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

—————————————————————–

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.

——————————————————–

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!

OperationCleanUpDay_Banner

Advertisements

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!

img_9637.jpg

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!

img_9709

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

img_9702

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! 

img_9705

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.

img_9704

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

DJIlFUmWsAAn6V2

“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

S4S – Recommended books

Morning! SUNDAY AGAIN? Where did last week go? How was your week? 

What has everyone been reading this week?

This week’s#SixforSundayis:

Books people keep recommending to me

  1. Gilded Cage (Liv is responsible for this recommendation)
  2. Department 19 (Zoe, you are the reson behind this… but also After The Fire was exceptional)
  3. Anything written by Leigh Bardugo (Wonderful Kelly is responsible for this… I know. I will get on it)
  4. Station Eleven (one of my favourites, Sara Barnard, raves about this! I have it on my shelf!)
  5. Kevin Brooks (My friends Rachel, Aoife and Cora all rave about him… I will read them one day)
  6. The Hate U Give (everyone… basically everyone recommends this. It’ll happen one day soon!)

So there you have my#SixforSunday this week! 

Have you read any of these?
Can you recommend me a book? 
What books do people keep recommending to you?

Let me know if you post a#SixforSunday! Use the hashtag and link me to your post! I would love to see what books people keep recommending… not that I need more books recommended! My TBR is a monster!

S x

The Coffee Book Tag

Thank you so much to Kelly @ Kelly’s Ramblings for tagging me! If you’d like to do it, I’m not going to tag anyone! Feel free to challenge yourself! 

1. Black Americano: A book that’s hard to get into but has hardcore fans.

I can’t actually think of anything for this! I would love to know other people think of this…

The most hardcore fans I know are Harry Potter fans! 

2. Peppermint Mocha: A book that gets more popular around Winter.

Image result for the lion the witch and the wardrobe

I love to reread The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe around Winter time. I think it’s the snow in Narnia!

3. Hot Chocolate: Your favourite children’s book.

Image result for matilda

Anyone reading this blog would’ve been VERY surprised if I hadn’t chosen Matilda. I have so much love for this book that I can’t talk about it otherwise I’ll go on for hours. I just love it. Matilda is incredible.

4. Double Espresso: A book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

Image result for the call peadar o'guilin

I read The Call earlier this year and I was just in a perpetual state of tense. It is such an incredible book. The best dystopian I’ve read for AGES. I have read the sequel too and it does not disappoint.

5. Starbucks: A book you see everywhere.

32613366

I haven’t got round to reading THUG yet… but I will. I promise. It is everywhere!

6. That Hipster Coffee Shop: Give a book by an Indie author a shout out.

Image result for tree magic harriet springbett

Shout out to Tree Magic. Harriet is lovely! I dunno if it’s technically indie, but it needs more love!

7. Oops! I accidentally got Decaf: A book you expected more from.

Image result for freshers lucy ivison

I didn’t love Freshers as much as everyone else did! But I think it’s because my university experience was much different to this.

8. The Perfect Blend: A book/series that was bittersweet but ultimately satisfying.

34299826

Countless is one of the saddest books I’ve ever read BUT it’s so incredible. You know there is going to be good at the end. I suggest you read it if you haven’t already.

9. A Cup of Tea: Your favourite classic.

Image result for 1984 book cover

We read Nineteen Eight Four at school and I just adore it. It’s definitely one of those books that I recommend everyone read in their life!

10. Flat White: Your favourite book that isn’t a novel.

Image result for reasons to stay alive

I need say nothing. Everyone should read Reasons to Stay Alive. Just go and do it. It’s essential.

I’d love to see your responses to some of these prompts! Link me to your tag post in the comments! 

S xx

BOOKBLOG: Karen M. McManus

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

img_9628

“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

S4S – 2017 books

Morning! 

It’s Sunday again! How is everyone? Are we all good? 

This week’s #SixforSunday theme is:

Books I’m excited to be released in 2017

So which books are you most excited to come out in the rest of this year?

  1. Holly Bourne – It Only Happens In The Movies
  2. The Creakers – Tom Fletcher
  3. Grave Matter – Juno Dawson
  4. The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club – Alex Bell
  5. The Language of Thorns – Leigh Bardugo
  6. Turtles All The Way Down – John Green 

I am excited for all of these for different reasons! But I can’t wait! 

Which releases are you excited for?
Have you read any of my list? What did you think?

Share your #SixforSunday on twitter or share your blog post in the comments! I love seeing you guys joining in! 

Watch out for an exciting #SixforSunday update coming at the end of September!

S x

BOOKBLOG: Leigh Bardugo

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

img_9505

“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!

dhgnc98waaidt3g

“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