Books I Want To Read tag

Hello everybody!

Today, I’m going to be doing the Books I Want to Read tag, which I found on my friend Amy’s blog. When I read it, I knew it was something that I’d like to tackle – it’s not often I think about my TBR!

The Rules

• Link back to the original tag
• Complete the questions with books you want to have read, but don’t want to read
• Tag some people at the end to do the tag next.

Question One: A book you feel you need to read because everyone talks about it

SO MANY THO. I’m not a big fan of hype, so if EVERYONE is talking about a book I am so much less likely to pick it up… until the hype dies out!

Question Two: A book that’s really long

Length is one of the reasons I don’t wanna often pick up books! Strange the Dreamer is one that does slightly intimidate me – it’s not in reality THAT long tho haha. It might need to be one that I buy on my kindle.

Question Three: A book you’ve had on your bookshelf or TBR list for far too long

I’m quite good with my books. If I’ve got them/bought them and not read them within like 6 months (haha) I generally just get rid of them. So A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy is probably the books I’ve had the longest that I’ve not got round to reading (Kelly, if you’re reading this, I promise I WILL get round to them!)

Question Four: A book that is ‘required reading’ (e.g. a school text or popular classic – something you feel obligated to read)

Well… my answer for this is THUG – it’s neither a school text OR a popular classic, but EVERYONE IN THE WORLD has read it apart from me. SO I should probably get on it… I’m just scared!

Question Five: A book that intimidates you

Priory of the Orange Tree. I started it and read quite a chunk for when I interviewed the brilliant Samantha Shannon, but then once the event was done my brain has just been like OMG I CAN’T PICK THAT THING BACK UP THANKS.

Question Six: A book you think may be slow

Genuinely no idea… I don’t think about books as being slow?!

Question Seven: A book that you need to be in the right mood for

Cuckoo Song. I’ve heard MANY things so I know that I’m going to have to be in the right mood to read it.

Question Eight: A book you’re unsure you’ll like

Legendary! I read Caraval and it just didn’t spark my love. I’ve been dubious about buying/getting the next ones because I just don’t want the disappointment of the first book to happen again!

Having now done this, I could’ve used the same 3 or 4 books for all of the questions haha!

I’m not going to tag anyone, but feel free to do this if you see fit!

S x

Half term reading

One of my favourite things about half term is:

HOW MUCH READING I GET DONE

Like seriously, a week of (avoiding doing a lot of work) reading is absolute bliss. I don’t hold back. I read a book, then pick up another, then another, until I inevitably can’t pick up another because I have to just get on with doing some of the work I’ve avoided. 

I thought today I’d share some quick reviews of the books I got through this half term! More than happy to share more thoughts if you wanna know more – just ask! 

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These are in backwards order – The Climbers was the last book I finished during half term.

The Climbers – MG
Lonely Alma longs to explore the lush forest beyond her narrow town, but her uncle has told her it’s full of fearsome beasts. One night, she ventures into the trees and finds a frightened bear cub. The two become friends but the rest of the town is not so welcoming. Soon, Alma and Star Bear are forced to set off in search of a place to call home.

A lovely tale of friendship in all its guises! Beautifully illustrated page after page. Some lovely messages about being kind to animals and people alike. A good step up from picture books, but not chapter book length!

Boot – MG
When toy robot, Boot, wakes up at a scrapyard, it has no idea how it got there and why it isn’t with its owner, Beth. It only has two and a half glitchy memories, but it knows it was loved, which means something important to humans. Boot is scared but tries to be brave, which is hard when its screen keeps showing a wobbly, worried face. Luckily Boot meets Noke and Red – other ‘advanced’ robots who have learned to survive in secret. With new friends by its side, Boot is determined to find Beth and the gang set off on a dangerous adventure. Everything Boot thought it knew about the world is changing and things aren’t as simple as it remembers . . .

This is fun, friendship and finding yourself. I loved Boot and his bunch of merry robot friends! Imagine waking up one day with only 3 memories and a sense that you need to get home! Boot needs to find his way back to Beth and to himself. I chuckled a lot at this!

Viper – YA (full review to come)
Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles. But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake. He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father. She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?

