In honour of World Book Day on Thursday, I thought I would write a post on why books are so amazing.


World Book Day 2014

World Book Day 2014

1. As soon as you open up a book, you enter a whole new world. 
Each book you open up has new things waiting for you, new experiences and new universes. Every book is different and unique, offering billions of circumstances.

2. A book gives you the freedom to decide what goes on. 
A film shows you exactly what the characters look like, what the world looks like and how everything is shown. However, when reading a book, it gives you the opportunity to  choose what goes on and how everything looks, in your own head.

3. A book is portable. 
You can take a book anywhere and everywhere! You can read it on an aeroplane, a car journey or a boat trip. The versatile nature means you can continue your story wherever you want and not matter about connecting to the internet or whether it will run out of charge!

4. You can pick up a book whenever you want, no commitment needed!
However much time you have in a day, you can read a book. No commitment is needed, you don’t have to finish a whole book, you can read a page if you want!

5. You can learn from books.
Whether it is a situation you have experienced or about to experience yourself, every book has something to learn from. A message that you can take away or even an experience that you now know how to handle just a little bit better, every book has something important to take away from it.

Happy World Book Day everyone!

Happy World Book Day 2014

Happy World Book Day 2014

Dandelion Clocks

With a similar theme to The Fault in our Stars, we follow the journey of Olivia,  a young girl who finds out that her mother has a life threatening illness and has to learn how to deal with it, as well as having to cope with the issues of everyday life, along with helping her autistic brother Isaac.

A typical 12 year old who loves taking photos, Liv finds it hard to come to terms with her mothers illness and the effects of what this has to bring. We see her compete with the struggles of this, as well as  reading her down to earth views as a child on the matter, with her thoughts and feelings laid plain.
This book shows the love and the relationship that can only be created between a mother and daughter but how it stays strong, no matter what happens, no matter the obstacles.

 If any young teen out there has read The Fault in our Stars then this is definitely a book for you!

A great book for any teen who may be going through an experience like this or just wants a touching book to read.

 I loved this book and from starting to read it on Monday evening, I couldn’t put it down until I had finished it! As a teenager myself, I could easily relate to her issues in everyday life, from boy troubles to best friends! It made me think about my own life and how lucky I was, as well as just simply enjoying the read and being on the ride with Liv.

An uplifting book that makes any reader stop and think, but it also great for an easy read.
Any fan of Jacqueline Wilson or Cathy Cassidy will also love this book!

blossom cover

There’s a new monthly magazine on the shelves this month aimed at little girls aged 4 – 7 called Blossom and I’m really excited about it as I think my twins are going to LOVE it. In fact I’ll probably have to buy them a copy each to hold the peace and wouldn’t that be a sign of a good magazine?

Each monthly edition has an age appropriate gift attached and is packed with activities including arts, cookery and craft.

It’s the perfect tool to encourage their reading as there are so many interesting things to do and all sorts of written material to attract all kinds of passions, from ballet dancing to bug hunting and from learning to play football to speaking French. Each feature is designed to support the seven areas of the Early Years Curriculum.

I was supposed to go to the launch but had a twin down with the dreaded virus and had to miss out but they sent me a video of the day to get an idea of what happened, check out the artists drawing, fascinating how they create so easily!

Writing competition for girls

The February edition also has a very exciting writing competition in conjunction with World Book Day encouraging young readers to write a story with their own words and ideas.

The winning entry will be published in the magazine and illustrated by the Blossom artist as well as receiving hard copies for friends and family.

The winner will also receive a visit to their school or nursery from the hugely successful Princess Poppy author, Janey Louise Jones; they will also receive a bundle of books for them and their school library from Random House and a special keepsake bound version of their story. 

Andrea Turton, Blossom editor, says: “We’re hoping that little ones will be inspired to pick up a pencil and write an imaginative story that will entertain our readers! The story could take the Blossom Girls anywhere, doing anything – the possibilities are endless!” 

The entries should be a maximum of 500 words and feature the four Blossom Girls characters – Lily, Rose, Daisy and Violet – who appear in each issue of the magazine. The winning entry will be by judged by a panel of industry experts for its imagination and creativity.  

blossom girls 

Janey Louise Jones, author of the Princess Poppy books, says: “It was always my dream as a little girl to be a writer, so I am really pleased to be involved with Blossom Magazine in their search for a young story-teller. I would loved to have had a story illustrated and published at such a young age and I’m sure the competition will be a source of inspiration for budding writers everywhere… dreams can come true!”

