BOOKBLOG: Carrie Hope Fletcher

Beautifully written, heart-warming and made me ugly cry.

Just from the cover you can see that this is a love story. It’s a love story like none other. The premise is ‘Evie Snow has died and her soul is too heavy to pass through to the other side. So she has to rid herself of the secrets that are weighing her down before she gets to go to heaven’.  Being a Hopeful (as Carrie’s fans name themselves) I was so excited when I heard this book was coming out. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew I needed to read it.

There are things about this book that absolutely resonated with me. I loved the perspective that the story came from. Evie is a loveable female lead in this book. She is everything I think I aim to be. She’s a good soul. She’s the kind of character you want to be your friend, your sister, your mam and your grandma. I completely was Team Evie. I loved the other characters (not all of them, her mam annoyed me… but she was meant to!). They all brought so much, and so appropriately, to the story. None of them were overbearing. But they all had such special parts to play in the whole story. I loved Carrie’s writing style. Everything entwines with everything else to bring a rounded story, to bring you back to where it naturally should be. There are some absolutely incredible quotes which made me wish I had read it on my Kindle (so I could highlight them… I am not going to highlight my book!).

I laughed, I was shocked. I related to things that Evie felt. I related to things that the other characters felt. I ugly cried at the last page. It tugged at my heart strings. I loved it.

The story isn’t something I have read before. The characters I haven’t come across before either. It all worked so well. I could reread it and enjoy it just as much the second time. I will be recommending this to everyone I know now. If you’re not convinced then it’s still half price at Waterstones… so I think you should just buy it anyway!

Have any of you guys read this? What did you think? Were you happy with the ending?

Let me know! Tweet me (@eenalol) or comment below to let me know.

S x

 

Book bingo!

To infuse a bit of fun, a big of challenge and a bit of competition in reading I have come up with a few reading bingo/book bingo ideas. I will send these to the teachers at school to see if they’re any good… but I thought this would be a good place to share a few things I make.

Attached is a reading bingo sheet. The idea is that the children choose a book from one of the categories and when they have read and reviewed a book from that category they get to colour in/sign off in whatever way you choose that category. Once they have a line/a full house they would get a prize of some description…

Hope it’s of use to someone!

Reading bingo 1

Let me know if it’s any good! Tell me on twitter (@eenalol) or comment! Happy reading everyone!

Bookblog: Kiran Milwood-Hargrave

The Girl of Ink and Stars: just like stars it shines and astounds. 

I had seen lots on Twitter about this beautiful gem of a book. Just from the cover I saw that it was going to be a stand out book. (I know, I know, don’t judge a book by its cover, but c’mon look at it… it’s stunning!). I was super excited for it to come out, and I spent a lot of time talking to Kiran on twitter (@Kiran_MH) about it. The more I found out about it, the more excited I got. Then I was casually shopping in Waterstones and found it, pre-release date. I bought it instantly.

The book is about a young girl, Isabella, who is destined to stay on the island she lives. She dreams of visiting far off lands that her father had mapped as a cartographer. Then one day her friend disappears, so naturally she volunteers to be part of the search party. What she finds on her adventure is a world filled with seemingly true mythical monsters, with lands she never thought she would brave and she becomes more than just a rescuer, but a hero: she has to save the island she so wishes she could leave. 

So, I loved it. I know that younger me would have loved it too. Had it existed when I was a child, I would have thought it was the best thing in the world. I have recommended it to everyone. It is magical, mythical and majestic. Twists and turns, turmoil and tests. A beautifully written book, Kiran has an amazing way with words and writes such descriptive settings that you feel like you could be there. This book is one of those perfect examples of a time when people should consider that children’s books/YA books are better written than some adult books. The journey, the adventure, the narrative are so well done that you’re hooked from the first page. Not only the words but the way in which this book is illustrated. Much like other books I’ve read, this book provides me with another female protagonist who is likeable, badass and gutsy. She’s an excellent role model for girls.

This is one of those books I am absolutely going to use in the classroom. My teaching ideas will come in another blog post!

What do you guys think? Have you read this? Would you use it in the classroom? What would you do with it?

Tell me what you think! Comment or tweet me (@eenalol)!

S x

Photo credit: http://www.mrripleysenchantedbooks.com/2016/04/mr-ripleys-enchanted-books-kiran.html

The BFG

I grew up reading Roald Dahl and one of my favourites was absolutely The BFG. When I found out there was going to be a live action film version, I was a little worried. I always worry when there are going to the live action versions of books/animated films I love (Beauty and the Beast fears!). I’ve seen all the adverts for it and I’m quite looking forward to going to see it!

In the last term and a bit, Year 1 had had an amazing student Miss B and she had been reading The BFG to them at home time, so naturally I tried to uphold this tradition. One afternoon of covering I had a bit of spare time so I thought it would be nice to do some BFG related work. But what could I do?

