April Books

It’s that time again, April has come and gone! This year is flying by! We’re in the final term… (as a teacher, I count my life in terms ha! This means I have only 1 term until I start training… this makes me wanna vomit. We will get to that in a future blog post!) We have another round up and an update on my 2017 challenge!

April was a BUSY book month! 

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This was part of my TBR:

Also added to this list:SOGI

There was a wonderful mix of some MG books and a lot of YA books and some non-fiction in there too! If there isn’t a review currently up for the book there will be one coming up in the coming weeks! I also read some picture books this week, but I (controversially) don’t count them towards my book count of the year! This stack ended up lookin so healthy because of SundayYAthon @ Easter which I managed to devour about 5 books, alongside 2 train journeys to London to meet my lovely friend Kelly! Find out about my SundayYAthon reads here: SundayYAthon at Easter!

Shout out to Grandad’s Secret Giant by David Litchfield though… incredible picture book! (BOOKBLOG: David LitchfieldIMG_4370

This year I pledged to read 52 books. I committed myself to that on Goodreads and so I have to do it. I refuse to fail now! That’s 4 a month, that’s good going! So far I have read:

25/52 books

Apparently, that’s 9 ahead of schedule! I started Countless this morning and I’d like to get that finished today, which would mean I’m HALF WAY through my challenge and it’s only been 4 months. That would be something else!

What did I buy/acquire?

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  • Mad Girl – Bryony Gordon
  • The Stars at Oktober Bend – Glenda Millard
  • Chasing the Stars – Malorie Blackman
  • Anna and the Swallow Man – Gavriel Savit 
  • Radio Silence – Alice Oseman (my gorgeous Rachel sent me this!)
  • Super Awkward – Beth Garrod
  • Wintersong – S. Jae Jones (my lovely friend Kelly sent me this!)
  • The Fallen Children – David Owen
  • I Have No Secrets – Penny Joelson

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  • Doing It – Hannah Witton
  • The Cows – Dawn O’Porter
  • Happy Mum, Happy Baby – Giovanna Fletcher (my lush cousin Kate sent this to me to borrow. I’m not a mam but I love Gi and Tom)
  • The Adventures of Owl and the Pussycat (keep your eyes peeled this coming Sunday! I’m involved in the blog tour for this!)
  • Grandad’s Secret Giant – David Litchfield (I have read this, so it should be in my other pile but I did acquire it this month, the lovely publishers sent me a copy and I am so gratefuk… see my review here: BOOKBLOG: David Litchfield)
  • The Covers of this Book are Too Far Apart – Vivian French and Nigel Baines. 
  • Beards from Outer Space – Gareth P Jones (the amazing publishers sent me this this month too! It’s currently in school!)
  • Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink – Jennifer Killick (I am very lucky that the author sent me this! Taking it into school telling the kids it came from the author made it so special!)

Wow. I acquired a lot of books this month. Sorry bank balance.

So that’s it for April. It’s been a joy reading this month. I read some absolutely incredible books and I am looking forward to seeing what May has in store for me! More tears, laughter and incredible books I am sure of it!

What did you read in April?
Have you read any of the books on my list?
What was your favourite book of the month?
How are you doing with your challenge?

I’d love to hear from you all! Leave me a comment or speak to me on twitter (@eenalol) I’m always open to talk! 

S x

I dare you tag…

I was tagged by Louise at Book Murmuration. The rules are:

  • You must be honest
  • You can’t not answer a question
  • You have to tag at least four people

Here we go!

Which book has been on your shelf longest?

Hmmm… there’s a few that have been there since UKYACX? I haven’t got round to reading Cell 7 yet, which makes me so sad… however that will change in May!

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What is your current read, last read and the book you’ll read next?

 

Currently reading – Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig
Next read – The Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge (it’s the last of my April TBR books and I am determined to get it read!)

What book(s) did everyone like but you hated?

