Saturday, 27 December 2014

You are special


You Are Special
Author: Max Lucado
ISBN: 9781859855454
Picture book


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!


I was sitting thinking about how brilliant Christmas day was, when I remembered this book.  I nabbed my son who hadn't heard read it and we read it together.  This book has such a brilliant message for children.  It even touches the hearts of adults. 
Every day a new wemmick is made.  Each one is different.  Each is loved by its maker.  One little wemmick isn't able to do very much well and he gets sticked with dots all the time.  No matter how hard he tries he recieves more dots.  You see, the wemmicks have stickers that they label the others with.  You get either stars or dots.  There is one wemmick that never has a sticker, so the dotted wemmick goes to visit her.  She has no stickers because she is loved by her maker and she encourages him to visit the maker.  There he is told how much he is loved, special and unique.
As Christmas passes and a new year approaches, may we all remember our maker and how unique we all are.  We don't need to wear a label.  We need to know we are loved for who we are.
My daughter made me get this book.  I thank her for being.. just her!
This was available from:  Fishpond, Book Depository and Manna Christian Stores

Monday, 22 December 2014


Author: Veronica Roth
ISBN: 9780062024046
Pages: 525

Insurgent (Divergent)

Veronica Roth hasn't let me down!  This book captured my attention just as much as Divergent, the first book in the series. 

Tris sets out to find the truth behind everything in her world.  What had her mother ment?  What was the secret Marcus knew.  What was really the intentions of the factionless.  What are the other factions plotting?  And... what is beyond the fences?

I had to keep reading to find the answers to the many questions and while doing so I was caught in Tris' emotional world.  I found the battle between Tris and Tobias (Four, in the first book but called Tobias in the second book)  a little annoying at times.  I wanted to yell at them and tell them to get over themselves and move on.  Really, they go through much together yet don't really treat each other that well... then they are back together... but only for a moment before something else interferes.  Love isn't really that complicated.  But it give the book an emotional feeling, and love does conker all.  There is nothing like a little emotion within a story.  I look forward to seeing what happens to Tris and Tobias in book three.

Definatly well worth reading!

This was available from: Fispond, Book depository and Amazon:

Monday, 15 December 2014

The bear who wanted to read

The Bear Who Wanted to Read
Author: Lee Davis
Illustrator: Susan Winter
ISBN: 0-7513-7149-1

This is one  of my favourite read aloud picture books of my kids little days.  I used to read and read this book.  It is about a bear at day care.  When all the kids go outside to play, Ben Bear decides he wants to read.  The other toys help him figure out how to spell his name with the letter blocks.  It shows the phonetic structure of the basic sounds as Ben and Tiger write their names.  It also makes books seem really fun. 
The illustrations are bright and beautiful.  This is a good hard cover book that has lasted many reads in our house.  I am keeping this book it is one that will last the next generations to come.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Orphan train


Orphan Train
Author: Christina Barker Kline
ISBN: 978-0-06-195072-8
Pages: 273

Orphan Train: A Novel
Truly, I cant praise this book enough!  It is one of my favourite historical novels.  It is a story of a young adolescent who is in foster care and steals a book from the library only to find herself doing community service.   She cleans out the attic of a elderly woman who was on the orphan trains in 1929.  Together the help each other find themselves amongst the emotions hidden inside them. 
The book bounces from the past to the present as each story is told.  I was transported into the lives of both characters.  I found myself reading with an open mouth as I was engrossed in the life of the woman.  Astonished as I read the judgements of the foster parents of the adolescent.  Both lives  were a web of misfortunes that had nothing to do with the doings of the girls.  I wanted to cry for both of them but managed to contain myself.
I will read this again in time.  It has the makings of a classic on my bookshelf.
Anyone who likes historical novels... This book is for you.
It was available from: Book depository, Fishpond and amazon

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Do hard things

Do Hard Things
Authors: Alex and Brett Harris
ISBN: 978-1-60142-154-8
Pages: 241

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations

A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations

Hi every one.  This book came with the recommendation of my daughter and her friends.  Once my daughter had read it there was no going back... I was made to read it.  I am glad I did.  This book is a fantastic inspiration for teens everywhere.  When did the invention of the word teenager even enter our culture?  Really I had given this little thought.  I grew up in the age of teens.  It has always been in our culture... well as far as I was aware.  Take a step back in time and you will find that children went from children to the adult world.  Working to keep the farm and family going.  Helping the father and mother as they transitioned very quickly to adults.  Not today.  We have given teenagers a stage to be, anything.  Often that means parties, alcohol and many more options that effect the brain, development, emotions and our future culture. 

