Small Great Things – Jodi Picoult

“It just goes to show you: every baby is born beautiful. It’s what we project on them that makes them ugly.”

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Blurb: “When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father. What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.”

Jodi Picoult is a writer whose work I’m frequently been told to read. However, none of her material every really appealed to me; and that’s no fault of Jodi, it’s just not a genre I often reach for. Although, after being interested in the topic of this one, and after reading a chapter sampler on my kindle, this quickly changed.

Small Great Things follows an African-American nurse named Ruth who works on a birthing ward. She’s worked in this role for twenty years and turns up to work like any normal day and is assigned her patient for the day: a woman who had her baby overnight. Ruth tends to the new-born, performing the necessary examinations only for the angry father to request to see her manager. He doesn’t want “someone who looks like Ruth” touching his baby. Ruth is moved to another patient and when an unfortunate situation results in the death of the baby she’s banned from looking after, the finger is swiftly pointed at her.

The story focuses on a rather serious and relevant situation which sadly many go through on a daily basis. With many readers expressing a need for more diverse books and a more diverse publishing industry, this book (after a discussion with my #FeminisminYA* friends on twitter) has very mixed views. Jodi Picoult is a white woman writing about a character who faces racism; something that she has not personally experienced. The plot is also inspired by a real life event that enraged Picoult so much she simply had to write about it but fictionalised the events and character motivations that led to the court case. There are some readers who feel that white writers should use their position to include POC characters in their works (with writers often shamed for not including them) but there are others who feel that issues of racism and differing cultures should be left to those who experience them and live them every day; regardless of how much “research” is put into it. After speaking to the aforementioned #feminisminya group I rethought why it is that I like this book so much.

The book is told in multiple perspectives: Ruth (the nurse), Turk (father of the baby) and Kennedy (Ruth’s Lawyer). I truly believe this was the best way for the story to be told as it covers very different viewpoints and each one is so well written that I don’t think it could have been shared in any other way. The reader can learn more about Ruth’s backstory and why she wanted to become a nurse and why Turk is so against anyone who isn’t white. But, as a white woman, the only character I can really discuss the accuracy of is Kennedy.

Kennedy is a character who really means well. She has a husband, a daughter, a thriving career, and she really does believe that everyone should be treated well regardless of their skin colour. However, she is prone to slip ups and saying things that she believes are helping when really they are doing the opposite. Through reading her chapters, I noticed similarities between her and myself, including some phrases and points she’d expressed.  Her chapters were so important in showcasing things that are so engrained into white society and it made me sit back and think so many times.

And that is why I loved this book: because it got me thinking.

I feel like I have gained more of an understanding through my process of reading this book though it saddens me that cases such as these appear too often in the media. I urge you to read this book but I also urge you to listen to the people who are screaming at the top of their lungs yet to some of us, it’s merely a whisper.

*#Feminisminya is a weekly twitter chat discussing various themes within YA books. It takes place Tuesdays 7:30pm on Twitter under this hashtag and everyone is free to join in*

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Favourite Books Of The Year | 2016

It’s the end of another year which means it’s once again time for me to discuss my favourite reads of the past twelve months. 2016 has been a very interesting reading experience for me as I decided to start being a tad more honest with my ratings and if I wasn’t enjoying a book, then I simply tossed it aside rather than forcing myself to finish in an attempt to get one step closer to achieving my Goodreads target. So, without further ado, here are the stand out books for the year of 2016.

Gabriel And The Swallows by Esther Dalseno 

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Gabriel and The Swallows follows a boy who stumbles across an injured bird and takes it home in the hopes that he can save its life, only to discover that the creature is in fact not a bird… but a girl with swallows wings. This book is a slow read, taking place over many years but it’s such a beautiful story. It’s very much in the realm of magical realism and explores the friendship between the protagonist and this remarkable creature that fell into his life. It’s been a very, very long time since a book affected me so much at the end that I just sat there sobbing. I honestly cannot put into words just how outstanding the contents of this book are.