Pirate assassins? Magic? Brilliant main character? A dad who is TRULY the worst? Absolutely yes. I adored Bronn and Grace with all that I am. Marianne deserves like the rest of her life to just chill after what she’s been through, but she’s definitely going to have more adventures. I can’t wait for book 2. I really really enjoyed this.

The Girl Who Speaks Bear – MG (full review to come)
Found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby, 12-year-old Yanka has always felt out of place in her small village. When she wakes up to find that her legs have become bear legs, she sets off into the forest to discover who she is, on a journey that takes her from icy rivers to smouldering mountains, with an ever-growing group of misfits alongside her… Interwoven with traditional stories of bears, princesses and dragons, Yanka’s journey is a gorgeously lyrical adventure.

Storytelling at its very finest. Brilliant characters, beautiful worlds, exciting adventures and powerful messages. I just adored this. Yanka is a character that kids and adults will adore, and relate to! You can’t beat a bit of finding yourself and your people (or animals) with a good bit of story woven together. Just bloody brilliant.

Malamander – MG
Malamander is told from the perspective of Herbert Lemon, the Lost-and-Founder of the Grand Nautilus Hotel, who tries to unite objects that have been left at the hotel with their owners. Other characters in the story include Violet Palma, who is lost and needs to be found, and the eponymous Malamander, who controls people’s dreams.

A brilliant adventure set in a small (if not a little creepy) seaside town. I loved the friendships and the hints of magic and folk lore in this book. It’s a wonderful mix of science, fantasy, adventure and friendship: along with a few secrets and a mysterious fish. Bloody marvellous.

The Burning – YA (full review to come)
New school. Tick.
New town. Tick.
New surname. Tick.
Social media profiles? Erased.
There’s nothing to trace Anna back to her old life. Nothing to link her to the ‘incident’. At least that’s what she thinks … until the whispers start up again. As time begins to run out on her secrets, Anna finds herself irresistibly drawn to the tale of Maggie, a local girl accused of witchcraft centuries earlier. A girl whose story has terrifying parallels to Anna’s own…

This book is INTENSE. But in the BEST WAY POSSIBLE. It’s hard to read, it’s gritty, it’s history and now. It’s girls arguing, it’s online shaming, it’s history repeating. Betrayal, lies, secrets, fresh starts, friendship, honesty. Just bloody magnificent.

Starfell – MG 
Willow Moss, the youngest and least powerful sister in a family of witches, has a magical ability for finding lost things – like keys, or socks, or wooden teeth. Her magic might be useful, but it’s not exactly exciting . . . Until, that is, the most powerful witch in the whole of Starfell turns up at her door needing Willow’s help. A whole day – last Tuesday to be precise – has gone missing. And the repercussions could be devastating. Can Willow find the day to save the day?

A great story about accepting things about yourself you might not see as useful; learning the power of teamwork; the joy of magic and friendship. I really enjoyed this! Some gorgeous touches of characters, magic, names and places. This will go down well with my Y4s/5s!

The Truth About Keeping Secrets – YA
Sydney’s dad is the only psychiatrist for miles around their small Ohio town. He is also unexpectedly dead. Is Sydney crazy, or is it kind of weird that her dad-a guy whose entire job revolved around other peoples’ secrets-crashed alone, with no explanation? And why is June Copeland, homecoming queen and the town’s golden child, at his funeral? 
As the two girls grow closer in the wake of the accident, it’s clear that not everyone is happy about their new friendship. But what is picture perfect June still hiding? And does Sydney even want to know? 

This kept me guessing throughout. Really really good. Loved the characters and the storyline. There’s a lot of misleading in this which kept me on my toes.

The Middler – MG (Full review to come)
Eleven-year-old Maggie lives in Fennis Wick, enclosed and protected from the outside world by a boundary, beyond which the Quiet War rages and the dirty, dangerous wanderers roam. Her brother Jed is an eldest, revered and special. A hero. Her younger brother is Trig – everyone loves Trig. But Maggie’s just a middler; invisible and left behind. Then, one hot September day, she meets Una, a hungry wanderer girl in need of help, and everything Maggie has ever known gets turned on its head.

I adored every single minute of this – it is completely unputdownable! You will fall for Maggie 100%. I loved the adventure and the messages in this – stand up for what you believe in, work with your fear and be kind.

