S4S – Characteristics I’d love…

Hello #SixforSunday friends!

How are you all doing? How is social distancing/quarantine treating you? I hope you are all staying safe and apart from people where possible. I’m not going to lie, this week has been a tough one… but I hope that today’s post can bring you a smile!

Today’s prompt is quite an interesting one… I loved thinking about this! Today we are talking

Characteristics of characters we’d love

I think this is a brilliant little one to think about for someone like me cause I bloody LOVE a character. I am very character driven. So here we go with 6 characteristics of characters I’d love:

  1. Bravery: Peyton from Destination Anywhere by Sara Barnard
    This book isn’t out yet but it is BLOODY brilliant. Peyton shows some wonderful bravery in this book and I don’t consider myself very brave haha!
  2. Self-assurance: Emily from No Big Deal by Bethany Rutter
    You all know I have a massive amount of love for this book and this character. ENd of the story Emily is my inspiration. She’s brilliant and she’s wonderful.
  3. Tenacity: Utterly Thankless from Rumblestar by Abi Elphinstone
    We could all do with a bit more tenacity – I can be a bit meek sometimes, so to be a bit more like Utterly, that would be great.
  4. Playfulness: Bad Nana by Sophy Henn
    I can be quite a SERIOUS BUSINESS kind of person at times, but if I could be a bit more playful like Bad Nana, that would be great!
  5. Compassionate: Coach from Run Series by Jason Reynolds
    Now, I don’t think I’m NOT compassionate, but Coach is just FOREVER compassionate and I think I could be a bit more. We all could be a bit more Coach to be honest. I just think he’s amazing.
  6. Magic: any of the magic people
    I WANNA BE MAGIC SO BAD.

Is number 6 a cheat? Who knows! I JUST WANNA BE MAGICAL.

Hurrah for today’s prompt! I thought it was a whole load of fun! Let me know what characteristics you’d steal from your favourite characters. There’s loads more I could have (wit from Luvian Fen or Izzy O’Neill; charm from Jin; bouncebackability from Suzanne; kindness from Elliot) but I managed to keep it to six!

Don’t forget to share your post using the hashtag #SixforSunday. I can’t wait to see what you all want to steal!

See you next week for a new month of prompts!

S x

BOOK BLOG: Abi Elphinstone

Jungledrop: exciting, filled with heart and adventure!

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“Eleven-year-old twins, Fox and Fibber, have been rivals for as long as they can remember. Only one of them will inherit the family fortune and so a race is afoot to save the dwindling Petty-Squabble empire and win the love of their parents. But when the twins are whisked off to Jungledrop, a magical Unmapped Kingdom in charge of conjuring our world’s weather, things get wildly out of hand. An evil harpy called Morg is on the loose. And if she finds the long-lost Forever Fern before the twins, both Jungledrop and our world will crumble. Suddenly, Fox and Fibber find themselves on an incredible adventure in a glow-in-the-dark rainforest full of golden panthers, gobblequick trees and enchanted temples. But, with the fate of two worlds in their hands, will the twins be able to work together for once to defeat Morg and her dark magic?”

Jungledrop is the second book (technically third) in Abi Elphinstone’s incredible Unmapped Chronicles series (Rumblestar being the other novel length one and Everdark being the other one – a World Book Day book!). This series gives me SO MUCH JOY. 

When the amazing humans at Simon and Schuster emailed me asking if I wanted a proof copy, I couldn’t refuse. I am a massive massive fan of Abi’s writing. She writes such incredible stories which are always adventure filled and magnificence that I needed to get my hands on it (plus, my Year 6’s would have lynched me if I had turned it down… they are also massive fans!) 

eq0otw6waaeqkceJust look at this proof man… HOW SHINY AND GORGEOUS. 

