Friday 21 January 2022

Blog Tour Britannica's 5 Minute Really True Stories for Family Time

 Blog Tour Britannica's 5 Minute Really True Stories for Family Time

Authors Alli Brydon, Catherine D. Hughes, Jackie McCann

Illustrators Anneli Bray, Vivian Minekar, Sofia Moore, Skylar White

Publisher Britannica Books

I am delighted to be invited on the Book Tour for this Amazing book. 

Book Review

This wonderful book makes the ordinary extraordinary for curious little minds.  

30 Amazing stories featuring baby dinosaurs , helpful dogs, play ground science and family celebrations and much more. Each of the bitesize stories can be read in 5 accessible minutes that will introduce a child to the wonders of family life including how other cultures and animals live.

What did the worlds first playground look like? 
Who build the first apartment block?
What different cultures eat for breakfast and how they eat?
How animals look after their own families?

Lavishly accompanied by colourful and playful illustrations on every page this fascinating compendium is the perfect gift for curious little minds everywhere. Wonderful to share with both family and in the class room. 

Monday 6 December 2021

Blog Tour When Shadows Fall by Sita Brahmachari Illustrations by Natalie Sirett

 Blog Tour 

When Shadows Fall 


 Sita Brahmachari

 Illustrations by Natalie Sirett

Publisher Little Tiger Press  

When Shadows Fall is a timely, lyrical and impactful story of disaffected youth and the vulnerability of teenage years, the importance of friendship, care and community and of urban green spaces. An empathetic and inspirational tour de force that seamlessly combines art, verse and prose  to portray a powerful message and story. 

I was delighted to be invited on this Fabulous Blog Tour for this wonderful book. Below is this fascinating Interview with Sita talking about  the importance of Art which is an integral part of her story.

Do you think art has the power to heal?
Yes. I have always felt that since childhood. As a member of the refugee centre art and writing class said once 'Art is a good way to tell, a good way to express.' Art can transport and reconnect you to many emotions including awe hope and joy.

Can art give a more powerful message than writing in certain circumstances? Eg Guernica by Picasso "A picture is worth a thousand words
Omid expresses in art what he cannot yet speak in words in the English Language ... but in many ways what he cannot express in any language. He sees in pictures.  A visual, symbolic language appears to me before I write... later the words come. I suppose this is true of being human... we begin with the image and grow into language. It is a struggle to express in words... you see this in Kai's writing. He has many questions and asides, his mind is always in motion. In art the mind can still and settle.  In this story when Kai's world fractures and he can only piece together a few ideas in words Omid fills the gaps with his pictures and imagination. He could not have given Kai a better gift than his art. Natalie Sirett could not have given this story a greater gift either.

Can you discuss the refugee element connected to the art in the story?

Both myself and Natalie have worked with refugee survivor children and families in our work. Natalie as a teacher and myself as Writer in Residence at Islington Centre, and in a mentor role. At the centre I have worked with illustrator Jane Ray for over a decade and we are now joined by Ros Asquith.

From the start we held the writing element of our work in the Art and Writing Room  in communal poetry. Now members are writing their own poems and having their art shown in exhibitions.

You can support the centre with their Christmas cards which are available to buy from this online link: Islington Centre Christmas Cards ( 


Kai, Orla and Zak grew up together, their days spent on the patch of wilderness in between their homes, a small green space in a sprawling grey city. Music, laughter and friendship bind them together and they have big plans for their future – until Kai's family suffers a huge loss.
Trying to cope with his own grief, as well as watching it tear his family apart, Kai is drawn into a new and more dangerous crowd, until his dreams for the future are a distant memory. Excluded from school and retreating from his loved ones, it seems as though his path is set, his story foretold. Orla, Zak and new classmate Om are determined to help him find his way back. But are they too late? 

“How quickly teenagers fall apart – and how fast they can heal. This is the hopeful message from Sita Brahmachari, a writer who mixes verse and prose to tell stories that stick.” – Alex O’Connell, The Times

A heart-breaking and poignant novel from award-winning author Sita Brahmachari, for fans of THE BLACK FLAMINGO, AND THE STARS WERE BURNING BRIGHTLY and POET X.