No Big Deal – YA (full review to come)
Meet Emily Daly, a stylish, cute, intelligent and hilarious seventeen-year-old about to start her last year at school. Emily is also fat. She likes herself and her body. When she meets Joe at a house party, he instantly becomes The Crush of Her Life. Everything changes. At first he seems perfect. But as they spend more time together, doubts start to creep in. With her mum trying new fad diets every week, and increasing pressure to change, Emily faces a constant battle to stay strong, be her true self and not change for anyone.

If I could swear, I would. This book is exceptional. I am/was Emily and there’s nothing more important that seeing yourself in a book. I hope every young girl gets a chance to read it. Loving yourself is SO IMPORTANT. This book made me laugh, cry and want to shout. Just bloody marvellous.

As you can see I had a VERY varied half term filled with EXCEPTIONAL books. I would recommend ALL of these! Some of them are out now, some of them were proofs the publishers very kindly sent me! 

What have you recently?
What’s the best book you’ve read recently?
Do you love to spend your time off reading? 

Talk to me, let me know your thoughts on any of these books if you’ve read them, or if you want to know anything else about any of them! 

S x 

Half term happy post

Happy Monday! Despite the fact I’m back to work today (we only had one week for Easter holidays), I thought I’d post one of my favourite posts: a happy post! I’m going to list all of my happy things from half term! 

Reading every single day. Sleeping in until I wanted to wake up. Having an alarm set for a good reason. Seeing my twiglets. Doing some tidying. Running. Wagamamas with my fave. Finally getting my ass back to the gym. Going to see people that I love most. Bullet journaling. Cute Snapchat filters. My book bitchez. Quilliams for me. Quilliams with my friends. Just having time to breathe. Looking forward to going back to work. Relaxing and not needing to worry. That feeling of waking up and being able to go back to sleep. Accidental naps. Exciting opportunities with teachers I properly admire. Sunshine and walks. Spending time just wandering because I have time. Texts from friends. Texts from colleagues. Texts from teacher friends. Book post. Laughing. Laughing so much you cry. Not feeling pressured to write blog posts. Starbucks and reading. Banana bread. Light mornings. Light nights. New trainers. New lipstick. Picking up books and devouring them in a matter of hours. Falling in love with characters and worlds. That feeling of tiredness before you crawl into bed. Bookish events with my faves. A bottle of Rekorderlig. Hugs from the twiglets. Texts from my brother. Books. Always books. 

What are your half term wins?
How do you enjoy spending your half term holidays? 

Talk to me! 

S x 

S4S – Books from my childhood

Afternoon! How is everyone on this here chilly Sunday?

Today we’re here for another installment of #SixforSunday! I hope you’re enjoying this celebration of everything kids lit… I know I am! 

Today’s #SixforSunday is a celebration of:

Books from my childhood

So here are 6 books that I read as a child, or that were read to me as a child that I STILL find myself wanting to reread as an adult!

I don’t think these will really surprise anyone. Some of the best stories I’ve ever read are still here on this list. I’ve included books form being a proper tiny to vividly remembering reading them as a child and them sparking a love of reading in me!

Share your favourite 6 books from childhood with me using the hashtag #SixforSunday and I’l check them out! 

See you next week! 

S x 

BOOK BLOG: Anna Williamson

How Not To Lose It: a brilliant book to use when talking MH with kids

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“The go-to mental health guide for kids!
Exam stress? Friendship issues? Panic attacks?
How Not to Lose It will help you be the boss of all of this, and more.

It’s not just your body that should be fit and healthy – your mind needs to be, too! How Not to Lose It is the go-to guide for achieving a balanced mind and strong emotional well-being. With immediate, heart of the matter advice and a chatty yet honest tone, Anna Williamson addresses all of the key issues affecting children today.”

As a teacher, it’s so important that I have resources available to me for talking to kids about their mental health. We are seeing more and more that MH is something that is talked about in schools – and rightly so. There are more and more books becoming available to help kids learn about and talk about their MH and How Not To Lose It is a brilliant example of a book that’s going to do that! Aimed at 9-14 year olds, this book covers a wide variety of topics and is filled with empowering advice, delivered in a honest and chatty tone. 

