Take a trip to 7 Stories

This past weekend, I was invited to speak at a Youth Libraries Group event hosted at 7 Stories and as part of the event we were allowed to have a look around 7 Stories at the exhibitions on show. So during lunchtime, I tottled off down the stairs and had a look at 2 of the exhibitions that are currently housed at 7 Stories.

If you’re not familiar with what 7 Stories is, you can check out their website here. It is full of useful information!

First up, I went to the Comics exhibition and it made my heart very happy!

From their website, it gives this information about the Comics exhibition:
“Seven Stories has gathered together an eclectic mix of original comic art to impress and inspire all comics’ fans. See Desperate Dan and Dennis the Menace as they were drawn in the 1940s and 50s; find old friends like Oor Wullie, Minnie the Minx and Roy of the Rovers; imagine yourself on an adventure with Dan Dare from The Eagle. 
The exhibition features Captain America, Wonder Woman, Superman and Hulk as drawn by British artist Ian Churchill. Ian works for Marvel and DC Comics, America’s largest comic corporations.
Current British comics creators like Kate Brown, Jamie Smart and Laura Ellen Anderson have prepared storyboards, sketches and 3D models to lend to the exhibition as well as giving Seven Stories’ visitors unique insight into their creative processes.”

Then I went to the Time To Get Up exhibition, which is all about giving children stories for all times of the day and different parts of life. Information on the website says:
“The first few years of a child’s life are full of new experiences, and a lot of new routine. From getting up to going to bed, reading books together can offer reassurance and encouragement whilst sharing books can also make the everyday exciting! Time to Get Up is packed full of wonderful stories all about day to day activities. With old favourites and new titles, and amazing artwork by super-talented illustrators, get ready to look, talk, play and read together!
For the first time, we are using an entirely unique display method inspired by touch and feel boards. This enables children to explore new and exciting ways of engaging directly with the exhibition’s artwork. Young explorers can see, touch, smell and hear their way through a variety of sensory activities, all linked to the exciting new experiences and routines that every young child enjoys.  
Time to Get Up features two brand new, specially designed Sensory Backpacks, complete with a beautiful, interactive blanket, a book and a selection of sensory props to help young ones explore the exhibition. Our newest Sensory explorer Backpacks will cover two featured books from the exhibition, ‘Snug’ by Carol Thompson and ‘Me and My Dad’ by Robin Shaw.”

Both of the exhibitions were gorgeous and super inviting! I will be looking at visiting with my family in the coming weeks!

Check out the 7 Stories website for more details of events and exhibitions to come… I in particular like the sound of ‘Winged Tales of the North’.

S x

Libraries are for winners!

Recently, I have been given the task of leading the school library, and I have to say it is my utter delight to embrace it. I’m aware I am in a very lucky position that we have an actual library (it’s shelves in the corridor at the minute) and that many schools aren’t as fortunate as us. That’s another conversation to be had.

Today is Part 1 of 2 posts filled with ideas of the things I’ve tried with the library since half term and there will be some sharing of resources too – please feel free to download these and use them as you wish! We’re just starting to use them and the children are loving them so far.

The first thing I implemented was a “Blind Date With A Book” – I wrapped up 9 books, covering a range of interests and reading ability, and put these on display in the library. I’ve been doing this for about a year with the staff to encourage them to read more widely and it’s worked a treat with the staff, so I figured I might as well try it with the children. It’s amazing the feedback I’ve had from the kids! The kids are now being much more brave about the book choices they’re making because they’re learning not to judge a book by its cover!

Can you guess what any of the books are?

Over half term I also added around 60 books to our collection (thanks to publishers and my own collection!) of library books. Now this is A LOT of books to be adding, so to point children in the right direction, and give them some guidance about the kind of books that are appopriate for their age range/ability, I made some bookmarks. (These aren’t attached at the bottom of this post, but I will in due course!) These book marks have made a massive impact on the kids reading as they’re now aware of what’s new and want to talk to me about the new books they’ve read.

As you can see, there is a bookmark which also says “I’m exclusive”. I used that bookmark for proofs I had of books which were not even out yet and the kids are LOVING THAT. “Miss, how come you’ve got books even though they’re not out yet?” I’m very fortunate to be sent proofs by publishers, so passing them on to my kids so my kids can get joy from them makes my life 10x better!

