Stories for Homes book tour

Published and unpublished writers come together to create an anthology of stories about what ‘home’ means.
55 writers are included in a second charity anthology that brings issues around housing, poverty and crisis to life through the power of storytelling. Volume One of the Stories for Homes Project raised over £3K for housing charity Shelter and raised awareness of housing issues.  Volume Two of the anthology includes stories, poems and flash fiction and again all proceeds will be donated to the charity.

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I’ve just recently found a fondness of anthologies and when I was contacted about getting involved in the blog tour for Stories for Homes, I was most intrigued. Not only is it a brilliant anthology, showing off talent established and new, but the book also aims to raise money for charity. The money raised goes towards helping Shelter, in response to Grenfell Tower. I’m all for something that will help the world, as well as be a really good read.

The book comes in an eBook format, which is great if you’re a reader on the go! There are a multitude of brilliant stories included all centred around the theme of ‘home’. We all know that homes and our home lives can be complicated and messy, and this anthology doesn’t shy away from some of the hard hitting topics at home. As well as this, there are some beautiful stories about the love and compassion of home life. 

Some particular titles that stand out are ‘The Tiger Who Came Back to Apologise‘ (as a teacher, seeing something related to a kids book made my heart so happy!). I really enjoyed it and it made me nostalgic about ‘The Tiger Who Came To Tea, so naturally I picked up my copy and read that having finished ‘The Tiger Who Came Back to Apologise’. There’s also a brilliant, and moving, poem called ‘Map of the Streets‘ which I really loved. 

If you’re a lover of anthologies and you’d like to support a good cause, please check out ‘Stories for Homes’. It’s such a brilliant anthology. 

If you check out the Stories for Homes WordPress there is some brilliant online content. 

If you’d like to buy it then check it on Amazon: clicky click

Last of all, if you’d like to check out the rest of the blog tour, check out the incredible bloggers involved below:

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S x

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Gratefulness

Happiness. Doing something I love doing. Books. Texts from friends. People saying lovely things. Being helpful and being helped. My family. Running in to the twiglets. My job. Working hard. Chasing your dreams. Battling demons. Moana. More books. Friends. Stupid pictures from the twiglets on Snapchat. Laughter. New friends. Old friends. Colourful pens. Bullet journaling. Chocolate. Watching CSI:NY. Relaxing. Being back at school. Work friends. Learning. Challenging. Teaching. Passion. Baristas in Starbucks only charging me for a grande, when I got a venti. Baristas in Starbucks recognising me. Lipsticks. Funny texts. Memes. Sleep. Matilda. Memories. Having a positive impact. 

Desert Island Books: lktomlinson

It’s that time of week again!

TIME TO FLY SOMEONE TO MY DESERT ISLAND AND MAKE THEM MAKE TOUGH CHOICES. 

Today’s victim is my lovely friend Lucinda (@lktomlinson on twitter, go follow her, she’s awesome!)

RULES:

DIB rules

My bags are packed and I’ve got my books, music, and unlimited Yorkshire tea and Bourbon biscuits!
First, vaguely in order, the books:

1. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Literally one of my favourite and most read books, I couldn’t be without Artemis and Holly (and everyone else).

2. Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
*heavy sarcasm warning* Oh what a shock, the bookworm loves this series, what are the chances? Who would have guessed? Anyway, Prisoner of Azkaban is the best Harry Potter book, come to the island and fight me if you think I’m wrong.

3. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
A fairly recent love, but a love I can tell is strong and enduring, I love my space family.  

4. Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Modern London Supernatural Crime Solving! Sometimes I think this book was literally written for me. 

5. The Fireman by Joe Hill
Not exactly beach reading, but it’s a chunky and intense book and Joe Hill’s best (so far). 

6. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I want to yell about the hilarity and accuracy of Fangirl at all times, I neeeed this book with me. 

Me to myself: No, you can’t have this many songs by The Killers on this playlist. 