How Not To Lose It covers such a wide variety of topics that you can find advice based on almost anything. The contents page kicks off in the way the book continues – friendly, colourful and it doesn’t feel like your typical “self help” book. There’s a handy index in the back too – always useful when you just want ONE specific thing. The topics covered in the book are:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • stress
  • friendship
  • bullying
  • relationships and sex
  • family life and bereavement
  • phobias
  • peer pressure
  • self-harm
  • self-esteem and confidence.

I love that this book is approachable. If a kid (this book is aimed at 9-14 year olds) picked it up, it’s appealing to them and it’s not just pages and pages of words. There’s agony aunt letters aplenty and there’s these brilliant “myth busting” boxes throughout. The illustrations are perfect for the age range that it’s aimed at and I read through as an adult and I learned things! The language used is chatty and honest, which makes it brilliantly readable for kids without sounding patronising.

This book is BRILLIANT. Properly brilliant. I love the variety of topics that it covers. These ‘To sum it all up…’ pages are my favourite pages throughout – there’s some proper sound advice on them. (This one about friendship is one of my favourites!) 

Anything that empowers our kids and helps them deal with anything they’re going through is a proper winner in my books and this one is brilliant! 

What are your favourite resources to use in the classroom about mental health?
Would you find this resource useful in the classroom?

A massive thank you to the publishers, Scholastic, for sending me a copy. I am going to have this at hand in my classroom. This book is out now and I would recommend UKS2/KS3 teachers to check it out!

S x

April bujo

Well hello there!

How are you today? 

Today, I’m here to show you April bullet journal set up! 

I’ll be honest… I went off the boil a bit in March – I had a weekend away in London and it just totally knocked me off kilter, so I stopped updating. However, I’ve got back on the bujo bus and I’ve done my bujo for April and I quite love it! As usual, I scoured google images for inspiration and magpie’d some ideas, adapted others and then came up with my own! 

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This is my title page (yes, I know. It bothers me that the a isn’t a capital, but it just didn’t look as nice with a capital letter… I’ll deal with it ha!) The example I saw and used as my inspiration just had black fletchings, but I decided to make mine green to match my green theme going this month! 

Next up, we have a quote page (we all know I love a good quote page) and then the monthly calendar (which now looks very different – I coloured in holidays and such like!) I really like starting the monthly bullet journal off with the monthly calendar – I can write important dates on and such like! April is a considerably quieter month than March though!

Over the page, we have my little mood tracker and my grateful page. I found this little cup and leaf dude while I was looking at examples of mood trackers and I just thought he was ADORABLE. I matched my quote to the theme of plants too. In terms of colours, I went back to using different colours this month (last month I used shades of blue and I found it a bit of a pain in the arse tbh). I realise it would’ve looked better with just shades of green, but hey ho! The other page is just a very simplistic grateful page… a line a day with a little quote!

The next double spread you come across is my bookish double spread – book post and books I’ve read this month page! On the left hand page is my book post – I’m still playing around with this page because I’m not sure how I best make this work. I’ve tried a few different ways to catalogue them and I’m just yet to find one that I love using. On the right, you’ll find the books I’ve read this month. By the time I remembered to take pictures, I had read 3 books! The yellow highlighter shows me a MG book: the green highliter shows YA books read. As it’s half term, I’m aiming for a good chunk of reading this month! I try to alternate between MG books and YA books. 

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The last double spreads are my weekly spreads. This week was half term… hence the blankness. I’ve got a “next week” and the blank space beside it is for a “to do list”. I’ve got rid of my daily mood tracker but I’m doing it within my days. I get 3 smily faces – one for morning, one for afternoon, one for night time – and I just draw them in the daily box somewhere. It’s interesting to watch the patterns form! 

And that’s it! April in bujo! 

Do you like a colour scheme?
What are your must have bujo pages?
Which of your pages are your fave?

Talk to me! I’ll happily talk bujo all day! 

S x 

S4S does #kidslit – Kids books I love!

Hello there!

We are in April now. April’s #SixforSunday is all about celebrating one of my fave kinds of books:

KIDS LIT.

Kids lit is BLOODY MAGNIFICENT and people need to start realising this… hence why I’m spending a month of #SixforSundays celebrating kids lit! 