A massive massive shout out to our wonderful BookBuddy, Lisa Thompson, who sent us this box of amazing books. Our kids have been poring over them and they are going down a treat. Check out my #BookBuddy post to find out more about the scheme!


So there you go, post 1 of 2 (I think it may end up being more!) of ideas that I’ve started to implement in our school library!

What things do you do in your library?
What are your kids reading at the minute?

Talk to me in the comments and let me know if you’re going to use any of these ideas!

S x

S4S – questions for publishers

Hello there! Sunday again. Where did this week go? I’m sure someone is making these weeks go VERY quickly… the further we go, the closer it is to my teacher training being over (which thrills and terrifies me in EQUAL measure tbh). 

However, back to #SixforSunday. Today’s prompt I found HARD. However, I am a good S4S mam and will not give up on my baby. Today I will be posing 6 more questions, but this week it is:

Questions to publishers

(I don’t even know if these questions are even answerable by publishers tbh… but lets go!)

  1. Why do covers change half way through a series?
  2. Why are some books taller than others? (One of my very own bookish pet peeves)
  3. How do you decide on covers?
  4. How do you decide which books get to be printed?
  5. How many manuscripts do you get weekly?

And there we have it… I wonder if ANYONE can answer any of these questions. (I do not expect answers, have no fear!)

Share your #SixforSunday posts with me! Don’t worry if you haven’t tackled today’s prompt… it was a HARD one!

S x

Brilliant Barrington Stoke

Happy Friday everyone!

Today I am sharing some of my favourite recent reads from the people over at Barrington Stoke! Barrington Stoke specialises in ‘cracking reading’, publishing super-readable children’s books that break down the barriers that can stop kids getting into reading. Their books bring together the very best children’s authors and illustrators in the UK with a host of unique accessibility features to offer books which are accessible to more children including those with dyslexia or visual stress. If you’re interested in these books, go check out their website here. There’s more information about the books they publish and how they make their books accessible for everyone!

So what books from Barrington Stoke have I read recently? Some absolute crackers!


Noah Scape Can’t Stop Repeating Himself – Guy Bass

“Noah Scape loves dinosaurs and spaghetti with tomato sauce. But Noah doesn’t always get what he wants and when school doesn’t revolve around dinosaur facts and lunch isn’t always his tried and tested favourite, well… enough is enough! It’s time for him to stop wishing and to decide on exactly what he needs; a world full of Noahs!”

What would you do if one day you woke up to find there are double the amount of yous in the world? Then the next day, there’s double again? And double again the next day? Noah just wants people to like dinosaurs, as he does, so he wishes for more people like him… him! He starts regretting it eventually… and it doesn’t go down well with his parents and teachers either! Real fun, great for 8+ years!

Shona, Word Detective – John Agard

“Shona has always loved words. She even has her very own strange word thesaurus! When her and her classmates learn that some languages are dying out, Miss Bates tasks them with becoming top-class word detectives, proving to themselves and their families that there are many beautiful languages still thriving, even within their own classroom.”

I absolutely loved this one. It reminded me about my love of words and language. There’s something really special about books that can do that! It’s one I’m definitely going to be keeping to use in the classroom. Great for readers 7+ years. 

Rose’s Dress of Dreams – Katherine Woodfine

“Young Rose dreams of sewing beautiful dresses for the women of Paris. But when a chance encounter with royalty changes her life, Rose must draw on all her skills to create the most breathtaking dress of them all. Based on the life of Rose Bertin, the woman credited with creating haute-couture and a remarkable pioneer of fashion at the court of Marie Antoinette.”

When I initially read this, I had no idea that it was based on a real woman in history, so reading that made me love it even more! This book is brilliant for teaching kids about the power of dreams and believing in your dreams, because they absolutely can come true! It’s beautifully illustrated by Kate Pankhurst too. Yay for brilliant women in history! Great for readers 5-8 years!

The Great Telephone Mix Up – Sally Nicholls

“When the village wires get crossed after a storm, there’s a lot of confusion and plenty of missed connections. Margaret can’t run her summer fair, Jai can’t speak to Aditi, and Will is rather happy because no one can tell his mum how much trouble he’s in! Can the villagers learn to love their neighbours and could the great telephone mix-up really be a blessing in disguise?”

