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

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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

 

BOOKBLOG: Lauren James

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe: a gripping, unique heart-racer

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“Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away? 
Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J. Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love. But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean? Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .”

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe (I’m going to call it Loneliest Girl in this blog, because well it’s a LONG title!) tells the story of Romy, who is the captain of a ship on its way to a new planet, with hopes to make it hospitable. She’s all alone on this rocket, with only audio/email messages coming from her therapist Molly. Something changes and suddenly there’s a mysterious stranger on the scene. This stranger is J, the captain of another ship, and Romy quickly finds herself falling for this mysterious stranger. When things start becoming a bit suspect, Romy discovers that J isn’t quite who he says he is…

I had seen SO MUCH about this book on twitter! Everyone was talking about it. I was SO ENVIOUS of all of the people who had advance copies. I needed to get my hands on it. I was elated when I heard they would be selling them at YALC. When it came to YALC, Kelly and I rushed to buy a copy (because we were afraid they’d run out of copies!) just to be sure we would get one. It has sat on my shelf since YALC but I was determined to read it before we did a SundayYA chat about it. AND READ IT BEFORE SUNDAYYA I DID. It took me all of about 4 hours to read. It is THAT GOOD. It’s so readable. Gripping. The kind of book that takes you by surprise (it certainly took me by surprise!) 

This book is very character centric and luckily for me, I loved the characters. Romy (the main character) and her story were very well written. The flashbacks of her memories growing up, her memories of the rocket were gorgeous to see. Her parents are very important to herboth in very different ways – I loved her relationship with her dad. Her relationship with her mam kept me very curious. The other character in the space world in Loneliest Girl is J: mysterious, handsome, seemingly perfect. Romy definitely falls for him fast. Her trust of him pulled the wool over my eyes. I didn’t like him from the start… there was something about him I didn’t trust. He was too convenient. He was the perfect, most sinister, creepy baddie though. He adds a brilliantly sinister dynamic to this book. Definitely kept me on my toes. 

I would recommend this book to EVERYONE. It is one of those that would appeal to SO MANY PEOPLE. It’s so clever and devious and delicious. I’m curious about the rest of the author’s work now… if they’re all this good I need to get them NOW (well, when September is over cause y’know book buying ban and all that!)

Have you read Loneliest Girl?
What did you make of J?
Do you think you’d cope with Romy’s life?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter! I’d love to talk about this book! 

S xx

BOOKBLOG: Karen M. McManus

One of Us Is Lying: kept me guessing the entire time. I LOVED IT.

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“Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.
Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.
Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.
Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.
And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again. He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects.
Everyone has secrets, right?
What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.”

So I didn’t know that much about One of Us Is Lying before YALC – I had seen it being talked about and I had seen ALL OF THE PRAISE for it, but it didn’t quite ding my radar. However, having hear Karen talk about this book at YALC, I wanted to get my hands on it. I wanted to make my own judgement on it. 

It’s not a book that I would usually pick up BUT I am glad I did. My friend Kelly read this and kept telling me to read it, so I picked it up to read at the end of the #SundayYAthon (I had finished my 3 books, so was just looking for another book to tide me over). I read this book in a day. One day. All in all it probably only took me a few hoursit is THAT good.  

The story gripped me straight away – these 5 kids go into detention but one of them ends up dying and the rest of them are the suspects… what ensues is a rollercoaster of emotions, twists and turns galore and one almighty shock at the end. I personally didn’t see the suspect being the person it ends up being… I had my suspicions ALL ALONG. (Kelly had an immense amount of fun being the recipient of all of my texts about who I was suspicious of!)

I loved learning their secrets. I did not expect ANY OF THEM. 

The exploration of family relationships in this book is special too. There’s pushy dads, absent mothers, alcoholic fathers, run of the mill lovely parents, poorly sisters – all encapsulated in these 5 very complex kids. There’s scenes between father and son, with revelations really turning a father/son relationship on its head, which I loved seeing explored too. 

I loved Nate. Read this and try to tell me you don’t love Nate. Because we can’t be friends if you don’t (only kidding, but I do love him). He’s tough as a nut but then a total softie. Bronwyn was an interesting character – I definitely grew to like her. 