We are kicking off this week with the prompt:

Children’s books I love

Now I’m technically going to cheat here and go with authors I love… 

  1. David Litchfield
    The Bear and the Piano is one of my favourite picture books to ever exist… and when the second one came out I was overjoyed! 
  2. Maz Evans
    Yes, yes, I know. This will come as no surprise to be on the list, but you guys REALLY need to get on the Who Let The Gods Out? train if you’re not on it already. That series is just BLOODY wonderful and hilarious.
  3. Lisa Thompson
    I’ve had the utter joy of meeting Lisa and she’s properly lovely! Her books are all equally wonderful, but I have a very special place in my heart for her newest book The Day I Was Erased. My kids and I just devoured it!
  4. Kiran Milwood Hargrave
    Kiran can do NO wrong in my eyes. Her kids books are like written gold. They’re so beautiful and have such incredible worlds. Girl of Ink and Stars will FOREVER be my fave Kiran book: that book man. Read it if you haven’t.
  5. Oliver Jeffers
    Another author who I believe has written absolute winner after winner. I know his books are VERY popular with teachers and parents alike and RIGHTLY SO. I just adore his books. Massivest shout out to The Heart and the Bottle.
  6. Abi Elphinstone
    I can’t NOT write about kids authors I love and not mention Abi. Her books are JUST wonderful (so wonderful that I definitely had 3 copies of The Dreamsnatcher borrowed and never returned by my kids!) Her newest adventure Rumblestar is a PROPER winner and I can’t wait for everyone to experience it! 

Remember to share your #SixforSunday posts with me! I can’t wait to see everyone shouting about kids lit this month! 

Come back next week for #SixforSunday does Books from my childhood!

S x 

 

 

2019 releases…

Well hello… happy Friday to all you lovely people of the world!

Today I’m here to shout about 2019 releases I’m excited for. Some of my 2019 releases I’ve already read and I’m gonna give them a bit of love, but I’m just gonna shout about them all. 

Here goes nothing… 

Let’s start with 2019 releases I’ve read and LOVED:

2019 loves

Now some 2019 releases that I can’t WAIT to get my hands on:

2019 wants

Add to that list these books:

And Then I Turned Into a Mermaid – Laura Steven (Laura Steven is diving into the world of MG with a mermaid book… yes please!)
The Toll – Neal Shusterman (The 3rd book in the Scythe trilogy)

I could keep going… but I should probably go and do something productive!

What are some of your fave 2019 books?
What 2019 books can you not wait to get your hands on?
Are you still reading books from 2018? (yes haha I am!)

Let me know in the comments – I don’t need more books to add to my list, but I DO. 

S x 

Mini reviews: MG edition

Good morning! 

How are we all?! Today I come to you with some mini reviews. I’m going to keep them short and sweet, but these are some books that I’ve read recently that I want to shout about that I’ve just not had a chance to yet!

march mini reviews covers

The Fire Maker – Guy Jones

“Alex loves magic – its glamour, tricks and illusions. He’s good at it, too: he’s reached the semi-finals of a prestigious competition for young magicians. But when he stumbles into eccentric Mr Olmos’s back garden while running from his former best friend, Alex sees something he can’t explain: three tiny flames floating in the air. Fire magic. Real magic. Soon, Alex and Mr Olmos are swept up in a great adventure of secrets, genies and an ancient, bitter rivalry…”

I loved this book. It’s a quick but brilliant story about Alex, a magician, who ends up stumbling across a mysterious old man and his mystifying magical flames. They spring up an unlikely friendship and Alex makes a mistake: one which has some pretty bad consequences! A brilliant tale of magic, friendship, secrets and lies. With interesting charactes and an interesting plot, this is perfect for KS2 readers! 

Good Boy – Mal Peet

Sandie has been battling it since childhood: the hulking, snarling black dog of her nightmares. For years, her precious pet dog Rabbie has kept the monster at bay, but when he is no longer there to protect her, the black dog reappears to stalk Sandie in her sleep … Illuminating the undeniable power of Mal Peet’s pared-back prose, Good Boy is an evocative examination of fear and anxiety that will leave you guessing long after its final page.