Living in a village and all of the telephone wires have got crossed? Having to deliver messages for your neighbour? Imagine that. It’d be a nightmare, but the people in his village finds it brings them closer together. I really enjoyed this. For a generation who don’t use the phone much, it was nice to see a book about it! Great for kids 7+ years!

There are so many other brilliant books in the Barrington Stoke catalogue and you can read the first chapters of most of their books on the website (which I think is GENIUS btw! Be great for using in a lesson!)

Thank you so much to Barrington Stoke for sending this brilliant bookpost my way. 

S x


BOOK BLOG: Juno Dawson

Clean: dark, delicious and deceitful

Image result for clean juno dawson book cover

“When socialite Lexi Volkov almost overdoses, she thinks she’s hit rock bottom. She’s wrong. Rock bottom is when she’s forced into an exclusive rehab facility. From there, the only way is up for Lexi and her fellow inmates, including the mysterious Brady. As she faces her demons, Lexi realises love is the most powerful drug of all … 

It’s a dirty business getting clean …”

Clean came into my life via a proof from the lovely humans of the publishers, and my word, WHAT A BOOK. This book is dark, gritty and hard to read at times. Possible trigger warnings for drugs, but it’s an INCREDIBLE book that I definitely need more of.

This book doesn’t shy away from the nitty gritty. You’re thrown into the world of Lexi’s addiction. You live it. You see it in her flashbacks. You see what she goes through. The people she hangs around with. The cocky attitude she has. The lifestyle she lives. Parties. Drugs. Men, or one man in particular. 

Brilliant flashbacks paired with Lexi’s story of rehab make for very interesting reading. Lexi is admitted to rehab by her brother. Her lovely brother. I really liked him. He wanted what was best for his sister. It’s great to read a positive brother/sister relationship. Obviously, she initially hates him because he’s sentenced her to rehab, to being better, to getting clean. He’s a constant force of good in her life. He wants to look after her, even when that looks like sending her to the hardest place in the world for an addict. 

The people she’s in rehab with are brilliantly endearing characters. They’re not all there for addictions to drugs like Lexi. There’s sex addicts, food adicts, fellow drug addicts. Learning about their own vices and their stories, as well as seeing them interact with Lexi over time, made for brilliant reading. The scenes of Lexi struggling with her first few days were hard to read, but I needed to know how she got on. Watching her learn to trust these fellow rehab patients made for intrigue. Their friendships kept my interest level up and I wanted MORE. I wanted more from their interactions. I wanted more scenes of them together.

Lexi makes some STUPID decisions – both in the past, and then in the present narrative of the book. I was on the tube reading Clean and genuinely gasped and had to say to my book “Oh Lexi, you fool” at one point (which made my friend Kelly laugh a lot!) You live the whole process with Lexiwithdrawal, pain, falling, friendship, anger, love. Watching Lexi’s growth from a complete addict at the beginning of the book to the end was touching. She does a LOT of growing, but that nagging voice of addiction is always there. That slither of want. 

A small shout out here to the romance in the book – for me it was a welcome addition and it gave me moments of warmth in an otherwise really harsh and dark book. I really want them to be happy. I’m not sure that’s what Juno has in store for me though… you’ll have to read to know who I mean! 

This book is hard to read but it is endearing and you will soon be addicted (lol soz) to it after a few chapters – I know I was! I can’t wait for more from Lexi and the crew! Bring it on!

Have you read Clean?
Do you have a favourite patient?
What do you think is next for the gang?

Talk to me! I’d love to know your thoughts!

S x


Brilliantly beautiful books…

Hello! Happy Tuesday! How are we all?

Today, I’m sharing some of the books I’ve read recently that I adored because of their incredible illustrations! These books are perfect for our Year 2s/Year 3s. They’re all going down brilliantly at school and our kids are screaming out for more

I’d love to know what books you recommend for this age. I find Year 2/3 the trickiest to get right – some of them aren’t ready for novels, but they want to start reading something with a bit of chunk. These books are perfect for that. The plots are engaging and they’re illustrated, providing a great mix of pictures and words! (Plus I’ve LOVED reading them!)

I’ll share my review and some of the things the kids have said too!

