world atlas barefoot books

***COMPETITION CLOSED*** and the winner is Rollercoaster Mum

With 204 countries competing in the 2012 Summer Olympics and 165 countries in the Paralympics, there are many important and fun things to teach children that go far beyond the speed at which a human can run, the awe of a gymnast performing multiple flips on a four-inch wide beam, and the number of paces a horse needs to take in order to successfully clear a high jump.

Leah Lessner from Barefoot Books advises 5 ways to spark children’s imaginations with the many multicultural aspects of the Olympics and Paralympics.

1.  Enjoy some food from the country of your child’s favorite Olympic athlete.

2.   Have a World Atlas app or book handy while you watch the games and learn one fun fact about each country in the competition.

3.  Make flags representing the countries competing in your child’s favorite competition.

4.  Get out that world map and mark it with medal counts as you watch the Olympics and Paralympics together.

5. Learn the capital cities of the countries of the athletes participating in your child’s favorite Olympic and Paralympic sport.

world atlas barefoot books

New atlas app for children aims to help boost geographic knowledge

With the Olympics well underway, many children don’t have a clue where to find the UK on a map, let alone other competitors’ home nations.  Knowledge of basic geography in classrooms is at an all-time low with one in four British children even unaware what an atlas is.

Barefoot Books has launched a new iPhone app designed to help improve knowledge of the planet, the Barefoot World Atlas is a magical 3D globe that offers hours of fun, allowing users to explore more than 700 countries and regions in the world.

Written by BBC presenter Nick Crane, the Barefoot World Atlas takes children on a thrilling educational adventure as they explore the globe and discover fascinating facts about the regions and countries of the world, immersing themselves in the diverse cultures and natural beauty of our planet.

Research amongst 6-10 year old British children revealed:

  • Almost half of children (48 per cent) have been to Spain by the age of ten and 42 per cent have visited France
  • Nearly one in two of the respondents polled (45 per cent) could not pinpoint Spain on a map
  • Over a third (36 per cent) could not find France
  • 41 per cent of the children did not know that the UK was in Europe
  • Just over half (51 per cent) were unable to find Germany.

world atlas europe - barefoot books

The universal edition of Barefoot World Atlas is available now for a limited period at the new special price of UK £2.49 / US $4.99 / €2.99 from the Apple iTunes App Store (see <— REALLY cool link

Win a copy of the Barefoot World Atlas on Mari’s World

You can win a copy of the Barefoot World Atlas here on Mari’s World, please state in the comment box below whether you would prefer an app or a hard copy with an email/Twitter handle so I can contact you, here’s details on how to win

  • Like Barefoot Books on Facebook
  • Write on the Barefoot Books wall ‘I want to win a World Atlas via Mari’s World’
  • Tweet ‘I want to win a @liveBarefoot World Atlas @Maris_world’
  • Leave a comment below stating whether you’d prefer a hard copy or an app


Like Mari’s World on Facebook

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Terms and condition

  • The prize is one hard copy of Barefoot World Atlas OR one copy of the app version.
  • The competition closes on 11th September at 12 midnight.
  • The winner will be drawn at random from all valid entries.
  • The winner will be contacted via email or twitter on 12th September.
  • There is no cash alternative.

photo on facebookSometimes on Facebook something really nice comes up and I share it so others may feel what I felt looking at that photo or reading that piece be it funny, sad or heartfelt but this piece I really loved and I wanted to share it but keep it too, so I’m adding it to my online diary so the day I am old and grey I can look back and read and be inspired by the Old Cranky Man.

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.
Later, when the nurses were going through his meagre possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.
One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.
And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.

Cranky Old Man

What do you see nurses? What do you see?
What are you thinking when you’re looking at me?

A cranky old man, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his food and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice ‘I do wish you’d try!’

Who seems not to notice the things that you do.
And forever is losing a sock or shoe?

Who resisting or not lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding the long day to fill?

Is that what you’re thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes nurse you’re not looking at me.

I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.

I’m a small child of ten with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters who love one another

A young boy of Sixteen with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now a lover he’ll meet.

A groom soon at twenty my heart gives a leap.
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.

At twenty-five, now I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide  and a secure happy home.

A man of thirty my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other with ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me to see I don’t mourn.

At fifty, once more babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me my wife is now dead.
I look at the future I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing young of their own.
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.

I’m now an old man and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles grace and vigour depart.
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass a young man still dwells,
And now and again my battered heart swells

I remember the joys I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living life over again.