Turns out it’s my playlist and I do what I want. So, in no particular order:

1. Read My Mind- The Killers
2. Bling (Confession of a King)- The Killers
3. Mr Brightside- The Killers
4. Sam’s Town- The Killers
5. Star Girl- McFly
6. Girl Almighty- One Direction
7. Ever Since New York- Harry Styles 
8. Air Hostess- Busted
9. Salute- Little Mix
10. Sugar, We’re Goin Down- Fall Out Boy
11. I Write Sins Not Tragedies- Panic! At The Disco 
12. Who Run the World- Beyoncé 
13. I’ll Make A Man Out Of You- Disney Mulan Soundtrack
14. Zero To Hero- Disney Hercules Soundtrack 
15. Non-Stop- Hamilton Broadway Soundtrack

I was going to give explanations for each of these too, but some of them defy explanation. 

(Some absolute BANGERS on this list. I think I would happily listen to this playlist! SOme questionable choices too though…)

Bad news, the Desert Police raided me! It’s okay though, I managed to hide Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Read My Mind. Phew!

Thank you so much Lucinda for agreeing to make the tough choices! It was a blast!

S xx

p.s. remember it’s not too late to be involved! Let me know if you’d like to be involved! 

BOOKBLOG: Emma Carroll

Letters From the Lighthouse: spies, sea and secrets

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“February, 1941. After months of bombing raids in London, twelve-year-old Olive Bradshaw and her little brother Cliff are evacuated to the Devon coast. The only person with two spare beds is Mr Ephraim, the local lighthouse keeper. But he’s not used to company and he certainly doesn’t want any evacuees. Desperate to be helpful, Olive becomes his post-girl, carrying secret messages (as she likes to think of the letters) to the villagers. But Olive has a secret of her own. Her older sister Sukie went missing in an air raid, and she’s desperate to discover what happened to her. And then she finds a strange coded note which seems to link Sukie to Devon, and to something dark and impossibly dangerous.”

Letters from the Lighthouse tells the story of a brother and sister pairing who are evacuated due to the war and the impact war has on so many lives. War is punishing and hard on life. Olive and Clive lose their sister one day during a bombing on the city. They eventually are told it is too dangerous to live in their city and are sent away. Olive and Cliff are taken from their homes to a little village by the sea – initially living in the post office, but when trouble comes a-knocking they end up living with the lighthouse keeper and his dog. They find it hard to fit in, especially when there is another young girl evacuated to the same little village who insists on making Olive miserable. This young girl however has such an incredible back story that eventually, you see she’s also struggling. As you go through the story there are revelations made and incredible new characters appear. 

This book shows the overwhelming impact that war has on everything – from massive cities, to tiny villages by the sea. The lighthouse is both useful and a problem. It is guiding German planes along the shore but it is saving the lives of so many people who are taking refuge in Britain away from the warring countries and clutches of Hitler and his armies. 

The special thing about this book is it shows the absolute light of the human spirit. There are so many atrocities going on in the world at the time of the story, yet there is compassion, love and acceptance shown aplenty from all sides in this book. There’s no moment where the characters give up on each other. They fight for what is right and they know deep down that, they may be doing “the wrong thing” but it is the right thing to do. People will always be helpful in times of need. 

There’s the lovely surprise of where Suki has gone too. But I won’t spoil that. 

I loved this book. I am partial to a book centred around the war. I didn’t expect to fall for this story as much as I did. I loved it so much that I bought a copy for the school library and for our Y6 teacher – it is such a perfect story to use in Year 6, or alongside studying World War 2 in KS2. Please, go out, buy this. Put it in your school library, put it in someone’s hands who loves brilliantly woven characters and stories, put it in the hands of someone who needs a good bit of escapism, put it in the hands of a child who loves history. Just get a copy in your school. You won’t regret it. 

Have you read Letters from the Lighthouse?
Can you recommend any other war stories?

Let me know in the comments! 

S xx

Desert Island Books: Abi Elphinstone

DIBHello! Welcome back to #DesertIslandBooks

Today the inhabitant of our island is one of my favourite authors. She is probably one of the people I know who could get off this island alive! She would survive! I can guarantee it! Today’s post comes courtesy of the gorgeous Abi Elphinstone! 

If you don’t know Abi, then why don’t you?! Her books are incredible! She’s a brilliant human and now she’s a mother! I can’t wait to meet Baby Elph! Check out her books below!

Abi Elphinstone Facebook Banner

Anyway… the rules

DIB rules

Books

  1. Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh
  2. Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
  3. The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice
  4. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  5. Mill on the Floss by George Elliot
  6. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Snack: White chocolate chip cookies (with squidgy centres).