Jungledrop tells the tale of the two obnoxious and rude twins (Fox and Fibber) who have an awful lot to learn about themselves and about the world. They’re not the kindest or friendliest protagonists to start with and when they begin their quest to save their world and the Unmapped Kingdoms, you find that in fact, they’re going to have to grow and change to get through it. They have to learn to be kind, to show humility and be brave. They are of course on the quest to save the world from Morg (cruel, mean Morg, who is set on taking over the Unmapped Kingdom with her dark heart). 

This book is a total adventure with an awful lot of heart. Abi Elphinstone writes new worlds and new characters with such brilliance that is hard not to fall in love with the stories straight away. It’s rich in language, setting, characters and messages. 

One of the things that always stands out to me about Abi Elphinstone books is the messages that are delivered through brilliant storytelling. This one delivers a gorgeous message about the importance of being kind and being brave. Bravery comes in all forms in this book. It comes from small acts of kindness and massive acts of a heroic nature. The twins learn a lot about how unkind they can be and how kindness can actually help them to learn about themselves and each other. 

This book is so jam packed with wonderful characters. New and old.

The twins are not very likeable at first: they’re mean, selfish, obnoxious and just plain spiteful. They’re very self-obsessed. They’re not very compassionate. They’re not kind to each other. But when they realise they need each other and they need to be vulnerable and trust other people, they really start to change. They’re devious and conniving at times. You definitely warm up to them in the end though. 

Of course, mean, power-hungry Morg is back and she’s up to her old funny business again. Trying to destroy the world of Jungledrop. Trying to capture the people. Trying to grow stronger after the happenings of Rumblestar. As much as she terrifies me, it was great to be back with her. She’s one of those deliciously evil characters (a bit like Maleficent).

In the lands of Jungledrop, the twins meet a wonderful array of characters. When they end up in their adventure, they are accompanied by Heckle the parrot. He’s very aptly named and he definitely kept the laughs coming. He sticks around despite all rebuffs from the twins (Fox in particular is mean). In these magical lands, the twins come across many other magical animals who lend a hand, even though the twins try and avoid this happening (they’ve been brought up to be hardy and get on themselves!).

There’s another familiar face that appears in this book that made my heart so happy. I loved seeing them again. I’m glad they reappeared. 

My Goodreads review:

Blooming magnificent. A book, like all of Abi’s others, filled with adventure and heart. You can’t read one of her books and not be swept away with the lives of her characters, the depth and richness of her worlds and the brilliance of her baddies. I loved the twins and the journey they go on: kindness really is the bravest thing in the world. As much as Morg terrifies me, it was great to be back with her dastardly ways. And Heckle is a brilliant character (with a perfect name!) bloody bravo Abi Elphinstone!! 

And that’s it! If you like the sound of this, why don’t you consider preordering it?

Amazon Preorder Link

Waterstones Preorder Link

Hive Preorder Link

A massive thank you to the gorgeous Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy of Jungledrop – it’s in the possession of one of my Year 6s as we speak! They’re planning to send it around each other! Speak to you all soon! 

S x 

The Spring Book Tag

Hello!

It is ThursTAG again. Phew. How is everyone keeping on? What have you been up to this week? Staying safe I hope! Today I am here to bring you the Spring Book Tag since it is technically now Spring! (And don’t I know it? My hayfever is KICKING MY ASS!)

Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!

1. What’s on your Spring TBR list?

I mean, what isn’t on my TBR? Literally everything haha! My “school closure but not really closure” TBR is up to my hip. Whether I’ll get through them all, or whether I’ll be distracted by other things will be interesting haha. Saying that, some recent additions to my TBR are:

2. If someone asked you for a spring release recommendation, what would it be?

Last Lesson by James Goodhand is INCREDIBLE. It’s the story of a young boy who plans to bomb his school on the last day of Year 11. I read it in the space of a few hours and I just adored it. It’s tough and gritty, but man, it’s so good. (It’s out at the beginning of April I believe!)

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3. Which two books coming out before summer are you eagerly awaiting?

I have already read both Destination Anywhere by Sara Barnard and Jungledrop by Abi Elphinstone, but I can’t wait for other people to read them and be so happy and love them as much as I did! Seriously, when they come out, you need to get your hands on them!

