S4S – Books to give as gifts

Hello friends!

It’s week 2 of December does #SixforSunday. Thank you all so much for joining in last week, it was so lush to see you all joining in! 

This week’s prompt sees us taking on something that I LOVE doing:

Books to give as gifts

I LOVE BUYING BOOKS AS PRESENTS OK? I’m going to choose 6 people from my life and gift them a book (which they might actually be getting or not, who knows) and tell you WHY I’m gifting them that! 

  1. My goddaughters – Pages and Co (1 and 2) by Anna James
    My goddaughters are 8, nearly 9 now, and they have been AVID readers since they were proper little. I’m the auntie that brings them books. I think it’s about time they were introduced to the wonderful world of Tilly and her book wandering adventures. I love these books and I think they will too!
  2. My cousin, Kate – A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
    Kate is a massive reader and a MASSIVE Disney fan. Me and her are quite alike in many ways and I really enjoyed this Beauty and the Beast retelling, so I think she would enjoy it too!
  3. My mam – Scythe by Neal Schusterman
    My mam loves stealing books from my shelves. She’s a big fan of YA books ever since she started stealing my books. We all know I LOVE a bit of Scythe and I think it would be right down my mam’s alley.
  4. My cousin’s husband, Graeme – Frostheart by Jamie Littler
    Graeme is a big reader and I’ve got him into reading kids books (because they’re the best). I devoured Frostheart when I read it and I think Graeme would really enjoy it too. Who doesn’t wanna read an icy adventure?!
  5. My friend, Sally – The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
    Sally is one of the people I work with who I just adore. She’s recently started reading YA books with her daughter. I think she’d LOVE TEOOO because who doesn’t?!
  6. Anyone who doubts how good kids books are –  Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise by Katherine Rundell.
    Kids books are BRILLIANT and I challenge ANYONE to a duel who argues otherwise.

That was a fun prompt for #SixforSunday! You can bet that if I’m buying you a present for Christmas that there’ll be a book in there/book related thing in there somewhere! 

What are you buying for others?
Which of my gifted books are you most interested in?
What would you buy for me?

See you next week!

S x 

BOOK BLOG: Christmas is coming – an Advent book

Christmas Is Coming: the PERFECT book to help your little ones count down to Christmas!

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I know Advent has already started, but it is never too late to get yourself a gorgeous new book! Christmas is a wonderful time of year to get to share stories, make new traditions and do something as a family.

This book is the PERFECT tradition to start with your children because it is JAM PACKED full of gorgeous little snippets of Christmas joy.

You can’t tell on my picture (sorry for the shoddy photography skills) but on the cover there are flaps to open for each day of the countdown to Christmas. I’m a SUCKER for a book that counts down through Advent so when this came through my door I was floored with joy! I just wish I had my own children to share this with (I do, I have 30, ha!) 

As you count down through Advent, you get all kinds of different things. There’s recipes, there’s songs, there’s ideas for things to do to be kind! I love that there’s a range of things throughout the book as it means that there’s not just story, but it keeps children engaged. There’s a recipe for raspberry hot chocolate that is PARTICULARLY delicious! 

The illustrations throughout make this book even more beautiful in my opinion. You can’t beat a good bit of well illustrated book. I was very taken by this “Seek and Find” page… it took me a little while to find everything, but I think that’s what’s going to make it even more special for families. It’s something you can do together. You can spent 5 minutes at bed time reading this book and seeing what the day brings you! This could be read in a morning, at night: anytime of the day! Kids are just going to love this and I think parents will too (I know if I were a parent I would be ALL OVER THIS). 

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WHO DOESN’T LOVE A CHRISTMAS JOKE? I love a bad joke!

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All of the gorgeous Advent activities culminate in the story of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ for December 24th. I think that’s the PERFECT way to end this gorgeous book. There’s the whole story and it makes the perfect bed time read in all of the excitement of Christmas! Look at that page though… just exquisite! 

A massive thank you to the people at Abrams and Chronicle for sending me this. It made my heart so very happy when I received it! You should definitely go and check it out if you like the sound of it (and if you don’t, then I don’t think we can be friends!)

Are you a fan of an Advent countdown?
Do you have a favourite Christmas tradition?
What’s your favourite thing about the festive season?

Talk to me! I’d love to talk Christmas with you all!