Alex and Brett Harris are young adults that are changing this movement.  They believe that teens have the power to do great things.  Extremely huge, awesome things.  The movement they have encouraged is inspiring some dynamic teens to step out and change their environment. 

They have a website that has become one of the biggest websites for teens.

I never gave this much thought until reading this book.  I do think we give teens mixed ideas about being teens.  We expect them to study and go to university/college more than ever before, but at the same time we encourage them to be idiots with their time.  Really... think about it.  They can do hard things and they can do great things with their time.  They are awesome young adults, just give them a chance.

I highly recommend all teens and parents read this book.

This was available from: Book depository, Fishpond, Amazon and The Rebelution website

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

From the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler


From the mixed-up files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
Author: E. L. Konigsburg
ISBN: 978-0-689-71181-7

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler
Two-time Newbery medal winner
Claudia decides to run away and talks her brother, Jamie, to going with her.  They stay at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  The museum brings more adventure and mystery than they ever imagined.  They learn something each day, not only about history but also about themselves.  When a statue of an angel arrives at the museum, they study the histroy of Michelangelo to find out if it was made by him.  The mystery leads them to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler who is a collector of secrets. 
An intriguing story.  I liked they way the children planned and structured each day.  They had to figure out ways to survive.  They had to find out about each other and themselves.  They battled the inner reasons for running away in the first place.  They found beauty in a statue and life.  I enjoyed listening to my son read this aloud to me.  I had to contain myself from reading ahead, just a little.  As the ending came together and the mystery was solved, they had to keep their own secret for the sake of the statue and the elderly woman, Mrs.  Basil E. Frankweiler.
Although I disagree with children running away, I loved the learning and principles, that the children encountered.   We all enjoyed this book as we sat each day to hear a little more. 
This book is now also a movie.
It was available from: Fishpond, Book depository and Amazon

Thursday, 13 November 2014

I am in here


I am in here
Authors: Elizabeth M Bonker and Virginia G Breen
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2071-1
Pages: 233

I am in Here: The Journey of a Child with Autism Who Cannot Speak But Finds Her Voice
Elizabeth is a young girl with autism who cannot speak but writes the most amazing beautiful poetry.  Elizabeth and her brother were normal children until they received their vacinations.  The result was a life with autism.  Through the help of a great teacher she was shown how to write on  a keyboard.  This girl wants to help the world understand autism and through this book and her poetry she has, at least, enabled me to see autism differently.  Her poetry says "I am in here".  That touched my heart.  How often do we look at people who have disabilities and think of the as not all in there.  I think if we were all honest we have all thought differently of people who cannot talk fluently, or those who are not the same as what we class as normal.  Reading this book I would say Elizabeth has more to offer the world, even without speech, than many other individuals around.  Take a look at this book for understanding of autism, but also for the poetry of a girl who speaks loudly through the written word.  She has a beautiful heart.
I sometimes fear
That people cannot understand
That I hear
And I know
That they don't believe I go
To every extreme
To try to express
My need to talk.
If only they could walk
In my shoes
They would share my news:
I am in here
And trying to speak every day
In some kind of way
(age 9)
(Page 23)

So Much to Do
There was a girl
Who spent her life in a whirl
Going here and there
With no time to spare.
She missed the times
When the bells would chime.
Anxious to fill her day
She did not see the flower blooming
Or the airplane zooming.
She missed some of the best of life
In her strife
To do it all.
(Page 47)
This was available from: Book depository, Fishpond and Chirstan manna stores


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

My favourite cookbooks!


I have been so busy studying and sitting exams, that the only reading I have achieved is academic.  I don't want to put you to sleep so, I thought I would talk cooking.  Who doesn't like food!

Edmonds Cookery Book
The Edmonds Cooker Book.  Old but tried and I have to say it has always been in my home.  I learnt from this cook book.  It was the only cook book I used apart from my mothers hand written cook book, until I left home.  To be completely honest with you, I never touched another cook book for years after I left home.  My daughter uses this now to bake.  She hasn't touched any other recipes in this book but she keeps going back to it for baking.  This is one book I would give to anyone leaving home who doesn't do much cooking.  It has been around so long that the ingredients are kitchen staples.  One highly recommended, old but true cook book.

