Our beloved Poppy puppet is the star of a newly-published series of Makaton signed stories. Using our 20+ years of personal and professional experience, we’ve created a unique set of books to help you and your child learn Makaton in a fun, child-centred way. You all know we are fans of doing this via rhymes & songs but we love doing the same through books and stories too.

What are the books about?

Poppy (along with friends Jack, Zack and Lola) will feature in our illustrated stories about going to the farm, the Zoo, the shops, the seaside and many other adventures. There will be a set of activity books to learn colours, the fingerspelling alphabet, counting, months and seasons. In addition, there will be a ‘Get started’ series of books within the range featuring around themes such as I see, I hear, I feel, I can, I go, and I like which feature a simple repetitive phrase format.

The books are full of all the vocabulary you’ll want to have at your fingertips – signs for toys, farm animals, jungle animals, bath time, bedtime, minibeasts, people who help us, going out and about and much more.

There are a WHOPPING 13 titles being released in June 2023, with a further 14 being released from July 2023 through to Spring 2024.

How can I learn all the signs for the story?

Each book will have a QR code inside for you to scan which will take you to a signing video to help you pre-learn all the signs you need for the story. The videos are presented by the two of us.

The videos will equip parents, carers, and other professionals, with the signs for the story.

We are all too aware that knowing what and how to sign is so often the barrier to picking up a book and signing with your little one. Our combined approach of a bespoke signing video with an illustrated book will help you master the necessary Makaton skills to support your child’s communication and literacy development.

Benefits of Signed Stories

Stories and books are a perfect vehicle to help learn and embed signing. Most importantly they help a child learn in a way that is both fun and motivating for them.


  • Shared reading experiences will assist with your child’s language development, literacy, and cognition skills. Our stories feature high frequency words required for daily interactions and we’ve ensured that they feature an abundance of key concepts from the Core Vocabulary (and the wider resource vocabulary too).


  • Each book in the Story Book collection is themed around an event or trip enabling you to introduce semantically linked vocabulary that has been weaved into a little story. We have endeavoured to include key elements of predictability, rhythm, repetition, and some humour too where possible.


  • Reading the books over and again will help build familiarity, engagement and increased interaction as your child’s confidence grows.


  • Sharing stories can help promote the development of two-way communication. You can boost this by utilising strategies such as pausing, waiting, pointing at elements in the illustrations together or allowing them to finish repetitive phrases. One of our books features farm animals sounds – this is a perfect opportunity to encourage your child to vocalise and join in with you making the funny sounds.


  • As the adult, you will benefit too. Reading stories and signing along is the ideal way to practise your signing, improve your fluency and concept recall.


  • By enjoying these books together, we hope your signing will extend from the books into daily life as you will become more accustomed to using Makaton yourself. The more you use signing at home (or in school), the more your child/ren will be exposed to Makaton and this will increase the likelihood of them acquiring and using the signs themselves.


  • And last but not least – there is something incredibly bonding about taking time out to enjoy a book together. Simply sitting down and enjoying a physical book where you turn the pages together and go through the story at your own pace. They will revel in hearing you read the story, using silly voices and facial expressions, and will learn and absorb signs naturally as they watch you modelling the language for them.

Illustrations by Happydesigner

We are thrilled to be working on this project with Sarah and Barry from award-winning illustration studio Happydesigner.  Super-talented Sarah Leigh-Wills is bringing our little friends to life and creating inclusive, diverse illustrations with a bold and visually engaging style for these titles.  Sarah is also responsible for the design & layout of the books and the creation of the logo, branding & marketing materials associated with this series.  Studio manager Barry is involved in project management of the series and has composed the new Signing Friends jingle too!

Collaboration with the Makaton Charity

We are also working with the Makaton Charity on this project. During 2023, the Charity will create resources featuring Makaton line drawings and symbols as extension activities for these books. These will be available to download from the Makaton website and will enable you and your child to practise the signs you’ve learnt from the books in exciting ways themed around each title.

On sale NOW!

The SIGNING FRIENDS books are available to order from the from the Singing Hands online shop. Please follow the Singing Hands social media pages and the Signing Friends social media pages for sneak peeks inside the books and more.  And why not sign up to our Newsletter here so you don’t miss any updates about the new titles being added to the collection from July 2023. And last but not least, don’t forget to tell your school, your libraries and local bookshops to stock these books too!