Category Archives: Children’s Literature

Beatrix Potter – 150 Years Young



Today marks a special date in the literary world. It is the 150th birthday of the one and only Beatrix Potter. The legacy she leaves behind is remarkable. She was a keen writer, illustrator and sheep farmer. Her beautiful house is available to look around. It is as she left it, with her nick-nacks placed as she wished. The National Trust are looking after her property and grounds now. 

To celebrate, a few weeks ago I found this lovely looking book from a National Trust shop. I can’t wait to learn more about the books I loved growing up. There are some beautiful photos in this book too. 


There have already been special coins by Royal Mint released earlier this year to mark this occasion. I’ve been on the look out but I’m yet to find one! I’ll definitely keep trying though! (Images below from Google) 


Today, the Royal Mail have released new stamps as well to celebrate this amazing woman. They are so cute! I will have to get myself a set of these. (Image from Google) 


So, I’ve been thinking about how I can mark this birthday in my own way, in a way that’s special to me. I’d love to visit her house, but the chances of that are quite unlikely due to distance. Therefore, I’ve decided that this summer I am going to read my favourite Beatrix Potter stories, in the garden, in the sunshine. There’s no bigger tribute that I can give as one person. Without people reading her stories, her legacy would have died long ago. Let’s keep the magic alive. 


A hearty thanks to Beatrix. You’ve made many a childhood more exciting and adventurous. You’ve made children love the outdoors and animals. I have vast memories of reading these stories at my Grandma’s house as a youngster. 

Finally, it’s important to remember this:


Beatrix Potter lovers out there, what are you doing to mark such a special birthday? Have you been lucky enough to get one of the 50p coins yet? 

Big love all xx

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Filed under Beatrix Potter, Birthday, Children's Literature, Literature, National Trust

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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Filed under Books, Children's Literature

The Harry Potter Tag

  
Morning all! 

I hope you’re having a relaxing weekend wherever you all are! I was tagged by the wonderful Erika @ Bookventureland to take part in the Harry Potter tag. I’m really excited. As I’m sure you all know, growing up with the HP books means that they are very special to me. I still go back and read them today which excites me A LOT. I still feel the magic. Anyway, onto the tag. 

1. Favourite book

For me, my favourite book is Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I can remember reading this book for the first time. The magic, the surprise, the twists and turns. You can’t replace that feeling first time around. The mystical platform, the train journey, the fact that it starts at King’s Cross fascinated me. The description of Hogwarts automatically made me want to enroll. It was just pure magic. 

   

2. Favourite movie

My favourite movie would have to be Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. I love Sirius. Also, it’s where things started getting a bit more scary (not that I enjoy too much of that) but I do like suspense. The Dementors really got me. Especially in the films. Proper scary. 

  

3. Least favourite book

Easy for me, I don’t have one. They each have their own merits and besides, imagine if the ‘least favourite’ got cut? That would be awful. I love them all. 

4. Parts of the books/movies that make you cry

Oh dear. I was a blubbering wreck through these novels I must admit. The death of Dumbledore, the death of Dobby, the death of Sirius.  Just awful. Also, I cried with anger at myself for getting Snape wrong. It was lovely to see him in a different light in The Deathly Hallows actually. As well, the layers to his character over the 7 novels; his loyalty to Dumbledore, his love for Harry’s mother, his hidden emotional turmoil. I felt bad for being so against him. I cried when it was all over as well. 

  

5. Favourite character

Mmm I have many. This is rather difficult. I obviously love the trio of Harry, Hermoine and Ron. I adore Dumbledore though. I can’t forget Dobby, Sirius and Luna. Neville is adorable too. This is too hard! However, I do appreciate the alliterative names in the novels. A personal favourite thing of mine! 

6. What would your Patronus be?

A fluffy rabbit because I think they are super cute. I’m not sure how effective this would be, but indeed a rabbit. With floppy ears please. 