Nourishing Traditions
Nourishing Traditions, this is more than a cook book.  With over 600 recipes you cant really go wrong.  I have tried quite a few recipes in this book and I especially love the Moroccan chicken.  I love the left overs the next day on pizza with loads of vegetables.  The reason I love this book though is the nutritional information.  It is packed with information.  It isn't any normal recipe book. Looking at all the diets out there today that talk of going back to the traditional diets... Nourishing Traditions has been giving readers this insight for years.  But it also explains all the nutritional facts and traditional cooking interventions that have long been forgotten, but are coming back into fashion today as people question the processing of foods.

The Revive Cafe Cookbook
Now for my new favourite!
The Revive Cafe Cookbook.  I can not speak highly enough about this book.  And... there are four in the series so far!  I keep collecting.  The recipes are Divine, and ever so healthy.  I have a whole new way of cooking thanks to the revive cookbooks.  I am longing now to get my hands on book 4 that has just hit the shelves in town.  What I really like about this book is the fact that I have 95% of the ingredients in my cupboards.  I get really annoyed when I get a recipe book but cannot source the ingredients.  Not so with this one.  The recipes are vegan but easily adapted by putting in chicken or any other substitute.  To be honest with you though it has opened my mind to vegetables.  I have never had so many recipes, to entice my family with, that are vegetable based.  The kids love dinner time now.  No more meat and three veg in our house anymore.  The table is full of Divine meals based on veges.  Yum!  I cannot wait until tea time now.

Friday, 24 October 2014

A letter to Mrs Roosevelt

A letter to Mrs Roosevelt
Author: C.Coco De Young
ISBN:  9780440415299
Pages: 105

A Letter to Mrs. Roosevelt
This  review has taken a while.  I have been busy doing final assignments and exams.  It is nearly all over, then I can read some of the books I have waiting to be devoured and brought to life.  So keep checking in and I will keep reading and reviewing as our summer here begins.
This book is an easy read for young readers.  It is of a young girl during the depression.  Her father owns a business and gives his services in exchange for food if people cannot pay him.  This enables the family to stay feed, but not pay the bills.  The house becomes ticketed and they have limited time before they are made to move out. 
Margo has to write a letter for a class assignment.  She decides to write to Mrs Roosevelt and ask for help as she believes Mrs Roosevelt can fix anything.  The outcome of the whole story shows the beauty of child innocence and character. 
If you want a story for your children to show them anything is possible, if you at least try first, then this is a book worth handing them.  It is truly a beautiful story.
This was available from: Amazon, Fishpond and Book depository

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Helen Keller


Helen Keller
Author: Margaret Davidson
ISBN: 978-0-590-42404-2
Pages: 95

Helen Keller
My son loved reading this book.  He told me it was one of the most understandable books he has read. The best thing is he has also retained all the information.  It is an easy read chapter book full of information about the life of Helen Keller, yet told in story form.  It inspired him enough to get sign language books from the library and learn some sign language.  I really like books that inspire more from children.  In the back of the book are prints of Helen including a picture of her with her inspirational teacher, Annie Sullivan.  I would like to read more about Annie Sullivan.  She was the driving force behind the character of Helen Keller.  She had sight problems of her own yet went on to teach Helen while never limiting her for her disabilities.  I highly recommend this book for both young readers and adults who want a quick informative read about an inspirational girl.
This was available from: Book depository and Fishpond

Thursday, 2 October 2014


Author: Christopher Michael Reardon
ISBN: 9780615897783
Pages: 262


Christpher Reardon is a new author.  He has tutored writing and this is his first book.  He sent me a copy to read and see what I thought.  Well what do I think?  I think he is going to do fantastic within the field of writing and would definately read more of his books. 

This is not a book I would have probably picked up off the self from my local bookstore, so I am pleased Christopher sent it to me.  It kept me reading to see how the obstacles were going to be achieved.  The idea of the book is quiet different.  There is a doctor and a sick boy who is going to die.  That is until Gari (the doctor) is given a book that takes him on an adventure through six obstacles that will enable the young boy to live.   The obstacles are far from easy.  To the extreme really.  It gets you thinking, would you risk your life for another?  Especially through obstacles like these.  There are others doing the obstacles as well, all with their own stories to tell.  They become part of a twist that I can not tell about without spoiling. 
For a young author, and a new author, Christopher is a dramatic writer.  Well thought out plot and loads suspense. 
Thanks for sending me the Christopher - great work!
Check out Christoper Reardons website at:
Available from:

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Pale Fire

Pale Fire
Author: Vladimir Nabokov
ISBN: 978-0-679-72342-4 
Pages: 313
Pale Fire: A Novel
I have a love/hate relationship going with this book.  It is a novel containing a forward, poem of 4 cantos, commentary and an index.  Upon first picking this up for a paper I was studying, I thought I just had to read the poem.  No, this is more than a poem.  The poem is written by the character, John Shade.  Charles Kinbote writes the introduction and the commentary.  The commentary is about a norhtern land of Zembla and the Zembla king...  This has little to do with the poem but Charles manages to make the poem out to be about his own story of his land.  It is quite a novel, full of puzzlement.  You have little idea of what is really going on until the final pages.  Yet, you are still left wondering what is really true. 
Valdimir Nabokov wrote a very interesting novel here.  I was quite happy to just read the poem.  I love poetry and really enjoyed reading it.  That is why reading the rest of the novel just confused the enjoyment I got from the poem.  There is not even a hard and fast way in which this needs to be read.  You can read the poem first, or the commentary, or read from the introduction to the end.  It's all up to the reader.  Very interesting style of writing.
I have to say though that by the end of all the reading, I actually enjoyed it.  I went from hating it to having an appreciation for the story and the writing.  It was unlike anything I have ever read.  Give it try and see what you think. 
This was available from: Book depository, Fishpond and Amazon

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The books of elsewhere - The shadows


The books of elsewhere - The Shadows
Author: Jacqueline West
ISBN: 978-0-14-214872-7
Pages: 241

The Shadows

Olive moves house to a old house on Linden Street that feels strange and weird.  When Olive discovers an old pair of glasses and puts them on she finds she can climb inside the paintings to Elsewhere, a sinsiter world with strange secrets which Olive soon finds herself trying to escape from. 
This book is full of suspense.  For a childrens book I found it very well written, giving full credit and praise to the author for imagination and plot.  It was unlike any other childrens story I have read and I found I struggled to put it down in places.  The Shadows is the first book in the series and I think I will read the others.  My daughter wanted me to read this as it is one of her favourite series and now authors too.  I can what has caught her attention.  There are talking cats, adventure, suspense and a battle between good and evil.  All the things a young reader wants in a novel today.

This was available from: Fishpond, Book depository and Amazon

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Assassins in the Cathedral


Assassins in the Cathedral
Author:Dave & Neta Jackson
Product Details

Yacabo is thrilled to write a play about Uganda's first Christian martyrs for the cathedral's Centennial, but terror strikes when Archbishop Luwun is killed by assassins and Festo Kevenger, the famous Ugandan evangelist, is forced to flee the country. 
As Yacabo writes his play, Uganda's leader takes more control over Uganda.  Anyone who expresses a difference to his ruling dissappears.  Yacabo's family comes under this threat which soon becomes reality as his younger brother is taken.  This is a very heart touching story.  There are moments of disbelieve as the past reality is brought to life in this book.
This was available from Amazon:

Friday, 5 September 2014

International Literacy Day!

What are you doing for International Literacy Day? 

We are curling up on the couches with books and reading both aloud and silently.  Then we will eat, drink and curl back up with a book.  When the inspiration hits we will get our writing brains in action and write. 

Hope you find time to enjoy it!

Saturday, 23 August 2014

The neverending story

The Neverending Story
Author: Michael Ende
ISBN:  9780140386332
Pages: 444

 The Neverending Story
This is one of my favourite children's movies so I thought it was about time I read the book.  The first half of the book is a lot like the movie.  I was impressed.  Many of the movies I have watched have not been as closely related to the book as this one.  The only problem was the movie stops about half way through the book.  This threw me a little, as after this I had to read a story which I expected finished.  It was well worth continuing the read. 
The first half of the book Bastian takes a book and hides in the school attic to read it.  He reads of Fantastica and the adventures of Atreyu, as he tries to find the one boy who can save Fantastica.  As Basitian reads, he is drawn into the story and discovers he is in fact the boy.  He has to name the childlike empress but has no idea how.  He gives her a new name and is transported into Fantasica.  By this time Fantastica is all gone but one grain.  As Bastian makes wishes Fantastica is reborn.  Time brings the discovery that his wishes makes him lose his memory of his life before Fantastica.  He must find a way back to his world before his wishes are all used and he has no memory of the life he wants to return to.   He must find what is important to him and what he really wishes for.
For anyone who has enjoyed this movie, maybe its worth you reading the book too.  It is a story for all ages to enjoy and remember.
This was available from: Book depository, Fishpond and Amazon

