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Sci Fi Writing for Kids

I approached Sci Fi writing for my creative writing club with some trepidation - I haven't done much Sci Fi writing myself and I just wasn't sure if they'd run with it. But how wrong could I be? All the kids loved it, and I mean loved it.…
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Age banding on books? No thanks

There's something very odd indeed about putting age bands on books. The message it's really sending out is this: Don't try and read above your age level, and if you read books for younger children, then you're reading 'below' yourself. The…
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Madeline in London

Really, what's not to love about Madeline? I discovered this book in a charity shop years ago when my kids were still really little and was drawn by the fabulous vintage drawings (Bemelmans published his Madeline books between 1939 and 1961),…
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Keeping the stories alive

        It seems I have a bit of a thing about elderly men. That's not nearly as dodgy as it sounds. Let me explain. Whilst researching for my first novel, The Poet's Wife, I was lucky enough to interview a gent in his…
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A First Book of Nature

I do so love this book. Written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Mark Hearld, A First Book of Nature is a celebration of nature and all the colours, textures and beauty of the British countryside and the changing seasons. Hearld's…
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Why Granada?

The Spanish Civil War raged the length and breadth of the country between 1936 and 1939, so why Granada? Why did I chose to focus my narrative around this one place? (And, to a lesser degree, Barcelona - a city I've never been to, but long to).…
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The Girl with a Brave Heart

The Girl with a Brave Heart is an Iranian folk tale, penned by Israeli singer and writer Rita Jahanforuz and illustrated in bold, evocative shades by Vali Mintzi (who has been influenced by Bonnard, Hockney & Matisse.) Its opening is…
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Christmas Books for Children

We have a big Christmas box that we pull out of the attic at the start of each December which includes several Christmas books. There is something really lovely about only reading these books in the run up to Christmas and I really enjoy seeing…
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Phantom Tollbooth Word Market

Imagine you go to a marketplace and instead of buying fruit and vegetables you buy words. Well, this is what Milo, hero of The Phantom Tollbooth does on one of his adventures in the land of Dictionopolis. "Get your fresh-picked ifs, ands…
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Book Review: The Boy who Grew Flowers

I sell Barefoot Books, a collection of beautifully illustrated children's books which celebrate art and story and and aim to open young hearts and minds. One of my own kids' favourite books from this publisher is 'The Boy who grew flowers',…