If you’re used to my Bookworm Buzz series and realised it’s been a little absent, fear not, it will be back. My daughter Floss and I have been battling a few health issues which have meant we’ve had to change what we normally post on the blog and on social media.
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In the new year (2023) Bookworm Buzz will be back but I’m really missing chatting about books and reading so welcome to my Reading Rambles. Not as polished as Bookworm Buzz, certainly a little rough around the edges but hopefully still advocating reading for pleasure and the importance of books.
What to expect in this blog post? Books we’ve loved, books that have caught our eye, audio books, poetry recommendations, blogs that have inspired us, competitions and more.
Hetty and the Battle of the Books by Anna James
Well with a title like that how could any bibliophile not read. Hetty and the Battle of the Books is a Barrington Stoke publication. Therefore, super accessible and dyslexic friendly. It arrived as one of our VIP reading subscriptions. We’re about half way through and Floss and I are both totally gripped.
The school library is closing down along with the school librarian getting the sack. Hetty must help but will it be that easy after the big incident that wrecked the friendship of The Ladybirds! We’re both desperate to find out what this big incident is (Anna James you do like to tease!) and whether the library will be saved. I’ll report back on what we thought once we’ve finished but so far – we think it’s brilliant.
A Poem a Day
I’m still enjoying a poem a day; a habit I started this year 2022. My 2023 plan is to encourage as many others (so you!) to take up the habit too as I feel there are such benefits for very little time input.
This week I’ve been in hospital and my poetry digests have come from online sources. You can find my online sources plus other poetry recommendations in this blog post – New Year’s Resolutions and A Poem a Day. Do drop in comments any other poetry books you’d recommend. I’m always on the look out for new inspiration.
Polari Prize 2022
I am delighted to hear that the winner of the Polari Prize 2022, announced on 15th November, is Nen and the Lonely Fisherman by the lovely Ian Eagleton and illustrated by the wonderful James Mayhew. It’s published by one of my favourite publishers Owlet Press.
The Polari Prize was founded in 2011 and is the only book award that is dedicated to literature focusing on the LGBTQ+ experiences. Nen and the Lonely Fisherman is one of those wow books. You can read my full review in my blog post here. A worthy winner. Do go and read James’ blog post about winning the award – get the tissue box ready – it moved me to tears.
SLA Information Book Award 2022
As Non-fiction November draws to a close we see the winners announced for the SLA (School Library Association) Information Book Awards. The winners have been announced and you can find more details here. The SLA have produced a selection of great resources for the books shortlisted (those in the image above). You can find the resources here.
A Library Lady Must Read
If you only read one thing this week (obviously after your poem a day) let it be Anne – A Library Lady’s blog post. During term time she compiles an incredible weekly update of children’s reading updates that she adds on a Saturday morning around 8am GMT. I eagerly await its arrival!
I often dip back in and out all week as she packs so much wonderful material in that I don’t have the time to devour in one sitting. This week, while in hospital, it gave me the perfect opportunity to dive deep into a rabbit hole with Anne.
Reflecting Realities 2022
I’ve recently read the Reflecting Realities CLPE Survey of Ethnic Representation within UK Children’s Literature 2017-2022 (November 2022). You can read Reflecting Realities Report 2022 here.
Anne shared a blog post by Mat Tobin: Whose worlds are we sharing with children? that she said, paired with the Reflecting Realities Report, were important reads and I couldn’t agree more.
It was an alarming read that very much made me question my teaching practise and use of books in school and at home with my daughter. Like Mat, I too was compelled to read Darren Chetty’s journal article – ‘The Elephant in the Room: Picturebooks, Philosophy for Children and Racism. Again my pedagogy and core values were rocked further. Mat also mentioned a book by Anne Dolan – You, Me and Diversity (2014) that I will be sourcing a copy of.
These articles aren’t just for teachers though, they are for everyone. It is important that we don’t continue to make the mistakes of the past (even when they seem well meaning) and learn continually how to make a change.
I was very much brought up in the generation of ‘colour-blindness’ and it has only been in the last few years, and through continued reading and discussions, that I see how damaging this is. I will do better.