Sita Brahmachari is an award-winning author. She has been nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal five times, won the Waterstones Children's Book Prize in 2011 and has been bestowed with the IBBY Honour. WHERE THE RIVER RUNS GOLD was Waterstones Children's Book of the Month in 2019 and Sita has a World Book Day title in 2021. An ambassador for Amnesty, Sita is passionate about safeguarding human rights and diverse voices being heard, which comes through in her thoughtful and sensitive storytelling. She is based in North London.

Natalie Sirett is a multimedia artist with a multi-faceted practice exploring us, our icons, our stories.

Friday 5 November 2021

Blog Tour Thimble and the Girl from Mars by Jon Blake Illustrated by Martin Chatterton

 Blog Tour Thimble and the Girl from Mars by Jon Blake Illustrated by Martin Chatterton

The fourth hilarious and epic adventure of Thimble monkey who's first adventure was shortlisted for the Laugh Out Loud Awards. These great books can be read as a series or stand alone. 

Children will adore the madcap adventure of Thimble and his inspiring disabled hero Jams. But this time there is a new girl on the block better know as the Girl from Mars who is determined to have Thimble for herself. Can Jams stop her? 

Characterful illustrations throughout by Martin Chatteron and clear text make this very readable for 7+ upwards and for reluctant readers who like a giggle. They will love the dastardly effect beans have on Thimble's bum amongst the many other naughty japes!!

Family and friendship are at the centre of the never-ending madcap zany adventure. Another laugh out loud winner!

Book Description
Yes! Thimble monkey is back, causing the usual chaos for Jams and family. But when t he Girl From Mars appears, thing take a sinister turn. Will she stop at nothing to make Thimble her own? Our disabled hero will have to use all his wits to stop her!

Monday 11 October 2021

BLOG TOUR Rita Wong and the Jade Mask by Mark Jones Illustrated by Seamus Jennings

 Book Review 

 Rita Wong and the Jade Mask 

by Mark Jones Illustrated by Seamus Jennings

Publisher Everything With Words 

A fantastical crime caper for middle grade readers upwards. 

When Rita Wong meets a dragon called Lester they travel to the sinister Neon City where they must solve a mystery involving two vampires, a stolen jade mask and a Baron drowning in a vat of lemonade!

Children will love spotting the clues and the extraordinary cast of familiar character with a twist. It has a richly created film noir feel which dresses the plot and its characters with great style. From Vampires to  werewolves to dragons parading as detectives or femme fatales this will keep readers completely captivated until the end. I especially loved the endearing friendship between Rita and Lester and the knife sharp humour throughout. 

A must read and the perfect present for young detectives. 


Tuesday 22 December 2020

My Top Early Reader Books of 2020 6+

 This is a list of my top Early Reader books of 2020. These are suitable for newly confident readers and reluctant readers and great for a Christmas stocking!

(in no particular order) 

 #thesecretexplorersandthelostwhales #thesecretexplorersandthetombrobbers #thesecretexplorersjurassicrescue #thesecretexplorerandthecometcollision @dkbooks
New series for #earlyreaders 7+ including a diverse cast of characters from the four corners of the world all with different skills.. Full of illustrations and fascinating facts that will reinforce STEM topics. A brilliant series.

#the130storeytreehouse #lasereyesandannoyingflies @andygbooks @terrydbooks @macmillankidsuk

The continuing hilarious adventure

#alifestory #davidattenborough by #lizziehuxleyjones @scholastic_uk

 explore the world and life of the national treasure. With details of his career and adoration of the natural world children will adore this introduction. Full of fascinating facts and well laid out to interest reluctant readers.#

#thepiratecaptainscat #theninelivesoffurrypurrybeancat @philipardagh @rbiddulph @simonkidsuk
A new highly illustrated series for young readers 5 +. Each one of her nine lives introduces us to a new adventure whether she be a railway cat or a witches cat or a pirate captain's cat.

#adancersdream  #Katherinewoodfine #lizzystewart @simonkidsuk 
The real story of the Nutcracker A beautiful gift 

#PIZAZZ #SOPHYHENN 7+ Simon Schuster
An hilarious and irreverent highly illustrated adventure about a 9-year-old superhero who just wants to be normal!