S x 

S4S – Books set over Christmas

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Hello friends! It is Sunday again which means only one thing… it’s #SixforSunday time again! 

We are in a new month now… it’s December! A new month means a whole new bunch of prompts!

December: It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
1st: Books set over Christmas
8th: Books you want to give as gifts
15th: Fireside reads
22nd: All I want for Christmas is…
29th: New year, new books

I love a new month of #SixforSunday! I’ll be posting the first half of 2020’s prompts in the next 2 weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for that! 

But anyway, you’re here to see my choices for this week’s #SixforSunday… the one where Steph struggles, but ultimately manages to find 6:

Books set over Christmas

What can I say? Clearly children’s books have a place in my heart here on this blog! 

Also, a shout out to How Winston Delivered Christmas and The Christmas Mystery (not a children’s book) for both being advent books – where you get a chapter a day for every day in Advent. The best kind of books in my opinion! 

I initially found this quite hard, but once I started, I was HERE for 100s of books. Naturally, I could only use 6. 

I’d love to see what you all used for this prompt! Remember to leave your link in the comments so others can check out your #SixforSunday post for this week! 

See you next week for more #SixforSunday December fun!

S x 

Christmas Cracker Tag

Hello there! It’s Friday again… it’s FINALLY ALMOST THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS. There’ll be a “first term wrap up” post coming… but today just a bit of fun. I’m taking on the Christmas Cracker Tag, which I first saw on my friend Cora’s blog. Check out her post here.

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Lets get on!

Pick A Book With A Wintry Cover

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Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone: you don’t get much more wintry than actual ice and the Northern Lights. This book is BRILLIANT too. Would recommend!

Pick A Book You’re Likely To Buy As A Present

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The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig: there is something incredibly special about this book. I definitely think everyone needs to read this book.

Pick A Festive Themed Book

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The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller: I finished this last weekend and it is SO BRILLIANT. It’s like the most brilliant version of a Christmas story ever. I wish I’d read it before now, cause I’d love to share it with the kids I teach.

Pick A Book You Can Curl Up With By The Fireplace

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A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard: for me sitting by the fireplace is dedicated to romance and loveliness. This book is one that’s stuck with me. I will need to find time to reread it. I just adore Steffi and Rhys.

Pick A Book You Want To Read Over The Festive Period

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Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman: the absolute angels of Walker sent me a copy of this last week… in perfect time for my Christmas holidays!

Pick A Book That’s So Good It Gives You Chills

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A Darkness of Dragons by S.A.Patrick: I recently finished this and man, I just loved it! As a massive MG fan, it’s really great to come across a book that ticks so many boxes!

Pick A Book Going On Your Christmas Wishlist

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Six of Crows Collector’s Edition by Leigh Bardugo: I’ve not actually told Santa this is on my list… so I might have to treat myself post Christmas!

Let me know your thoughts!

S x

Christmas Songs book tag

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Halo, halo, halo! 

It’s Friday… that means it’s TAG DAY. (I should start posting tags on a Thursday cause alliteration is my jam… but old habits die hard, maybe in the new year!) 

Today I’m taking on the Christmas Songs Book Tag. I saw this while browsing the interwebs for different tags and thought it was the perfect FESTIVE tag to be involved it. Plus, I bloody love a Christmas song! If you fancy joining in the fun, feel free! I don’t remember where I saw this first!

“You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch” – Name a Villainous Character You Couldn’t Help But Love.

I’ve gone with Kaz Brekker for this one. I don’t know that he’s VILLAINOUS to be honest, but he’s not a good man… but my gosh, I adore him.

“All I Want For Christmas Is You” – Which Book Do You Most Hope To See Under Your Christmas Tree.

Song of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury. It’s not out til next year, but my word. I am SO READY for this book. (Hello Mel, or Scholastic, I love you guys).

“Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer” – Name a Character That Overcomes Major Obstacles and Learns To Believe in Themselves.

Steffi from A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard. I think this book is one of the greatest things to exist. I love everything about it. 

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town”:
a) Which character do you think would be on the top of the naughty list? 

b) Which character do you think would be at the top of the nice list?

Top of the nice list for me would be Rhys from A Quiet Kind of Thunder.
Top of the naughty list for me is Scythe Goddard from Scythe. He is a TERRIBLE man.

