The Crossover – Kwame Alexander — August 19, 2020

The Crossover – Kwame Alexander

Synopsis – Twin brothers, Josh and Jordan, are star basketball players at school. The brothers deal with growing up, both on and off the court, before the tragedy happens.

My thoughts – I wasn’t too sure about the book at first, it took a few pages to get used to it being written in verse, but when I did get into it, I really enjoyed it. The verses have a good flow to them and lend themselves to being read aloud. There is an emphasis placed on certain words with the layout of the book, an example of this is the word down is split into four lines, each letter on the line below so you are reading down. This is done throughout the book, and makes it more engaging for a reader.

You quickly become attached to the characters within the book and empathise with their situation. It feels very real and is easy to relate to the events throughout the book. The use of slang makes it feel more personal and realistic and helps you to build a connection with the character.

Even though there’s no description within the book, it is easy to imagine what is happening and where they are from the language used and prior knowledge.

Classroom ideas – It would be good to explore the point of view of other key characters within the book. The book is told by Josh and only really considers his feelings. Exploring the thoughts and feelings of other characters would enable the pupils to develop their understanding of the plot and the motives of the characters.

The author uses key poetry techniques throughout the book which would lend itself to lots of discussions about the different techniques and what impact it has on the story and how it is read.


It would be important to discuss the death of their dad with the class, to ensure they all were ok. It can be a hard ending to read and for some children may not be an appropriate book to share with them, depending on their needs. This would need to be addressed sensitively and with caution to cause as little upset as possible, whilst getting important messages across to the class.

Exploring Pictures in Picture books – Mat Tobin — June 27, 2020

Exploring Pictures in Picture books – Mat Tobin

A couple of weeks ago Mat Tobin (@Mat_at_Brookes) did a zoom CPD exploring pictures in picture books. And I was fascinated. I never realised how much depth and meaning was in an illustration in a children’s book. I realised that the images portrayed the story, but it goes a lot deeper than that.

The location of the character. The size of the character. The frame around the image. All have an impact on how the reader perceives the story and the emotions linked to it.

I’m not going to discuss every aspect in the zoom, but I will pick out some key aspects within the discussion.

Position and size

If a character is on the left hand side of the page, it shows that the character is starting a journey. It evokes feelings of safety and comfort. If a character is on the right side of the page looking to the left or moving towards the left it shows that they are finishing their journey and returning home.

Perspective and viewpoints

If the character is looking at you, the reader, it shows that they are inviting you on the journey with them. If you can’t see their face, it is an invitation to think about their feelings. When reading picture books, often we understand how the character is feeling by looking at the illustrations and the emotions portrayed on their face. When you can’t see their far, it puts the reader on edge, as they are unable to see the emotions portrayed.


If there is a thin frame around the illustration, it invites you to observe as an outsider. It is like looking through a window, you can see what is happening, but you are not part of the action. If the image is breaking free from the frame it suggests that the character is escaping or is liberated.


Colours are well known to be linked to emotions, and this is no different in illustrations in picture books. Bright colours in an illustration suggests that the story or character is joyful, whereas dull colours suggest that there is sadness.

Illustrations in picture books are very powerful and can be analysed as much as the words can be. Even more so, when you are reading a wordless or pure picture book where the story relies on the images.

I never realised quite how powerful and impactful illustrations could be, I will never look at a picture book the same.

My Reading Journey. — June 26, 2020

My Reading Journey.

I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember. I’ve grown up surrounded by books. My parents read regularly, themselves and to me. My family bought me many books to support my passion and learning.

My first vivid memory of reading is my dad reading the Chronicles of Narnia to me as a child before I went to bed. I treasure memories of my dad reading to me, they are some oblurred-book-book-pages-literature-46274f the most vivid memories from my childhood.

I also have memories of my class teachers reading to me. A couple of books stand out in particular. I remember being in year 3/4 and my class teacher read funnybones to the class. I remember in year 5/6 being read Northern Lights and a poem called the Dragon who ate our school. These are the three reading experiences from primary school that stand out the most. I hope that as a teacher, I too, can provide moments like these for my future pupils and help them to develop a love of reading.

As I have grown up, my reading habits have changed, but one thing has remained the same. I love reading. And I love sharing that passion with others. I don’t think I would be the person I would be today, if I didn’t grow up with books or love reading. I have read hundreds of books in my life so far, and each one has had some sort of impact on my life, whether big or small. Each one has challenged or agreed with my thinking. Each one has made me more empathetic to others situations and helped me to understand others feelings better.

My grandma also helped to ignite my passion for reading. Every weekend we would go into town and do some shopping and then go to the local library and spend time together picking out a selection of books for the week ahead. She encouraged me to join the summer reading challenge, which I completed twice as a child.


The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan —

The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan

Synopsis – This is a story about a child who finds a lost thing on the beach when he is looking for bottle tops to add to his collection. No-one else notices the lost thing, so he decides to find where the lost thing belongs.