4. Which character would make a great Easter bunny?

Hahaha, what a random question! Erm… someone who’s giving and happy about it? Maybe like Miss Honey? She’s really generous. Or Coach from the Run series by Jason Reynolds. He’d make you work for your egg, but then you know you’d deserve it! Ha!

5. What book makes you think of spring?

Literally anything with flowers on the cover. I know I’ve already mentioned her, but Sara Barnard books make me think of spring. They’re so pretty and shiny.

6. Name a cover with flowers on it.

(Haha, my answer to that previous question was NOT planned at all!)

A book with flowers on the cover? EASY:

7. Which two characters would you go on an Easter egg hunt with?

OOOOH. I do not know! Someone to keep me entertained on the hunt and then someone who was good at finding things? 

8. What is your favorite spring bookish activity?

Now I love a good wander along the seaside and then sitting reading on the beach, but as that won’t be happening for some time, I’m going to say, just sitting with a cup of tea, on the back doorstep and reading. I love a good sit outdoor.

9. Which book did you enjoy that has a spring-like cover?

A book I’ve enjoyed this year that has quite a spring-y cover… oooh a good question! I love the Hotel Flamingo books and this one screams spring to me: bright, colourful and sparking joy!

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10. Who is your favorite contemporary author?

Oh friends. Why do you do this to me? SO SO MANY. I love me some Juno Dawson (for bloody brilliant storytelling), Sara Barnard (for incredible characters and they will always make you cry!), Non Pratt (for sheer brilliance), Simon James Green (for funnies) and so many more. That’s just impolite to ask me to be honest.

My Nominees for the Spring Book Tag

Literally anyone who wants to take part… I am guessing my friend Charlotte will engage in this tag. I would be offended if she didn’t let’s be fair.

And that’s it! The spring book tag has sprung! If you fancy giving this a go, please do!

S x

BOOK BLOG: Sara Barnard

Destination Anywhere: what do you do when you’re so lost you don’t even know where to find yourself?

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“Sometimes you have to leave your life behind to find your place in the world…
After five years at secondary school spent bullied and alone, Peyton King starts sixth form college determined that things will be different. Whatever happens, she will make friends at any cost. When she finds the friends she’s always dreamed of, including an actual boyfriend, she’s happier than she’s ever been. But when they let her down in the worst way, Peyton is left no better off than when she started. Now Peyton knows the only chance she has of finding happiness is to look for it somewhere else. With nothing but her sketchpad and a backpack, she buys a one-way ticket and gets on a plane…”

I’m not here today to share a full review… that’s to come once I can form sentences about how much I loved this book.

I’m here today to share one of my moodboards (because being creative in these times is keeping me sane and it helps me a lot) and some preorder links. I think it’s SO important that we support authors and preorders are one of those incredibly easy ways that we can support them! 

Sara mood board

Sara Barnard keeps writing story after story that are just kick you in face good. I adored Peyton’s story and her adventure. We’ve all been there: lost and looking for ourselves. People are going to get a lot from this and it’s a gorgeous story. I loved that this book was a celebration of friendships without hiding away from the fact that friendships aren’t always great and that some of them totally suck. Now who do I speak to about my Canadian road trip?

If my moodboard and my short Goodreads review has inspired you to get this book (cause you probably should my friends, it is incredible), then why not consider preordering it from your favourite indie (can I recommend @biggreenbooks if you don’t know an indie?) or clicking one of the links below (this is not a sponsored post or anything, I just wanna get behind this book a lot and we all know I am a massive fan of Sara):

Amazon Preorder Link

Waterstones Preorder Link

Hive Preorder Link

Destination Anywhere isn’t out until June, but if you can preorder, please consider it! 

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my post! There will be a full review coming, I promise… just bear with me! 

What did you think of my moodboard?
Are you a preorder-er?
Have you read any of Sara’s other books? 

Speak to you all soon! Stay safe! 