Hmmm… I wouldn’t go so far as saying HATED – that’s not something I feel with books often! – but Caraval for me wasn’t quite as great as I thought everyone was letting it on to be. It takes all kinds to make a world turn!

Which book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

Oh god, any classic.

Which book are you saving ‘for retirement’?

Pass! That’s like 50 years in the future… I barely know what I’m reading tomorrow never mind 50 years time!

Last page: read it first or wait until the end?

Ooooh! I generally peek once I’m half way through but I generally only read the last sentence!

Acknowledgements: waste of ink and paper or interesting aside?

Bloody love acknowledgements! They generally make me cry.

Which book character would you change places with?

Ooooh, interesting question. Twylla from The Sin Eater’s Daughter because she’s badass. Or Wing Jones because I would love to be able to run.

Do you have a book which reminds you of something specific in your life?

Charlotte’s Web will forever remind me of my friends growing up.

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Name a book you acquired in some interesting way.

I have a copy of Melinda Salisbury’s King of Rats that she sent to a local bookshop for me, because I couldn’t get to the event.

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Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?

Most of the books I buy for people are because I think “this would be perfect for you” or “you need to read this”. Books are an incredible book to buy.

Which book has been with you to the most places?

Probably Matilda. I still have the copy that I had a child.

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Any ‘required reading’ you hated in school, which wasn’t so bad two years later?

I really enjoyed the books we read in school, but I reread 1984 a few years after finishing school and I really enjoyed it!

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What is the strangest item you have found in a book?

I once found a note from the previous owner which said “This book will change your life”.

Used or brand new?

Generally new, but I love a good charity shop find!

Have you ever read a Dan Brown?

Yes, don’t be a literary snob. I enjoyed them when I read them a few years ago.

Have you ever seen a film you liked better than a book?

Oh my. Now you’re asking something controversial. I don’t think so?

A book that NEVER should have been published?

I think every book is published for a reason.

Have you ever read a book that has made you hungry, cookbooks being the exception?

I don’t think so? Possibly!

Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

Can I say people? Cause if so my gorgeous friends Kelly, Aoife, Cora and Rachel. Because they are wonderful and have excellent taste in books. And tea.

So that’s it!

I tag anyone who wants to do this! I quite enjoyed it!

S x

BOOKBLOG: Maggie Harcourt

Unconventional: funny, nerdy and witty.

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“Lexi Angelo has grown up helping her dad with his events business. She likes to stay behind the scenes, planning and organizing…until author Aidan Green – messy haired and annoyingly arrogant – arrives unannounced at the first event of the year. Then Lexi’s life is thrown into disarray.

In a flurry of late-night conversations, mixed messages and butterflies, Lexi discovers that some things can’t be planned. Things like falling in love..”

Unconventional is one of those books that you come across every now and again that you just read with a smile. I read it quickly and read it with a smile on my face most of the way through. It’s not often that I get to do that (if anyone has recommendations of books that made their hearts happy like this I would love to know them!) so it was refreshingly lovely! 

This book tells the story of Lexi, who works with her dad who runs conventions. It takes you through her life running conventionsthe mishaps, the people, the miscellaneous jobs – and her life dealing with her mum who lives in France and her dad who’s marrying a new womanbalancing college life and working life when suddenly a new boy sneaks along in her life who she initially doesn’t trust but then things change.

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I just have to say how lovely this book was. The whole thing made me happy, I loved the characters. Lexi was just the right balance of nerdy, teenage and dedicated to her job that I really liked. I totally fell for Aidan too. I didn’t trust him at first, your first impression of him is somewhat askew because of how you’re introduced to him… but he definitely grew on me. But then he “does” something shocking. Lexi’s friends were lovely too. They definitely made me laugh on occasion! Teenage friendships when they’re written well are some of my favourites!

Besides making me smile an awful lot, Unconventional made me even more excited for YALC. Bring on July!

Do you have any recommendations of other books that will make me smile?
I need more!!

S x

BOOKBLOG: Patrice Lawrence

Orangeboy: tense, tough and powerful.

