S4S – Authors that surprised you

Hello! Happy Sunday all!

How are we all today? What is going on in your Sunday life? Engaging in a little #SixforSunday I hope!

Today’s prompt for #SixforSunday is:

Authors that surprised you

Now, I’m not entirely sure what I meant with this, so it’s interesting to see what everyone else is saying… I’ll give a little explanation for each on

  1. Deirdre Sullivan – her books are dark and tough going, but so incredibly brilliant! Not what I was expecting at all!
  2. Leigh Bardugo – man, I love her books so much. I wasn’t expecting to love them as much (despite the fact ALL MY FRIENDS said I’d love them!)
  3. Stewart Foster – his books are brilliantly meaningful and not just to kids, but to adults too. I love his books a lot.
  4. Sylvia Bishop – I fell for her writing within the first sentence of The Bookshop Girl and they continue to be wonderful as they go on.
  5. Alex Bell – she can write YA and MG and do both incredibly brilliantly, now there’s a skill to surprise me!
  6. Alice Oseman – a bit like Leigh Bardugo, everyone told me I’d enjoy the books, but I didn’t expect to be quite so blown away by Alice’s books as I always am.

And there we go! 6 authors who surprised me. I can’t wait to see everyone else’s answers to see how they’ve interpreted the prompt! 

Remember to share your post using the hashtag #SixforSunday and link up if you fancy it! Thanks for joining in and reading! 

See you next week for: Books people always tell you to read!

S x 

BOOK BLOG: Stewart Foster

The Bubble Boy – a touching story about friendship and helping others

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“Eleven-year-old Joe can’t remember a life outside of his hospital room, with its beeping machines and view of London’s rooftops. His condition means he’s not allowed outside, not even for a moment, and his few visitors risk bringing life-threatening germs inside his ‘bubble’. But then someone new enters his world and changes it for ever”

The Bubble Boy tells the story of Joe (the Bubble Boy in question) and his life. He’s cooped up in his hospital room because he has a condition which means he can’t leave; he can’t go out into the world; he can’t socialise like you and me; he can’t feel fresh cut grass or wander around the park like the rest of us. He’d bed bound, or rather he’s room bound. However, Joe is this extraordinary character who takes all of that in his stride, he accepts that that’s his life and he’s making a life for himself from his hospital bed – he’s amazing

Joe has this amazing spirit and joy about him that’s evident from the beginning. He knows no other, so being in his hospital room is what he makes of it. He has brilliant nurses (shout out here to Greg – the good egg nurse in the story) who look after him; an older sister who stands by him through everything and a brilliant friend, who lives on the other side of the world, who he talks to through Skype. I loved Joe’s soul and his character – he’s so likeable and wonderful. You definitely feel for him, but without pity. I wanted to help look after him.

However things start to change when a new nurse comes along and tells Joe that he can in fact go out into the world and that things around Joe are going to start changing. Initially, I was NOT OK with this, why would a nurse come and tell him that? Were the doctors lying to Joe? Who was this new nurse? What was going to happen? A lot changes in Joe’s life when this new nurse comes along and once they start changing they snowball out of control. 

This new nurse brings some fun into Joe’s life that he didn’t have before. He also brings a strangeness, an awkwardness, a silence. I’m still on the fence about this new nurse and I think I will be forever. I won’t give away the story (although, you can probably guess what this new nurse wants to do, sorry about that) because I think everyone should read this book and make a decision for themselves. I’d love to talk about your thoughts on the new nurse.

There’s friendship and love.
There’s compassion and heartache.
There’s laughter and sadness.
Comparisons of the world and Joe’s very sterile hospital room. 

Reading this book really made me think, “I’m glad I get to go out and enjoy the world because being cooped up wouldn’t make me very happy”. A few of the children who have read this book have expressed very similar thought patterns commenting on the fact that living in one room for the rest of their life “wouldn’t be very fun, especially if you’re too poorly to even talk some days”. 

I loved this story. It made me laugh, it made me cry. This is a special story that kids, especially kids in Upper Key Stage 2/3 need to read. I’ve had nothing but positive reviews about it! Stewart Foster is quickly becoming a firm favourite at school… we need more books!

Have you read Bubble Boy?
Would you like to be kept in one room for the rest of your life?
Can you recommend me any books similar to this?

Let’s talk! I want to know what your thoughts are!

S x

BOOK BLOG: Stewart Foster

All The Things That Could Go Wrong: a gripping and emotive story of struggle and ultimately acceptance

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Dan is angry. Nothing has been the same since his big brother left, and he’s taking it out on the nearest and weakest target: Alex.
Alex is struggling. His severe OCD makes it hard for him to leave the house, especially when Dan and his gang are waiting for him at school…
When the two boys’ mums arrange for them to meet out of school and finish building the raft that Dan started with his brother, it seems like the end of the world. But could it be the start of an unlikely friendship?”

I’d seen this floating around on Twitter from my teacher pals, and was curious about it so the lovely publishers kindly sent me a review copy. 

I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I knew it was going to be good. I knew it would make an impression on me, but I was not expecting it to have SUCH a big impression on me. This book is important. This book should be in EVERY classroom. For kids in KS2, upwards, this is a MUST have. 

There’s something very gripping about this book. The character perspectives are my favourite things. You learn so much about both boys throughout the book from their chapters. The book is split into dual perspectives – you get a chapter from Dan and then a chapter from Alex. Their stories are very different but they’re both looking for the same things – acceptance, happiness, friendship.
Dan: the bully, dealing with an upheaval in his home life, acting out at school.
Alex: the bullied, lacking in friends, suffering from OCD, struggling to tell anyone about the bullying, dealing with his parents’ views of his OCD.
I found Dan REALLY hard to like in the beginning – his actions made him unlikeable for me. I couldn’t get round to this idea of liking the school bully. Him and his cronies just made me cross. However, as the book goes on, there’s glimmers of him (the real him) coming out and that’s when I realised that there’s more to Dan than meets the eye. I liked Alex from the beginning. I think that’s what’s expected. I think you’re meant to like him and feel a bit of empathy for him. That doesn’t mean that his character doesn’t go through an incredible arc because he does. There’s moments where he forgets all of his concerns because there’s more important things – those moments of growth were incredible. 

The message this book delivers is SO important. It delivers an incredibly powerful message of friendship; the perils of being a bully; acceptance of people for who they are; showing compassion; being the person you’re meant to be, not the person your “friends” want you to be. (Side note: I hate calling books important, I think all books are important because they all tell a story and give a perspective)

Stories are necessary. Stories teach children about all sorts. This is a book I will be completely and utterly using to discuss empathy, compassion and doing what’s right. Children need to be given the language of empathy. Children need to hear stories of all kinds of people. This one is special. I am so glad I came across it. 

I genuinely can not praise this book enough. I will for sure be keeping an eye on Stewart Foster books. I think he’s brilliant. 

Have you read All The Things That Could Go Wrong?
Do you have a favourite story to use when discussing empathy?

Once again a massive thank you to the publisher for sending me this book. It is an incredible book. 

S x