#thewitches by #roalddahl reimagined as a #graphicnovel by #penelopebagieu
celebrating #roalddahlstoryday Sept 13th and #halloween #roalddahlday with my original copy of #thewitchesIllustrations #quentinblake 

 latest instalment of the madcap comedy adventure series.

perfect for emergent reluctant and dyslexic readers

An eco friendly adventure. Great series.

#HorribleHistories #allatsea #terrydeary illustrations #martinbrown Simon Schuster
The ultimate horrible history of Britain and Ireland seafaring heritage !

The adventures of a Super Guinea Pig

the continuing adventures of the two best friends .

the second book about the further adventures of the lovable robot Boot. Love this series!

Saturday 19 December 2020

My Top 2020 Pick of Young Adult Books.

 This is my 2020 Top pick of Young Adult Books perfect for you Christmas Stocking or any time of the year.

 (In no particular order with something for everyone!)

India Smythe in Love @sarahgovett @marottebooks
Hilarious sequel to #indiasmythestandsup. This is a laugh out loud coming of age novel perfect for the holidays. 

Dangerous Remedy #katdunn @headofzeus
A sizzling story of found family, queer love and magic mingling with science against the powerless backdrop of the French Revolution.

a short novella based on the beloved characters in solitaire.

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Simon and Schuster
This multi-layered story interweaves the rights of passage as a teenager and what it means to be black. A gripping & empathetic read, excellent for group discussion or holiday read 

Wuthering Heights #emilybronte A retelling by #tanyalandman  #barringtonstoke
 #superreadable An easy-to-digest condensed and accessible retelling of a classic from Cathy's point of view. 

The Valentines: Far From Perfect @holsmale @harpercollins
The second in the valentine's series. A hilarious and heartbreaking story about the impossible standards for being a girl.

a Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson-Macmillan
 A classic tale of romance, freedom and dance. - This was my first Eva because I am a huge ballet fan. I was hooked from here.

Magic Flutes by Eva Ibbotson Macmillan-
Yes another one by Eva because she is one of my all time favourites and I love these reissues! 
A love letter to opera, Europe and glittering romance

Good Girls Die First #kathrynfoxfield @scholastic_uk
 classic contemporary horror with a supernatural twist 

The Ballad of SongBird and Snakes @suzanne_collins_ @scholastic_uk

This  Hunger Games prequel  definitely lived up to expectation.

The well deserved winner of  #carnegiegreenaway medal and is suitable for dyslexic readers as well. 

 The Queen of Nothing @blackholly @hotkeybooksteen
The Finale to the brilliant Folk of the Air series

Hello Now #jennyvalentine @harpercollinsuk 
A beautiful moving exquisite and utterly original love story .

The Austen Girls @lucy_worsley @bloomsburypublishing
. A witty historical coming of age drama for pride and prejudice lovers.

And The Stars Were Burning Brightly #daniellejawando @simonkidsuk 
An extraordinary novel about last understanding and the importance of speaking up when all you want to do is shut up.

 The Loop  #benoliver Chicken House Books
1984 meets #prisonbreak. Riveting

From the New York times best-selling author of Everless comes a thrilling contemporary fantasy about the safe haven between worlds and the girls want to protect it.

A fiercely told survivorship novel about 1 girls determination to push her body to win gold at the Olympics and the power of uniting as women to speak out.

 written with humour and heart this is about family belonging and what it means to be homeless.

Rules for Being a Girl @candacebushnell & #katiecotugno Macmillan
an exploration of feminism for the me too generation standing up speaking out and rewriting the rules.

A Heart So Fierce and Broken @brigidkemmerer @bloomsburypublishing
This thrilling sequel is full of devious plots, excitement and bold new characters. A spin on Beauty and the Beast. 

 Children of Virtue and Vengeance @tomiadeyemi @macmillankidsuk
Sequel to the Children of Blood and Bone series. Told from multiple POV this is fantasy is addictive

 Lost Book of the White @cassieclare1 @simonteen
The continuing adventures of the outrageously gorgeous warlock Magnus Bane and shadowhunter Alec from the best selling Mortal Instruments series.