Monthly Archives: June 2017

#HarryPotter20


Hey guys! 

Can you believe it’s been 20 years since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published? I know I’ve mentioned this in a previous post (here) but today is the big day. I’m so excited. I can remember reading them as a child; being transported into another world – a world where the extraordinary is possible, the magic made real and where friends really could conquer anything. It was bliss. 


My friend tagged me in something really cool today. Facebook have celebrated by creating their own little bit of magic. Confession: I let out a little squeal when I saw this! I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve clicked on this about 100 times. Also, Twitter has had the #HarryPotter20. Yet again, Potter fever is taking over! 


The world is a very different place now. However, these novels are the same. They provide a world for young people to get lost and dare I say it, adults too..? I’m not ashamed to admit it. I have quotes from the novels all around my classroom. I promote the books to all my students. I genuinely could not live without it. 


Books are life. These books in particular are a part of millions of people’s lives. It’s wonderful to know that Rowling feels it too. We must focus on the next generation now. Let’s keep the magic alive. 


Happy birthday Harry! 

Big love xxx

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Father’s Day – Famous Dads in Literature

Hey guys! 

Sunday, the day of rest. The weather has been amazing! It’s definitely feeling like summer. In the UK, today is Father’s Day. To celebrate all the wonderful dads out there, I’ve decided to do a post about some of the famous dads we see in literature. 
Atticus Finch – To Kill A Mockingbird – Atticus has stayed with me from the moment I first read this book. As a single parent, what he teaches Scout and Jem (and every child who has ever read the book) is life changing. To learn that everyone is important and each deserve respect is a lesson synonymous with Atticus. He’s quiet, humble and just an inspirational character. 


Arthur Weasley – The Harry Potter Series – Oh Arthur. Such a marvellous father character. He’s just so relatable. He tinkers, he helps the Weasley boys avoid their mother when being mischevious, he defends them all and he even provides support for Harry. Aww. 


Hans Hubermann – The Book Thief – Liesel’s adopted father, Hans is another inspirational father figure. He is warm and friendly in Liesal’s time of great need, accentuate by the World War Two setting. He plays his accordion for her and teaches her to read during secret late night sessions. It’s this that saves her life. 


Otto Frank – The Diary of Anne Frank – Without Otto, Anne’s diary would never have seen the light of day. Anne and her father were close, as seen in her diary. However he, like the rest of the world, learnt something from her diaries: “I must say, I was very much surprised by the deep thoughts Anne had. It was quite a different Anne I had known as my daughter…And my conclusion is, since I had been in very good terms with Anne, that most parents don’t know really their children.”


Bob Cratchit – A Christmas Carol – Bob’s character is incredibly on two levels. Firstly, he manages to work with someone like Scrooge. What can I say, we all love to hate him! Secondly, he saves Christmas for his family, mostly Tiny Tim. That’s pretty cool for a dad! He also adores his family which is incredibly heart warming. 


King Lear – Arguably not up for any best dad awards, Lear ends up driving his daughters away. His own vanity and desire to know what’s what caused him to force his daughters into proving how much they love him. When his youngest daughter (and favourite) declines to join in, he banishes her. Not cool. 


Grandfather Joe Bucket – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Ok, so technically a grandfather but it still counts. Joe is the one that accompanies Charlie to the factory on their magical adventure. It gives him the spring in his step, literally, that he needs to get out from his bed. 


Tom Oakley – Goodnight Mister Tom – Another book that utterly broke my heart. Again, set in World War Two, Tom takes in a child from the Blitz, William. Whilst their relationship at the start was slightly stilted, Tom grows to love and nurture the boy. 

I’m well aware that there are plenty others, but these are the fathers that stick in my mind from books I’ve read. Let me know if you think of any others I’ve missed! 

To all the dads out there, have a great day and remember, we are nothing without you. 

Big love xx

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800 Followers!! 

Hey guys! 

Happy Friday! I guess I’m completely shocked at the news that my little space on the internet now has over 800 followers. I can’t believe it! 