My thoughts –  Within this book, you never find out the name of the main character, who narrates the book.

This makes it seem like the reader is the person who the story belongs to and it is their story they are sharing with the listener.

The main moral/value within the story is belonging and fitting in. The idea of everyone having a place that they belong and fit in is a theme throughout the words and illustrations within the book. It is also directly referenced in the last few pages.

Another theme within the book is how curiosity changes as we grow up, that younger people are more curious about the world. As we grow up we wonder about the world less and accept the world as it is without questioning.

The illustrations within the book are very interesting. There are many pictures on each page, framed differently to highlight different aspects of the illustrations and to convey different meanings. There are few colours used in the illustrations and they are quite dull, apart from the lost thing. This helps the lost thing to stand out more and catch the readers attention, as the colour is so contrasting to the rest of the image. There is a lot of depth to the images, with a lot of activity and emotion captured within each image in the book.

I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to children aged 9 and above due to the levels of meaning within the story, however younger children may also enjoy reading it, particularly looking at the illustrations. It can be read at face value, or with more depth, considering the themes with criticality.

Classroom ideas – Due to the value of fitting in, this book would be useful to use within a classroom where children are struggling to form friendships and children don’t feel like they fit in. It will help them to understand that they are not alone, and they have somewhere they will fit in. This would lend itself to PSHE lessons, where these topics could be discussed sensitively.

One activity you could do with pupils is asking them to rewrite the story from the perspective of the lost thing, exploring the emotions that it feels throughout the story, using vivid language to describe what is happening and how the environment looks.

You could stop reading before the end, asking the pupils to write a different ending for the story, maybe he looks after the lost thing or perhaps he gives it to a friend.

The Truth Pixie – Matt Haig — November 20, 2018

The Truth Pixie – Matt Haig

Goodreads synopsis – From number one bestselling author Matt Haig comes a hilarious and heartwarming story, brilliantly illustrated throughout by Chris Mould Wherever she is, whatever the day, She only has one kind of thing to say. Just as cats go miaow and cows go moo, The Truth Pixie can only say things that are true.


My thoughts – I loved this book. This short book touches on mental illness in an easy to read way, making it accessible for young children. This book will help readers feel like they are not alone, and may help them better understand what they are going through.

I loved the illustrations in it by Chris Mould, they worked perfectly with the story. And I liked that they are black and white illustrations rather than colour, as it represents the feelings shown within the book well, as some people with mental health link it to darkness and not seeing colour.

The book rhymed which gave it a good rhythm when reading, which many children enjoy when hearing books read aloud to them. I also like the simplicity of language used, as the concepts are challenging enough without the added language barrier.

Classroom ideas – I think this would be a good book to read and let children digest independently. Although it’s child-friendly, it discusses some challenging topics, and I don’t think it would be suitable to complete work based on it. You could maybe do mental health related activities and discuss the themes within the book, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing comprehension from it.

Nevermoor- Jessica Townsend — November 15, 2018

Nevermoor- Jessica Townsend

Goodreads Synopsis – A cursed girl escapes death and finds herself in a magical world – but is then tested beyond her wildest imagination
Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks–and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.
But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.
It’s then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart – an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests – or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate

My thoughts – Although this book took a while to read, I really enjoyed it. It was hard to find time to read it with university and life being so hectic but when I got the chance to read it I loved it. I had no idea that what happened at the end would happen, and I really liked that. It was such a shock when it happened. It’s got such an interesting plot, and I would love to read the sequel at some point to see what happens next.

Classroom ideas – I think it’s a really good book to read for pleasure with your class. One classroom idea would be to look into the characters in the book and delve deeper into what they are thinking and feeling at key parts of the story. You could also draw the illustrations to accompany parts of the story. There are so many interesting events that happen in the book that you could look at. You could do diary writing, or newspaper articles about the events that happen.

Top Ten Tuesday |Books By My Favourite Authors That I still Haven’t Read — September 25, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday |Books By My Favourite Authors That I still Haven’t Read

Top Ten Tuesday is run by That Artsy Reader Girl since January 2018. Each week a topic is given and the blogger interprets it in their own way and creates a top ten post on the topic. This weeks theme is books by my favourite authors that I still haven’t read.

I blogged about this book in last week’s post, but one book is Sophie Kinsella’s My Not So Perfect Life. This book is about Katie who has a perfect life, living in London with a glamorous job. But the truth is that she has a tiny room to live in, with a admin job and her instagram life isn’t really hers. But she hopes that her dreams will come true, eventually. After getting sacked by her boss Demeter, she moves home with her family in Somerset. When Demeter books a holiday Katie sees a chance – should she take revenge or try to get her job back? Does Demeter have a perfect life? Or do they have more in common than they realise?


Another book by an author I love that I haven’t read is the Witches by Roald Dahl. This book is another of Dahl’s wonderful creations. Real witches dress in ordinary clothes, but they are not ordinary. They hate children, and the Grand High Witch is the worst of all. Only one boy and his grandmother can defeat her. Will they succeed?