Books for EAL (English as an Additional Language) Learners
I teach English to several Ukrainian children and have been looking out for books that are great to enjoy with EAL learners. I’ll be adding to this series but Shark and the Park has been a firm favourite. Head to my blog post – Teaching English as an Additional Language – EAL – Ukrainian Learners – for what to look for in books to support EAL learners.
A recent blog post, that will be added to, has had some of my top recommendations for Christmas books that would make ideal gifts. Several are brand new releases so less likely for the reader to already have a copy. The Girl of Ink & Stars is one such delight I spotted along with new titles in The Story Orchestra Series.
You can find the blog post here – Christmas Children’s Book Gifts to Treasure Forever.
Audio Book Reading
I used to be a book purist and felt that when I listened to an audio book it wasn’t really reading. However, I’ve completely changed my opinion on this mainly due to my daughter’s love of audio books. It’s meant I’ve actually extended the amount I listen too.
If you don’t already use Borrow Box I’d highly recommend it; both Floss and I use it. We both still adore physical books. Often audio books mean we still get to enjoy texts at times when we can’t read for example when I’m in the car driving or Floss is too tired to read physical books at bedtime. Floss has a Tonie Box and a Yoto Player if you want to find out more about audio players head to my blog post – Tonie Box or Yoto Player?
New Tonie – Gabby’s Dollhouse
I’m not usually a fan of children’s TV series but I have to say even I get sucked into the kitty-cat world of Gabby’s Dollhouse.
Floss was delighted to see that Tonies have bought out an audio story of two episodes of Gabby’s Dollhouse. Gabby’s Dollhouse is perfect for cat loving, creative little ones.
Each episode a new little parcel arrives – that’s in a handmade box and Floss always wants to try and replicate the box. Whatever is inside the box goes with Gabby and Pandy Paws her trusted sidekick as they shrink down (with the use of Gabby’s magic headband) into the dollhouse for their latest adventure. The TV episodes are full of uplifting, creative fun. We’ve just ordered one so I’ll let you know what we think soon. I’m interested to hear how they will do the creative bits on audio.
New Yoto Card – Alba the Hundred Year Old Fish
So excited by this new release from Yoto – Alba the Hundred Year Old Fish and other stories. It didn’t say on the Yoto website what the other stories were but I took a risk hoping Herbert’s Garden would be one of the stories as it’s a real favourite of ours.
Now I’ve purchased it (it was one of our Yoto Club card choices) I can confirm that the following stories are included:
- Alba the Hundred Year Old Fish
- Herbert’s Garden
- The Night Flower
- Ratty’s Big Adventure
We adore Lara Hawthorne’s work and I would still highly recommend going and buying the physical book alongside the audio book. Just to add that we’ve listened to Alba and Herbert and you can follow along with the physical books. I’m assuming the others will be the same.
Bookish Competitions & Giveaways
As always I’m sharing with you bookish competitions and giveaways I’ve spotted recently. Do let me know if you find ones to add. There are links with information on how to enter.
- National Book Tokens – Caboodle have a lovely Raymond Briggs The Snowman giveaway that closes on the 5th January 2023. There’s also a Cressida Cowell competition that ends on the 3rd January 2023 – details of how to enter this one are here.
- Usborne Christmas book competition details are here and ends 16th December 2022.
- Love Reading 4 Kids has some great competitions that get added to frequently. You can find them all here.
- Farshore Staff Picks Competition – 21st December 2022 closing date (win books pictured above).
- National Geographic Kids have lots of great book competitions with various closing dates.
- Quarto are running book competitions on Instagram each day – you can find them here. They’re for UK/ US/ CAN
- The World Book Day (WBD) site has some amazing competitions too with various closing dates. The family ticket to the British Museum with a bundle of non-fiction books is one we’ll certainly be entering before the 15th December 2022.
Obviously, due to the nature of competitions, you may head to this page after competition end dates. If this is the case do head to the latest book posts here for up to date competitions.
That’s the end of the latest ramblings. I hope something piqued your interest and I do urge you to read the Reflecting Realities Report. Next rambling coming soon…
Bookish wishes, Lisa x