Thank you so much for all the support. I know I say this all the time. I do genuinely feel so humbled. There are some amazing blogs out there, as well as amazing bloggers that I’m so lucky to have stumbled across. I feel quite privileged to know you all. 


Also, without sounding horribly soppy, there are some bloggers that have been with me since my first post over two years ago now. Thanks for sticking with me and leaving me messages when I’ve been absent. It means everything. (I’m clearly emotional anyway because my Year 11s are finishing today, pretty much!) 

So, because there are 800 people following me, I thought I would give you 8 bookish facts about me. 

1. I still haven’t stopped talking about the new Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone covers. It’s only 10 days now until the birthday. Can. Not. Wait. 
2. I’m currently reading the third instalment of The Sinclair’s Mysteries by Katherine Woodfine. These have to be some of the most beautiful covers ever. I owe finding these books so a blogger as well. Thank you Claire, as always.


3. I really get invested into characters when I’m reading. I’ll love them, hate them, feel frustrated with them, want to knock some sense into them, want to be a part of their ‘gang’ etc. It feels like I actually know them. Which may seem slightly crazy…
4. Whenever people buy me books, I like them to sign it and date it at least on the inside. A little message is always lovely to receive. It becomes a keepsake and I treasure them forever. However, my mum refuses to do this! She’s also stopped buying me books because apparently it’s too difficult. Hmm. 
5. I tend to carry a book around with me. You never know when you may get chance to read something. 

6. The first and only proper author I’ve ever met was Jacqueline Wilson. I loved her growing up. I’ve got 3 books signed by her too. She’s so lovely! 
7. I’ve got a vast collection of book marks. I tend to pick them up wherever I go really. I’ll keep an eye out for pretty ones too. 

8. I have a genuine belief that books can change lives. Nothing will make me question that. Ever. 


So that’s that! 8 bookish facts for my 800 super followers! I guess that just leaves me to say thank you! Enjoy Friday everyone! Make it a good one! 

Big love xxx

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13 Reasons Why – Jay Asher


Hey guys! 

Happy Sunday. I hope you’re having a restful weekend. It’s been a funny one for me. I’ve done lots of reading because I feel utterly exhausted. It’s the last English exam tomorrow so this is probably why. Anyway, it meant that I got to finish reading 13 Reasons Why. Blimey, what a cracking little book this is! It’s probably one of the best books I’ve read in 2017 so far. 

What’s it all about? 

The novel evolves around two characters: Hannah Baker and Clay Jensen. Now I have to say Clay is a rather shy, mild character in high school. I actually quite liked him as a character and there were times when my heart broke for him. Anyway, Clay comes home from school to find he has received a mystery package in the mail, with no return address. Inside the package was 7 double sided cassette tapes used by Hannah to explain why she committed suicide. Each tape details a reason why. The novel follows Clay’s listening of the tapes (on a stolen player from his friend Tony) and him walking around the town to visit various places mentioned. 

The first to receive the tapes was Justin. They shared a kiss once after Hannah developed a crush on him. However, it wasn’t long until she remembered she liked someone else. Yet, Justin bragged to his friends that it was more than a kiss, earning Hannah an unwarranted reputation as some kind of slut. It was Justin who started the journey to Hannah’s death. 

“I’d like to not be the thing people dig their hands in anymore.”

The second person was Alex. Alex foolishly published a ‘hot or not’ list, comparing the girls in their class. He credited Hannah with the title of ‘Best Ass’, adding fuel to the fire about her reputation currently flying around school. At the same time, he awarded Jessica, his ex girlfriend the title of ‘Worst Ass’ in revenge for her not sleeping with him. Needless to say, Alex’s character enraged me. Little shit. 