I’m not going to lie – the first chapter in this had me a LITTLE bit scared. This book is probably more suited for teens than younger readers, but there’s nothing particularly horrifying in it. It’s a complex and interesting story all about a young girl and her nightmares. It’s an interesting portrayal of what our nightmares look like and what they can do to us. It really made me think and has definitely left a lasting impression. There’s some wonderful illustrations too!

Amelia Fang and the Half Moon Holiday – Laura Ellen Anderson

It’s the half-moon holidays in gloomy Nocturnia which means no school for Amelia and her friends! Instead they are going to spend it with their Rainbow Rangers troop, (lead by unicorns Ricky and Graham) earning badges on Sugar Plum Island. But whilst exploring, Amelia and the gang stumble upon an ancient curse – and are shrunk to the size of bugs! How will they make the bloodcurdlingly BIG journey to break the curse when they are all so very TINY?

I’m a massive fan of the Amelia Fang series! You definitely need to get on this series if you’re a KS2 teacherthey’re fun and filled with great messages! Amelia Fang is such a polite character and these books are filled with humour. This latest installment of the series sees Amelia and her friends going on a camping trip as part of Rainbow Rangers (think Brownies/Rainbows/Scouts). Shout out here for Ricky and Graham – the unicorn leaders of Rainbow Rangers. These books are jam packed with illustrations that add so much to the story. I hope this series just goes on and on. 

Hotel Flamingo – Alex Milway

When young Anna inherits a dilapidated once-grand hotel from her Great Aunt Mathilde, she’s determined to restore it to its former glory. But this is no ordinary hotel – all of her staff and guests are animals! Anna soon rises to the challenge. Whether it’s a flamingo, a penguin or a hippo knocking at the door, Anna is ready to welcome them all – with the help of her trusty sidekicks T Bear the doorman, Squeak the friendly elevator mouse, and Lemmy the lemur receptionist … As she soon finds out, though, running an animal hotel is no easy task. Can Anna make Hotel Flamingo a success once more?

I’m always on the look out for slightly longer books that are perfect for Y2 readers and I can look no further than this! With beautifully illustrated pages and an interesting story, this book is perfect. Here you have a story about the importance of team work, hard work and acceptance. A story about a young girl who needs to do up the hotel she’s inherited (which is in a state of sheer disrepair) and her friends who she helps to give the hotel a new lease of life! I really loved this book. I hope there’s more to come from this author! 

And there we go! 

Let me know in the comments if you’re a fan of a mini review, or if there’s anything you’d like to know about these books. 

S x 

March in books…

Hello April! How are you doing?! 

I’m not really sure where March went (it marched out of here, haha, I’m hilarious, sorry not sorry!) but I am here to share with you my round up of March books! 

In March, I:

Had a lot of very tired weeks
Had a very lovely Parents Evening with my Y5s
Read a lot of brilliant books
Received some excellent book post
Failed at being a bujo Mam!
Loved the fact the sunshine was up for much longer
Started walking to work FINALLY
Read 9 books!

So what did I actually read in March?

Let’s start with YA books!

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Three VERY different YA books but all 3 equally incredible. The finale of the Ink trilogy, a new book from Juno Dawson which blew my mind and the hotly anticipated book from Lucy Powrie!

Scar – Alice Broadway
Meat Market – Juno Dawson (review to come!)
The Paper and Hearts Society – Lucy Powrie (review to come!)

Now the MG books

march 2019 mg

A group of 6 BRILLIANT MG books… I was SPOILED in March with kids books!

Rumblestar – Abi Elphinstone (watch out for review coming next week!)*
Amelia Fang and the Half Moon Holiday
Good Boy – Mal Peet*
Wildspark – Vashti Hardy (watch out for my review coming next week!)*
The Fire Maker – Guy Jones*
Pog – Padraig Kenny*

And that’s it! 9 books… not as many as the past few months, but still chugging on there! 

How am I doing for my book challenges?

Goodreads challenge: 34/52
#52books challenge (just kids books): 12/52

I don’t track the picture books I read… but I’m going to post a picture books I’ve read this year post in a few weeks time so watch out for that – it’s jam packed with recommendations of ALL KINDS of picture books!

How did you do with your reading in March? 
What was your favourite read of last month? 
What would you recommend me from your 2019 reading list?

Let me know! Lets talk books! 

S x