This book is brilliantly paced. I didn’t want to stop reading. I wanted to know what was happening at EVERY POINT. My suspicions of the killer changed every page. I just adored that. It’s such an easy book to read and read because the story is gripping

My goodreads review:

“What an absolute winner. 
Amazing plot. Characters. Stories. Surprises. Twists. I did not see them coming. I was led down many a wrong path. I had my suspicions and they were all wrong. 
All of this and a romance that I just adored? YES THANKS.”

I’d love to read more books like this! 

Have you read this?
Did you have a favourite kid?
CAN WE TALK ABOUT WHO YOU THOUGHT IT WAS?

Do you have any recommendations of books like this? Cause this was BRILLIANT and I want more like it in my life! Let me know! 

S x

BOOKBLOG: Leigh Bardugo

Wonder Woman: Warbringer –  adventure filled, witty and fast paced

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“She will become a legend but first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning… Diana is desperate to prove herself to her warrior sisters. But when the opportunity comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law to save a mere mortal, Alia Keralis. With this single heroic act, Diana may have just doomed the world. Alia is a Warbringer – a descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery. Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies, mortal and divine, determined to destroy or possess the Warbringer. To save the world, they must stand side by side against the tide of war.”

Wonder Woman: Warbringer tells the story of Diana (Wonder Woman) and her struggle with her life as an Amazon, doing the right thing and jeapordising her life as she knows it. It is one not to be missed! The girls of SundayYA were raving about it in the chat and I knew from the chat that I needed to get onto it and I do not regret it!

One of the things that stood out to me about this book was that I really loved the characters. Diana is brilliant: she’s witty, funny (generally unintentionally, brave, honest and badass. Like, she saves someone’s life. I know, I know, she’s Wonder Woman, it’s what she does. But like, how many other characters do you know that save lives in such an epic way? I liked her instantly. She goes from the underdog to hero, all in secret. She’s not the only interesting character in this book though, don’t be fooled. There’s the warbringer herself, Alia. She’s a bit more tough, a bit more intense, taken by surprise by this new life that she is now being made to live. Things are coming to light in her life that make so much more sense to her now. She is the warbringer (I think she copes with this information much better than I would!) and wants to do the right thing. That’s always noble. She was another hit with me straight away.

OH JASON! JASON. JASON. JASON.

Those of you who have read Warbringer will know what my despair is all about. Oh Jason. I won’t spoil anything. But Jason. I have complex feelings about him. There was an audible gasp when it comes to Jason and his behaviour. (Go on, read it, you know you want to! You want to know why Jason made me gasp. Then we can talk about it!).

The other thing that I loved about this book was that I learned a lot without being overloaded with information. There were little threads of information throughout the whole book – THIS is a much better way to educate readers on superhero information than a total information dump, so I am grateful for that! 

I completely and utterly loved this book. It took me a while to get through (blame a stupid reading slump) but I would recommend it to everyone. it is just wonderful. Leigh Bardugo is magnificent and this has definitely spurred me on to read the rest of her books! 

My goodreads review:

I do not have enough words to praise this book. I loved it so much. Diana is incredible. The way the story is woven is just exceptional. I was really rooting for Jason, I trusted him and then BOOM. I audibly gasped. What a VILLAIN. I love how Diana stood for what she knew she believed in. She believed in Alia. I cried at the end. Just magnificent.

Have you read Warbringer?
Which superhero would you like to be?
Would you like to rewrite anyone’s story? If so, whose?

Thank you so much to my gorgeous book fairy Sarah at Penguin for sending this over to me! 

S x

BOOKBLOG: Frank Cottrell Boyce

Cosmic: out of this world fun!

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“Liam is too big for his boots. And his football strip. And his school blazer. But being super-sized height-wise has its advantages: he’s the only eleven-year-old to ever ride the G-force defying Cosmic rollercoaster – or be offered the chance to drive a Porsche. Long-legged Liam makes a giant leap for boy-kind by competing with a group of adults for the chance to go into space. Is Liam the best boy for the job? Sometimes being big isn’t all about being a grown-up!”

Cosmic is another one of those lovely books that my teacher friends on twitter are constantly talking about, so being one to love a recommendation (seriously, I love a recommendation, recommend away!) I tottled out and bought this. I didn’t read it immediately: I was in the middle of another book. It did jump up to the top of the list within a week or 2 though. 