I think of the years, all too few gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people open and see.
Not a cranky old man
Look closer see ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within we will all, one day, be there, too!

The best and most beautiful things of this world can’t be seen or touched.
They must be felt by the heart

An embarrassingly long time ago Bloomsbury sent me through two books to review and after waiting all this time I have figured I am not the best person to review books, not because I don’t like them but because I simply don’t have any reading time in my day anymore.

That’s where holidays come in to play and our Holiday in France was no exception, whilst the girls were in and out of the pool all day long I finally could enjoy reading. I always pack about three books for a fortnight’s break and weather permitting + girls amusing themselves I usually manage to complete all three.

Seeing as everyone is talking about the 50 shades book right now, I thought it would be a good idea to propose two lesser talked about books on the run up to the hols that you might like to slip into your bag.

Lucky break - Esther Freud

Lucky Break – Esther Freud

This book tells the tale of a group of students on their first day at drama school. It follows their progress through the school and their lives outside school in the real world where trying to be an actor is an incredibly difficult road to choose. It describes very well the different personalities of the group and how the more ambitious, focused members get where they want whereas others less confident and insecure struggle to follow their dreams.

An easy read and an interesting story to follow, Esther Freud spins her tale which has quite an obvious ending and I did find myself skipping chunks of paragraphs to get on with the story. Nice to read about Drama school students for a change and their struggles in life.

A couple of times I felt myself wanting to take the story in a different direction having believed certain elements would come together and they didn’t. A couple of times I came across totally unexpected parts of the story that whilst gripping never went anywhere.

A good easy read for the holiday sun lounger

Abdication - Juliet Nicolson

Abdication – Juliet Nicolson

This book has a gorgeous cover and talks about the infamous abdication of George V which is a subject that interests me. I was expecting to gain a story of inside knowledge, for example written from the view of a close friend of Mrs Simpson maybe? Or maybe the King’s secretary? I couldn’t wait to start this book.

However, the story is about a young 19 year old, May who travels from Barbados to start a new life in the UK. She takes up work for the Chief Whip of the Conservative government as secretary and chauffeuse and is privy to many goings on in the palace in this role.

Another character in the book is the rather large, put-your-foot-in-it Miss Nettlefold. She is an old schoolfriend of Mrs Simpson and still a spinster trying her hand at love and failing miserably. She spends much time with the King and Mrs Simpson and learns a lot about them, she’s not the best secret bearer especially when chatted up by a man.

A good story that touches on the era and the life and times of Great Britain pre second world war however the title had led me to think I’d be reading more about what actually happened between the couple as if I was a fly on the wall looking in.

I hate to be negative about books but neither really swept me off my feet although they were pleasant to read. I hate saying that about someone who has worked incredibly hard for possibly two years or more at perfecting her manuscript. As writing a novel has been a long standing dream of mine I can see how difficult it is to keep readers gripped and page turning.

However, both books were satisfactory summer holiday reads and if that’s what you’re looking for then these will certainly entertain you for sure

One of my favourite moments of the day is story time, it’s the end of the day, I’ve often got a headache and am exhausted but NOTHING will stop me from reading our daily stories together.

As you can imagine we’ve got quite a collection of books now but as the girls are getting a little bit older they are crying out for new titles so when Barefoot Books got in touch asking me if I’d like to review some of their books I jumped at the chance.

In fact our books arrived just in time for our Siblu holiday so I popped them in the suitcase for another ‘new’ activity to share together.

The titles we were sent were My Mama, The Real Princess and The Prince’s Bedtime and out of all three I cannot pick a favourite as they are all utterly gorgeous.

My Mama Earth

My Mama

This hardback book is beautifully illustrated, there aren’t many words, just clear, short phrases that allow the mind to wander the page and soak in the beauty of the colours and imagine which is such an important part of childhood. Each page has the figure of ‘mama’ hidden somewhere, a little boy and a cat, the rest of the page reflects the phrase.

I found this book particularly calming and reassuring and have enjoyed reading it to the girls immensely. We study each page searching for mama, the boy and the cat before turning over and then we have a good look at everything else on the page.

My vote 10/10

Real princess


The Real Princess

Adorable story of a prince and his two brothers searching for their princess. Two brothers are happy with the first Princess they find but the oldest prince can’t find his Real Princess at all so his mother steps in to help with a lot of mattresses and a few of her golden peas. He manages to find a Real Princess and everyone lives happily ever after.