S x

BOOK BLOG: James Goodhand

Last Lesson: Tense, gripping and thrilling

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“Last year, Ollie Morcombe was a star pupil, popular and a gifted musician. Then, after the accident, everything changed. Now he’s an outcast, a prime target of the school bullies who have made his life a living hell. Today – the last day of the school year – he’s brought those bullies a gift. A homemade pipe bomb. What has driven a model student to plan an unspeakable revenge? And with the clock ticking down to home time, what can anybody do to stop him?”

The amazing humans over at Penguin books sent me a proof copy of this book (see below proof cover) and as soon as I read the blurb, I knew I needed to pick it up. I read it on my train journey down to London (when we were still allowed to be around other people) and I THOROUGHLY enjoyed it! 

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Last Lesson is the brilliant story of young Ollie, who plans to plant a bomb in his school on the last day of the year. It follows his story from being a popular member of his school community to being the boy who wants to bomb his school. You get the chance to sneak into the world of being a teenager in his school, the things he goes through and his pretty tricky life. He has a lot to deal with. This book is told in flashbacks and a run down of the last day of school and it’s so brilliantly done. 

We all know I love a good character I can get behind.

I was initially VERY anti-Ollie (I mean who wouldn’t be? He’s bombing his school), but as you go through the story and you see what is going on in his life (an awful awful lot), you begin to question his motives and his reasons for it and maybe see a bit of humanity in him. As a teacher, it was really hard to read what Ollie was going through at school because there were just so many red flag from the actions of the teachers (one teacher in particular I wanted to murder because he was SO neglectful).

There is one teacher who is an absolute ray of light in Ollie’s life and I am so here for her – yes to positive representations of teachers in YA… we need more of these! 

I had very conflicted emotions about his grandad too. He lives with his granded and while his grandad is super supportive and doing a super good job of raising Ollie, he’s got this very “men should be men and not cry” kind of toxic masculinity vibe going on about him. This doesn’t mean I didn’t think he was a good character. For this book and for the story, grandad was a brilliant character. He was part of the problem, but he also ends up being a bit of a ray of hope in all of it. 

This book is a total emotional rollercoaster. I can’t lie and say I wasn’t gripped straight away. The premise alone was one that I needed to be part of. From the get go, you are in on the action. There’s a real sense of urgency about this story. You need to go through it greedily. You need to know what is going to happen. There’s so much you need to know the answer to. You go through this story thinking one thing, then another, then back to your first thought. You really go through it all with Ollie. Poor, poor Ollie.

There’s anger, disbelief, horror, love, hope and sadness all thrown into this book. I finished it feeling a bit of a shell of myself! 

There’s some pretty tough themes in this book. It deals with toxic masculinity, rape, bullying and mental health issues. They’re all dealt with so brilliantly without shying away from some pretty harrowing scenes and the reality of some of these situations from a teenager’s point of view. I think this book will make people ask questions and I hope it will start conversations, which start conversations. 

My Goodreads review:

My gosh, what a ride. This is gripping, harrowing and a total rollercoaster. Following the story of young Ollie, who plans to plant a bomb in his school on the last day of the year. This hooked me from the get go and I needed to know the ending. Proper brilliant.

A massive massive thank you to Penguin for sending me a copy of Last Lesson. I hope you all go out and buy this book because it’s BLOODY BRILLIANT. 

Have you read Last Lesson?
Can you share some more positive representations of teachers in YA?
What are your thoughts on this book?

Talk to me! I’d love to know what you think!

S x 

Letters to… teachers up and down the land

Hello fellow teachers all over the world!

Hi, I’m Steph. You might never have visited my blog before, but rest assured you are most welcome here.

There’s a lot going on in the world at the minute, isn’t there? It’s all a bit crazy and a bit sad and a bit scary. On both a global scale and a smaller scale.

I’m a teacher, who right now doesn’t have a class to teach, day in and day out and that’s weird. It’s sad. It’s scary. It’s all of these different emotions in one and I know I’m not the only one thinking and feeling them. There are teachers all over who are sharing these same feelings. You might be one of them. You might not. You might know someone who is feeling these things.

