Category Archives: Books

#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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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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Mindfulness – My Next Steps


Hey! 

It’s February!! Can you believe it?! What’s more shocking is it seems I’ve already broken my New Years resolution – I only posted once in January. What a let down I clearly am!! 

However, it’s time for a change. I love my job and what I do but I need to make more time for me. I keep saying it but I never seem to see this through, until now. Maybe. Hopefully. 

I was visiting my local Waterstones and spotted the book ‘A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled’. I do feel quite frazzled, tired, emotional, wondering how I am still standing. Therefore, it appealed. Ruby Wax however, is a new one for me. I was never a fan of her TV shows. Maybe I’d like her writing better?! It’s worth a shot. 


I’ve no idea if this book is going to help me or even change me. But, and I’m hanging onto this but, I feel like I need to do something. No one can carry on at such a fast pace, working 12, 13 or 14 hour days. It’s bound to catch up with even the best of us at some point. I just want to get in a clear head space, to have some ‘me’ time. No stress 2017 is my motto – even the kids are reminding me of this. I don’t feel stressed but I do feel frazzled

I’m going into this with my eyes wide open. I love reading anyway so the worst case scenario is that I’ve just read another book. Not such a bad thing really. Yet, if I can feel a little less frazzled that would also be delightful. 

So, I’m going to bed with my book to start the next chapter. Wish me luck. Oh, and if anyone had read this, please let me know what you think! 

Big love all xx

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Hey everyone! 

I hope you’re all happy and well on this lovely Monday morning. August already!! I can’t believe it. One week into my summer holiday as well. Time really does fly. 

Well, yesterday the big day finally came, the day when the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play script was released, on Harry’s birthday nonetheless. 

I’m excited but apprehensive like everyone else I guess. When you grow up with something it becomes a part of you. When something gets changed or adapted or added to, you always wonder whether it will be as wonderful as you expect it to be. Yet, I’ve got no doubt I will fall in love with this. 

However, this is marred with some sadness. It is the end. I can’t believe this is really it. Rowling said herself: 

“He goes on a very big journey during these two plays and then, yeah, I think we’re done. This is the next generation, you know. So, I’m thrilled to see it realised so beautifully but, no, Harry is done now.”

Could this ever really be the end when so many live and breathe Harry Potter? 
Regardless, I’ll see you on the other side. Have you got yours? 

Magic is happening all over again. I can’t wait! 

Big love. Xx


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The 50 Books Every Child Should Read By Age 16 

Hey everyone! 
Hope you’re well on this Sunday evening and that you’ve had a restful weekend. 

I’ve been having a mooch online and stumbled across this list being advertised on Facebook. Naturally, I was inquisitive. It’s an interesting list based on, as the title of this post suggests, the 50 books every child should read by age 16. I had to check this out. 

Now I’m a bit of a geek and have a spreadsheet based on what books I’ve read and in what year. #booklovenotashamed. I was curious to see how many I’d read and I wanted to pass this onto you guys to see which ones you’ve read by this age. The ones I’ve read are striked out. 

Here goes. The 50 books are as follows:

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory- Roald Dahl

Alice in Wonderland- Lewis Carroll

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe- C.S. Lewis – Read after age 16. Didn’t really take my fancy as a child or an adult. 

Winnie The Pooh- A.A.Milne

Black Beauty- Anna Sewell

James and The Giant Peach- Roald Dahl & then again at university. It formed part of my dissertation! 

The BFG-Roald Dahl

A Bear Called Paddington- Michael Bond

Treasure Island- Robert Louis Stevenson

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

Matilda- Roald Dahl

The Railway Children- E. Nesbit – Watched the film, but haven’t read the book. 

Oliver Twist- Charles Dickens – Read but after the age of 16. This would have been a huge book to read at that age! 

Five on a Treasure Island- Enid Blyton

The Wind in the Willows- Kenneth Grahame

The Very Hungry Caterpillar- Eric Carle

The Jungle Book- Rudyard Kipling – Nope… Loved the Disney film too much. 

Charlotte’s Web- EB White

The Tale of Peter Rabbit- Beatrix Potter

Watership Down- Richard Adams – Saw the film. It left me traumatised. 

The Hobbit -J.R.Tolken

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- J.K. Rowling – Read a number of times BUT it was published after my 16th birthday. 

Lord of the Flies- William Golding

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, aged 13 ¾ Sue Townsend – Read a couple of years ago when she sadly passed away. 

Great Expectations- Charles Dickens – Read at university. LOVE it. 

The Cat in the Hat- Dr Seuss

The Secret Garden- Frances Hodgson-BurnettAnd saw a theatre adaptation. 

The Diary of a Young Girl- Anne Frank – Read after the age of 16. 

The Twits – Roald Dahl

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz- L. Frank Baum

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne – Another book I’ve read, but it too was released after my 16th birthday

Anne of Green Gables- L.M.Montgomery

The Tiger Who Came to Tea- Judith Kerr

Green Eggs and Ham-Dr Seuss

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

Bambi- Felix Selten

Tom’s Midnight Garden- Phillipa Pearce – I knew the story but didn’t read the book until I was studying a children’s literature module at university

Little House on the Prairie- Laura Ingalls Wilder

Funny Bones- Janet and Allan Ahlberg

Where The Wild Things Are- Maurice Sendak

Carrie’s War- Nina Bawden

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time – Mark Haddon – Read but again it was released after my 16th birthday. Would love to see the London theatre version as well. 