Friday, 22 August 2014

Teaching adolescent writers


Teaching Adolescent Writers
Author: Kelly Gallagher
ISBN: 9781571104299
Pages: 200

Teaching Adolescent Writers

I can not over state how happy I am to have this book.  If you are teaching adolescents writing, then I highly recommend you go online to Book Depository or Fishpond and get yourself a copy. 
Kelly Gallagher  has built this book around six "Pillars of Writing Success":
  1. Students need a lot more writing practice.
  2. Students need teachers who model good writing.
  3. Students need the opportunity to read and study other writers.
  4. Students need choice when it comes to writing topics.
  5. Students need to write for authentic purposes and for authentic audiences.
  6. Students need meaningful feedback from both the teacher and their peers.
He offers a number of classroom-tested strategies that enable teachers to:
  • Understand the importance of teaching writing
  • Motivate young writers
  • Model effective writing using both the teacher's own compositions and real-world text
  • Provide clear choice within a rigorous curriculum
  • Help students recognise the importance of purpose and audience
  • assess essay;s in ways that drive better writing performance
This book is brilliant.  It has master sheets in the appendix, along with lists that I will surly find very useful.  I have put into action a number of things already and it works.  It is difficult to take a student from primary writing and transition them into adult writers.  Teaching Adolescent writers has made this transition easier to comprehend.  It has given me tools and advice to teach a young adult rather than treat them like they are still a child writer. 
This is available from:  Book depository, Amazon and Fishpond:

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

The Chronicles of Narnia


The Chronicles of Narnia
Author: C S Lewis
ISBN: 9780066238500
Pages: 766

The Complete Chronicles of Narnia
The complete chronicles of Narnia, all in one book.  We absolutely loved every story.  There is nothing lacking in the writing of this book - at all.  Each scene popped off the pages into our imaginations.  I had children that moaned every time I put the book down.  Reading this was the time of the day that they hung off my every word.
Take a journey to Narnia with Polly and Diggory as they experience the beginning of Narnia.  Then go back with Lucy, Peter, Susan and Edmond when they enter the wardrobe and discover the world within.  Travel the sea with Price Caspian where Reepicheep (a Mouse) will battle with your imagination.  Jill and Eustace will take to a city under Narnia and then to the end of Narnia and beyond.  Its a complete journey from beginning to end.  We came together and loved every character and adventure. 
This is a book that will come off my bookcase and be read to the next generation also.
Narnia is probably my favourite book.  The best story book out of the stories , for me, is probably - The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  This book is an action packed adventure story!  My favourite character is reepicheep (he's funny).  I was disappointed when Aslan told Lucy and Edmond they wouldn't return to Narnia. But it was awesome, in the last battle, when they return to stay. - Nathan
Narnia was one of the best books I have ever read!  It had heaps of description and so many cool characters.  My favourite book was, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.  My favourite two characters were Aslan and reepicheep.  Reepicheep was so cute and fluffy.  He was a mouse that was little and brave.  I guess his most threatening sentence was, I am going to stab you... in the foot."  He was one of the most remembered characters in the story.  Every book was amazing!  Around every corner something else was hiding.
This was available from: Book Depository and Fishpond

Tuesday, 5 August 2014



Author: Veronica Roth
ISBN: 978-0-00-742042-1
Pages: 487


I had mixed thoughts about this book, from a mothers point of view.  But as a reader I become so enticed that I couldn't put it down.  The characters go through so many emotions and trials that you just have to keep reading.  The twists are great.  The plot is different.  The very reasons I kept reading. 

The city is made up of factions.  Each person must conform to the statue of their faction.  Tris, the main character doesn't belong to any in one faction, she is divergent.  If she lets anyone know then she will become factionless.  Because of this she struggles to fit in into the most dangerous faction and finds it hard being divergent.  But who can she trust. 

I will be writing spoilers if say any more. 

This is trilogy and a movie. 

It is available from: Book depository, Fishpond and amazon.

Friday, 1 August 2014

Battle Bunny
Author: Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett
Illustrator: Mathew Myers
ISBN: 978-4424-4673-1
Battle Bunny

I have been editing with the children, really encouraging them to take extreme measures to change develop their writing.  This isn't easy.  Who likes to look for things to do better when you think you have done the best you could at the start.  Writing isn't like that.  You get a great piece of work out of revision. 