Perfect illustrated books.png

Fabio: The World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective – Laura James

A great little story with the most gorgeous and vibrant set up! Fabio is a clever flamingo and along with some trusty friends he tries to solve the mystery of the missing hippo!

“Miss, I love that the pages are so colourful”
“It’s such fun… can you imagine seeing a flamingo in a hat looking for the bad guys?”
“I want more from Fabio, can you ask the author please?”

Meet the Twitches – Hayley Scott

A magical story with some gorgeous illustrations. Imagine losing someone you love in the grass when you’re tiny? I really loved this. I hope there’s more!

“I’d love my toys to come alive like those ones. Imagine what they would get up to”
“It’s so clever that the rabbits can make a parachute”
“The girl was so sad that she had to move but the rabbits are great to play with”

Violet and the Smugglers/Violet and the Hidden Treasure – Harriet Whitehorn 

(I’ve only just read these last weekend, so the kids haven’t had them yet!)
I really enjoyed these! Violet is a little detective and she stops at nothing to get the answers she needs. I really like her and I think kids will too! I need to get my hands on book 1 as these are book 2 and 3!

Horace and Harriet Take on The Town – Clare Elsom

Perfectly good fun! This will be brilliant for the Y2 children who are just starting to read chapter books! I can’t wait to see what adventures are to come!

“I loved the bit when the statue came to life because I didn’t think statues could talk”
“The little girl is really brave to talk to the statue”
“I want to know if they will stay friends because he’s very funny”

(There are more Horace and Harriet books and I can’t wait for EVEN more! This has been a massive hit!)

Max the Detective Cat: The Disappearing Diva – Sarah Todd Taylor

A great little caper! Fun detective mystery foiled by a brave theatre cat!

“Miss I loved that blind date book with Max. He was so clever, I bet he could solve loads of mysteries”
“I can’t believe he’s a cat who solves mysteries. I want a cat that clever”
“There were some brilliant pictures to look at in this story, I loved them”

There’s just 6 of some of the books we’ve recently been loving at school that are perfect – illustrations within chapter books make them far less intimidating!

What books are your Year 2s loving?
Can you recommend a book similar to any of these?
What’s your favourite thing about illustrated books?

Talk to me! 

S x

BOOK BLOG: Alice Broadway

Spark: what happens when you have to see a story from the other side?

SparkCan we take a minute to appreciate this cover please?

Leora is reeling: questioning everything she has ever known about her family and herself.
As half-Marked and half-Blank, can she ever wholly belong in either fractured community? Mayor Longsight wants to use her as a weapon: to infiltrate Featherstone, home of the Blanks, and deliver them to him for obliteration. Leora longs for answers about her mysterious birth mother, and Featherstone may reveal them. But will she find solace and safety there or a viper’s nest of suspicion and secrets?

(FYI: I’ve tried to write this review a million times… bear with me here!)

If you’ve not read Ink, then I recommend WHOLEHEARTEDLY that you do (you’ll find my review here). Spark is the second book in what will be a trilogy (OMG YES). The final book in the trilogy comes out next year and I am SO READY to see how Leora’s story ends (but so not ready… I’ll miss Leora and Obel a lot)

In Ink, you meet a young girl who is questioning everything about who she is. She’s afriad, she’s not sure who to trust. She begins exploring and questioning those in trust around her. In Spark, you get that Leora and so much more. You get a Leora who has to learn to trust brand new people. You get a Leora who needs to be more open minded. You get a Leora who has to keep doing what she knows is right, even if everything around her is saying not to. Leora is one of those brilliant characters in YA who is just so incredibly brilliant – she’s brave, she’s bold, she’s afraid, she’s faulted… she’s real. I have grown genuinely attached to her over the two books, so book 3 is going to be an experience! 

Through Spark, you learn the stories from Ink, from the Blank’s perspective. One of the most powerful elements of this series for me is the sense of folklore and the use of stories. In Ink, you learn about the two princesses and what they’ve done to make these 2 groups of people – the Marked and the Blanks. That’s all the perspective you have – that the Blanks are “alien”, they’re strange, they’re the baddies. When Leora is banished to life with the Blanks, she’s naturally terrified, but there’s part of her that knows that these people are people after all. 