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I have had Orangeboy on my watchlist (books that I want that I’ve not read) since UKYACX last year. I didn’t get round to buying it last year, but it was always in the back of my mind to read it and when Rachel announced that there was going to be a SundayYA chat about social class and that book was the focus I knew I had to read it. I like to be in the know, having read the books before we talk about them. I was tentative to pick it up, having bought it back in February. It just intimidated me, it’s pretty thick and it’s about some pretty DEEP issues. When I picked it up, I knew I had to be ready to read about these issues. 

Sixteen-year-old Marlon has promised his widowed mum that he’ll be good, and nothing like his gang-leader brother Andre. It’s easy when you keep yourself to yourself, listening to your dead dad’s Earth, Wind and Fire albums and watching sci-fi. But everything changes when Marlon’s first date with the beautiful Sonya ends in tragedy; he becomes a hunted man and he has no idea why. With his dad dead and his brother helpless, Marlon has little choice but to enter Andre’s old world of guns, knives and drug runs in order to uncover the truth and protect those close to him. It’s time to fight to be the last man standing.”

Orangeboy is about Marlon, a young boy from London who ends up getting into the worst kind of trouble: gangs, drugs, death and revenge… he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. I liked Marlon. Initially I really liked him, but as the story went on he morphed and changed into a character who I didn’t like as much. I didn’t dislike him though. He changed but his essence remained. He loves his family, his brother and his mam are his concern. He’s stubborn and proud. His best friend Tish sees through him. She’s always there, looking out for him even when he’s being blind to the bad that he is heading into. She infuriated me at times, but like all good best friends she’s there for him. 

I really struggled with this book to start with. All the talk of drugs really bothered me. I texted a few friends asking whether I should persevere and I got a resounding yes from all of them. As I read however, the plot thickens, the characters get more complex, the issues become more real. I wanted to know what was going to happen. I wanted to know about Marlon’s relationship with his brother. I wanted to know whether he becomes the Marlon at the start of the book or not. And I am so glad I stuck with it. 

It’s a tough, hard-hitting book that I think everyone should read. It deals with real issues. It’s not an easy read. But it’s a necessary read. Plus the incredible infusion of music made it all the better. 

Have you guys read Orangeboy?
What did you think?
Did you like Marlon? Or did you find him hard to like?

Let me know on Twitter (@eenalol) or in the comments!

S x

What makes me happy?

Hi, this post is going to be a little different from things I normally post. It’s not going to be a book review, or about school particularly, more about me. Something a bit more personal. If this isn’t something you’re into then please feel free to stop reading now, but if you want to keep reading then please do. I don’t get personal here often and don’t worry it’s not going to be too deep, just a little peek into my world. 

 

You’re still here? Excellent. Hello lovely reader, it’s a pleasure to have you here! Without further ado here we go…

Some of you may not know this about me but I worry about EVERYTHING. I think everything over. I overthink all of the things. I analyse everything. I lie in bed and worry about everything. MY brain can’t switch itself off. I know this is common, I know people worry so I don’t think I’m any different or special at all. I just know that in the past few years I have definitely learned ways in which I can make these worries, these spells of overthinking a little less, well, bearable. 

What do I worry about? Failure. It makes me worry so much. I have been known NOT to do something because I’m so scared that I’ll fail. (Part of me thinks that’s why it took me so long to get into teaching, but I’m on the road to it now!) Lateness. Gives me such nervousness. The thought of being late just now puts such butterflies in my stomach. No sir. Not for me. Being on time is being late for me. I like to be 5-10 mins early at least. My friends and family all know this about me and accept it. Changing plans/spontaneous planning. I’m not impulsive at all, I can’t bear a change of plans last minute. I like plans and I like to know what I’m doing before the event and I like to know how it’s going to play out way in advance. I am a planner. Unexpected changes of plan do not sit well with me. Freak me out. If you say we’re going here for lunch and last minute change plans I’ll accept it but internally I will be freaking the freak out. Saying/doing the wrong thing. So here’s the thing, I am definitely a people pleaser but I’m also an adult. I am not going to feed you a load of tripe. I will tell you the truth. But it gives me holy internal hell when I think I’ve done the wrong thing or said the wrong thing. I’ve always been rubbish at saying no, in fears of disapproval, so I am definitely learning how to say no. I am just much happier with life running smoothly thanks.

