To the dogs…

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Scale”

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“I rub the ears of my dog, my stupid goddam ruddy great dog that I never wanted but who hung around anyway and who followed me thru the swamp and who bit Aaron when he was trying to choke me and who found Viola when she was lost and who’s licking my hand with his little pink tongue and whose eye is still mostly squinted shut from where Mr. Prentiss Jr. kicked him and whose tail is way way shorter from where Matthew Lyle cut it off when my dog – my dog – went after a man with a machete to save me and who’s right there when I need pulling back from the darkness I fall into and who tells me who I am whenever I forget.”

Patrick Ness, The Knife of Never Letting Go

Let’s get talking…

A few weeks ago I came upon the post Ten texts to get kids talking on the Nerdy Book Club blog and I found myself in quite unfamiliar territory. This is an excellent blog topic but many of the books aren’t well known or even available in the UK, so I thought ‘what are our alternatives?’.

Looking at different themes such as inclusion, death, family, climate change, mental health, identity, gender, etc. these books provide great stories and tools to spark thoughtful discussion both in the classroom or at home.

Please feel free to contribute to this list in the comments below.

Picture Books

THE PROMISE by Nicola Davies and Laura Carlin

Discussion topics: Climate change, ecology, conservation

Continue reading

Find a comfy chair, see the world

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Live to Eat.”

Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinska 

Take a trip around the globe with this beautiful atlas-cum-encyclopedia. Each page is packed with facts and statistics of different countries. Divided by continent, this book delves inside fifty-two different countries, detailing information such as capital cities, languages, most popular names, animal species, national delicacies, famous people etc. I could go on. Take the UK for example, did you know our most popular names are Olivia and Jack? Or that one of our most common sports is ping pong? Or that in Namibia, they eat the caterpillars of the Gonibrasia Belina Moth?

And did I mention that it’s absolutely blooming beautiful? Even if you’re not looking for homework inspiration, this is a must for any bibliophile’s collection.

See!

A Dark Tale…

It’s hard knowing where to start with a blog. How do I narrow down all the options? Do I start with war books? Swashbuckling adventure stories? Mysteries? Fantasies? I’ll do my best to cover it all but for now I’ll start with an enquiry I received recently.

A mother and son approached me a few days ago requesting dark books. The boy’s teacher had said that he needs to start reading “darker books”. The boy had been reading the Tom Gates series by L Pichon – and although I think these are great books and I will get onto them eventually, I’ve seen many children latch onto them and find it difficult to move on to more challenging reading. Variety is the spice of life after all.

Dark can mean many things; it could describe an eerie ghost story, or perhaps something more serious such as death. In this case, we’ll discuss stories with a creepy or macabre edge to them as I don’t want to launch this blog on the subject of death, but I will cover it at some point. So here it is, my guide to creepy kids books:

Picture Books

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THE DARK by Lemony Snicket

On the surface this book is terrifying. You may ask ‘Who on Earth would give this to a child?’ but the surprise ending makes it worth it. In this book, Lazlo is lured down to the basement by a mysterious voice, but what he finds down there is not what you’d expect. This definitely gets your heart racing but you’ll finish it with a smile. Continue reading

HELP!

I’ve heard it a lot. A lost parent, aunt, uncle, family friend or Godparent, a glazed look in their eyes, staring blankly at the seemingly endless rows of brightly coloured book spines. Where do you start?

Book buying (or borrowing, as I don’t discount libraries) can be a daunting task but it’s one that can be made a little easier with a bit of guidance. That’s the purpose of this blog: to present you with a little friendly advice on what to select for that little (or not so little) person in your life.

Over the next few months I’ll be talking about the requests I often hear on a daily basis, so expect a lot of lists. I’ll also be reviewing and talking about my favourite books and hopefully get some bookseller friends to contribute.