This month sees the release of the wonderful Small Talk board books: Small Talk Bedtime and Small Talk At the Park created by Nicola Lathey, an award winning speech therapist and Tracey Blake, a top London journalist. We asked Nicola to tell us more about these speech boosting baby books to get your little ones babbling away!  

I am extremely passionate about the early years of language development, especially the first 18 months of life. Most people think that the fun only begins when a baby utters their first words but that couldn't be further from the truth.  Communication begins in the womb when babies settle to the sound of their mother's voice.  Their first vocal communication is crying and parents learn to identify what each type of cry means. At around 8 weeks, a baby starts to make vocalisations and parents can 'join in' with their conversation using 'The Art of Turn Taking' - the parent and baby taking turns to 'talk' to each other.

Babbling begins at 5 months and babies go through 3 stages of babbling, continuous babble 'ga ga ga ga', variegated babble 'ah da' or 'bah ga' and conversational babble which sounds like the baby is speaking a in a foreign language, before first word appear at around 12 to 14 months.

When I became a mum I found very few baby books that tapped into the area between visually stimulating black and white patterned books and first word / sentence books, so I set out to write some, focusing on the baby's language development before 24 months. Hey presto – now we have 'At the Park' and 'Bedtime'. 

Small Talk Bedtime and Small Talk At the Park are follow-ups to Small Talk a parent guide to boosting speech and language skills from birth to four years. All three books are written by Nicola Lathey, an award winning speech therapist and Tracey Blake, a top London journalist.

Every page in Bedtime and At the Park is specially designed to encourage a baby to use a sound, a word or a sign.  The illustrations are hearty and bold, and the text is catchy and repetitive so that the baby gets hooked in to the rhythm of the story and begins to join in in whichever way they can.  The parent models the words, sounds and signs which they want the baby to copy.  This type of focus on communication unlocks the baby's desire want to communicate more which gives the baby the very best possible start in life. 

For more information on getting the most out of these books, watch our video below: