The sun is still shining in the UK. Are you a seasonal reader – do you read more or less when the sun is out? The sun has certainly been shining in Italy for the return of the famous Bologna Children’s Book Festival last week. It was great keeping up with events over on Twitter; one day I would love to go in person. Do you have any bookish dreams?
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The British Book Awards 2022
The Bookseller have also announced their The British Book Awards 2022 Shortlists. A few that I was excited to hear about included:
- Book of the Year – Children’s Non-Fiction category – What Is Racism? by Katie Daynes and Jordan Akpojaro from Usborne – superb non fiction book for young children.
- Book of the Year – Children’s Illustrated – Hey You! by Dapo Adeola and 18 collaborating illustrators from Puffin – just wow!
- Book of the Year – Discover – Nen and the Lonely Fisherman by Ian Eagleton and James Mayhew from Owlet Press (more on this one later).
- Book of the Year – Children’s Fiction – Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé from Usborne – one of my top reads from 2021.
New Reading Related Blog Posts
I’ve just written a blog post on 7 Ways to Read a School Book Banded Book that you might be interested in. Not sure what book bands are or would like to know more then head to Book Bands – Learning to Read at Home and School.
More Children’s Book Updates
The Guardian have published their monthly round-up post of children’s books and there are some brilliant picks. If you read my Bookworm Buzz each week you will have already discovered some of them. Read the full article here.
Don’t forget to give Anne’s weekly Reading Matters a read with lots of dates for your diary, reviews and children’s reading info.
We had a lovely Scholastics order arrive this week; they have very good offers on books you can find the website here. Plus a few have arrived from publishers for review. The image below gives you a peep of the books that have arrived or ones I’m reading or reviewing soon.
New Releases and Reviews
If you missed last week’s edition you might like to check out the full reviews for: the incredible Mama – A World of Mothers and Motherhood; My Garden word board book; the gorgeous Cat’s First Baby; The Story Shop, a personal favourite; the powerful Needle; and the fascinating My First Book of Microbes. Here’s this week’s highlights.
We Use Science and We Use Maths by Kim Hankinson and Jenny Jacoby
We Use Science and We Use Maths publish on 1st April 2022 from b small publishing. Genuinely, different, informative books exploring the roles of different trades/professionals and how maths and science are used in these jobs. Highly pictorial in Kim Hankinson classic style. Full review and resources found here.
Ava’s Triump by Mary E. Miller and Linda Woo
What a triumph indeed! Ava’s triumph tells the story of Ava the artist and how she overcomes an upsetting situation with the support of her family and community. Floss’s favourite book of the year so far. This would make a delightful gift. Full review with inside images and activities here.
A Year and a Day Magazine – Pond Life
Our latest issue of the quarterly magazine A Year and a Day arrived at the beginning of March. Floss and I cherish these magazines. Breathtakingly illustrated with topical rhymes, opportunities to explore other languages (I love that you can look on the website for the word of the season in British Sign Language), seasonal stories and activities.
The majority of the text is also written in a dyslexia friendly format. Although a magazine, I would call them a work of art. I’ll add a full review soon but for now I’ll just leave you with one inside teaser below. You can also find out about current and previous issues on their website here.
Like A Hunter Gatherer by Naomi Walmsley and Mia Underwood
An early March release that intrigued me was Live Like a Hunter Gatherer from Button Books (thank you for sending for review). A full review coming soon but for now I can tell you it’s totally engrossing and I’ve learnt so much. The stone age was not an era that I had previously learnt much about.
The format of the book, highly illustrated with pops of information dispersed through more comprehensive text, is a brilliant way to absorb all the knowledge that is being imparted. Here’s a brilliant trailer to give you a sneak peep inside. I do love the original music that has been composed for this highlight.
There are extracts of books, reviews, activities and more. Great for getting new reading ideas and letting children discover new authors.
Here’s a sample digital copy for you to get a idea of the content. Perfect for children around 7/8+ and an essential for schools to have in their libraries and classrooms.
Oi Frog is one of my daughter’s favourite Tonies. There are six of the books on this character and Floss loves to listen to the audio while having the books with her.
If you’re interested in audio players you might like to check out my blog post on Tonie Boxes vs. Yoto Player here. We’re still making lots of Make Your Own Cards for our Yoto Mini. I’ve finally got around to using the library Borrow Box. You can download audio books that you can then add to a Make Your Own card. I’ve just kept a note of when the loan is due back so that I remove it from the card from that date.
Books for the Diary
4th April Exploring Nature with Children Tree Week
One of my favourite weeks in Exploring Nature with Children is a tree week. We’ve gathered lots of resources over the years and one that we return to each time we look at trees is Fiddlestick Educations tree ID cards.
Don’t forget you can find free resources in the resources section here or you can access them from the files in the Facebook Group here. You might also find this How to Identify Trees section on the Woodland Trust website useful for this study.
4th April Community Garden Week
There are lots of ways that you can get involved with Community Garden Week.
- Litter pick your local area
- Sprinkle wild flower seeds
- Donate plants or time to your local school
- Find your local community garden and get in touch
- No community garden – start one
If you’ve got gardens on your mind then you might enjoy my blog posts on gardens for kids.
Garden Series Posts You’ll Love
Click on the titles below to head to that blog post
7th April World Health Day
World Health Day 2022 has the focus of Our Planet, Our Health. Looking after our planet to protect our health. You can find campaign information and resources here.
Our planet, our health: clean our air, water and food. #HealthierTomorrow
9th April National Unicorn Day
It’s a day to celebrate these mythical creatures and remind us of the joy of a little magic. There are so many unicorn books available now from birth to YA fiction. A perfect day to get any unicorn books out and enjoy some spellbinding time together.
Last year I remember having a debate with my daughter discussing real and mythical creatures; she was four at the time. Floss explained that just because something doesn’t exist now doesn’t mean it never has or will. She went on to say that if narwhals exist then would it really be that odd for a horse with a horn to be real. I can see her point! Always good to be an optimist and have a little sparkle in your life.
10th April National Sibling Day
This is one of those dates that you could easily let pass in our busy lives; I often do. However, as a family we’ve had some tricky times this last 12 months and I feel I want to recognise the day. I’m putting together a little package for each of my siblings this year just to remind them how awesome they are.
Our daughter is an only child and we feel incredibly lucky to have her. My health means we’re not in a position to have any more children and the thought of Floss not having a sibling is one that leaves me very conflicted in my feelings.
She has strong relationships with her niblings (cousins – what an awesome word – niblings) and has a couple of key friends who she’s very close to. For me it’s about supporting her to continue the connections that are important to her. So siblings day may just be a time to touch base with those people who are like siblings to you.
Golden Oldies and Favourites
Nen and the Lonely Fisherman by Ian Eagleton and James Mayhew
Excited to see the wonderful Nen and the Lonely Fisherman by Ian Eagleton and James Mayhew, published by Owlet Press on the shortlist in The British Book Awards.
This was a top read in 2021 for us and you can find my full review, author interview and activity ideas to accompany the book here. Owlet Press have also produced comprehensive resources to support book talk and activities for Nen and the Lonely Fisherman here.
Impossible by Tracey Corderoy and Tony Neal
Having recently read the new release – The Story Shop: Blast Off! – by the duo Tracey Corderoy and Tony Neal we had to return to this adventure packed book – Impossible!.
🤎Friendship and adventure
❤️Being optimistic and giving things a go
🧡Characters of Dog and Crab are lovely – charming
💛Illustrations are brilliant with so much to explore
💚Delightful storytelling through words and pictures that combine in great harmony
💙Lovely vocabulary choices – spluttered, gulped, swirled, longed
💜Favourite picture – crab on a bicycle
Thought Provoking Reading
The latest issue of the brilliant Books for Keeps magazine is now available. You can download it here. There’s a really captivating article about the recently passed Jan Pienkowski and his passionate fight to get equal rights for all illustrators with the Public Lending Right (PLR). The British Library explains what PLR is.