“Frosty the Snowman”: Which book just melts your heart.

All of them?! I cry at EVERYTHING. However, Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda made me so happy. I ship Simon and Blue so so much.

“Feliz Navidad”: Choose a book that takes place in a country other than your own.

Jack of Hearts and Other Parts by L.C. Rosen. Set in America, but I’m not sure why this was the first one to pop into my head since a lot of the books I read aren’t even set in the UK. 

“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”: Which holiday themed book do you use to spread the Christmas joy?

I’ll Be Home for Christmas. This is an anthology that I read last Christmas that I just ADORED. I don’t read many Christmas books, but this one is MAGNIFICENT.

“Sleigh Ride”: Which fictional character would you choose to spend the holidays with (doesn’t have to be a love interest!)?

Hahaha! I went down the “not love interest” route, and decided on Tilly from Pages and Co by Anna James because I’d like to spend my Christmas holidays reading and book wandering please!

“Baby It’s Cold Outside”: Which book that you didn’t like would you sacrifice to a fire to warm yourself up in the cold?

Either Caraval or Freshers. I don’t hate either of them, but I didn’t particularly enjoy them either. 

“Do You Hear What I Hear?”: Which book do you think everyone should read?

The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig. It’s just exceptional. It will 100% be in my ‘Best Books of the Year’ list. Please, all of you, go and buy it, get it from the library: something. Read it. You won’t regret it.

And there you have it! My take on the Christmas songs book tag!

Are you surprised by any of my answers?
Would you agree or disagree with any of them?
Are you brave enough to take on the tag?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments! 

S x 

 

Looking for a brilliant read for a teen in your life?

Here we are, day 3 of my gift guide. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them! It’s been a blast looking back at my year in books and thinking which ones I would recommend people buy and read AND SHOVE IN EACH OTHERS FACES *ahem*.

Today, on this here final day of recommending, I’m sorting through the MANY MANY YA books I’ve read this year and giving you 12 that you ABSOLUTELY need to buy for the YA fan in your life! (Just as the past few days, none of these books will REALLY come as a surprise!) Without further ado…

2018 ya recs

Scythe/Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven

State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury (while we’re at it… The Sin Eater’s Daughter trilogy too, LBR)

Goodbye Perfect by Sara Barnard (and ANY of her other books too)

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera

Show Stopper/Show Stealer by Hayley Barker

White Rabbit, Red Wolf by Tom Pollock

The Secret Deep by Lindsay Galvin

Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt

Clean by Juno Dawson

Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber (and Wing Jones too)

Floored by the Floored Seven

TADAAAAH. You made it. This list could’ve been so much longer. GO AND BUY THEM ALL. READ THEM ALL. LOVE THEM ALL.

Do you agree with my recommendations?
Can you add any to my list?
Which of these books have you loved most?

Talk to me in the comments! Are you SHOCKED by my choices?

S x

“Which books should I add to my Christmas list, Miss?”

Yesterday, I shared 10 recommendations for emerging chapter book readers – check it out if you’re after recommendations for 6+ years! Today I’m sharing books that I’ve shared with the kids in my class, school and life! Today is the turn of those who are confidently reading longer chapter books – longer chapter books that are BLOODY BRILLIANT.

None of these books will come as a surprise to ANYONE who knows me, but nevertheless. I think one of the best books you can buy kids is a book. These recommendations are books I’ve loved, but also books that my kids have wholeheartedly taken under their wing!

2018 mg recs

(I know right, SHOCKERS)

Now, some of these are book 1 in a series that I would recommend the whole series of… but if I’d put ALL of the books in the series of, I would have been here forever!

The House with Chicken Legs – Sophie Anderson

The Polar Bear Explorer’s Club series – Alex Bell

A Place Called Perfect series – Helena Duggan

Armistice Runner – Tom Palmer

The Light Jar – Lisa Thompson

Tilly and the Bookwanderers – Anna James

The Way Past Winter – Kiran Milwood Hargrave

Snowglobe – Amy Wilson

The Nowhere Emporium series – Ross Mackenzie

Brightstorm – Vashti Hardy

The Storm Keeper’s Island – Catherine Doyle

Who Let The Gods Out series by Maz Evans (Simply the Quest reviewBeyond the Odyssey review)

And there you have it… my second lot of MG recommendations which are perfect to buy for any budding bookworm in your life!