I think I’m going to find it a struggle over the coming weeks and months. I’m someone who very much loves my job and it’s a massive part of my identity. It took me a long time to get here and now that it’s been taken away from me (on the most part), I’m feeling a little bit lost. This time “off” will prove to be a challenge for me. One I’m sure I will rise to. One I’m sure we all will.

I will be going in to school when it is my turn on the rota to look after the children of the key workers and that makes me feel like I have a purpose. These children and their parents are important. This country needs us to do our bit, when and where we can, to look after the people who are looking after us. If you can’t go into school for whatever reason, please don’t feel guilty. You’re helping us to look after the children by keeping yourself safe. You are first and foremost the priority.

I miss my kids. It’s only been what 2 days of not teaching them? And those 2 days were weekend days. But they didn’t feel like normal weekend days. They both dragged on forever. The thought of waking up every morning not having to get up with my alarm, go into my classroom, see their smiling faces and not having all of the fun and frustrations that we have is really quite sad. There were some of my kids I didn’t see at all last week. I saw some of them every day. We might not get the chance to see these kids for a few weeks or a few months. That sucks. But it’s to keep us all safe.

I’m a Year 6 teacher and it’s all a little surreal to think that the next time my kids are in school will be when they go to secondary school. I taught this class when they were in Year 5 (they were my NQT class) and then I got the chance to teach them again this year. I moved in to Year 6 in January and thought I’d get the chance to take them all the way to the end. There’s a part of me, and a part of some of you I guess, that feels like that opportunity has been snatched away from me unfairly. I know this is selfish and it’s not something that can be helped, but it’s still something I feel. 

As a school, we posted home learning packs on our website, and I’m going to be using our class blog to keep in touch with my kids. It’s going to be a surreal few weeks and months, and we need to try and make sure that we remain kind. We need to try our hardest to not judge others based on what they’re doing: we’re a profession of the most passionate and caring people in the world. We need to do what is best for our own little school communities. Whatever that looks like, do it. Whether you’ve been setting online work, you’ve put stuff on your website, or you’re going to be doing remote learning by video, just do whatever it is that you think is the best thing for your kids and your school community.

I’m all for calling out bad practise, but do it in a respectful way. Teachers get enough grief from the media and from people not in our little bubble that we don’t need people inside our bubble giving each other grief. If you see someone doing something that you don’t agree with, open up a respectful conversation and ask them about it. Try not to point the finger. There’s nothing worse than accusations. Some teachers will have leadership teams who are making questionable choices and don’t feel like they can say something. We need to support each other, not just shout. 

Please remember to stay safe and be kind. We are all going through a very strange time at the minute. We will all be feeling very differently about what is going on. Some people, like me, will feel lost and purposeless at times, whereas others may find this time refreshing. We need to do what we can to look after the world: that’s the big wide world and the little world in which you live – yourself (first and foremost), your family and your school community. 

If anyone is in need of someone to chat to, my DMs and my email is always open. It is so important that people feel like they can have someone to talk to. I’m here to celebrate the happy, comfort the sadness or even talk school. I don’t mind. Just never feel alone,

Love, a somewhat lost and a little bit sad,

Steph xxx

S4S – The perfect date…

Hello pals!

It’s #SixforSunday time! You know what that means… it’s also time for “prompts Steph set herself that she had TOO MANY answers for so spent too long whittling down her responses to 6 and then regretted it and changed her mind multiple times”. Yep. That’s what we’ve got this week. This week I had quite a few responses… and let’s be honest, they’re all hella predictable!