Like I say I know I’m not the only person who suffers with these kinds of thoughts and nor am I someone is overtaken by my thoughts, but they are still there. And it’s important that I found things that help when I’m in these kinds of states.

So what helps?

Friends – I have this group of incredible pocket friends who just are my everything. They are here when I’m happy, sad, confused, irate, rambling… and they always know just what to say (generally it’s about books or tea, because they know me well). Everyone should have pocket friends they can rely on when they are needed most. Recently I needed time and they just accepted it and they messaged me to check I was OK. I don’t know how I got so lucky to deserve them. (I have a blog post coming up dedicated to them). Go find yourself some friends, be it in real life or pocket friends, who you know you can rely on at all times.

Getting out of the house – its SO MUCH EASIER to stay in the house, in bed, hidden away with Netflix on. Don’t get me wrong, I do this sometimes. But I get cabin fever quickly. Even if I go for a walk, it helps, getting out of the house. My favourite place to go is the seaside. There’s something incredibly medicinal about the seaside. I’m all for the powers of the sea. Get out of the house, walk to the bottom of your street, look at flowers or something.

Family – I’ve already talked about friends and I am very lucky in that I have an incredible family as well as an incredible bunch of friends. I have a huge family. I have come to learn that I’m allowed to lean on my family when I am feeling rubbish. They’ll let me rant, they’ll invite me round to just exist together, they’ll take me to the seaside. My brother has always been one of my best friends and I’m lucky that he still is. He might live 100s of miles away but he will always listen to me and he’s my biggest fan. I’m lucky that I have my gorgeous twiglets in my life. I love them more than life itself. Text your mam, your brother/sister, ask to go round to someone’s house. 

Books – go figure, books are in my list. Now you can guarantee that I will have a book on me at all times. There’s generally a book (or my kindle) in my bag at all times. If I don’t have a book, I don’t feel complete. I don’t have fail safe books that I read when I’m feeling certain things but I do believe in the power books. They’re so full of journeys, strength, wisdom… it’s hard not to love books. Pick up a book, read a poem, get lost in someone else’s journey and you might just find yourself.

These are the things which help me. I’m not saying they’ll help everyone but they help me. There’s other things too which help – working (bizarre choice I know but my job is something which gives me a great deal of happiness), watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race (love it, if I could be as fierce as half of these drag queens!), listening to music (what I listen to depends on my mood), singing in the shower (generally a power ballad or something from a musical!) among other things! 

I think one of the most important things to do though is not be afraid to tell people that you’re feeling the way you do. Silence only breeds silence. Talk to people. They’ll support you and if they don’t then they’re not worth having around. 

Thank you for reading, sorry I rambled so much! I would love to know what things you do when you’re feeling a bit mismatched. Let me know in the comments or on twitter, I am always here for a chat! 

S x

SundayYAthon at Easter!

This Easter weekend was my 2nd (maybe 3rd?) time of joining in a SundayYAthon and I loved it!

For those of you who don’t know, #SundayYA is a chat that happens every Sunday between 6 and 7pm and I love it. We’ve had all sorts of chats over the past few weeks and it’s ran by my gorgeous friend Rachel (who blogs at 100 or less and tweets at @_sectumsemprah). SundayYAthon is a chance for anyone to sign up and do a mega readathon for a certain amount of days; this was was Thursday to Easter Monday. Generally there’s a pledge to read a certain books but this time round it was just read as many as you could! #SundayYA and the YAthons are always open to everyone so keep an eye on twitter for the next one and come along to #SundayYA on Sunday, 6-7… be there or be square.