My full review can be found here and I also went to the launch event for this book which can be found here.
Inherited by Freedom Matthews 

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Inherited by Freedom Matthews tells the story of a group of people on a pirate ship, cursed with the inability to love:  If they were to confess love for another, that person would die. Together, the crew search for the remaining heirs to the curse and aim to track down the sorceress that put the curse on their parents and get her to change her mind.

Frankly, we don’t have enough pirate books and it was so refreshing to read this book. What I love the most about this story is that because the majority takes place on a ship, where the characters have no real place to escape to, it’s easy to get boring, but Freedom manages to keep it interesting, introducing new ideas and backstories through dialogue.

My full review of this book can be found here.
Rebel Of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

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Set in the desert nation of Miragi, mortals rule and mystical beast roam free. Amani wants nothing more than to leave her dead-end town and when a shooting competition arises offering prize money larger enough to fund her escape, she disguises as a boy to take part. There’s a Sultan’s army, magic, a fantastic protagonist, vivid imagery and a growing rebellion.

I became very disheartened with Young Adult Fiction this year; an awful lot of the books I was excited for let me down. I was close to turning my back completely on the age range but Rebel of the Sands was utterly fantastic and proved to me that there’s still hope for good books in Young Adult.

My full review can be found here.

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

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Am I Normal Yet? Follows Evie who was recently hospitalised for her eating disorder. Starting at a new college where nobody knows her “secret” she wants nothing more than to be normal. She meets Amber and Lottie and together they create The Spinster Club dedicated to reclaiming their womanhood. This was a very difficult read for me as it deals heavily with anxiety disorder but the really good thing about this book is it doesn’t sugarcoat. It shows just hard it is to live with mental illness and I hope will generate a platform where readers learn about what it’s like to be in that mindset and how to help someone they may know who deals with these experiences on a daily basis.

My full review can be found here.

The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher 

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As the first full length novel from Children’s writer Tom Fletcher, The Christmasaurus tells the story of wheelchair user William who wants nothing more than a pet dinosaur for Christmas and it just so happens that a dinosaur egg has been found at the North Pole. It’s a wonderful adventure that takes place one Christmas Eve. This book is hilarious, festive, and heart-warming, accompanied by wonderful illustrations.

It’s also great that Tom included a wheelchair user as his protagonist because representation is so important, especially when your audience is children.

My full review can be found here

So there we have it!
What were some of your favourite reads?

I will be back in the new year with many more reviews.

– Charlotte

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Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics And Pesky Poltergeists – J.K.Rowling

“Slughorn’s genuine remorse for the damage he had done in telling Riddle what he wanted to know is conclusive proof that he is not, and never was, Death Eater material.”

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Blurb: “These stories of power, politics and pesky poltergeists give you a glimpse into the darker side of the wizarding world, revealing the ruthless roots of Professor Umbridge, the lowdown on the Ministers for Magic and the history of the wizarding prison Azkaban. You will also delve deeper into Horace Slughorn’s early years as Potions master at Hogwarts – and his acquaintance with one Tom Marvolo Riddle.”

This is the third and final ebook I read in the new Harry Potter collection and it was a very satisfying way to end.

Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists focuses on a host of topics such as the backstory of arguably the most hated character from the Harry Potter series: Dolores Umbridge, a chapter dedicated to our favourite poltergeist Peeves, and an analysis of the fatal mistake Horace Slughorn made with Tom Riddle and how he coped with the aftermath, along with his role in the battle of Hogwarts.

What I found the most interesting in this collection were the chapters addressing the history of the Ministry of Magic and how it came to be along with the history behind the famous Azkaban prison.

It was another insightful read and just adds to how vast and how much of this world J.K.Rowling thought about when she was working on the Harry Potter books.

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Hogwarts: An Unreliable Guide – J.k.Rowling

“The sorting hat spent nearly four minutes trying to decide whether it should place Hermione in Ravenclaw or Gryffindor. In Neville’s case, the Hat was determined to place him in Gryffindor: Neville, intimidated by that house’s reputation for bravery, requested a placing in Hufflepuff.”

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Blurb: “Hogwarts: And Incomplete and Unreliable Guide takes you on a journey to Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You’ll venture into the Hogwarts grounds, become better acquainted with the more permanent residents, learn more about lessons and discover secrets of the castle.”