This week’s prompt saw me mulling over

Six character I’d love to date

LOL. Yep. No shame here. I know who I’ve gone with and you ALL know the reasons why…

  1. Luvian Fen (Sorrow duology by Melinda Salisbury)
    Luvian bloody Fen. That man. He’s witty, charming and a total twat. But I love him. So so much.
  2. Murren Ross (Hold Back The Tide by Melinda Salisbury)
    Ren is the kindest, sweetest and most loyal thing ever. I loved that when I saw Mel talk on Saturday that she was talking about the importance of portraying positive male figures for teens to read. He’s such a babe. I love him
  3. Jin (Rebel of the Sands series by Alwyn Hamilton)
    OH JIN. A bit like Luvian… he’s sarcastic, witty, charming… and I’d LOVE to date him.
  4. Grey (Cursebreakers series by Brigid Kemmerer)
    OH GREY. I love him so much. He is noble and wise.
  5. Emoni (With The Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo)
    Going by the front cover of this book, I think she is ATTRACTIVE. And you know what? I’m allowed to be a little bit shallow!
  6. Izzy O’Neill (The Exact Opposite of Okay/A Girl Called Shameless by Laura Steven)
    I wish I was cool enough to date someone like Izzy, but this is my fictitious game and I can date whoever I like… so Izzy it is.

As I say, there’s LOADS of people who made it onto my list, and I can tell you that as I sit and reread this I’m thinking ‘oh my god should I change this person for this person?’. What can I say? I’m indecisive!

Remember to share your posts using #SixforSunday. I love seeing all of your posts on a Sunday: they fill my heart with SUCH JOY.

S x

 

Home learning PE recommendations

Hello!

I don’t normally post at 7pm, but I’ve been working on a little something for the school website in light of school closures.

I wanted to create something for our school website for recommendations for parents to use to support their children being active and staying healthy in the coming weeks. It’s a collection of recommended websites and youtube channels that I’d recommend/I’ve seen other people recommend, so I’m sure there’s other documents very similar (or better). It’s nothing revolutionary, but I figured as I was making it that I would share it with you all in case it was useful to parents, teachers, leaders… whoever might find it of use!

Stay activwe

Feel free to download and use!

Home Learning Stay Active PDF

Let’s remember to be kind of stick together in the coming weeks and months of uncertainty. 

S x

ThursTAG: Amazon’s 100 Books To Read In a Lifetime

Hello friends!!!

I came across the Amazon’s 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime” Tag a while ago and stored it in my tag vault… now I figured was as good a time as any to get it out of storage and share with you what I’ve read!

“recommend reads” lists always fascinate me. I don’t think I’m necessarily the target audience for them… but I figured I’d see how many I had read… and you can all shout at me for ones I’ve not read haha!

Rules:

  1. Include the link to Amazon’s List
  2. Tag the creator of the meme (Perfectly Tolerable)
  3. Tag and thank the Person that tagged you
  4. Copy the list below and indicate which ones you have read
  5. Tally up your total
  6. Tag 5 new people!

All right, now let’s take a look;