Next up: Jessica herself. After the list, this friendship became rather strained. Jessica got angry and slapped Hannah. It was this altercation that ended their friendship. Also the consequence of the slap was a scar above Hannah’s left eye brow. Clay noticed…

The tapes were then sent to Tyler, another classmate. He worked as the photographer for the yearbook. But it wasn’t just photos for the yearbook he took. Hannah knew he was stalking her and taking photos of her through her bedroom window. Hannah asked Courtney for help in catching Tyler in the act. Tyler took a picture of Hannah and Courtney kissing in Hannah’s bedroom. The photo got published, leading us nicely to the next receiver of the tapes. 

Courtney was the fifth person. Hannah was desperate for Courtney to be her friend. Yet the picture Tyler had published created more rumours, this time about Courtney’s sexuality. In a vain attempt to save herself from embarrassment, Courtney added to the rumours about Hannah. That snowball of events is just getting bigger…

“Some of you care. None of you cared enough.”

Marcus was next and again I have to say he is another male character I did not like. Nevertheless, his role is rather small yet still important. He decided to believe the rumours about Hannah and made a pass at her. He clearly believed she was easy and up for a good time.  Obviously he was rather surprised when Hannah knocked him back. 

Zack tried to comfort Hannah after Marcus has stormed off. He became the seventh character to receive the tapes. The following day he tried to ask Hannah out, but made rude remarks and got turned down. Clearly, his ego bruised, he went out of his way to seek revenge on Hannah. He decides to steal her notes of encouragement from her. Each student had a paper bag where you could leave little comments of encouragement. Yet she saw Zach take hers. As a result, Hannah was cut off from a tiny piece of happiness from her day. 

The eighth person to receive the tapes was Ryan. Hannah decided to try and trust others again yet her previous experience should have taught her better. Ryan stole a poem Hannah had written about her personal problems. As if this wasn’t bad enough, he then published the poem anonymously in the school newspaper. Unfortunately some students recognised Hannah’s handwriting and mocked her for it. This, for me, was a huge turning point for Hannah’s character. Her thoughts were not the object of scrutiny as well as her perceived actions. 

“You can’t go back to how things were or how you thought they were. All you really have is now.”

Clay’s tape was different to the others. For a start, he didn’t make her feel suicidal like the rest of the characters. Hannah acknowledges that Clay is the nicest person she has ever met and wishes they had more time to get to know each other. She also apologises to him. At a party, the pair clicked and automatically got on. They talked and talked and eventually shared kisses. Yet, it all went wrong when Hannah started to think about Justin and the other boys she kissed. She sends Clay out of the room and cries. 

Number ten: Justin. After Clay leaves, Hannah hides in a closet feeling emotional and drunk. She witnesses the rape of Jessica. Justin knew it was going to happen and just let it. Hannah struggles with her responsibility in this. She could have stopped it too, but she was in a state herself. 

“All guys are arseholes. Some are arseholes all of the time, all are arseholes some of the time.”

The eleventh person to receive the tapes was Jenny. Jenny was a popular cheerleader from school who offered Hannah a lift home after the horrendous house party. It is on their way home that she mounts the pavement and hits a stop sign, giving Hannah the feeling that she wasn’t safe enough to drive. Hannah got out of the car and begged Jenny to ring the police. But, she never did. Later that evening, the lack of stop sign caused a car accident that killed one of their senior classmates. 

Bryce. When my dislike of characters couldn’t get any more, Bryce rocks up. He is the next to receive the tapes. He did feature earlier in the novel (don’t want to spoil everything!) and again he messes with Hannah and makes assumptions because of the earlier rumours. He clearly takes advantage of her. Hannah is pretty much shut down, thinking about her life and her funeral. 

“You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything…affects everything.”

The final person to receive the tapes was Mr Porter, Hannah’s teacher and school counsellor. There is a sense that this really is th last chance for Hannah. She even admits it herself. Hannah secretly records his conversation. It is here she expresses her desire to kill herself because of all of the events we learn about from the tapes. Mr Porter doesn’t offer the most sound advice, telling Hannah that she should press charges or move on. 

Clay is broken and utterly exhausted by the end of the novel. He runs into another classmate, Skye. He has suspicions about her wellbeing. The novel ends with Clay reaching out to her. 