This book is fantastic, as the bunny changes his birthday story into a battle story.  Fantastic for both boys and girls.  The bunny has written all over the pages and included pictures to emphasis the thought.  The story changes to an amazing little piece of action.  I was smiling the whole way through.  Most of all I was impressed by the concept of changing the story and the way the illustrations made it a work of art. 

I had to get this book to show the kids a great piece of editing along with a great picture book.

This was available from: Fishpond, Book depositiory and Amazon

Monday, 28 July 2014

To the Lighthouse


To the Lighthouse
Virginia Woolf
ISBN: 978-0-19-953661-
Pages: 170
To the Lighthouse
This is not one of the easiest books to read but it grows on you.  I quickly read it while I was sick and put it down at the end thinking of it as, not one of the most impressionable books I have read.  I picked it up about a month later and read it again.  This time I actually really enjoyed it.  It is written in 'stream of consciousness' point of view.  It gets into the minds of the characters.  I didn't think much about this as I read it the first time, but reading it the second time I took this into account.  It lets you know the character as people.  Rather than reading for a plot or scene you are reading the thoughts and emotions of the character.  When you think about what they are feeling and thinking you can think of them as real people.  I haven't read a lot of books that are written so predominantly in this style, so I found it very different to read.  Once I became attached to the characters thoughts it became a classic in the term 'when you read it again you get more from it'.
Strangely enough, although this is a hard read at first, I recommend reading it.
This was available from: Fishpond and Book depository

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Rose Blanche

Rose Blanche
Author: Roberto Innocent & Ian McEwan
ISBN: 0-009-943950-6

A very thought provoking book.  It is about a young girl from the start of the war.  People are cheering and excited as the war begins.  Rose's life continues as normal until one day she discovers one of the prison camps.  Each day she takes them food.  She saves her own food to do this.  Then the war erupts and people leave the town, except Rose who no one can find.
The illustrations are beautiful and also captivate the mind, as some of the pages are the same scene  portrayed during the war and after the war.  Very well presented story and illustrations.
This was available from: Book Depository, Fishpond and Amazon

Friday, 18 July 2014

Enchantment in the garden

Enchantment in the Garden
Author: Shirley Hughes
ISBN: 0-370-32332-7

Enchantment in the Garden

Shirley Hughes writes beautiful books and this one is brilliant.  The language in this story brings the emotions of the characters to life.  This an awesome piece of literature for young children.  After reading this I used it to show my children how words can capture feelings and show scenes, as Shirley Hughes has such literate detail in her writing.
Enchantment in the Garden is the story of a rich girl who has everything a child could wish for but she is extremely lonely.  She loves the statues in the gardens and christens her favourite one, giving him a name.  When she returns the next day the statue is gone.  She finds the boy, who she has brought given life to and from there the story unfolds as the boy tries to live in a world unlike his. 
This is picture book that I recommend for all ages.  I would read it to the very young and I will use it with older children for  both pleasure and showing the use of language in great writing (even within children's picture books).

This was available from: Book depository, Fishpond and Amazon

Friday, 11 July 2014


Author: Cornelia Funke
ISBN: 9-708439-554014
Pages: 655

I did it!  I got through this book!  It was fantastic and I was disappointed that it had to come to an end.  Well, really it doesn't end here.  There is one more book in the trilogy which I wont be able to read until later in the year, as my reading pile is a little large at the moment.  Never mind it will be something to look forward to. 
So, what made this book so enjoyable for me...  the characters and the descriptive scenes.  I was drawn into the characters lives and emotions.  Each character seemed to play their own part in the creation of the book.  Maggie reads herself and Farid into the same book that the characters had been read out of in Inkheart, this becomes its own story for a while.  Mo and Resa are read into the book for different reason (you will have to read it) and this becomes its own story for a while.  Mean while Elinor is is left behind wishing she could escape her situation and follow them all.  It flicks it bit between each scene yet draws you further into the novel as it all emerges together.  Awesome writing by Cornelia Funke. 
The descriptive writing enables the reader to envision the scenes.  I loved this.  It was like reading a new updated version of Nania.  Well really nothing can compare to Nania it is in a league of its own, yet this is what the writing reminded me of (keeping in mind that this is only my thoughts).
This is a young adults book.  I have seen youtube reviews done by younger children but I really think that the maturity of this book would be enjoyed at a deeper level by young adults rather that children.
This was available from:  Book Depository, Fishpond and Amazon.  You will most likely find this on any bookstore shelf also.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Shades of gray