Tea/coffee: Am I allowed unlimited banana milkshakes instead?! I’ve never tried tea or coffee – I used to hate the smell of both as a child and somehow never got round to trying them as an adult.

(Of course you can Abi!)

Music: I’d take the following playlist:

  • Flying by James Newton Howard (from the most recent Peter Pan movie)
  • Aslan’s Theme by Geoffrey Burgon (from the BBC Narnia series)
  • Septimus by Ilan Eskkeri (from the movie Stardust)
  • Waves by Ludovico Einaudi
  • I’ve Come Home (from the movie Spirit)
  • Spark Inside Us (from movie The Princess and the Goblin)
  • Storybook Love by Mark Knopfler (from the movie The Princess Bride)
  • Reckoning Song by Wankelmut
  • Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

When the police arrive

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

Aslan’s Theme by Geoffrey Burgon (from the BBC Narnia series) 

Thank you so much Abi for agreeing to be castaway! Come back on Thursday to see who is flown away to the island!

S x

Bio

Abi ElphinAbi 1 Norwaystone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood building dens, hiding in tree houses and running wild across highland glens. After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as a teacher. She is the author of THE DREAMSNATCHER, THE SHADOW KEEPER and THE NIGHT SPINNER. When she’s not writing, Abi volunteers for Beanstalk charity, speaks in schools and travels the world looking for her next story.

Author website: http://www.abielphinstone.com
Twitter: @moontrug
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/abi.elphinstone
Instagram: @moontrugger

SCITT update – week 3

It’s Monday again! As this post goes live, I am back in school, after 2.5 weeks of training at university and the training centre who are running my SCITT. If I’m being honest I COULDN’T WAIT TO GET BACK TO SCHOOL. My block training weeks were incredible and intense and overwhelming – I learned a lot and reflected a lot – but being in school is totally where my happy place lies! 

So what did last week have in store?

Monday
On Monday we were at a local 3-19 school for an EAL (English as an Additional Language) conference all day. There were some intense parts of the day, in particular when we were learning about the safeguarding of some minority groups, but overall it was informative. A few of the students from Year 10 came and performed a powerful drama piece titled ‘Colourblind’, which was thought-provoking. 

Tuesday
Tuesday took us back to one of the local primary schools for Day 2 of Teaching and Learning. Having had all of my experience in the same school, I love being able to observe how life runs in other schools. We had the chance to observe a phonics session and then a reading session within the year group we are having our first placement in. Those observations were both really interesting and I definitely magpie’d a few ideas from them! We also got to plan a science activity based on our year groups and then 2 of the group got to deliver it while the rest of us watched on! 

Wednesday
Seeing new schools totally different to my school is always an interesting part of this and on Wednesday we visited a school in the middle of the countryside. Our focus of the day was SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) and I took a lot away from the day to think about and consider in my own practice. 

Thursday
Thursday was another university day (I am officially a student at Newcastle University, I know, how fancy am I!?). We were set up in a very posh, technologically forward room (there were boards EVERYWHERE, I loved it) and spent the day looking at pedagogy and the importance of subject knowledge. Thursday’s session definitely calmed my nerves about our first PGCE assignment, which is brilliant. 

Friday
On Friday, we were back in our training centre and the focus of the day was training standards and looking at evidence collection and what we can use as evidence. It was very useful to do BEFORE we started collecting evidence. The gentleman delivering our session was very funny too!

How am I feeling in 3 words?
Calmer. Eager. Tired. 

I look forward to the challenges this week holds!

Remember, if you have any questions I am more than happy to answer them! 

S xx

Operation Clean Up – blog tour

Hello! 