So what did you read? I hear you say… well let me get to it!!

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There you have it! My visual READ pile over the weekend. I was pretty chuffed with the books I managed to read, there are reviews for all of them coming up but I thought I would share a snippet of each review in this post!

Orangeboy: Patrice Lawrence – hard hitting, tense and tough. I really enjoyed Orangeboy as much as someone reading a book so tense humanly can do. It’s all about what can happen if you get caught up with the wrong people. Wrong person, wrong time. Poor Marlon. 

Winterkill: Kate A Boorman – you’ll find my review already up on the blog! Head over to BOOKBLOG: KATE A BOORMAN to check it out. It’s certainly a great little read, I am looking forward to the second two!

Unconventional:Maggie Harcourt – Maggie was a guest at #SundayYA a while back and I hadn’t got round to reading Unconventional by then but as the chat went on I knew I had to read it. My lovely book fairy sent it to me and I am so glad. It’s a lovely story. I smiled the whole way through. I can’t wait for you to see my full review. I really enjoyed this!

The Names They Gave Us: Emery Lord – (released July) I was sent this by the lovely people at Bloomsbury and I absolutely adored it. It broke my heart. I completely adore the characters, the story is incredible, the writing style is just brilliant. Review to come in the next few weeks! 

So that’s my wrap up! I absolutely loved all of the books I read. I was so impressed I read so many too… I didn’t expect to read so many! (Technically only had HALF of Orangeboy to read, but shhhh, don’t tell anyone!!)

Now to share some of the other SundayYAthon’ers wrap up posts!

  • Cora read some wonderful books, her first was the book that I’m currently reading!
  • Jess  had a wonderful pile and got through a lot of books!
  • Sarah managed to get through 1600 pages! Check out the books she read!

Absolutely loved sharing the bookish joy with the girls in the group too! We had a twitter DM group going and it was great to keep motivations going!

Thank you Rach for such a wonderful reading experience! And for helping my TBR pile!

Have you ever joined in a readathon?
Do you enjoy them?
Would you be interested in joining in #SundayYA? I’d love to see you!

S x

BOOKBLOG: David Litchfield

Grandad’s Secret Giant: heartwarming, beautiful and poignant.

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“He has hands the size of tables,” Grandad said, “legs as long as drainpipes and feet as big as rowing boats. Do you know who I mean?”
“Yes,” sighed Billy. “The Secret Giant. But he’s not real!”
Billy doesn’t believe his Grandad when he tells him there’s a giant living in his town, doing good deeds for everyone. He knows that a giant is too big to keep himself hidden. And why would he WANT to keep himself a secret? But as time goes on, Billy learns that some secrets are too BIG to stay secret for long…”

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Every now and again along come authors who write books that just hit a chord with me, who just write stories that mean something without being condescending, without being overly zealous about it, who just write things that are incredibly well put together, incredibly beautifully illustrated and will stay with me forever. Grandad’s Secret Giant is another one of David Litchfield’s books that will do just that (there’s already The Bear and the Piano and The Building Boy, which you need to get your hands on if you haven’t already)

Grandad’s Secret Giant tells the story of a Grandad who tells his grandson the story of the giant who lives in their town who helps the people out when they’re not looking, but who also has no friends. Everyone in the town is scared of the giant because he’s different, because he’s a giant. Naturally the little boy doesn’t believe his Grandad because who would believe a Grandad telling you about giants, they’re not real… right?! Wrong. In this book, the giant is the loveliest soul. He’s helpful, kind, polite and just wants to be friends with the townspeople. The young boy in the story wants to be friends with the giant and they set up a chance for the giant to meet with them so they can be friends, but of course the little boy runs away in fear. The Giant then himself stays away, who wants to be friends with someone who is scared of you? Eventually the boy feels bad and wants to make amends with the giant and turns a bad situation into a good one. They become friends in the end and the boy realises that yes, the giant may be different but he’s just a person who wants to have friends. 