Have you read any of these?
Do you have any favourites?
Would you recommend any for me to add to my list?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments! Come back tomorrow for YA recommendations!

S x

 

“You know books… can I have some recommendations?”

The amount of times I’ve been asked for recommendations over the past few weeks is LUSH. Whether it’s from my kids for what to read next, for parents on what to buy their kids for Christmas or from my colleagues on what to read, it’s all lush to talk books.

Over the next 3 days I’m going to collate 3 different lists for books I’d recommend – be it to read or to buy someone for Christmas!

Today I’m tackling 7+ (ish) recommendations

Tomorrow will be 8+ish and then Wednesday will be YA recommendations! There are LOADS of recommendations out there, I just decided to collate my favourite 10 from the past year (or so)!

If you have a reader who is just starting to read chapter books, or likes the look of illustrated chapter books, these books are brilliant.

2018 recs

Violet and the… series by Harriet Whitehorn

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

Royal Rabbits of London series by Santa Montefiore and Simon Sebag Montefiore

The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig

Amelia Fang series by Laura Ellen Anderson

Max – The Detective Cat series by Sarah Todd Taylor

The Wild Robot series by Peter Brown

The Twitches series by Hayley Scott

Sam Wu series by Katie and Kevin Tsang

Horace and Harriet series by Clare Elsom

There you have it! 10 of the best books for Y2+ I’ve read recently. I’d love to know your thoughts! Let me know!

Have you read any of these?
Do you have any recommendations that I could add?
Which of these would you like to pick up most?

Talk to me!

Remember to come back tomorrow for recommendations for books for those 8+ years!

S x

BOOK BLOG: Lara Hawthorne

Silent Night: the classic, beautifully illustrated!

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“Celebrate the magic of Christmas with this beautifully illustrated book, based on the world’s best-loved carol. Rediscover the Nativity Story in all its glory—from quaking shepherds to heaven-sent angels—as the song lyrics are brought to life on every spread. The world’s diversity is reflected in a cast of characters with a range of skin tones. A gorgeous book for all the family to share during the festive season.”

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Christmas is coming and what’s more perfect than one of the greatest Christmas carols beautifully illustrated? Silent Night is one of those classics that everyone knows. I even know the chorus and the first verse in German (I’m not sure why!). I think Christmas is such a lovely time of year and music is an important part of that. 

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Silent Night has been beautifully illustrated in this book, with the lyrics of the book broken into little scenes of the night that Jesus was born. The book features the key people in the Christmas story – angels, shepherds, Mary, Joseph, kings and the stable! 

This book is going to be SO perfect to use at school. Whether kids know the song or not, it is a brilliantly simple, yet beautiful, way to teach them the story of Christmas. 

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I also love that it comes with this information page in the back all about the song. Great for older children to find out more about the song. This could inspire some of your KS2 kids to make their own book of a Christmas song and write their own “about the carol” page. 

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This would make the perfect Christmas present. I already know it’s going to go down brilliantly at school. 

A massive thank you to the wonderful Quarto for sending me a copy of this book! I do now however want to start singing Christmas songs… (but not yet… I can’t until after Halloween!)

Silent Night is out now! 

Do you have a favourite Christmas song?
Is Silent Night up there in your top 10?
What’s your Christmas rules?

Talk to me! Which carol would you like to see made into a book?!

S x 

S4S – Christmas books

IT’S CHRISTMAS EVE!

WHAT? HOW? WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?

How excited is everyone? But seriously? I hope you’re all on the nice list. 

But anyway, the important things…#SixforSunday

Today’s category is quite simply:

Christmas books

So today I come to you with books I have asked for/bought myself/bought for other people for Christmas:

  1. Mythos – Stephen Fry
  2. The Magic Misfits – Neil Patrick Harris 
  3. It Only Happens in the Movies – Holly Bourne
  4. Paris for One – Jojo Moyes
  5. Du Iz Tak? – Carson Ellis
  6. The Creakers – Tom Fletcher

So there we go! 1 book I’ve asked for, 1 book I bought for myself and 4 books I’ve bought for other people! I’ll let you have a guess at which books are which! 

Don’t forget to share your#SixforSunday post on twitter and I’ll check it out! Thank you everyone who joins in! 

S x