Cosmic tells the tale of Liam – a boy who is too tall for his age and people always assume he’s older than he is – he’s a dreamer. His big dream is to go to space. When things go a bit awry in his life and he ends up being mistaken for an adult (through a bit of his own deception) he ends up in that very exciting situation. There’s a chance for him to see that dream come true. Here’s his chance to do that thing he’s dreamed of for ages. There’s just one catch, since he’s believed to be a “dad”, he needs a kid. That’s where his lovely friend Florida comes in. She’s fun, quirky and hilarious. She’s a brilliant character. I really liked her dynamic (and she has a pretty sad story too! I didn’t see it coming!) What ensues is a brilliant tale of friendship, astronaut challenges and family. 

I loved Liam’s perspective. He just seemed like one of those really genuine characters. He wasn’t unreliable. I liked him, I trusted him. I wanted him to succeed. There were certainly moments where I wanted to shout at my book “WHY DID YOU DO THAT?” but overall I think he’s one of the best characters I’ve read this year

This book made me laugh a lot. There were often moments where I caught myself laughing out loud. I can’t wait to put this into the hands of some of my KS2 kids – I know it’s going to be a winner! I can’t wait to read more by this author now too… I have purchased 2 others by him already! 

Have you read Cosmic?
Would you like to be an astronaut? 
What’s on your bucket list?
(Cause I’ll tell you going to space is not one of mine!)

Let me know in the comments, or on twitter! I would love to know what you thought of Liam! As you can tell, I’m a fan!

S x

Summer holiday wrap up!

So… it’s back to school day today! I thought I would keep the cheer up by sharing the amazing books that I read over the Summer holidays! I got to read some absolute corkers – both YA and MG books! 

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Highlights:

  • One of Us Is Lying – I absolutely loved this! It was fast paced and brilliant. It kept me on my toes the ENTIRE time. 
  • The Invasion – hotly anticipated sequel to The Call. I absolutely loved it.
  • Wonder Woman – I haven’t read anything by Leigh Bardugo but I really want to now! I really loved this!
  • The Eyes of the Dragon – I never expected I would so highly recommend a Stephen King book but I absolutely LOVED this one. 

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Highlights: (I would like to state that I loved EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THESE)

  • The Creakers – I was lucky enough to get a proof and it’s just brilliant. I can’t wait for everyone else to read this! Especially if you loved The Christmasaurus.
  • Letters from the Lighthouse – absolutely gorgeous and absolutely perfect KS2 book. I really loved the story and the female characters! 
  • The Last Wild – this made me cry SO HARD on the train someone asked me if I was OK, ha. But seriously brilliant.
  • A Place Called Perfect – I can NOT stop banging on about how brilliant this book is. It is creepy and weird and JUST AMAZING. Go read it.

I am IMPRESSED. I didn’t think I had read 16 books! This recap doesn’t even include all of the picture books I read either! How exciting! So there were many books read over the summer, JUST AS IT SHOULD BE! 

What did you read over the summer?
Did you have a favourite read?
Do you have a book you always fall back on in summer?

Let me know in the comments or tweet me! I would love to see your summer reads!

 S x

BOOKBLOG: Stephen King

The Eyes of the Dragon: brilliantly enthralling story perfect for YA lovers!

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“A fantasy of heroic adventure, set in the kingdom of Delain. It involves a king who is poisoned, a young and beautiful queen, a prince locked in a high tower while his younger brother assumes the throne, and an evil magician who harbours terrible secrets and malevolent plans.”

Once in a while, your friends come along and recommend a book to you that you think “there is no way I’m going to enjoy that, I would never read anything by him, he’s not my type” and then BAM you’re hit in the face by an incredible book like this. I had my doubts, but I was instantly hooked. (For another book I had that exact same feeling for… go check out Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer. Absolutely incredible)

The gorgeous people over at @WaterstonesUxbr (Waterstones Uxbridge) recommended it to me and I am SO GLAD. They’re lovely over there, go give them a follow! Pester them for book recommendations. 

I was sceptical about this because I read a LOT of YA and Stephen King doesn’t scream YA to me, but I was told to give it a shot. It’s written in a very YA way – long before YA was even a thing! Never before has a book been so hit on the head in such a way.

In a nutshell, The Eyes of the Dragon is the story of a prince who is framed for a murder he didn’t commit, an evil advisor to the king and a king who’s too young and naive to tell the truth. I LOVED IT. SO MUCH. 

It’s so clever, so well woven. I didn’t want to stop reading it. It just worked, so beautifully. It’s storytelling at its absolute best. 

