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

Why buy books?

As you saw at the beginning of December, in my Perfect Presents feature, I am a MASSIVE fan of buying books for EVERYONE for Christmas. I think books ARE the perfect present. If you missed that feature, please check out my gift guides for EVERYONE in your life:
Perfect Presents #1 deals with picture book recommendations
Perfect Presents #2 shows you some brilliant MG books to buy!
Perfect Presents: YA edition does exactly what it says on the tin… recommendations for YA books
Perfect Presents: Miscellaneous edition  is a miscellaneous mix of ALL kinds of books that I would recommend! 

Everyone in my life (from the twiglets, to my best friend, to my mam) is getting a book. Some of them are getting MULTIPLE books. My twiglets are getting about a million books. I have a strong feeling about books. For as long as I can remember, I have bought books for the twiglets. (My twiglets are my goddaughters, if you weren’t sure!) Birthdays, Christmas: books have been on the agenda. I don’t think there is a better present. It has meant that they are now total book worms. 

I recently posted on twitter this picture, with the caption:

“All 31 of my Y6s will be getting a book for Christmas! Gotta love for total bargains! (Forgive the badly drawn smudges to cover up names)

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And my WORD what a response it got. Mostly positive, I did receive a few messages that weren’t so positive. The over riding response was positive. People were so kind. Comments about how thoughtful it is. How they wish they’d had me as a teacher. How teachers like me are what’s good about teaching. 

To all of you, thank you so much. It means the world. You’re all brilliant. Your kind words mean a lot. 

I bought them all a book because that’s what I do. 

For some of my kids it might be the only book they get. If I get to provide that, then I’m doing my job. I want all of my kids to be surrounded by books. I want them to read for pleasure. I want reading to be a part of their life. Reading books opens you up to so many different worlds, so much incredible vocabulary and some true escapism. 

For the sceptical people who sent me messages that weren’t very supportive: I wasn’t showing off, I wasn’t looking for approval. For those who said I shouldn’t shop at The Book People, I should shop at Waterstones/WHSmiths: I quite simply can’t afford to buy 31 books at Waterstones prices. What The Book People provide is a very affordable means for me to ensure that my kids get at least one book at Christmas. 

I’m there to facilitate the learning of my kids, not just in the classroom. 

So yeah, give books.

S x

Christmas movies!

We’re getting closer!

Christmas is on its way!

Yesterday, I shared my favourite Christmas songs, and today I am sharing my favourite Christmas films

Now… confession time, gather around everyone. I’m not a massive film watcher. I LOVE going to the cinema, but I’m not great at watching films at home. Maybe I just need to find someone to watch films with? Who knows! So yes, I don’t watch films OFTEN but Christmas is an excellent time to sit and watch films. Here’s a few I watch at Christmas!

Love ActuallyImage result for love actually

I know, I know, a lot of people think this is problematic, BUT I love it. I think it’s lush. The message at the start in the airport gets me EVERY SINGLE TIME. I like the love stories. Are they believable? No. I don’t watch for believability; I watch because I’m a romantic at heart. It makes me cry so much at many different things. 

The Grinch 

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I really like Jim Carrey’s performance as the Grinch, he’s pretty spot on. This is definitely one I will be hoping is on some streaming service or another as I want to watch it again! It makes me laugh and gives me festive feels!

The Holiday

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I’ve only seen The Holiday a handful of times but what I remember, I really loved it. I will seek it out this holiday season and reignite my love for it. I’d quite like to swap homes with someone in a warmer climate and fall in love this Christmas… *sigh*

Elf

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If you don’t love Elf, I don’t know if we can be friends. I love this film. It is so quintessential Christmas for me that I watch it EVERY SINGLE Christmas. I may in fact even watch it tonight. Will Ferrell plays SUCH A BRILLIANT Buddy the Elf in this film. He is HILARIOUS. If you’ve never seen it, please go watch it (although I will find it hard to believe anyone hasn’t seen it!)

Miracle on 34th Street

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For me, THIS Santa is the one and only Santa there is. I love this film, so much. I don’t watch it often, but when I do I absolutely adore it. It’s one of those savour the moment kind of films! 

And there you go! There’s 5 of my faves! Nothing out of the ordinary, but good films deserve their praise! 

What are your favourite Christmas films?
What’s your favourite snack to accompany your films?
Do you prefer the cinema or at home watching?

Talk to me! Tweet me! Comment! Email! Send a pigeon! 

S x

Christmasssssssssssssssssss!

Hello!

As if this time next week it will be Christmas Day. What is that about? Where has this year gone? BUT ALSO HOW EXCITING. How excited is everyone? On a scale of 1-SANTAAAAAAAAAAAA. I’m about a 5 at the minute. Get me through this last week of school and we’ll be grand! 

Today I’m sharing some of my favourite Christmas songs… I’ll try and stick to 5, but there may be more!

First on my list will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me… 

Michael Buble – It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

CLICK

I love this man. I love this song, it makes me feel SO FESTIVE. The whole album does, but the music for this one just gets me!

Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas Is You

WATCH

YEP I LOVE IT. It’s just so brilliant. I often dance around my bedroom to this on a morning, to inspire mysef to get up. It’s a great start to the morning.