Today I have the absolute joy of being part of the ‘Operation Clean Up‘ blog tour! I think I am even kicking it off! How exciting! I am hosting the gorgeous author, Jason Tucker, and he is sharing his thoughts on something very close to my own heart – the importance of bed time stories. Being a teacher, I know the massive impact reading to your kids and with your kids can have! But without further ado…

Operation Clean Up Day Cover

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I did not realize how important a simple bed time story actually is until I started to see the impact for myself… I mean this for both the parent and the child. Believe me it really is fascinating.  I generally worked long hours and didn’t / don’t get home until late in the evening, I have 3 small boys (6, 4 and 1 years old each) and it’s my superstar wife who did the majority of the reading to our children, however seeing the impact early on pushed me to not only change my routine and read to them on a regular basis, but to also do it with a real passion and get them loving it too – here are my main reasons why it’s so important:

Nurturing the imagination: I like to read cool / picturesque stories that basically contribute to developing / widening my boy’s imagination, this for me is unbelievably important. This is what inspired me to write my book and explore the wild imagination of a young child. When reading a bed time story together we like to explore all types of books and the pictures within, and sometimes they develop almost a story within a story, its limitless how far this can go and a real positive to watch.  To widen the imagination means that you are developing an open mind from an early young age, and with an open mind you can achieve anything! Which I tell them at every opportunity.

Development of reading skills: Part of the whole bed time experience is getting my boys read to me as well, they may be a bit tired on occasion and take longer, but when a short story is read its basically an item achieved and I am full of praise for them, letting them know that they have read an ‘entire’ book… Giving it a Big WOW factor! Following up with ‘well done’ and ‘didn’t you do well’. The other piece is when they sometimes struggle with a certain word, I normally get that look which says ‘help’, then help is given… and when that word has come up again at a later point, and has been remembered and read out again correctly, I then get given that look of ‘I did it’… A small passing moment maybe, but priceless in the big scheme of things.

More Learning:  Apart from cool and imaginative stories, we also use bed time story reading time now and again to read some of the more educational books out there – I love being able to teach my kids things, and bedtime reading is another opportunity where I can do this. A big one for us is the Planets and the Universe, and Nature orientated books (animal kingdom etc.)… We read together, we name the planets, we identify the Rhino from the Elephant and they have then learnt something fun and real outside of their school environment.  Then they ask me ‘Daddy – you should write a book about that too J’

Confidence boosting: I’m fairly sure reading contributes to increasing confidence, my eldest was a very shy boy for a long while but at bedtime I think he absorbed reading in a different way as he was in a more relaxed environment without any real pressure – he now reads and asks questions and on a daily basis almost knows all sorts of new things and can explain things in detail to others in his age group. A number of things contribute to this I know but as knowledge grows, so does there confidence.

Removing Tech: Anything that keeps an IPad or tablet out of their hands is a plus point for me – Now don’t get me wrong the tablets and games on these have their place and can be life savers at times, but the traditional page turning of parent and child nighttime read has its own special moment and positive warm feel that cannot be outdone which leads me onto my final point. 

Quality time – Finally the most important and most essential item for me.  I have been extremely lousy in the past with not carrying out my fair share of reading to my kids at bed time (due to working late and other supposedly important things) . However the time spent with my boys reading is where some of those real memories are created (at least for me). These are the things I want to remember, and also want them to remember in later life, those fun bedtime stories with Daddy – not that Power point presentation Daddy had to work late on for his Client!! We’ve all got to remember that life goes by rapidly and that everything is just a buildup of moments and experiences, the great thing is we can choose what those are!

Thanks and I hope that you all enjoy my book.

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Operation Clean Up Day

This is the story of two very imaginative little boys and their resistance to cleaning up their toys…

Two little boys are about to go out for the day to the swimming pool as a treat. But before they can go, they must tidy up all their toys – which are all over the house – as requested by their Mummy. The boys consider this a mission! The boys attempt to clean up their toys in various parts of the house while making all sorts of excuses to Mummy to leave the toys where they are. The boys are easily side-tracked when attempting to clean up each room, as they find themselves playing with their toys again, their imaginations taking over. They find themselves driving trains, defending castles from ogres, climbing high mountains, flying spaceships, catching sea serpents and meeting prehistoric dinosaurs. All while trying to clean up their toys!

Written by Jason Tucker and stunningly illustrated by Nick Roberts, Operation Clean Up Day is a fantastic journey through the imagination of two children, who can turn a simple set of toys into an entire fantasy world, whilst teaching children the valuable lesson of tidying up their toys after playtime!

Amazon UK – click to buy
Barnes & Noble – click to buy

About the author: Born and raised in London, Jason Tucker is married and is a father of three young boys. He is enjoying an international working life basing himself between London and Dubai. This is his first published work with a number of other titles in the pipeline as well as working on a number of other ventures including TV, Film & graphic novels.