I haven’t got around to reading The Girl With The Lost Smile by Miranda Hart. I loved Miranda’s series and I’ve read one book by Miranda before, which was a biography. I’m really looking forward to getting into this book. It’s about Chloe who has lost her smile. She’s looked everywhere for it, but nothing is working. One night something happens, and she finds herself on an adventure…


There’s not many books by favourite authors that I’ve not read yet, but I thought I’d share with you the few that there are! What books by favourite authors have you not read yet? Let me know in the comments below!

*No copyright infringement intended on any of the images used!

Bookworm Stereotypes | Bookish Tag — September 20, 2018

Bookworm Stereotypes | Bookish Tag

Capture1.PNGIt’s been a while since I did a tag post, and whilst I didn’t get tagged for this post, I saw it on Reader Fox and a Box of Books last month and I just had to do the tag aswell. I also want to credit the creator – A home for the lost 

Bookworms are super intelligent.

Now, I really don’t think this applies to me. I’m definitely not super intelligent. My friends say I am, but what they don’t see is the hours spent studying to get even similar grades to them. I definitely don’t fit this stereotype!


We all wear glasses.

Again, another way I don’t fit the stereotype. I don’t wear glasses or need them, as far as I’m aware! I’m one of few members of my family who doesn’t need glasses, so I’m sure in the future I will join the club!


We’re all shy/antisocial/introverted.

Well, here I definitely fit the stereotype. I have been shy all my life, and the older I get, the more I realise I’m also an introvert. I definitely love spending time on my own, but don’t get me wrong, I also love spending time with my friends, just not too much time! But it’s something I’m kind of working on (see my confidence journey posts).


We hoard books and have an ever-growing TBR.

Yes. Yes. Yes. I have boxes full of books under my bed. Have I read them? Yes. Will I read them again? Probably not. Will they look good on shelves in my own house (when I get one)? Yes. Does my TBR increase daily? YES!


We all dream of having home libraries with ladders.

I mean, maybe not with ladders. But I definitely would love a home library. I hope in the future I at least have somewhere to store my books, other than in boxes under my bed. I would love a library, I mean the way my collection is going, I’ll need a library to hold them all!


The book is always better.

Most of the time, yes. But not always. There are a few films that I prefer to the book, but most of the time, I prefer the books.


Loves the smell of new books.

Hmmm. Whilst it’s a fairly nice smell. I don’t go and smell my books. I’m just not all that fussed about the smell.


Never leaves home without a book.

I don’t take physical books out with me – my bag is heavy enough without adding books – but I do always take my phone, which has some e-books on it. So technically I never leave home without a book!


Has a love for classics.

I keep trying to read classics, but I always struggle to get into them. I just don’t get the hype about classics. Maybe I keep trying the wrong authors/books, but I just find the language too difficult to interpret for me to really get into the book. Make some suggestions in the comments about which classics I should try.


Has a vendetta against e-books.

I used to agree with this. But since blogging, I’ve changed my mind. I used to only ever read physical books, but since blogging, I’ve started to read more e-books. They are cheaper and far easier to store. I don’t often share books with friends and family – they don’t share my love of reading! So I don’t have that issue.


4/10 Maybe I’m not a stereotypical bookworm!

I’d love to see your answers! Copy and paste and tag me in your post!

Wilde about the girl – Louise Pentland | Book Review — August 17, 2018

Wilde about the girl – Louise Pentland | Book Review

Synopsis – Robin Wilde is acing life! After the year from hell, she’s pulled herself out of The Emptiness. Her love life is ticking along nicely and single motherhood is actually quite fun. When s thrilling opportunity at work arises, Robin is excited to step up and show everyone, including herself, what she’s made of.

But not everything is running smoothly. Her best friend Lacey is struggling to conceive, and her daughter Lyla is sharing some horrible attitudes she’s picking up at school. Is dear Auntie Kate hiding loneliness under her bubbly, loving manner? And can Robin definitely trust the people around her in her new role?

But Robin and her girls – together – can handle any crisis. Can’t they?

My thoughts – I enjoyed this book more than the first (Wilde like me) in the series, the book had a much better pace and flowed nicely. I feel like Louise’s writing style has changed a lot since the first book (for the better) and I found myself gripped and wanting to read more constantly. It’s the book that got me out of yet again, another reading slump, and for that I am very grateful!

I felt like I connected with the characters more in this book. I was rooting for them in this book more than the first. They went through some real struggles in this book, and every struggle felt really well portrayed. Just to note though, the book mentions fertility issues and miscarriage, so stay away from the book if these trigger you.

I love seeing Robin’s relationships with those around her develop further as she really delves into school life. I love how the book also includes familial relationships and friendships as well as relationships, as it makes the book more real which makes it easier to connect with the characters and their stories.