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Win a small treasure: The Gifts of Reading

'This story, like so many stories, begins with a gift. The gift, like so many gifts, was a book...' So begins Robert Macfarlane's masterful and luminous essay, on the gift and power of giving and receiving books. This small, beautifully bound…
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Why should we read Historical Fiction?

I'm going to let you into a little secret: I never intended to write Historical Fiction. It's not that I didn't enjoy reading it from time to time, but in my pre-novel days when I focused on the short story form, they were almost always set…
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How do we create a new narrative of hope?

'It's important to say what hope is not: it is not the belief that everything was, is, or will be fine. The evidence is all around us of tremendous suffering and tremendous destruction. The hope I'm interested in is about broad perspectives…
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The curious truth about book covers

So here's a curious thing I've learnt about the covers of novels since becoming a published author: They don't have to (and often don't) have anything to do with the book's contents. Seems peculiar, doesn't it? Counter-intuitive? Downright…
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Carving a path for our children through written & oral landscapes

Illustration by Thomas James Words are like water. They ebb and flow, transforming as the years pass to camouflage themselves in their surroundings. Language shapes and moulds our identities, providing a emotional anchor for our pasts and…
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Five celebratory online spaces to inspire curiosity & creativty

Do you ever find yourself browsing through the internet, searching for calming spaces, free from clutter, hyperbole & advertising, places that leave you feeling inspired, a little bit wiser or just plain happy? Such sites are surprisingly…
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Uncovering Enid Blyton

Lauded and loathed in equal measure, since the 1950's Enid Blyton's books have been banned from many schools, libraries and homes for being anachronistic, sexist, xenophobic, elitist and racist, not to mention accusations of relentlessly…
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Childhood Books Beloved of Authors

'You are what you eat,' it has commonly been said. But, I'd argue, you are also what you read. During our childhoods when we are discovering new worlds for the first time, we read with our entire bodies, minds and senses. We literally become…
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Three Fantastic Magazines for Children

Have you ever thought you'd like to subscribe to a magazine for your children, but something with a little more depth and less gender stereotyping than the average glossy mag that can be slipped into the shopping trolley at the supermarket? Living…
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How can we as parents turn around reluctant readers?

Do you have a child you really have to coerce into reading? Does it sometimes feels as though everybody else's kids are racing through books whilst your child will do anything they can think of to avoid it? We, as parents, would all love our…