7. If you could have the Resurrection Stone, the Invisibility Cloak, or the Elder Wand, which one would you choose?

Invisibility cloak! Imagine the things you could get up to. I may start a list just in case I ever get one…

  

8. What House would you be in?

Gryffindor. I would be exactly like Harry though and beg not Slytherin. No offence to the house of green. 

  

9. If you could meet any member of the cast, who would it be?

Matthew Lewis aka Neville Longbottom. He’s just lovely and sweet. He’s changed so much as well! Bless him. 

10. If you were on the quidditch team, what position would you play?

Beater. I’m quite a protective person, so this position seems to fit my personality/character traits. I’d like to think I’d be pretty good at it, but I was never much good at swingball or tennis as a kid. Hmmmmm. 

   

11. Were you happy with the ending?

Sure! I was just sad that it did end if I’m honest. Ms Rowling has done an amazing job at getting and keeping a generation into reading. Of course, it had to come to an end at some point. It was always going to be emotional when it did. 

‘All was well.’

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

12. How much does Harry Potter mean to you?
It pretty much defines my childhood. I feel lucky that I got to experience the Potter books as they were released. I feel sorry for children now as they don’t have the Potter phenomenon that I had when I was little. The books will always live on though. 

Nominations:

Most of the Harry Potter fans have already been tagged, and/or have done this post. However, if anyone has slipped under the net, please take part! Potterheads unite! 

Big love xx

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Filed under Children's Literature, Harry Potter, Nomination, Tag

Awful Auntie – David Walliams

  

One of my guilty pleasures in life will always be Children’s Literature. As a youngster growing up I spent a lot of time reading Roald Dahl, Jacqueline Wilson and of course the AMAZING Harry Potter books. I loved being transported away from my ‘normal’ life into something magical. 

My brain feels slightly frazzled due to being deep within exam season and planning schemes of work for the next academic year, so I thought I would treat myself to this beauty from David Walliams. There will always be comments and links made between Dahl and Walliams, but I’m not really interested. Both are amazing children’s writers spanning years. Surely what’s important here is the children’s lives they’ve influenced and delighted? 

The thing I love and respect most about DW is the fact that he has encouraged a vast amount of young people to start reading. According to the newspapers he is becoming the fastest growing children’s writer. Good for him. 

This story is witty and full of heart. The plot evolves around Stella Saxby, whose parents, Lord and Lady Saxby, have sadly died in a tragic car accident.  Stella has a bad feeling about this, and more importantly, about her Aunt Alberta. Her aunt makes a plan to trick Stella out of her inheritance – the beautiful Saxby Hall. 

Aunt Alberta has a pet owl, Wagner, who at first is terrifying! The scene where Alberta and Wagner are in bed together in matching pjs did make me chuckle. The most magical character for me is Soot, the ghostly chimney sweep. His relationship with Stella is really moving. I felt quite emotional at the end when the question of age and belief was being explored. “Ya wanted nuffink more than to be older, but bein’ a child is such a special fing. When yer a child, ya can see all the magic in the world.” The play with light and darkness is subtle and effectively done. 

Finally, there is Gibbon, the elderly butler who is the funniest of the characters. He is very eccentiric and Walliams provides him with some quick witted one liners or actions throughout the novel, which breaks up the tension created by the Aunt’s evil plot. He serves up slippers believing they are buttered crumpets, shaking hands with a pot plant and talking through a lampshade as if it was a telephone. 

Alberta is the epitome of the ‘evil, adult character’. She lacks all sympathy, she’s killed and tortured people and loves vicious owls. She even fought in WW2 for the Germans because she preferred their uniforms. However all is resolved for a fairytale children’s book ending. 

The use of language – the wit, the puns, the lists with a twist – are really well thought out and written. What is special about this is how Walliams takes what we know and love and mixes it up for make it modern and refreshing. For example Aunt Alberta’s twists on fairy tales. ‘The Frog Prince. The princess kisses the frog and contracts a waterbourne disease that makes her bottom explode.’ 

I laughed my head off, fell in love with Soot and championed Stella to beat her awful aunt. One final thought… Where was Raj? 

What a brilliant read. Good really does conquer evil. 

BL x

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