How to become a bookworm + Wintry reads for 8-12 year olds

We got chatting all things books with Kate & Libby, founders of Tales by Mail, and asked them for their top tips for fostering a love of reading and their recommendations for perfect wintry books to devour with a cup of tea!


Dear Small and Wild fans,

Allow us to introduce ourselves… we are Kate & Libby – book-lovers, tea-drinkers and the founders of Tales by Mail: a book subscription box and podcast for adventurous young readers!

Our friends at Small and Wild have invited us along today to tell you a bit more about Tales by Mail, the joys of being a bookworm and to recommend some great wintery reads. 

So, if you’re sitting comfortably, let us begin!


Tales by Mail is the ultimate gift for bookworms, aged 8-12. Every other month a bright orange box (resembling a giant book) will arrive on the doorstep of your young book-lover… Inside they will discover two brilliant new reads, signed author bookplates and letters, activities to engage and themed gifts. Plus, they’ll be able to tune into our podcast with author interviews, school book group chats & reading recommendations.

two women holding books

Each box has a fun theme, uniting the two featured reads! Some of our themes to date include: Mansion House Mysteries, Off the Map, Magic Menageries and Whimsical Worlds.

Our memberships include pay-as-you-go (our bi-monthly subscriptions) and prepay options for multiple boxes. We also have Sibling Subscriptions for households with more than one young bookworm.

Find out more at:

Small and Wild fans can enjoy a 10% discount on any Tales by Mail membership by entering the code SMALLANDWILD10 at the checkout.


We’ve both been obsessed with reading since we were children. We think books are great because:

  • They allow us to discover new worlds, meet exciting characters and embark on adventures that transport us far beyond our favourite reading spots.

  • They help us understand others! Sometimes it's tricky to empathise with another person who might be totally different to you, books allow us to get into the heads of strangers and see their points of view!

  • Reading is relaxing! It quiets our minds and bodies and gives us a break from a fast-paced world.

  • Reading comes doctor recommended! Studies have shown that children who read are more likely to grow up to be high achievers and that being a bookworm is great for your mental health.

We were inspired to set up Tales by Mail because – as former booksellers – we saw so many busy parents struggling to find the right books for their children. We knew, from personal experience, just how important it is to get not just any book – but BRILLIANT books - into the hands of young readers, to help nurture their love of books and create a new generation of imaginative, adventurous, empathetic bookworms. 

girl holding pile of book subscription boxes


-        Read with them: Sharing books is a bonding experience and can be enormous fun when it’s a family affair. Embrace silly voices, throw in some props if you like, make reading an enjoyable and interactive experience. 

-        Chat to them about books: Book groups don’t need huge crowds. Chat to your kids about what they’re reading like you would talk about a TV programme, or what they did with their friends at school. Ask them about the characters, their favourite bits, what they would do if they were a character in their book, what might happen in a sequel… it doesn’t matter what you ask, just get them chatting!

-        Take them to a bookshop (when COVID restrictions allow!): Let them browse, select their own books and talk to friendly booksellers about what they might like.

-        Treat them to a Tales by Mail subscription 😉 What could be more fun than a surprise parcel in the post? Our books are carefully chosen to be inspiring, imaginative and well-written, meaning your bookworms are guaranteed to get brilliant reads. Plus our activities, podcast and online community helps engage and nurture their love of reading!  


We love discovering new books to share with our members. You can find out about some of our previous Tales by Mail picks on the Past Boxes page of our website: Or, if you’d like reading recommendations for your book-lovers sent straight to your inbox, make sure you join our mailing list (you can do so at the bottom of any page on our website).

Now though, we’ll leave you with a list of fabulously frosty books to transport your book-lovers to magical lands. Best devoured with a lovely cup of Small & Wild tea!   

5 wintry reads for 8-12 yr olds

1 | North Child by Edith Pattou 

2 | Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman 

3 | The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club by Alex Bell 

4 | The Snow Merchant by Sam Gayton 

5 | The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave


Kate & Libby x