Public Lending Right (PLR) legally entitles authors and other rights holders to receive payments from a central fund in relation to public lending of their books in the UK. The 2020/21 PLR Scheme applied to the lending of books, audiobooks, e-books and e-audiobooks from public libraries. – British Library
Originally, only authors were in receipt of this, rulings changed and illustrators were included but only with constraints. Jan wrote a letter that included:
‘You may not be aware of the paradoxical plight of illustrators of picture books for very young children. The interests of their readers demand very short books, whereas in order to be eligible for PLR the authors should stretch the books to thirty-two pages or more.‘ – Jan Pienkowski
Yes he was attempting to get equality for illustrators, yes this was something that he would directly benefit from. However, I admire the sense of understanding he had of his readers. That they deserved the books that were befitting for them. He wasn’t about to ‘stretch’ his books inappropriately to meet the PLR requirement.
Definitely go and give the full article a read and the rest of the magazine – it’s a real highlight for me when it gets published.
What I’m Reading
I’ve read some superb books this week. The image above shows you the books that are on my radar that have been reviewed, ready to read or awaiting reviews. If you’d like to find out more about any of the titles head to my Instagram post here.
Mama – A World of Mothers and Motherhood by Hélène Delforge & Quentin Gréban
I’ve been re-reading particular spreads in this spectacular book Mama by Hélène Delforge & Quentin Gréban and published by Floris Books. My full review with inside images is now live – click here.
The Story Thief by Graham Carter
The Story Thief by Graham Carter and published by Andersen Press is fantastically brilliant. Olive adores books. Octopus discovers one, but isn’t sure what it is. When he sees the joy and adventures books give he wants them all; he’s just not sure how to ‘use’ them to elicit this joy and adventure.
Meanwhile, Olive, who prefers her quests to be in books rather than in person must muster up all of her courage to find out what has happened to her beloved books. Will Olive and Octopus come together through the power of books?
Sisters of Shadow by Katherine Livesey
Currently reading Sisters of Shadow by Katherine Livesey, published by One More Chapter in readiness for the next title Sisters of Moonlight that releases on 14th April 2022. It’s got me gripped. Alice has gone missing, Lily is off on what is a perilous journey to rescue her. Magical fantasy with brilliant character development.
The Girl Who Lost A Leopard by Nizrana Farook
I’m ashamed to admit that I have not read other books by Nizrana Farook. This has been an oversight on my part that I will be readily rectifying following this breathtaking read. The Girl Who Lost a Leopard is set in a fictional village in Sri Lanka. It tells the tale of Selvi, a friendless wildling, who has a deep connection with Lokka the leopard.
When Lokka’s freedom is threatened by poachers Selvi fights, with the help of some unlikely allies in this perilous page turner. I’ll be writing up a full review soon as I want to tell you more about the dreamy vocabulary used by Nizrana and how much I enjoyed finding out about animals, foods and plants that I’m not familiar with.
Have a wonderful week, I’ll be back next week with more children’s book news.
Buying books and more importantly where to buy books is often a topic of contention. For me it’s about books being accessible to all. Growing up we didn’t have ‘online’ shopping. I would use any money that I was given on special occasions to shop in my local bookshop. Mainly, books that I had came from libraries both community and school.
Now I gather books from a range of sources. I still love libraries and before the pandemic used to frequent charity shops to find treasures. If I’m purchasing books new then I tend to purchase from a range of places including Indies and other High Street names – often when they have offers on. You can click on the links below to take you to that bookseller.
I rarely purchase books on Amazon, but when I was a student and cost was a very important factor for me then it was my go to. I also know that Amazon is a very important place for authors and illustrators when it comes to reviews of their books and I use Amazon to find out what others thought about a book and get an inside peep. You can leave reviews on Amazon even when you have purchased from elsewhere.