Can fantasy cause mental illness in children?

You’ve probably heard about the storm an English headteacher has caused by declaring that fantasy novels, such as the Harry Potter series, Lord of the Rings and The Hunger Games, can cause mental illness in children. Graeme Whiting, headteacher at the Acorn School in Gloucester, said in a recent blog post that the aforementioned books:…

Veronica, the Conspicuous Hippo, and the power of stories for vocabulary

Recently I was lucky to receive a review copy of Veronica by Roger Duvoisin, republished by Bodleian’s Children’s Books – a fairly new but sure-to-be popular company. Veronica is the third in their list, and it’s as delightful as the previous two: Penguin’s Way and Whale’s Way (you can read more about these in my…

A minimum age for metaphor?

Two weeks ago, I read Oliver Jeffers’s picture book The Heart and the Bottle to children in Years 1 and 2 at school. It is a book that I read a few years ago and enjoyed – admiring its ability to portray human grief sensitively and poetically. I wanted to share it with the children…

A modern fable of courage, devotion and being true to yourself

In a world where children and young adults are constantly fed unrealistic images about their bodies and their clothes and even their personalities, there is an even greater need for stories that portray issues that really matter. Not through doctrination or dogmatism, but through tales that inspire, comfort and raise the spirit. Chilean political activist,…

Inspirational female writers

Some sort of cyberspace kerfuffle has broken out about a comment American journalist Gay Talese made in an event at Boston University. Apparently, when asked to name female writers who had inspired him, he replied ‘None’. (You can read more here.) I don’t want to comment on this specifically as there are all sorts of…

The Lie Tree – a true award winner

It’s been a little while since I’ve written a review for my Popsugar Reading Challenge but today I’m pleased to write about my choice for the National Book Award category. However, I’ve cheated on this, not being based in the USA, and have chosen Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree, which won the Costa Book of…

An Ugly Duckling, A Mole and A Lumpy Bumpy

It’s been a while since I have posted, for which I apologise. Appropriately, I feel that I have had the March Hare following me around speeding up time. In the meantime, I have two reading challenges on the go – the Popsugar 2016 one and ‘Books and Beyond’, a read-a-thon where you read your way…

Reasons to Stay Alive – the first book you see in a bookshop

Today’s post is on the third book I’ve read as part of the Popsugar Reading Challenge 2016 – the First Book You See in a BookShop – Matt Haig’s highly praised Reasons to Stay Alive. I saw this piled high in Oxford’s Waterstones, piled high up and occupying an entire display window for the first…

Forever – a book you can finish in a day

The latest instalment in the Popsugar Reading Challenge is A Book You Can Finish in a Day. My choice for this was Judy Blume’s Forever. When I was a pre-teen, I rapidly read my way through all of Judy Blume’s books but this one passed me by. Probably just as well as I would have…

Winnie the Pooh – a book that is guaranteed to bring joy

The second book of the Popsugar Challenge that I have completed is Winnie the Pooh and I thought I would classify it as my entry for ‘A Book That is Guaranteed to Bring You Joy’. The last time I read this book, or at least part of it, must have been with Holly. However, I…

Happy Birthday AA Milne!

Goodness, another birthday. This time it’s AA Milne’s 134th birthday (if he were still alive, obviously). And we all know what AA Milne’s fame comes from – the wonderful stories of Winnie the Pooh. I’m currently reading the first book of Pooh’s adventures as part of the Popsugar challenge, and am enjoying it greatly. As…

Happy Birthday, Charles Perrault!

Anyone who’s visited Google’s page today will have seen that they have dedicated their Doodle to Charles Perrault, the oft-cited father of the modern fairy tale. Had he been a character in his own fairy tale, he might be celebrating his 388th birthday. However, he was a real person and subject to nature’s laws so…