Reading Rambles – TV Book Inspiration, Space Books & Spoonie Life

Book Banded Books

I hope you’ve had a week filled with books. I’ve been carrying on building more of the book banded books recommendations on the site. It’s not finished but we’re getting there – check it out here.

Wooden rainbow outside in the sun in front of lavender

I’ve also uploaded a book band comparison pdf.

Book banded books are levelled books children usually bring home from school when they are learning to read.

A Poem a Day Update

Totally loving updating this blog post a couple of times a week to share with you my latest poetry reads for December. If you fancy a little poetry then head to – A Poem A Day in December for the Family.

Do you Watch TV?

I must admit to not watching much TV. Usually I preselect and watched on demand. I kind of miss the nostalgia of a handful of channels that you had to be present at the time to watch (I’m showing my age!).

Anyhow, I was so pleased that I left the player running after Masterchef the other night and watched something I normally wouldn’t – The Graham Norton Show. I’m a HUGE fan of Nadiya Hussain and so left it on when I realised she was on.


Lenny Henry was also on and talking about his October 2022 release of a children’s book he’s written – The Book of Legends illustrated by Keenon Ferrell and published by Macmillan Childrens.

The Book of Legends

Lenny describes how he wanted to write a book about an eight year old protagonist who looks like him. It’s also a real homage to the humble library and the mighty power that they wield in this magical adventure. Lovely to note that there is a Deaf main character. Well that all had me hooked. Have you read it? I really want to – I’ve reserved it for us on Borrow Box and should have it by the end of Jan 2023.

Book Extras – Sign Language and Maps

The age range recommends 8-12 years old. As my daughter Floss is only six this means that I read or listen to books first before sharing them with her if they are a little older.

I do love that there is a map in the book. Are you obsessed with maps in books like me? Publishers totally know how to reel me in!

Moreover there’s a page to help you learn how to sign your name. I recall learning BSL (British Sign Language) fingerspelling as a child at school. I was surprised that I remembered the alphabet from all those years ago at school when I did a six weeks BSL course in my thirties. I’m going to start teaching Floss how to spell her name. You can find a left and right handed resource here.

If you prefer to see the signs in action to learn then the National Deaf Children’s Society have a video that you can watch below.

Book Spotlight

Book Review Plans

I’m trying very hard to get a plan to get back on top of my book reviews and be back to a normal schedule in the new year. Let me tell you why it all went so wrong!

Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed and like you’re not doing a good job of anything you’re trying to do?

Spoonie Life

I’m a spoonie – I’m invisibly disabled (it’s taken me a while to own this) and like everyone, have good days and not so good days.

If you’re not familiar with the spoonie concept it’s basically where you wake up with a certain amount of spoons a day. Let’s say you usually get 15 spoons refilled each day. Getting up might take 1 or 2 spoons, shower might take 3, going to the park with your little one might be 5 spoons. You get the idea.

Sadly, some days you wake up with no spoon refill for the day or very limited. It makes the day very tricky and at times impossible.

To add to the overwhelm, my daughter Floss also has to try and manage being a spoonie herself and she often has much fewer spoons than me. This makes our days tricky. Books have been very much a shared pleasure of mine and Floss’s. Something we can enjoy with very few spoons needed!

Over the last couple of years we’ve been thrilled to work with publishers, authors and illustrators reviewing many incredible books.

However, in Autumn, Floss’s needs increased massively (she wasn’t able to attend school full time either) and it’s been hard to find time to write reviews and plan and take photographs of books.

Due to this I took the decision to pause reviewing books on Instagram. I very much hope to be back in the new year properly and will still review the occasional book as I get chance (you’ve got a couple of brilliant ones coming up below). Thankfully, the last couple of weeks Floss has had a real turn around – so fingers crossed things are back on track sooner.

All the Books

Here are a couple of books that I’ve been desperate to share with you.

Alone by Scott Stuart

Alone by Scott Stuart and published by Bright Light is a heart-swelling book that leaves you feeling all fuzzy inside. Little planet Earth wants to make a friend yet none of the other planets want to befriend little Earth. That is until something explosive happens one day that changes Earth’s world forever.

It’s a book that truly decapsulates the spirit, magic and warmth of friendship; reminding us all to be a little more kind and kindred to others.

I also have a big passion for science – maybe surprisingly I did a Chemistry degree. I love that Alone tells the story of the forming of the moon alongside the friendship aspect of the book. There are several theories on how the moon was formed but probably the most accepted is the one in this book. You can find out more about the facts from the National History Museum here.

I’d recommend Alone for three years plus. It’s a book that I would use with early years and KS1 classes too; particularly if I was looking at speech bubbles, which this book has in abundance. Children who enjoy non-fiction texts may like this as a story with some science information that they can then go away and research further.

Aliens by Joalda Morancy and Amy Grimes

If you’ve read my reviews before then you will have heard me rave about a new publisher in the world of children’s non-fiction books – Neon Squid.

I have a massive crush on all their books. They’re the kind of books that I would have poured over for hours as a kid – returning to re-read facts. You can find my Aliens review here.

Must Read News from Toppsta

Toppsta have released a new must read blog post – 100 MUST-READ CHILDREN’S BOOKS OF 2022. It’s a fascinating read from a platform that focuses on getting more books into the hands of children for free. There’s lots of books we’ve loved from this year. Yet, a few that have slipped through the net and are now on the wish list.

Book Awards

This week has seen the shortlist of a brand new award created by one of my favourite authors Elle McNicoll, the Adrien Prize. It’s a prize for middle grade or YA books where the main character has a disability that is portrayed positively. You can find out more details about the award in a Books for Keeps article here.

Adrien Prize Shortlist includes:

Bookish Competitions & Giveaways

Check out the latest giveaways and competitions we’ve found in this blog post.

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