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Throughout the book you see the good deeds the giant is doing for the town and yet the boy says every time “But I didn’t see the giant” and the Grandad tells him every time it’s because he wasn’t looking hard enough. This is a lovely message to read to children who maybe can’t see the good things other people do for them, or who can’t see when they fall out with their friends that they are good people. When I read this to the children at school they loved looking out for the giant each time and describing how the giant went unseen and how he was helping the people.

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The illustrations in this book are just incredible. It is so beautifully drawn, with such detail and precision. My children absolutely loved pointing things out throughout the story that even I hadn’t mentioned. I told the children this was a very special story so that when it was put in the reading corner it had to be looked after and it has been looked after brilliantly. One of my little girls even pointed out the differences between the end papers! I love when authors put tiny details in like this. It just makes it all that more special when you read it a few times, you notice new things that you haven’t noticed and as adults, children can sometimes see different things!

“Miss at the beginning of the book the town is all blue because the giant is sad but at the end it’s full of colour because the giant is happy now he has a friend!”

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My kids thought the Giant looked really friendly with one girl saying “Miss, I would want the giant to be my friend because I’m just small and he could reach high up things for me” which I thought was lush! We agreed that Grandad’s Secret Giant would be a very helpful person to have around school “especially when the ball gets stuck on the roof, because no one else can reach, Miss”. They would also like the giant to visit so they can ask him questions like, “what is it like being so tall? How do you get trousers to fit? Would you like to be normal sized? Do you know the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk?”. 

I think it’s fair to say that Grandad’s Secret Giant was an absolute winner not just with me but with the kids as well. I can’t wait to see what else David Litchfield produces. I love all of his books and they’re always a hit with teachers, parents and kids alike. All teachers, school libraries and households should have brilliant picture books like this.

Have you read Grandad’s Secret Giant?
How would your class react to him?
What would they want to ask him?

Let me know in the comments or talk to me on Twitter (@eenalol)! Thank you so much Quarto books for sending me a copy of this wonderful book to share with my kids!

Thanks for reading! 

S x

Picture Books for Grown Ups

It’s time for another guest post! This time it comes from my wonderful friend Kim over at BookBairn (who has quickly become one of my favourite book bloggers…BookBairn is gorgeous!) and she’s tackling picture books! You all know how I feel about picture books so I was so excited when Kim said she would like to talk about picture books too! Enjoy!

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Over on my blog, BookBairn, I write about picture books for little ones and review my daughter’s favourite reads. But sometimes I find a picture book that appeals more to my own reading taste than to hers. When Steph invited me to write a guest post on her blog I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to review some of my favourite picture books for grown ups! *I would just like to say that it doesn’t mean that these books won’t or don’t appeal to a younger audience, I’ve chosen these three because they appeal to me!

The Fox and the Star by Coralie Bickford-Smith

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This is the story of a timid fox who is too afraid to stray far from his den without the calm and shining light of his friend Star. With Star’s light guiding the way, Fox explores the kingdom around him. Until one night, when Fox calls from Star and he does not appear. Fox curls up in his den until famished with hunger he creeps out into the darkness to find his friend. I do not want to spoil the ending. The artwork in this book is truly beautiful. As magical as the story. Set against deep blues and blacks, the orange coat of Fox and the bright light of Star truly leap from the page, bringing the characters to life. A modern-day fairy tale accompanied by spectacular artwork, this is a book that is hard to resist! It’s a book I have gifted, to adults, over and over again!

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston

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This picture book tells the story of a little girl who sails her raft across a ‘sea of words’ to meet her friend, a small boy. Together they embark on adventure across a ‘forest of fairy tales’, ‘across mountains of make-believe’ and to sleep in ‘clouds of song’. The illustrations in this book mix the instantly recognisable artwork of Oliver Jeffers with landscapes crafted from excerpts from classic children’s stories and lullabies designed by Sam Winston. The title alone of this book was enough to entice me to buy it. I think many adults who love to read were born of books from their childhood and this story is a celebration of that. It will remind all adults why the stories from our childhood have shaped who we are.