Check out the rest of the blog tour below! I can’t wait to see what else is in store!

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SixForSunday: You Join In!

Hello!
So… I am inviting you all to join in #SixforSunday by giving ALL of the themes for the rest of the Sundays until the end of the year! (Of course if you want to do your own theme, then feel free! This is just the list I will be posting!) I would love to see you joining in! If you do decide to join in, remember to use the hashtag #SixforSunday and link me up! I love #SixforSunday posts, they make me so happy! 

So here we go, here’s the prompts (remember, this is what I’ll be posting, you can follow my lead or choose any of the prompts you feel!)

Oct 1 – Favourite fictional lands
Oct 8 – Favourite genres
Oct 15 – Books from TBR
Oct 22 – Books that make me cry/sad
Oct 29 – Scary books (to fit in with Halloween!)

5 Nov – Diverse books
12 Nov – War books 
19 Nov – Books with a colour in the title
26 Nov – Books with a number in the title

3 Dec – Favourite children’s books about winter
10 Dec – Favourite books about Winter
17 Dec – Books from 2017 you’d recommend
24 Dec – Favourite Christmas books
31 Dec – 2018 books you’re excited for

Remember the only stipulation is your can ONLY CHOOSE 6 BOOKS

You can choose to do your favourite books of the prompt, 6 books that you haven’t read of the prompt… whatever you choose! 

GO.
BLOG.

Remember the hashtag! #SixForSunday

S x

 

Little People, Big Dreams

In the Little People, Big Dreams series, you can discover the lives of outstanding people from designers and artists to scientists. All of them went on to achieve incredible things, yet all of them began life as a little child with a dream. There are some incredible lives pictured in this series and I was very lucky that the people at Quarto sent me over the Audrey Hepburn, Rosa Parks and Emmeline Pankhurst editions to have a look at. I had initially saw these beautiful books on BookBairn’s instagram and was VERY curious about them!

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Each book tells the story of the life of this amazing person. They are beautifully illustrated and are PERFECT to use with children. At the back of each edition there is a timeline of the person’s life, with real pictures!

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Books like this are so important as they make incredible life stories accessible to children. 

The Rosa Parks edition and the Emmeline Pankhurst book are going to be so brilliant for use in school to teach the children about amazing women who paved the way for some of the most important changes in the world. 

I am so happy this series exists and I can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series! I know this is definitely a series that I will have in my collection! They’re perfect for the classroom and any little people you may have running around! I will be sharing these with the kids at school and my goddaughters, to teach them about important women who have come before them! 

If you’d like to see who else is included in this series so far, the whole collection is on the Quarto website – click here to find out more. I definitely want the ones I don’t have yet! 

Have you read any of the ‘Little People, Big Dreams’ books?
Are there any incredible women you would like to see included?
What is your “big dream”?

Thank you so much to Quarto for sending me these books. I absolutely love them! 

S x

Look for Ladybird

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A recent trend in books is ‘search and find’ books and ‘Look for Ladybird in Plant City’ is a brilliant example of these gorgeous books. 

Look for Ladybird tells the story of Basil and Daisy who are looking for Ladybird in Plant City. This book is a brilliant fusion of story and search and find! Basil and Daisy are a rabbit and a lizard who have lost their friend Ladybird! The story takes you through the entire city and you get to see all of the other animals who live in Plant City and what they all get up to. My particular favourite page is The Museum page! There are incredible things to spot on every page though! 

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The thing that struck me about this book is the incredibly vibrant illustrations. You flick through the book and are met with beautifully illustrated pages one after another. Going through the story you meet amazing new characters and have to use incredible search powers to find the things in the story! (Some of them even passed me by!) Another brilliant thing about this book is there’s an answers page at the back! Brilliant for those who like to “bend the rules” and those who like to make sure they’re right! I know the answers page would go down well if kids worked in pairs to find the things: one could search and one could check.

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The things you have to look for in this story are the things which are in capital letters throughout the text – this is a lovely way to point out what needs to be sought. 

Thank you to the lovely people of Quarto for sending me this book! It will go down very well at school! I certainly love it! 

S x