100 Books To Read In a Lifetime List

Title Author Read?
1984 George Orwell  Yes
A Brief History of Time Stephen Hawking
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius Dave Eggers
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier Ishmael Beah
The Bad Beginning Lemony Snicket
A Wrinkle in Time Madeleine L’Engle
Selected Stories, 1968-1994 Alice Munro
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll  Yes
All the President’s Men Bob Woodward
Angela’s Ashes: A Memoir Frank McCourt
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Judy Blume
Bel Canto Ann Patchett
Beloved Toni Morrison
Born to Run Christopher McDougall
Breath, Eyes, Memory Edwidge Danticat
Catch-22 Joseph Heller
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl  Yes
Charlotte’s Web E. B White Yes
Cutting for Stone Abraham Verghese
Daring Greatly Brené Brown
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Jeff Kinney  Yes
Dune Frank Herbert
Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Hunter S. Thompson
Gone Girl Gillian Flynn Yes
Goodnight Moon Margaret Wise Brow
Great Expectations Charles Dickens
Guns, Germs, and Steel Jared Diamond Ph.D.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone J.K. Rowling  Yes
In Cold Blood Truman Capote
Interpreter of Maladies Jhumpa Lahiri
Invisible Man Ralph Ellison
Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth Chris Ware
Kitchen Confidential Anthony Bourdain
Life After Life Kate Atkinson
Little House on the Prairie Laura Ingalls Wilder Yes
Lolita Vladimir Nabokov
Love in the Time of Cholera Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Love Medicine Louise Erdrich
Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor E. Frankl
Me Talk Pretty One Day David Sedaris
Middlesex Jeffrey Eugenides
Midnight’s Children Salman Rushdie
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game Michael Lewis
Of Human Bondage W. Somerset Maugham
On the Road Jack Kerouac
Out of Africa Isak Dinesen
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood Marjane Satrapi
Portnoy’s Complaint Philip Roth
Pride and Prejudice Jane Austen
Silent Spring Rachel Carson
Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut
Team of Rivals Doris Kearns Goodwin
The Age of Innocence Edith Wharton
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay Michael Chabon
The Autobiography of Malcolm X Malcolm X
The Book Thief Markus Zusak  Yes
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Junot Díaz
The Catcher in the Rye J. D. Salinger
The Color of Water James McBride
The Corrections Jonathan Franzen
The Devil in the White City Erik Larson
The Diary of a Young Girl Anne Frank
The Fault in Our Stars John Green  Yes
The Giver Lois Lowry
The Golden Compass Philip Pullman Yes
The Great Gatsby F. Scott Fitzgerald  Yes
The Handmaid’s Tale Margaret Atwood
The House at Pooh Corner A. Milne Yes
The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins Yes
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Rebecca Skloot
The Liars’ Club Mary Karr
The Lightning Thief Rick Riordan
The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Long Goodbye Raymond Chandler
The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 Lawrence Wright
The Lord of the Rings J.R.R. Tolkien
The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat Oliver Sacks
The Omnivore’s Dilemma Michael Pollan
The Phantom Tollbooth Norton Juster
The Poisonwood Bible Barbara Kingsolver
The Power Broker Robert A. Caro
The Right Stuff Tom Wolfe
The Road Cormac McCarthy
The Secret History Donna Tartt
The Shining Stephen King
The Stranger Albert Camus
The Sun Also Rises Ernest Hemingway
The Things They Carried Tim O’Brien
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eric Carle Yes
The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame Yes
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle Haruki Murakami
The World According to Garp John Irving
The Year of Magical Thinking Joan Didion
Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
Unbroken Laura Hillenbrand
Valley of the Dolls Jacqueline Susann
Where the Sidewalk Ends Shel Silverstein
Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak Yes

Hahahaha… this list was NOT designed for me… my total comes to

17 books

I don’t think the ones I’ve chosen will surprise many people… but I think some people will be shocked by some of the ones I’ve not read. (What can I say? I’m not a big classics fan!) I’ve just spotted that there’s a list of children’s books on there too… so I may total them up next week – I bet that number is higher! 

I’d like to add that I recently bought To Kill A Mockingbird and Catch 22… so maybe I can tick them off by the end of the year!

Are you shocked by my total?
Can you recommend me any from that list?
Would you like to have a go at this tag?

I’m not going to tag anyone because if you wanna have a go, just do it!

S x

 

BOOK BLOG: Matt Haig

Hello!

Now… for those of you who are new around here, there is an important message I need you to take from today:

I am a MASSIVE Matt Haig fan.

I think he writes BRILLIANTLY. He’s one of the few authors who I read ANYTHING they release (non fiction, adult, MG). In fact, I’d go so far as to say I’ve read ALL of his books… I may even OWN them all (if not all of them, MOST of them!) I’ve reviewed quite a few of his books on here, but I recently read Evie in the Jungle (the Worls Book Day 2020 book by him) and thought this was the opportune moment to FINALLY review Evie and the Animals and Evie and the Jungle!