Fun. Again beautifully illustrated, lots of numbers and items to count in this book, 9 mattresses, 5 peas, 3 maids and so on and a princess story that has captured my girl’s hearts. This book also comes with a CD so they could listen to it on their own if they wanted to

My vote 10/10

Princes Bedtime


The Prince’s Bedtime

If you have trouble settling your little one of a night this is the book for you! Here we have a Prince who won’t/can’t fall asleep so his dad, the King calls upon his kingdom for help and droves of people turn up to help the prince sleep but all sadly fail. Until a little old lady appears with a very clever idea that works.

A fun book with a brilliant story that delight’s children’s hearts. They adore all the fun and commotion in the palace but appreciate the calm at the end of the book when the prince eventually falls asleep.

Again fabulous illustration and a CD to listen to too.

My vote 10/10

Barefoot Books

The illustration used in these books is as important as the story itself and in each of the three books I have reviewed the pictures and colours are stunning. I shall certainly be buying more, in fact Barefoot Books have set up a special reader discount for Mari’s World readers,

We have set up a special reader discount for you, offering 20% off all our books! They simply have to follow this link to our site, navigate to the shop and purchase the books. The URL automatically detects the code and gives the discount. The promotion will run until June 30.

If you are interested then please do take advantage and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Barefoot books also have an ambassador scheme which gives parents a way to earn income or fundraise for their child’s school by selling children’s books. Check out this link for details on how to make 30% on every book sold:

For some free digital content for family fun including storytime podcasts and animated videos featuring some of the best of Barefoot Books. You can check them out at:

·         Barefoot Books Podcast:  (also on iTunes)

·         Fun digital videos: (under Crafts and Activities, left-hand side, also on YouTube)

·         Barefoot Books Blog:

Hinterland Caroline Brothers BloomsburyIt’s such a marvellous thing to be able to finally snatch back some reading time for myself and after reading Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother for Bloomsbury they invited me to choose another book to read so with my Italian trip looming, airport departure lounge, flight and no twins for 2 days it would be the perfect time to read.

I chose Hinterland by Caroline Brothers and waited with anticipation to see if I had chosen a good book or not. There is nothing worse than sitting down for a good read only to find the book doesn’t grab you, in my opinion and with my reading time so limited I have to get it right.

I wasn’t disappointed, Hinterland was gripping from start to finish and a book I will bend over backwards to recommend to any bookworm out there.

Caroline Brothers weaves a controversial tale of immigrants trying to reach the UK escaping from their own war stricken countries and in search of a better life. A subject that is loudly heard all over our country, ‘We’ve got too many immigrants here!’ ‘Send them all back to where they came from!’ ‘We don’t have any more room, infrastructures…’ basically we don’t want them here, when we read in the media that families of 12 are living in mansions in Chelsea costing the tax payer millions of pounds we get angry with the whole situation. We’re not a nasty population but our country is small and we are in financial difficulty up and down the land and more importantly we will not suffer any lazybones or people who come her to purposely get as much as they can from our state without doing nothing in return.

A subject close to many I assume.

Hinterland is the story of two young brothers who have lost their parents in Afghanistan and watched them die, bombed in front of them. They have no one and have been advised to go to the UK where they will be able to go to school and live a normal life again. The story is seen through their innocent eyes as they cross the vast lands that stretch between our countries, as we pass the interminable months they must wait before they can move on and encounter the dangers as they come across you cannot but feel warmth in your heart for the older brother Aryan as he looks after his younger 8 year old brother Kabir so diligently during their treacherous journey.

One of my favourite quotes from the book at a particularly poignant moment is –

‘I wish there were a way to turn back time and bring back all the people who died,’ Aryan says. ‘Well not all of them, not the bad ones. Just some.’

A deep fraternal relationship where the older brother is forced into a parental situation. An exhausting journey where the children battle extreme cold, heat, violence and exhaustion, where the hunger never leaves them for one moment and where they are ignored by everyone apart from the police who are surprisingly vicious every time.

A beautiful story that really makes you question your thoughts and feelings on this matter and makes you realise that sadly this is real, it is actually happening out there and we too often turn our heads the other way.

10/10 is my vote on this book, if you see it buy it. Hinterland by Caroline Brothers published by Bloomsbury

Disclosure – I was sent this book to read, I was not asked to write a review but I did because I really enjoyed this book and all of the above is my thoughts and opinions