Pentatonix – Away In A Manger

LISTEN

For those of you who don’t know who Pentatonix are, they’re this incredible acapella group who make EVERYTHING SOUND AMAZING. They released this version of Away in a Manger this year and I may have listened to it 600000 times already! 

Kelly Clarkson – Underneath the Tree

GO GO GO

This is another one of those that you can properly dance to! I love Kelly Clarkson and her voice is just brilliant. This is one of those brilliant boppy songs! (Yes, sorry I did just use the word bop). The whole Wrapped in Red album is excellent – would recommend.

Frozen soundtrack – Do You Wanna Build A Snowman?

OK BYE

I have grown to absolutely LOVE THIS SONG. Not really Christmassy BUT Frozen screams Christmas and winter at me! 

I could go on and on if we’re honest! 

Honourable mentions to: Last Christmas and O Holy Night.

I am a massive fan of carols, I love going to Christmas carol services! They’re just so beautiful. I’m hoping I can get to one this year!

Do you have a favourite Christmas song?
What’s your favourite carol? 

Let me know in the comments, or tweet me! Happy singing!

S x

S4S – Winter rereads

Good afternoon #SixforSunday folks!

A massive thank you to all of you for your enthusiasm about #SixforSunday! There is a post in a week or 2 about the prompts for 2018. I hope to see you all of you and more in 2018! Invite your friends along! Tell them how awesome #SixforSunday is!

Anyway, on with this week’s theme:

Winter rereads

This is a hard one because I don’t tend to reread books very often BUT there are definitely some that I will, and some that I am hoping to reread this winter! Some winter themed, some not so much!

  1. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – not strictly Winter, but there’s snow, so there.
  2. Matilda – again, not technically Winter, BUT I will be rereading it!
  3. Eleanor and Park – I haven’t reread this since reading it originally, so I am looking forward to this.
  4. The Storm Whale at Winter – gorgeous picture book, well worth a read at all times of year!
  5. Refuge – this book is about Mary and Joseph, it’s a picture book that I bought last year and I absolutely adored it!
  6. The Christmas Mystery – this book was given to me by one of my colleagues last year and it’s the most incredible book where you read a chapter a day from December 1st to December 25th. I must get it back out and catch up!

Share your #SixforSunday with me! Use the hashtag and link me in the comments, or on twitter! 

S x

Perfect Presents: YA edition

Hello! So far this week we’ve looked at picture books and MG books, but today I’m sharing some of the YA books that I think the YA lovers in your life will really enjoy! Again, there’s been so many incredible YA books out this year and I haven’t got round to reading them all, but here goes….

Ink – Alice Broadway
(BOOKBLOG: ALICE BROADWAY)

“Every action, every deed, every significant moment is tattooed on your skin for ever. When Leora’s father dies, she is determined to see her father remembered forever. She knows he deserves to have all his tattoos removed and made into a Skin Book to stand as a record of his good life. But when she discovers that his ink has been edited and his book is incomplete, she wonders whether she ever knew him at all.”

The Paper Magician – Charlie N Holmberg 
(the first of 3, with book 4 to come!)

The Paper Magician (The Paper Magician Series, Book 1) by [Holmberg, Charlie N.]

“Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic…forever.”

The Sin Eater’s Daughter – Melinda Salisbury 
(first of 3 books… buy them all!)
(Bookblog: Melinda SalisburyBOOKBLOG: Melinda Salisbury 2BOOKBLOG: Melinda Salisbury)

“Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she’s engaged to the prince, Twylla isn’t exactly a member of the court. As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she’s taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla’s fatal touch, avoids her company. 
But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he’s able to look past Twylla’s executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla’s been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen. However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla’s problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favour of a doomed love?”

A Quiet Kind of Thunder – Sara Barnard
(BOOKBLOG: Sara Barnard)

“Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life – she’s been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He’s deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she’s assigned to look after him. To Rhys it doesn’t matter that Steffi doesn’t talk and, as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she’s falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.”

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe – Lauren James
(BOOKBLOG: Lauren James)

“Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J. Their only communication is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.
Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away? But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean? Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone…”

One of Us is Lying – Karen M McManus
(BOOKBLOG: Karen M. McManus)

“Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive. For fans of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, this is the perfect high school thriller.
Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.

Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond.
Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.
Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.
And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again. He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects. Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you’ll go to protect them.”

The Fallen Children – David Owen
(BOOKBLOG: David Owen)

(colour may vary!)

“Young people on the Midwich Estate don’t have much hope for their futures. Keisha has lived there her whole life, and has been working hard to escape it; others have just accepted their lot. But change is coming . . . One night, everyone inside Midwich Tower falls mysteriously unconscious in one inexplicable ‘Nightout’. No one can explain what happened during those lost hours, but soon afterwards Keisha and three other girls find they’re pregnant – and the babies are growing at an alarming rate.”

After the Fire – Will HIll
(BOOKBLOG: Will Hill)

“Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. He knows what is coming. Moonbeam is starting to doubt, though. She’s starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out. What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?”

So there we go! A very quick round up of some of the best YA books I’ve read this year. There are SO MANY OTHERS. I would love to know what books are on your must buy/must recommend lists! YA books have had an exceptional year that ANY book you buy will be a great investment! 

Which of my recommendations have you read?
Are there any you think I’ve missed out?
Which 2017 books would you recommend to me?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

S x