Evie and the Animals: a great story about the importance of kindness

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“Ten-year-old Evie has a talent. A SUPERTALENT. Evie can TALK to animals and HEAR their thoughts. Pretty amazing, isn’t it? One day at school, Evie sets Kahlo the rabbit free from her too-small cage. Evie knows she’s done A Good Thing . . . but it lands her in BIG trouble. Evie’s dad and Granny Flora say her talent is a curse; she must never use it again. Until a year later pets on her street – including Lady Gaga the cat and a hamster named Cheryl – start disappearing. Evie is determined to find them. But it’s dangerous for her to help. Because the villain has a talent of their own, and only wants to use it for evil… Can Evie save the pets before it’s too late, even if it means DARING TO BE HERSELF?”

Evie and the Animals is a gorgeous story where Dr. Dolittle meets modern day issues to do with conservationism and activism! 

Evie has a special talent: she can understand other species. She can talk to them and she can hear what they are saying. Whether it’s the dogs of the neighbourhood, the school rabbit who wants to be set free or even scarier animals, Evie can hear them and talk to them. For so long she’s been ignoring them because she doesn’t want to be different (don’t we all worry about this!?), but when they start to go missing, Evie knows she needs to do about something about it. She knows she needs to use her power to try and help. 

This book has one of those brilliant things that kids are instantly hooked into. It’s exciting and enticing – who wouldn’t like to talk to animals?! We’ve had loads of chats about what animals the children would talk to if they had Evie’s powers (with answers ranging from tigers, to worms and pets, it’s been a topic of hot debate in the classroom!)

This book is full of elements that kept me wanting to read. There’s mystery, talking animals, scary moments (scary big cats at the zoo), bad guys and powers.

Evie is a brilliant main character. She’s full of heart and gusto. She’s got a brilliant message to deliver to children about being kind and the power behind those acts of kindness. She’s caring and gentle to both the people around her and the animals she encounters. Plus, she’s on her way to solving a mystery! 

My Goodreads review of Evie and the Animals:

A lovely story about the importance of being kind (to humans AND animals), being yourself (even when everyone tells you not to be) and looking after the world. I bloody love Matt Haig SO much.

Evie and the Jungle: a new adventure into the Amazon!

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“Twelve-year-old Evie has a talent. She can HEAR what animals are thinking and she can TALK to them with her mind. When Evie goes on a trip to the Amazon rainforest, her powers are put to the test. She makes friends with pink river dolphins, must save an injured sloth, and discovers the secret life of a jaguar. Soon she sees that the jungle is in serious and deadly danger, and comes up with a rather risky plan to help save it…”

Evie in the Jungle is a wonderful addition to the Evie family of books. She’s a brilliant protagonist that children might know from the first book, but I don’t think you NEED to know her as this book stands by itself if necessary.

This second adventure takes us on a fascinating (and sometimes a little bit scary!) trip all the way to the Amazon Rainforest, where we hear about Evie’s adventures in Peru with her dad. Evie and her dad have the chance to meet all kinds of incredibly exotic animals, including an adorable sloth, some very rude monkeys and a downright rude Scarlet Macaw. They go to help save so many of these animals who are affected by the destruction of the rainforest. 

One of the things I loved about this book is that there are so many facts jam packed into it that it appeals to my wonderfully science loving class! I learned that pink dolphins exist (no, I didn’t know that!) There’s some pretty shocking facts to be learned in this book too: humans are destroying enough rainforest to fill 30 football pitches every minute; 35 species of the Amazon Rainforest become extinct every day.

This book is an exciting and fun story, with lots of very important messages about looking after our planet, being kind to each other and the importance of doing good things. It’s got wonderful messages about compassion and honesty too. It’s a perfect length for new readers without being intimidating! 

My Goodreads review:

I really enjoyed this short story about Evie, the girl who can talk to animals. It’s got important messages about saving the rainforests, the importance of nature and kindness. 

And that’s it! Completely and utterly recommend these books (and the rest of Matt Haig’s catalogue of books too, if you’re after some recommendations!)

Have you read any of Matt Haig’s books?
Can you recommend me any more books with similar messages?

S x