We talked about dreams a bit and the children suggested that they fill a dream jar with some happy dreams that the BFG could take away with him to give to children who weren’t having very happy dreams. I was so touched. This was a lovely idea. After a quick spy on Twinkl (if you’re in education and you don’t know about Twinkl then please god get to know Twinkl, it’s amazing… but we’ll talk more about them in another blog post!) I found a blank dream jar… TADA! The children had an amazing time designing happy dreams to give to other children and it was an instant talking point when other people came in the classroom. Governors, the head, other teachers and other students were amazed. And the children loved the fact they had come up with the idea and I had gone with it. Sometimes it’s the little things!

Follow the link, log in and download the blank dream jars for yourself:

http://www.twinkl.co.uk/resource/t-t-14810-the-bfg-dream-jar-poster

What about you… have you done any BFG inspired activities in class? How would you use the dream jars? Let me know! Tweet me (@eenalol) or comment to inspire me!

S x

MISS! MISS! MISS!

“Stop missing me, I’m right here”

I’m incredibly proud of where I am in my life. I have a job that I love and I am working towards a career that I believe I was born to do. It hasn’t been an easy ride. I was not on this career path for quite a while. I did other things before I had the confidence in myself to do this. I think it’s important to tell your story. Everyone has a story. It’s sharing them that makes us brave and human.

My road to where I am today is wiggly, wobbly and crooked, but I’m here. After getting my A-Levels I worked for a long time in a shoe shop. I was very good at it, I got promoted to supervisor and I was trusted to run the shop on many occasions, helping to run other branches in the area on many occasions. I was maybe 18/19 at this point. Teaching was always in the back of my mind, but I was good at what I was doing at the time and that was enough for me. I quickly realised that this company had high hopes for me, but as the years of being there went on I was growing restless… I wasn’t getting out of the job what I knew I would get out of teaching. I went back to college, to do an childcare qualification. I was at college full time, working pretty much full time hours at the shoe shop and volunteering in school one day a week. I was learning more being in school than I was in college, so I asked to become a distance learner so I could spend time in school during the week and still work at the shoe shop. My year of my childcare qualification was finally over, I passed with a distinction. I heard there was going to be a job at the school I had been volunteering in, the school I went to as a child. I was made up. It was a dream to work in the school that infused me with a love of learning.

I went for the interview. I did shocking. The head teacher told me. I was appalling, I did not interview well. I didn’t get the job. I was heartbroken.

Luckily, a few weeks later the head got back to me and said that there was another position open that I would be perfect for. My months of volunteering did so much more for me than that stupid interview did. I was over the moon. I finally got my foot in the door. That was 7 years ago now. Everyone has always said “you’re too good to just be a TA”, “why aren’t you a teacher?” or “go on, do your teacher training” but I didn’t believe I could do it. So I worked my hardest to be the best TA I could be and then 3 years ago I was promoted to HLTA (I interviewed so much better the second time round!). I love my job. But after a year of being a HLTA I knew something was missing, I knew I was ready for a new challenge… I knew what I had to do. I knew I needed to become a teacher. I knew I was ready.  The whole university process I will blog about later if people want to know, but I applied to uni and here I sit a year later having completed my first year of uni, about to start my second and final year of a degree with a year of SCITT to do. And I am so proud of myself.

I am a teacher. I am a teacher without a stupid piece of paper from the government to say I am a teacher. It is in my blood. It is who I am. This is what I want to do. This is the thing I have been fighting for. This is the thing that I will fight for the rest of my existence for. I believe in teachers, and teaching, and the power of education. 

 

Bookblog: Melinda Salisbury

The Sin Eater’s Daughter and The Sleeping Prince are magnificent. Melinda Salisbury has an amazing way with words. 

 

I’ll start with The Sin Eater’s Daughter (as it’s the first in the trilogy). It is painted as a story about a girl, Twylla, who is engaged to marry the prince and everyone is afraid of her, no one speaks to her because she’s an executioner. She’s got some powers – her touch has the power to kill treasonous prisoners. No one likes her, except a guard who comes along who changes all of that. He does like her. But it’s treasonous. She is betrothed to marry the prince. So what is going to happen? 

Twylla is the first female protagonist that I have come across who I actually like. She is so badass. She does not give a hoot. She has a complicated story, it does not go straight forward, but when does anything ever? A sin eater was actually a thing. This story is amazing. You will be sucked into the magical way that Mel writes, the incredible stories she spins inside each other and the characters that you will love and grow to loathe. Be prepared for having your heart stamped on for the first time.

So then I had to wait a while… quite a while… for The Sleeping Prince (the second in the trilogy). Again we are introduced to an amazingly awesome female protagonist, Errin, who has to fight against a lot of turmoil. She makes potions and has to look after her mam. Then the Sleeping Prince (who we already know about from The Sin Eater’s Daughter, well done Mel) comes along and causes havoc. Errin and a mysterious young man she meets named Silas, must become the newest heroes in this saga. 

My instagram post when I finished this book read: “I have waited an incredible amount of time for this book and I have just finished it and I can not get over it. I devoured the words like the Sin Eater devoured sins. It was majestic and beautifully written and there were many times I voiced my shock. I want to read this again and again. Good job Mel! ALL OF THE AWARDS!!” I loved it. It is a majestic beauty. Again, be prepared for having your heart stamped on.