Overall:

I loved this book. It didn’t take me long to read it but that was probably down to the fact that I felt so strongly about all of the characters. I wanted to save Hannah, scream at most of the boys, kick Bryce in the balls, comfort Clay, shake Mr Porter for giving up on her so flippantly. 

The narration of Hannah and Clay was clever. Even in Hannah’s death they are still linked; Clay understands her. The use of cassettes is quirky, retro almost. It takes me back to when I was a kid. 

There are a lot of lessons you can take from this book, put best by Hannah herself:

“In the end, everything matters.”

Big love xx

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Children’s Laureate 2017

Hey guys!

Something interesting hit my email inbox this week. It was the announcement of the new Children’s Laureate: Lauren Child. 


Lauren is the fourth illustrator to take this role. You may remember that the last Children’s Laureate was Chris Riddell, also an illustrator. I posted about it two years ago. Time has definitely flown by. 


Lauren Child is famous for creating the cute characters of Charlie and Lola back in the year 2000. I was too old to be reading those kinds of books. However, I do remember seeing them everywhere! I used to have stationary with the characters on because they are just unbelievably adorable. She was awarded this title at a celebration event in Hull as well. My very own doorstep. 


Congratulations Lauren! You’ll do an amazing job! Anything that gets young people passionate about reading is essential. As a teacher, it’s one of the things I’m most passionate about. Thankfully she shares and continues to promote the need for books in young people’s lives. 

 “Although there were all these terribly gloomy stories about the book disappearing, that hasn’t happened. I think it’s because, particularly for little children, holding a book is such a physical experience. I think the beauty of a world that’s contained in a few pages is quite amazing.”


Enjoy your weekend everyone! Read plenty. 

Big love xx

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London

Hey everyone!

Just as I was going to bed last night, I heard about the terrible events in London. Thankfully, my friends in London are all safe. But there were some that did not make it home last night. Yet again, I am dumbfounded and a tiny bit broken. 

I’m struggling to find words again to comprehend or explain. None of us want to live in a world of fear, where ever we are situated. So again, I want to spread love and peace to you all. 


I was talking about this with a friend this morning. He helped me to see that there are more acts of kindness than acts of hate, we just don’t hear about them. 

So my focus today is this. Hold onto those little acts of kindness, make someone smile. Hold someone tightly and let them know how much they mean to you. Help a stranger. Do something for someone else. Together, we are stronger. 

Big love x

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20 Years Of Harry Potter

Hey guys!

Can you believe it’s June?! 2017 is absolutely flying by; I can barely keep up. However, this month holds a special anniversary. On June 26, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone will turn 20 years old. I genuinely cannot believe that this life changing book was published 20 years ago. 


I remember being 7 years old and when I first read this book. As soon as I started it, I wanted to be a part of it. I was a geeky little kid who wished so much to be able to go to Hogwarts. I wanted to be in Gryffindor, I wanted to learn spells and be best friends with Hermoine. 

I loved reading anyway as a child but this showed me at quite a young age how special books are. It’s something I try and promote every day in my classroom. 

To mark this occasion, Bloomsbury have published amazing versions of The Philosopher’s Stone in house colours. If you’re an avid fan you would have been sorted on the Pottermore website, I know for sure I have! It was this house I brought today: Gryffindor. 


I absolutely love it. In fact, I have no embarrassment in saying just how excited I was to see them. VERY EXCITED indeed. 

Growing up with this book, like millions others, means that I feel it is a part of me. It shaped me as a child. It taught me to be tolerant and dream big. Anything is possible of course. 

The Gryffindor copy is lovely. It’s black with the red crest on the front with the key characteristics of those in this house: courage, bravery, determination. The edging matches the house colours. Very fetching for any bookshelf indeed! 



I love it. I absolutely will have to get the other houses. You can’t just have the one can you?! Ah Ms Rowling, what a fabulous lady you are indeed. What an indescribable thing you have created. 


Big love xx

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