If you’re a fan of worlds with magic, evilness and incredible characters then I totally will make you read this!

Have you read this?
Have you read any Stephen King books?
Are there any books you look at and think ‘oh no, that’s not for me‘ but then read it and loved it?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter!! 

S x

p.s. this review has done this book no justice whatsoever, just read it then we can talk about how clever Peter is, how stupid Thomas is, how evil Flagg is and how bloody incredible this book is!

BOOKBLOG: Lara Williamson

A Boy Called Hope – made me cry in the very best way. 

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“I’m Dan Hope and deep inside my head I keep a list of things I want to come true. For example, I want my sister, Ninja Grace, to go to university at the North Pole and only come back once a year. I want to help Sherlock Holmes solve his most daring mystery yet. And if it could be a zombie mystery, all the more exciting. I want to be the first eleven-year-old to land on the moon. I want my dog to stop eating the planets and throwing them up on the carpet. And finally, the biggest dream of all, I want my dad to love me.”

I had heard so many brilliant things about this book via the tweachers in my life that I knew I needed to get on it as soon as I could. I was very lucky that the lovely Stevie over at Usborne offered to send me a copy! Thanks Stevie! I took Dan Hope in his book into Newcastle for a bit of reading in the sunshine and it was an experience! 

A Boy Called Hope tells the story of Dan and his roller coaster relationship with father figures. He wants his dad back. His dad left to go be with another woman and all of a sudden his dad is on TV and Dan thinks that now is his chance to have his dad back in his life. All of this is happening and Dan is having to deal with his best friend insisting on him trusting her relic of a saint and his other best friend falling out with him. Dan has an incredible big sister, Grace. She meddles in his grand plan and wants Dan to have nothing to do with their estranged father. 

While all of this happens – Dan trying to get on with school, combatting his emotions with seeing his dad on TV, getting on with his sister – Dan’s mum has a new friend (Big Dave) and Grace does not trust him. They end up meddling and getting the wrong end of the stick in a big way. Dan gets from Big Dave what he doesn’t from his dad. Their relationship made me cry the most. I absolutely loved it. 

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It’s funny watching the world unravel through the eyes of a child and Lara has done it perfectly here. There were bits that made me laugh. Parts that made me cry. Unexpected twists. Brilliant friendships portrayed. Tough emotions dealt with. This book touches on some sensitive issues but deals with them so brilliantly. They’re definitely looked after well

I would totally recommend this book for KS2 classes. It would be a brilliant class reader too. It would create some brilliant talking points. I absolutely loved it. Can’t wait to read more books by Lara Williamson now… if they’re anything like this one, then I may have found another “must buy” author!

Have you read A Boy Called Hope?
What did you think of Big Dave?
Can you recommend any other kids books you loved this summer?

Let me know in the comments, or on twitter! I will take all of the recommendations! 

S x

BOOKBLOG: Anna Wilson

Vlad: The World’s Worst Vampire – a great quick story filled with fun and friendship!

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“Vlad is the youngest member of the Impaler family, the bravest vampires that ever lived. But Vlad isn’t very brave at all. He’s even a little bit scared of the dark!
All Vlad wants is some friends and he thinks he knows just where to find them… Human school! So off Vlad goes, along with his pet bat Flit. But how will Vlad keep his true identity secret from his new friends? Not to mention keeping them hidden from his family! Life just got a lot more complicated…”

I received this gorgeous book from Stripes a week or so ago and because Vlad was such a handsome looking little dude I picked it up. I love books like this because I know they’re going to be a quick read – perfect for the 5-9 year olds I know! 

This book tells the story of Vlad, who is as the title suggests, the worst vampire you may ever meet. He has dreams of going to school, making friends, learning things in a classroomnot staying at home and learning to fly. He’s a rubbish flier. He just can’t get it. It is a constant source of madness with his parents. He doesn’t want to do it though. He wants friends. He wants to go school. So being a brave young man, he does just that. He has to overcome some pretty horrific hurdles – is the sun going to burn him? What’s going to happen to Flit? But all is well in the end! 

I really enjoyed Vlad and I know it is going to be great for some of the beginner readers at school, but also for those children who want a fun, quick read! I know it was great for me to read a book that was gorgeous and quick to read! 

Plus… the illustrations are incredible! 

Have you read Vlad?
Do you think you’d make a good vampire?
If you could be a mythical creature, which would you choose?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter! I would love to know your choices! 

S x