nawr but the vocabulary is age-appropriate and Littlest understood it all. My seven-year-old who is currently in year two did a good job of reading parts of the book by himself so this is definitely a book that will grow with your child and last a few years.
A company with a heart
It’s not a cheap purchase at £19.99 for the soft back and £27.99 for the hardback version – but for a special gift for a birthday, Christmas or other occasion it’s a beautiful keepsake.
Plus you are also supporting a small independent company with a really ethical ethos.
For every book sold, Librio plant a tree with Trees for the Future.
And as of 1 November 2018 for every book ordered Librio donate another to roomtoread.org So not only are you buying a beautiful keepsake gift for a special child in your life but you’re also helping to break the cycle of illiteracy and poverty around the world with the expertise of a charity that has helped over 20 million children in the last 20 years.
Y Goeden, Yr Allwedd & Fi by Librio Books costs £19.99 for the soft back version and £27.99 for the hardback. Get a 15% discount when ordering two or more books by using the code YAY15. Order online here.