Go read these two book you will NOT be disappointed. They are two of the books that I have read in the past few years that have absolutely stuck with me and I have reread them over and over, and recommended them to everyone! So now… I’m just waiting for book 3. Hopefully some time next year. I’m looking at you, Salisbury.

If you want to follow Mel, she’s over at @AHintofMystery on twitter. And buy the books.

What do you think, have you read either of these? Would you pick them up?

As usual, I’m over on twitter (@eenalol) ready to talk books! Or drop me a comment!

S x

Booksbooksbooks

I am an absolute Book Devourer. If there was a title for the different types of readers, I would definitely be a Book Devourer. I read like it’s going out of fashion. And I read for different reasons:
– For pleasure: these books are books that I’ve bought for my  own consumption. I don’t need to share them with anyone. I can read them and then that’s that. These are the majority of my reads. They can vary from very “chick lit” books to YA awesomeness.
– For work: (also known as pleasurable) these books are normally picture books or children’s books that I read in the hope of being able to use them in the classroom.
– For uni: these are not usually very fun. I am a final year student who will be writing a dissertation in the months after September so I will have a WHOLE load of DULL informative reading to do!

My book review posts will usually be reviews of books from the pleasure (#readingforpleasure) and work (#yabooks #kidsbooks) categories, unless my uni books are particularly beneficial to the world (#readingforknowledge).

I am ALWAYS happy to take book recommendations, or have a conversation about books… so please talk to me on twitter (@eenalol) or leave me a comment below about your favourite books, that you’ve read for whatever reason!

S x

Matilda The Musical

So recently I was lucky enough to get to go on a residential to London with a wonderful Year 6 class who I had taught since they were in Year 3. (In Year 3 I taught them one afternoon a week, in Year 4 I was their full time TA, in Year 5 I taught them 1.5 days a week and in Year 6 I taught them for a day a week… I knew them like the back of my hand. They helped make me into the teacher I am today). We got to go and explore and do some amazing things while we were there but the absolute pinnacle was when we watched Matilda the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre.

Now, for those of you reading this who know nothing about me you’ll not know how much I LOVE Matilda. It is the story which solidified for me that teaching was the absolute end goal for me. I want to be Miss Honey – she is teacher goals. I have such a strong connection to the story. It just has such a strong meaning to me. Everything about me, now and 8 year old me, loves the story. So getting to see it live on stage was absolutely magical.

Every time I go to the theatre again I remember why I find it so magical. There is so much excitement and trepidation about it. Just walking up to the theatre was brilliant enough, seeing the signs I was as excited as the children. And man were they EXCITED.

The stage set up is INCREDIBLE. It was so beautiful, the letters all spell words from the show. I had chills just sitting in the stalls. I was already on the edge emotionally. 13716004_10154177876030801_8846788035079500155_n

As soon as the first beat started, I cried. I proceeded to cry throughout the show. The songs are absolutely brilliant. Our children were lucky enough to have been learning some of the songs during their music lessons, so for them getting to see the songs they’d learnt sang on stage absolutely blew some of their minds. Some of the stand out songs are ‘School Song’ (which has exceptional choreography), ‘When I Grow Up’ (which is an amazing song, with an incredible section in with swings on stage which made me say WOW and cry more!), ‘Revolting Children’ (a song sang amazingly by the children on the stage) and ‘Naughty’ (the song this blog gets its name from ).

It was everything I wanted it to be and so so so much more. All of the actors were incredible. Our Matilda was Evie Hone and she deserves all of the praise she gets. It amazes me (and it amazed my class) that she’s a 9 year old and she is doing this night in and night out, remembering all those lines, signing all those songs, all those dance moves and does it flawlessly. The music was incredible. The staging was perfect.

It was perfect. And I can’t wait to go back.

Have any of you seen Matilda? Any other recommendations?

S x

Hello, it’s me…

No, not Adele unfortunately. But me! Hi, I’m Steph and welcome to ‘A Little But A Lot’.

I want to use this space to talk about things that matter to me; in my day in, day out kind of life. I want to use this space to talk about my career – the wonderful, frustrating, rewarding and ridiculous (sometimes) job that is teaching. I also would love this space to be somewhere I can talk books… not just books I read for fun, but books I read for school, books I read for my own “stretch and challenge”… whatever it is I’m reading I’ll probably talk about it.

This is an absolute work in progress, just like me. I don’t know how this will go. I don’t even know if this will be a thing that takes off… but it will be something I try and love and cherish.

Blogging is something I’ve done for the school blog for a while, so I thought I would try my hand at my own blog where I can talk about things I want to talk about – be it book, an amazing resource I found, a lesson that went well (or horridly), something I saw that inspired me… just anything. It will be a great reflective tool also.

And for those who ask… A Little But A Lot is inspired by a lyric from Matilda the Musical (which I absolutely will write about!)

“Even if you’re little you can do a lot
You mustn’t let a little thing like little stop you”

So hi, stop by and say hello or tweet me @eenalol

S x