The Liszts by Kyo Maclear and Julia Sarda

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I have chosen this one because it appeals to me personally. I’m a chronic list-writer! If I don’t write it in a list it’s unlikely to every get done. This book tells the story of the Liszt family – Mama, Papa, Winifred, Edwards, Frederick and Grandpa Liszt – who make lists all day long. Even the cat makes lists. One day an unexpected visitor arrives. He’s not on anyone’s list. Will the Liszts be able to make room on their lists, and in their lives, for this new visitor? How will they handle someone unexpected arriving? The illustrations in this book are dark, brooding, mysterious and incredibly incredibly stylish. In some ways, the portraits of the Liszts remind of the Addams’ Family, they are sombre yet incredibly intriguing. And the mysterious stranger – let’s just say he brings a little colour to the story, and the family! This story is a lovely reminder to leave room in our lives for spontaneity. From the unexpected can come moments of the truest joy. And I think sometimes adults need reminding of this. (Children on the other hand do not!)

Would love to hear of any ‘picture books for grown ups’ that you adore. Feel free to pop over to our blog and comment on our link to this post! I’m always looking for recommendations.

About Kim: Kim lives in Scotland with her daughter, nicknamed BookBairn, husband and much-adored pet rabbit and is expecting baby number two next Spring. She has always enjoyed reading books, a passion inherited from her librarian-mother, and hopes to pass on this love of books to her little BookBairn. A teacher on career-break, to spend more time with BookBairn, she is passionate about baby-led reading where little ones have free to reign to choose what they read and make mountains of book mess throughout the house.

http://bookbairn.blogspot.co.uk/

Social media links:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/BookBairn/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/BookBairn
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/bookbairn/

 

BOOKBLOG: BRYONY SUPPER

The Inventing Tubes: funny, cute, brilliant for kids!img_4365.jpg

“Marc Macaroni uses the Inventing Tubed to invent the fantastic Pastaball. Sarah Spaghetti, who is always impatient, tries to invent her own Pastaball without reading the instructions properly! The Pasta Petz arrive in the Pastamobile to save the day – but they are all so busy that no-one hears the Pasta Beasties in the distance!”

I was lucky enough to be sent this by the author herself and took it into school! The kids absolutely loved it – one of them even said “MISS! THOSE CHARACTERS ARE ALL PASTA! CAN WE MAKE THEM AND EAT THEM?”. Who was I to say no? We didn’t make them but we designed different pasta characters and looked at different pasta shapes… it was something a little bit different indeed!

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The story is all about how Sarah rushes ahead to create something just like Marc and how it goes wrong because she doesn’t do it carefully and patiently. It’s told in a very fun and zany way that the kids loved it. It was fun to read to them because there’a quite a few interesting words and lots of pasta words involved! The kids had a (pasta) ball listening to this and it was definitely popular in the reading corner when I put it out!

This book is a whole lot of fun and certainly very unique! I don’t know that I’ve come across many, if any, books that have pasta based characters. The illustrations are brilliant too! Inspiring kids to design their own characters is certainly an achievement!

I can’t wait to see the next one in the series! This one was a lot of fun! 

Have you guys read this? 
Would you like to share something pasta based with your kids?

Go follow the author @ThePastaKidz on twitter and find out more!

S x

 

BOOKBLOG: KATE A BOORMAN

Winterkill: seductive, nervy and enthralling.IMG_4357

Friday saw the start of the #SundayYAthon… where we have to read as many books as we can in a weekend! I was travelling to London to meet a pocket friend of mine (see: amazing online friend) and was reading Orangeboy on the way down (as book 1 of #SundayYAthon) but finished it by the time I got to London so naturally I needed to buy a new book. When we were in Waterstones Piccadilly I was picking up books, obv this is me, and needed another book to read and had already picked up a book for BOGOHP so needed another! I couldn’t find one but having scoured I came across this one. It was the blurb that sold me.