Reading Spark and the folk stories which are encapsulated in it and seeing the world from the Blank’s perspective was just a delight. You see the other side of the fairytale. You see the Marked people labelled as the baddies, as the strange ones. They’re the ones in the wrong. As I was reading, I was discovering along with Leora. She had NO idea there was another side to these stories. She’s only ever known life as a Marked one. There’s a brilliant sense of duality throughout these books… it’s something I loved the most. 

(Can you tell I loved EVERYTHING the most? It’s one of those books!)

So Leora is sent to live with the Blanks and she quickly has to learn that there is going to be an awful lot of mistrust (aimed at her, but from her to the others around her). She meets an incredible bunch of people on the other side of life, who initally meet her with great resistence. There’s Gull, a young Blank, who takes Leora under her wing (lol no pun intended) and wants to befriend her. Gull was a ray of light for me through the book. Being so open and accepting of a perfect stranger – she’s a brilliant human. There’s Nate, Gull’s older brother, who does NOT trust Leora… he’s one to keep your eye on. I was unsure of him at first, but he earned a lot of my love and respect by the end. He’s one of those characters that takes a lot of growing on, but you get there eventually. He definitely deserves a lot of love. But obviously, there’s not just the guys who make Leora feel welcome, there’s also a lot of people who don’t want to welcome her. 

(Shout out to Obel here, I love him so much)

In the Marked world, there’s obviously still Mayor Longsight… you guys know how I feel about him. I can’t stand him. He’s a piece of work. There’s a scene in this book where I was STUNNED. Something happens with one of the Blanks that I genuinely did not expect. I trusted that Blank… you’ll know who I mean if you’ve read it. 

So yeah… in Spark you have this incredible “other side of the coin” from Ink. I can’t say how much I loved this book because I am yet to find the words. Alice Broadway builds this incredible world, an incredible bunch of characters and certainly a moral dilemma or two. Pair this world building with some bloody brilliant storytelling and crumbs of information and you’ve got an absolute killer book. I can not wait for book 3. It is going to be special. I can feel it now.

My Goodreads review reads:
ALL OF THE STARS. I am not sure how to process that ending. The whole story with Leora’s story woven with the legends of the past, her inner turmoil with the outer unrest. Man what a story. I just, can’t manage to find words to be honest.

So yeah… sorry for such a rambling review. I haven’t even mentioned half of the things I loved… let’s talk about it! GO GO GO. READ INK AND SPARK PLZ.

Have you read Ink and Spark?
What colour do you think the 3rd cover should be?
Would you rather be a Blank or a Marked?

Talk to me! I’d love to know what team you are on for the 3rd cover!

S x

S4S – Questions for authors

HOLA. Sunday again! Another busy week of blogging, working and reflecting. How is everyone this fair Sunday? Is it fair where you are?

Today’s #SixforSunday prompt required a lot of thought from me… I needed to refine my questions from 60384934043000 to just 6… JUST SIX. Who came up with that rule? (I did? I’m a terrible human!)

Anyway… today’s #SixforSunday is:

Six questions for authors

Ah authors, those awesome people who make us laugh and cry; crush our souls; transport us to new dimensions; fill our lives with incredible new worlds. So 6 questions I have aimed at authors, all authors… I’ve tried not to be specific. I’d love some author pals to answer!

  1. Do you prefer to write heroes or villains?
  2. What is the weirdest thing you’ve had to research in the name of your books?
  3. How are you so awesome?
  4. What is the hardest part of the writing process?
  6. Do you secretly enjoy watching the fans all freak out about your cliffhangers/plots?

I HAVE SO MANY MORE. I mean, I’m nebby. If any of my author pals (ha, pals, who do I think I am?!) read this and fancy answering them, I’d love to know the answers! (Number 2 is my favourite thing to ask at events, don’t go stealing it because it’s my go to question!)

Share your #SixforSunday posts, I’d LOVE to know what you’re asking authors! Thanks again for joining in, I love you all!

S x


I Spy Book Challenge

Morning everyone! How are we all? 

Today I’m doing the I Spy Book Challenge, I was tagged by the brilliant Kelly (from Kelly’s Rambles, obv). Her answers were all great, you should go check out her post here!

The rules of this tag are as follows:

Find a book that contains (either on the cover or in the title) an example for each category. You must have a separate book for all 20, get as creative as you want and do it within five minutes!!”

