August stretches ahead so why not catch up on all those books you've been wanting to read. Here's a selection of old and new above AND you could support your local library and find them in there for the reading challenge. What is there NOT to like when you can get to wonderful worlds, have amazing adventures, see things differently and FEEL for free when you join a library. GO ON AND JOIN UP for adventures for life at
This wonderful book is an ideal Christmas gift for any aged girl-restless or needing to be restless. Indeed I think Jessie Burton's fairytale is a MUST HAVE for every family with girls in it. It's a beautifully told fairytale with the most wonderful illustrations by Angela Barrett. It is thoughtful, subtle, heartening and hopeful for anybody who wants to raise adventurous children. Get a copy - you won't regret it whatever age you are.
Emma Carroll's 'Secrets of a Sun King' is a great story with interesting, inspiring characters-ones who make you feel something. It's got intrigue, suspense and history in it's whole being. There's really nothing to dislike about this book at all apart from, on a personal level it wasn't out quite in time for a big project on Egypt last term!
It's a really atmospheric read, I would say from 9+, with lots of lots of talking points and a mix of 20th century history and ancient history. The book starts off in post WW1 London but this is very cleverly and subtly intertwined the unfolding events of Howard Carter's discovery AND then a much bigger leap back into time with another layer of story set in Tutankhamun's time. The links between are seamless and the story unfolds with the sights, smells, sounds of London and Egypt so you feel you are there. It's simply an excellent read for the summer whether you know anything about Ancient Egypt or not - I think it will inspire you to want to find out more.......in fact I"m off to read it all again I think as it was just so good I couldn't put it down.
I'm not sure how 'The Snail House' by Allan Ahlberg and Gillian Tyler came to be in Storyshack's possession but it's so sweet and charming I'm not letting it go! Not only is it a lovely sharing book I can see it also being a wonderful teaching resource opening up lots of magical discussions about being small and what the world would look like along with 'The Borrowers', 'The Minpins' and 'Mrs. Pepperpot' amongst others.
The illustrations are really beautiful and in a really natural style so all in all very inspiring for lots of imagining.
This is an immensely powerful book which should be on every young adult's book shelf. I leant it one Year 8 who is one of those annoyingly lucky people who are able to read in the car and he read it all the way from Cornwall to Snape. I wouldn't use the word enjoyed to describe the book-it's achingly sad. It draws you in so that it's a compelling and intense experience when you read the book. Don't believe anybody when they say books with illustrations are easier than any other book. It's always really sad when I hear lots of, to be honest mainly grown ups, making comments about graphic novels implying that they're some kind of second best reading experience. They really aren't .....THORNHILL is just one of the many many wonderful graphic novels out there.
It will be at FOLK EAST STORYSHACK if you'd like to have a look.
'We need words,' she said. 'Why can't you see that? We can think because we have words. Without them, we won't have memory to look at the past or imagination to glimpse the future. Without words we will be imprisoned in the here and now for ever.'
What a powerful read. Wow this is very difficult to put down and, although a dystopian setting, is by no means a copy of anything else out there. I don't really want to say too much beacause YOU MUST READ IT. Letta is a wordsmith in training. Her job is fundamental to the whole basis of the 'Ark' - the name of the place where survivors from the 'Melting' live (post Global Warming catastrophe).
The book has some complex ideas and to get the most out of the story and all the implications and hidden meanings I would say 11+.
There's a fight to think for oneself-that's why language is seen as being important and therefore is only 'given out' in small supply. I found that idea both fascinating and horrifying. There is much that resonates today in so many ways. For a book about losing the power of words the opposite is true ....the words here really strike a chord. It's not just dystopian on the surface with no depth-it's a book to really make you think.
I'll leave you with this quote about the leader of the Ark...
'John Noa banned the arts because he didn't want us to be unsettled. He didn't want us to ink for ourselves. He didn't want us to be any different from the sheep in the fields. But we ARE different......'
Yes we are because we can read, create and imagine....PLEASE READ.
"Illegals are a plague, and it's my solemn duty to guard the borders of Nevermoor and protect its true citizens from Republic scum trying to weasel their way not the Free Sate'
Jupiter turned serious. 'A noble and valiant cause, I'm sure,' he said quietly. 'Protecting the Fires State from those most in need of its help.' "
'SPORK' by Kyo Maclear and Isabelle Arsenault has been around for a while but I happened to read it in assembly and it completely captivated it's audience-quite rightly too. It's a wonderful story-I didn't think one would feel very moved by a utensil with feelings! It's more than that though-a wonderful story about not quite fitting in anywhere and needing to become OK with yourself. Wonderful how this idea so clearly demonstrates such an important message for everybody. The illustrations are mainly grey wash with a little hint of colour and are very appealing. It's such a sweet little book you must get a copy!