The Magician’s Nephew- C.S. Lewis

The Golden Compass – Philip Pullman

The Story of Doctor Dolittle- Hugh Lofting

The Story of Tracy Beaker – Jacqueline Wilson

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

Curious George- H.A.Ray

Each Peach Pear Plum – Janet and Allan Ahlberg 
This is an awesome list. Ok, there is a minor flaw that some books were published after my 16ty birthday; it serves as a pretty good reading list. It’s definitely a list I will be sharing with my students at school. 

Books I’ve read: 32, 22 by the age of 16. Not bad going! 
What about you? I’d love to know! 

Have a great week everyone! 

Big love xx

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The NY By The Book Tag 

Hey everyone! 

Hope you’re having a restful Sunday. Today I’m going to take part in a tag. I’ve not done one for a while and I’m in a bit of a reading slump, so I figured this may help me out of it! 

I was tagged by the lovely Michelle @ Book Adventures to take part in this tag. I’m so pleased because I’ve never heard of it and I know very little about it. So, thank you very much for thinking about me! It originated here

There’s some really awesome bookish questions, so I’m really looking forward to taking part and tagging some of my lovely blogging friends. Let’s go! 


What book is on your nightstand now? 

I currently have two books by my bed that I’m reading. One of for pleasure and one is for work. The book I am reading for pleasure is really funny. It’s Love, Nina by Nina Stibbe. It is packed full of hilarious letters about working as a nanny and moving to London. I also, rather superficially, adore the cover. 

The book I’m reading for work is called The Lazy Teacher’s Handbook by Jim Smith. Don’t worry, it’s not as it sounds. It’s about enabling students to learn more whilst the teacher does less. I’ve had a right bee in my bonnet recently because I feel like I’m working harder than my students. This has handy little tweaks that I can use in my own lessons to enable students to learn without them noticing. Clever huh?! 



What was the last truly great book you’ve read? 

I’ve read loads of amazing books, but the first book that came to my mind when I read this question was The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth by Katherine Woodfine. This is the second book in this series and it’s just as good as the first. I was completely hooked. Also, the cover is just as beautiful too. 



If you could meet any writer – dead or alive – who would it be? And what would you want to know?

The Potterhead in me naturally wishes to meet J.K. Rowling. However, I’d love to have a chat with Oscar Wilde. I adore him and his plays are ridiculously funny. I’d ask him if he had any regrets and why he stayed with the brute that was Lord Alfred Douglas. 



What books might we be surprised to find on your shelf?

Hmmm I don’t know really. I’m a bit of a book hoarder so I have all kinds of books. Maybe this big book on Queen Victoria? You may/may not know I’m not a massive fan of history fiction/non fiction. It’s a bit of a surprise to me it’s on my shelf. I haven’t read it but I’d like to one day. 



How do you organize your personal library?

There is a real art to organising book shelves I honestly think. So, I have all my pretty Folio Society books on the top shelf, with hardbacks I love. Then,  the other shelves are books I’d like to read at some point. There’s A LOT. Occasionally there’s a pile of books for the charity shop because I have read them in so long, or I’ve read them and knew I wouldn’t read them again. 

 

What book have you always meant to read and haven’t gotten around to yet?

I’ve always meant to read Daphne Du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn. I’ve avoided all TV and film versions, but then I kind of forgot about it. It’s only back in my head because an extract was used in a sample exam paper. I must crack on with reading this, one day. 



Disappointing, overrated, just not good: what book did you feel you are supposed to like but didn’t?

There was loads of hype about John Green’s Paper Towns. But, this just wasn’t for me. The characters made me feel so mad. It completed fell short for me. I expected so much more. I didn’t find it ‘profoundly moving’ either. 



What kind of stories are you drawn to? Any you stay clear of?

I’ll read anything, or at least give something a go. Nevertheless, I’m not a fan of science fiction or anything like that. It plays on my mind and I end up having weird dreams. It’s not for me at all. I’m drawn to novels that evoke strong emotions from me, whether it’s happiness or tears. Childhood memories always equal the Harry Potter series. 



If you could require the president to read one book, what would it be?

It would definitely have be To Kill A Mockingbird. This book is so profound and moving. It’s also a message to us all, one that will live on forever. A more modern text that I think the president should read is The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra. It’s a cracking little book. 




What do you plan to read next?

Well, after I’ve finished Love, Nina and my handbook for work, I’m going to be reading The Awakening of Miss Prim. I don’t know very much about this book, but I love the cover. I am always a bit wary of blurbs because they can be very misleading. However, this sounds very interesting. It is my next read! 

So, thank you again Michelle for tagging me. I’ve loved taking part in this and I’m feeling like I’m progressing out of my reading slump. 

Time to spread the love….

I’m tagging:

Amy
Claire
Liam
Analee
Joey
Nicola
Book Club Mom
Jess
Ashley
Arec
Jane
Melanie
Sarah & Faith
Sammie
Emily
& you if you wish! Feel free to ignore if it’s not your thing. 

Big love to you all xxx

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