DO IT WITHIN 5 MINS? This is not going to happen. I will try though! 

Here we go…


Image result for indigo donut cover


Image result for you choose in space


Image result for sin eaters daughter


Image result for six of crows


Image result for thirteen reasons why book cover

Something you read

Image result for books with a book on the cover

Body of Water

Image result for state of sorrow

Product of Fire

Image result for books with fire on the cover


Image result for the scarecrow queen


Image result for book covers with houses on


Image result for the paper magician

Family member

Image result for one sarah crossan

Time of Day

Image result for night time book covers


Image result for mitch albom book covers

Paranormal beings

Image result for children's books with ghost in the title


Image result for books with doctors in them


Image result for winter magic cover


Image result for red queen cover

Celestial body

Image result for the fault in our stars book cover

Something that grows

Image result for goodbye perfect cover

Well that was stressful but fun! 

If you fancy giving this a go, please do! Tag yourselves! 

S x

BOOK BLOG: Kim Curran

Slay: shout outs to Charmed, my favourite boyband feels and an awful lot of fun!


“Meet SLAY – SLAY do two things and they do them well: they play killer music and they slay killer demons.
When Milly, the lonely daughter of a world-famous opera singer, arrives home to discover that her mum has been taken over by something very evil, she finds herself in mortal danger. But the last people she expects to rescue her are the hottest boy band on the planet…
Enter SLAY: playing kickass gigs in the spotlight, and saving the world from demons in the shadows… Suddenly, Milly’s on the road with JD, Tom, Niv, Zek and Connor, racing against the clock to stop the demons who killed her mum… One thing’s for sure, it’s going to be a hell of a show!”

So… a book that is a boyband who are also demon fighters? If you’re not already into this, then I’m not sure we can be friend. (I jest, I jest… or do I?) But seriously, I had seen a lot of talk about this book, so when Usborne asked me if I wanted to review it, I was MOST curious and guys, for real, it’s A BLAST

It’s not every day you read a book that makes you feel like you’re a teenager reading about your favourite TV show (Charmed, yes thank you very much, don’t judge me) and your favourite boy band (I mean… all of them. Teenager me was a massive boyband fan… Westlife, Boyzone, BSB, *Nsync… I loved them all) merged together. This is exactly what Slay is. 

Meet the first demon slaying boyband. They’re BRILLIANT. Like, properly. They know what they’re doing. They’re masquerading as a boyband because, as you can imagine, fighting demons around the world isn’t cheap business. You need all the gear: the motorbikes, the weapons, the brilliant outfits, the brilliant manager (who is obviously a demon slayer too). I mean… they’re living the life. AND THEY’RE ALL SO LUSH. I love when I like lots of the characters in a book – it makes me want to keep reading (and trust me, I want more from Slay!) I was apprehensive at first about one of the boys, but I soon came around to loving him. 

So you have a brilliant boyband fronting this… who else? Well, there’s Milly. Her mam has this new manager, who she definitely does not trust. They’re in a new city; Milly doesn’t have many friends; she’s just trying to get on with her new life. Things start happening and her mam ends up being possessed/had her soul stolen and her body ends up being taken over by a pretty ferocious demon from many moons ago. Milly is scared, she’s lost, she’s definitely not sure what’s going on in her house. IN FLY SLAY. Milly is BRILLIANT. She’s brave and bold and unafraid to speak her mind. I’d love to be her friend.

What ensues is an awful lot of fun, frolicking and globe-hopping! 

Comin across a book that’s fun, enjoyable and that I wanted to KEEP reading is lush. (If you want another book like that, see Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt!) I would 100% recommend this to everyone – I finished it more than a week ago and it has definitely made me want to keep talking about it. (and rewatch Charmed… but let’s not talk about that!)

My goodreads review reads:

Great fun! One of those wild rides. Think Charmed meets your fave 90s boyband. Badass, funny, charming and brilliant. I absolutely loved Milly – she’s great. Bring on more!

So yeah… GO GO GO. Go meet Slay and Milly. I can’t wait to read more from them!

Have you read Slay?
Did you have a favourite 90s boyband?
How hard are you judging me for my tastes now?

Talk to me! I wanna have a reminisce about terribly great 90s boybands with you pals!

S x