Shades of Gray
Carolyn Reeder
ISBN: 9-780689-826962
Shades of Gray
After Wills parents die he is sent to live with his Aunty and Uncle he has never met.  Will's Uncle didn't go to war, so Will thinks he is a traitor and refuses to except him or even call him Uncle.  He tries to adjust to his new life yet the boys seem to make it difficult; they know too much about him.  Through the trials life brings Will has difficult decisions to make.  Life adjusts around him and draws him un-knownly into his new family. 
This a great book for boys.  That having been said, the girls will enjoy it too.  Will was a great character that my son enjoyed.  He continually outwitted the other boys often making him face up to his conscience.
This book has the age recommendation of 8-12 years.
It was available from: Book Depository and Amazon

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Deeper Reading


Deeper Reading: Comprehending Challenging Texts 4-12
Kelly Gallagher
ISBN: 9781571103840
Pages: 228

Deeper Reading: Comprehending Challenging Texts, 4-12
I really like this author.  Kelly Gallagher is a full-time English teacher in California, who has been teaching high school for twenty-five years and writes how to effectively teach reading and writing.  In this book he writes about teaching reading at a deeper level for grades 4-12.  This is the reason I found this book a tremendous resource.  There are so many books and tools for teaching reading to primary levels.  Yet I have found little for reading with high school students (I am sure there is plenty out there so let me know which ones you recommend). 
This is the list of chapters:
  • Why reading is like baseball
  • Teaching challenging text
  • Focusing the reader
  • Effective first-draft reading
  • Deepening comprehension through second-draft reading
  • The importance of collaboration
  • Using metaphor to deepen comprehension
  • Leading students to meaningful reflection
  • Reading the world
  • The art of teaching deep reading
This book got me thinking about how we expect young adults to comprehend without question.  I know how many times I have had to read and re-read a text to write an assignment for it.  Yet, how often do we hand young adults a book and say read this... and expect they will understand?  How much do they know, previously about the topic, to grasp the concepts they are expected to understand?  This book addresses the way teachers assume the student should read and comprehend with little prior knowledge to bring to the book.
This was available from:  Fishpond and Book Depository

Friday, 27 June 2014

Moccasin trail

Moccasin Trail
Eloise Jarvis McGraw
ISBN: 978-0-14-032170-8
Pages: 247
Moccasin Trail

Jim Keath was saved by the Crow Indians and spent the next six years living and learning their way of life.  This is who Jim was... a Crow.  That is until he leaves the Indians and is sort after by his brother and sister, who have lost their parents and need him to purchase land.  Jim is reunited with his family yet finds it hard to fit in with their culture.  As he adapts he finds it hard to fit into either culture.  His brother and sister also find it hard excepting and understanding his way of living.  Together they realise that to survive they need to accept each other and truly reunite as a family.
This book is well written.  I read it aloud to my children and they really enjoyed it.  They have asked for more books by the author, as they enjoyed the description in the novel.
I recommend this book for 11+ if reading independently, depending on reading confidence.  As a read-aloud I highly recommend for any age.
This was available from: Book Depository, Fishpond and amazon

Friday, 20 June 2014

Turn Homeward Hannalee

Turn Homeward Hannalee
Author: Patricia Beatty
ISBN: 978-0-688-16676-2
Pages: 193
Turn Homeward, Hannalee
Twelve year old Hannalee lives with her mother and bother during the final days of the Civil War.  Her father has died, her mother is pregnant and her older brother is in the war.  Hannalee and her younger brother both work at the mill to support the family.  This is until the mill is burnt down and the mill workers are all taken from there home and sent to other towns.  Hannah and her brother are taken from their mother by the Yankees and separated.  Hannalee escapes, dresses as a boy and travels to find her brother.  Together they make their way home, becoming trapped in the middle of the fighting.  They watch one of the battles from up a tree and survive many obstacles in their quest for home. 
The author's notes state "The first half of this novel is fact, the second half fiction - or, more correctly, the result of some "educated" guessing as to the probable events that could have taken place in the lives of my characters after midsummer 1864".
It is good to see these stories are so well written that children can envision these events in history.  They are better than a history textbook and tell the story from the perspective of  the child. 
This book was available from: Book depository, Fishpond and Amazon