There's not really a lot more to add to Patrick Ness's review on the back of Frances Hardinge's novel 'A skinful of shadows'....'EVERYONE SHOULD READ FRANCES HARDINGE. EVERYONE. RIGHT NOW'
Yes everyone should, probably from about 11+ as there are some situations Makepeace, at the centre of the story, finds herself in that are a little bit scary for maybe younger readers. It's a real page turner, a fairy story set in the time of the Civil War but not a fairy story in disney style in any way. The writing is evocative, you're right there with all the sights, smells and tension and it's a great piece of the history of the time too. I had to pace myself lest I finished it too quickly....yes you should read it 'RIGHT NOW'.
It doesn't need to be-it's not about the name it's all about Ted and the other characters in this story-you really feel you get to know them all as they are very well written. What is really touching is how Ted manages and how different people react to him. It's a really excellent insight in to his world and is worth a read for that alone. The fact that it is a ripping good mystery and brings London to life makes it even more worth reading. If you haven't already get yourself a copy or borrow it from Storyshack.
Siobhan knew what reading could do for anybody and everybody and set up a trust shortly before she died to bring the joy of story and reading to disadvantaged children, especially ones who had no avenues into reading. All profits from this title and her other titles go towards this trust. Find out more about this inspirational woman at:
OOOH what a rollicking read this book is. My advice would be don't start it late at night (like me!) otherwise you'll be reading into the early hours to find out what happens next. The story is set in the always fascinating Victorian era. The story starts with a prologue where a man knocks on the door of a workhouse and demands 'I'm here for the boy'....when told there are lots of boys he says 'THE BOY'. The man is a showman and the story then begins to rapidly move on as THE BOY starts the next part of his life as part of a freak show at the Travelling Fayre.
He is treated very harshly and is trying to escape his life when he unwittingly sees a murder. He, along with a circus acrobat are forced to go on the run amongst the grimy, sinister streets and underground passages of London and quickly become the most wanted people in the whole city. They then have to prove their innocence and use the different skills they both start to appreciate they possess as 'The Wild Boy of London and the Fairground Fiend Clarissa Everett'.
It is a very atmospheric, thrilling story-fast paced too. It is also a discovery of what it means to be different and how we cope with feeling different and using our often hidden talents to the best ends. A bit gory at times as there are more murders and hunts of bodies that readers of a nervous nature might not like. 10+ if you like a Sherlock Holmes style gritty action paced murder mystery.
Having just done some drama activities with EYFS/1/2 using the wonderful 'Voices in the Park' by Anthony Browne I felt the need to remind everybody else about what a fantastic book it is on so many levels. As we looked at it together there were so many things for the children to spot, so many ideas, so much feeling and so much unspoken but alluded to-it gave us lots and lots to work on and EVERYBODY saw something in it that I hadn't seen before. Don't you just love that when it happens?
'Imagine' by John Lennon is not new of course but this beautiful hardback book is published by Hodder for the always powerful Amnesty book collection. It's a reminder of the power of this song and the pages show the journey of a young pigeon spreading the message of peace and love-one that we seem to need more than ever.
'Do you Speak Chocolate' by Cas Lester is a pertinent, moving book for our time (10+). It's moving, funny, spot on in terms of girl friendships and just the book every Yr 6 upwards book corner should have IF NOT the book that should be read aloud at the end of the day. It's about the arrival of Nadima who speaks no English and is thrown in at the deep end in Yr 7. Jaz makes friends through sharing a square of chocolate (hence the title) and the story roll-on quickly. We learn much more about Nadima but also about the other girls and the things they face and how barriers can be broken down with kindness and understanding. It's important, it's relevant and it's written in a very 'down to earth' easy to read style which makes you want to read on.
'The Legend of Podkin One - Ear' by Kieren Larwood (9+) is my bed time reading at the moment. It's a great action fantasy read. It seems to move on really quickly as, to celebrate special festival a storyteller arrives at a warren...he tells the story of Podkin One-Ear from the start. Everyone listens, rapt, as they are drawn in to this rabbit legend and consequently we get drawn in as the reader too. It's a fast paced read and very enjoyable. It's not all lovely cute rabbits - there's a merciless iron clad group called 'the Gorm' who gradually turning all the warrens into evil. It is up to some very young rabbits to try and stop them. I can't wait to read more when I've stopped blogging!
Avid reader, sometimes a headteacher AND founder of Story shack. A place where you can release your imagination and see where it takes you....