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“Where Emmeline lives, you cannot love and you cannot leave
The Council’s rules are strict, but they’re for the good of the settlement in which Emmeline lives. Everyone knows there is nothing but danger the other side of the Wall, and the community must prepare for the freezing winterkill that comes every year. But Emmeline struggles to be obedient under the Council’s suffocating embrace – especially when she discovers that a Council leader intends to snatch her hand in marriage. Then Emmeline begins to hear the call of the trees beyond the Wall”

I was initially intrigued by the settlement aspect of this book, that this girl lived in a settlement and was very segregated from the rest of the world – this kind of thing really appeals to me, not sure why! That was the thing that drew me to it. The disobedience of teenagedom. The Council, who I guessed were in charge. The council leader who wanted to marry her. I wanted to know more and I am so glad I picked it up because I was NOT disappointed.

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This book tells the tale of Emmeline (Em for short) and her life in the settlement. What she does, how she exists, what her life is like there. She’s different from the rest of her townsfolk though. She’s ‘Wayward’ – she breaks the rules, she questions the Council, she doesn’t follow their every saying. The people of the settlement are led to believe in the 3 virtues: Honesty, Courage and Discovery. The people have to do things which abide by these virtues, otherwise their actions are seen as ‘Wayward’ and are punished. Generally punished with doing the “Watch”. Obviously Em is a rule breaker, she makes mistakes and ends up being on “Watch” – she has to watch over the outskirts of the fortification and make sure the “malmaci” (the bad people) aren’t coming after her town. The story goes on from there and there are twists and turns aplenty. More people who seem to be following the way of the Council but who in their own ways aren’t. They don’t follow. They are Wayward but know how to get away with it. I loved the idea of this. The writing was brilliant too. I devoured it in about a day. The plot was so brilliant weaved, with some interesting turns and holes that I didn’t see coming but that when it got to the end I was like “WELL OBVIOUSLY”. Brilliance I say.

The characters of this book were the things I feel most in love with. Em, the main character, is a girl who is curious, she’s interested in knowing more, she wants to know more. She’s “Stained” because of something her grandmother allegedly did years before and she is defined in some ways by her stain – she thinks that’s all people see of her and in some respects, to some of the people in the settlement it is. Alongside Em you meet her lovely best friend Tom. He’s her calm, he is very much a rule abider, he doesn’t like that Em is so willing to be Wayward, to act in such meaningless ways. He likes to stay on the right side of the law. But he very much respects and sees Em for who she is, his best friend. He does things throughout the book that surprised me, but that made me like him even more. In contrast to Tom we meet Kane. Bold, shaved head, strong, works in the kitchens Kane. He’s a thinker, like Em. He’s not afraid to bend rules. There’s a spark between him and Em. Tom and Kane are like chalk and cheese but both have Em as their main thought. I liked Kane. I trusted him instantly. In this book trust is an important thing and he was definitely one I trusted straight away… not like Brother Stockham. I was NOT a fan. He’s smarmy, creepy and just a bit obscure. He grew on me at one point, I thought he was something that he really isn’t. There’s something misunderstood about him, there’s something redeeming to him but he’s not one I knew I liked, nor trusted. He’s a Council leader and I just didn’t like him. He has ulterior motives. There’s also Brother Jameson who I strongly disliked. He’s a man after power. There’s some brilliant characters like Andre, who had my heart. I loved him. He’s definitely one that I knew Em could trust for there aren’t many!

I loved the random interjections of French in this book too. They came very unexpectedly to but I ended up grasping and gripped and wanting more French. As a languages teacher it was lovely to see a language in a book! It kept my brain ticking over.

I can’t wait to read the next 2 now! I’ll definitely be getting them and reading them in the next few weeks!

Have you guys read this?
What do you think?
Have you any recommendations of books like this?
Cult/settlements with rebellious teens. I love them!

Let me know in the comments below or on twitter (@eenalol) I always want book recommendations!!

S x