 Janey Lousie Jones was present at the launch event I missed but I had a planned question to ask her, ‘My daughter Alice has shown a love of writing and has started to write her own stories on scraps of paper, how can I encourage her to continue?’ You can listen to her reply on this soundcloud

The competition is open from 5th February to 8th March 2014, full details can be found in Blossom Magazine issue 10 (on sale 5th Feb).  

world book day

I recently attended a Penguin’s Children’s book event where they shared their plans for 2014 and I got  very excited – did you know Eric Carle’s The Hungry Caterpillar celebrates 45 years this year? The twins LOVED this book and we still have our board book version kicking around on the book shelf and frequently read with love and laughter.

hungry caterpillar

I learnt that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will be celebrating 50 years this year. Roald Dahl’s books played a huge part in my childhood but also in my first born Thomas’s. He didn’t like school one iota BUT he loved to read and by introducing him to Dahl’s books Tommy became an avid reader, it was such a pleasure watching him devour the entire Dahl collection. I think Charlie is possibly my favourite Dahl book or maybe it was the BFG?

charlie and the chocolate

Half Bad by Sally Green

Penguin Children’s books have so much going on that I had to cherry pick and today I’m focusing on one book in particular Half Bad by Sally Green, because I think you’ll be hearing an awful lot about it very soon. Like the next Harry Potter phenomenon so to speak because without actually being printed yet it’s sold in 42 different languages and has film rights secured too by Fox 2000, see what I’m saying?

Not only that but the most amazing fact for me is it’s her debut novel!

half bad

What’s it about? Well I think, you’re going to like this – it’s about one boy’s struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches. He is Half Bad in as much he is child of a white witch and a black one, the trouble is nobody likes half bads and so until the age of 14 he is kept in a cage, as it says on the back cover ‘Wanted by no one, hunted by everyone.’

You can’t read, can’t write, but you heal fast, even for a witch. You get sick if you stay indoors after dark. You hate White Witches but love Annalise, who is one. You’ve been kept in a cage since you were fourteen. All you’ve got to do is escape and find Mercury, the Black Witch who eats boys. And do that before your seventeenth birthday. Easy. 

Think Twilight or the vampire craze that has gripped teendom and that is what you’re in for with Half Bad.

The book is aimed at a 12+ audience (that is so me) and in paperback costs £7.99. I can’t put it down!

Come back next week for more ideas from Penguin’s Children’s books

Damson Lane

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The Magic faraway treeThe Faraway Tree was probably the first collection of books I read by myself and for this I have to thank Nana Whooley who used to buy them off a stall in East Lane Market. My grandmother set me up for life with a passion for reading and I went through a fair portion of Enid Blyton’s books in those early days including The Famous Five, Mallory Towers and the St Claire’s series.

The Faraway Tree is a trilogy and Egmont have put them together in one book which I was given back in the day of the 1930’s Housewife challenge. The book has sat on the shelf waiting to be read ever since and by late November last year I thought I’d give it a go.

The Enchanted Wood

The first book is The Enchanted Wood and we are introduced to Jo, Bessie and Fannie who have since been renamed Joe, Beth and Frannie much to my Bessie’s disappointment when I told her. The family have moved to a new house and it happens to back onto a wood. Further exploration into the woods leads the children to discover an enormous tree whose treetops seemingly reach into the clouds.

The children decide to climb the tree and they discover the magical creatures who live in the tree, the Angry Pixie, Mr Watzisname, Silky, Dame Washalot and Moon Face. They find out that there is a ladder on the topmost branch that leads up into magical lands. The lands frequently change, sometimes they are nice lands like the Land of Birthdays or the Land of Take What You Want but others aren’t so pleasant like the Land of Dame Slap which was later renamed to Dame Snap.

On one journey up the ladder they meet the Old Saucepan man who decides to return to live in the Faraway Tree. He’s a brilliant character as he sometimes goes deaf (selective hearing?) and muddles things up causing great confusion and more adventures than needed.

faraway tree slippery slip

The Magic Faraway Tree

The second book of the trilogy sees the arrival of Dick whose name was later changed to Rick. He is the children’s cousin and is a bit naughty which leads them into a lot of adventures when they visit the lands at the top.

I was particularly touched in this book when their mother falls ill and cannot get out of bed. Luckily the Land of Magic Medicines is at the top so the children go up to find something to cure their mother only Rick gets into mischief again.

faraway tree

The Folk of The Faraway Tree

The final book sees the arrival of Connie, the daughter of mother’s friend. Connie is a very spoilt child and won’t do as she’s told, when she hears of the Faraway Tree she refuses to believe in such nonsense and only by going along with the children does she discover that it is fact very true. She gets herself into a lot of trouble with her rudeness and slowly she learns to behave more sensibly. By the end of the book, the magical characters say they like her.

Another very exciting part to this final book is when the Faraway Tree is very ill and seems to be dying, the children, the magical characters and all of the inhabitants of the Enchanted Woods have to come up with a plan to save the day.

Our Verdict

We LOVED The Magic Faraway Tree, I was taken back in time and I am sure this won’t be the last time the girls read this book. Dad hadn’t read it as a child and if he happened to be late home from work or absent one evening he would ask us to read something else as he didn’t want to miss a bit.

This is a book to set young minds alight with imagination.

We have since started on a huge tree to go in the girl’s bedroom, the girls are making cut out figures of the characters who with blutac can be placed up and down the tree and my very next project will be trying to make some of Moon Faces Google Buns – watch this space, I can’t wait to tackle them

Damson Lane

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