This is the second of the new Harry Potter ebooks that I decided to pick up because they’re quick and easy reads.

Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide is a wonderful collection that pays attention to the relevance of Kings Cross Station to the both J.K.Rowling and the world of Harry Potter, an insight into the life of the maurauder’s and how the famous map came to be. The reader can expect to learn about the Hogwarts ghosts and their original names along with those that never made it into the books.

Secrets about the Mirror of Erised are revealed and there’s a quite funny chapter dedicated to the painting of Sir Cadogan which book fan may remember from Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban. Plus my personal favourite, a chapter about the Hufflepuff common room (I wear my badger with pride!)

As I’ve said before, these are pottermore essays so if you frequent the site a lot (especially in its original format) then it’s likely you’ve already seen these but this was certainly my favourite as it focused a lot more of aspects of the school itself such as what classes students study in year one and what options they get to choose later on.

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Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies – J.K.Rowling

“Minerva McGonagall was one of only a handful of people who knew, or suspected, how dreadful a moment it was for Albus Dumbledore when, in 1945, he made the decision to confront and defeat the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald.”

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Blurb: “These stories of heroism, hardship and dangerous hobbies profile two of the Harry Potter stories’ most courageous and iconic characters: Minerva McGonagall and Remus Lupin. J.K.Rowling also gives us a peak behind the closed curtain of Sybill Trelwaney’s life, and you’ll encounter the reckless, magical-beast-loving Silvanus Kettleburn along the way.”

When I first heard about even more Harry Potter material being launched into the world, I was both excited and sceptical. I will be reviewing each book over the course of this week so if you’re interested, keep an eye out.

This collection is basically the short stories that can be found on Pottermore, which as a free site makes the release of these ebooks feel very much like another chance to cash in on the new hype around the series. However, if you’re someone who’s a sucker for backstories then you’ll really enjoy Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies.

It’s split into four sections, focusing on different heroic characters from the Harry Potter series. Those are: Minerva McGonagall, Remus Lupin, Sybill Trelawny and Silvanus Kettleburn. The reader is given an insight into the lives of each of these characters along with learning more about the history of aspects they are linked to such as the “prejudice of werewolves” for Lupin and “history of the animagus” for McGonagall.

It’s a fun, quick little read and sure to give heart-warming feelings to any Harry Potter fans.

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A Seven Letter Word – Kim Slater

“There’s no chit-chat or messing about, we just get on with playing the game. The other players don’t know anything about me at all. They haven’t got a clue that I can’t even say my own name or string a sentence together. I’d like to be that boy in real life.”

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Blurb: “Finlay’s mother vanished two year ago. And ever since then his stutter has become almost unbearable. Bullied at school and ignored by his father, the only way to get out the words which are bouncing around in his head is by writing long letters to his ma which he knows she will never read, and by playing Scrabble online. But when Finlay is befriended by an online Scrabble player called Alex, everything changes. Could it be his mother secretly trying to contact him? Or is there something more sinister going on?”

This story follows a teenage boy names Finlay who has a really bad stutter. When his mum left one day without a single word, let alone a reason why, that stutter gets worse.  Finlay seeks solace in the word board game Scrabble which he used to play with his mother, but also acts as a way for him to understand the importance and value of words. He frequently plays the game online where one day he meets a boy called Alex but this new person doesn’t just want someone to play the game, this person wants to get to know him. At school, Finlay is roped into the school’s scrabble club which leads to him being put forward for a championship and this kind of competition means newspaper reports. It’s the kind of coverage Finlay believes will bring his mother back.

There are so many things I loved about this book. For a start, it tackles a common issue that I haven’t seen really represented in books which is having a stutter. The book features a lot of scenes where adults allow Finlay a moment to get his words out but then cut him off and finish his sentences for him which I found very frustrating and gave me an insight into what it felt like to be in that position. The narrative switches between prose explaining the events of the story and letters Finlay writes to his mother but never sends.

Through the school’s Scrabble club, Finlay meets a muslin girl called Maryam who quickly became my favourite character. She faces a lot of prejudice within the story because of her religion which brings attention to a horrible problem that exists in society but also while facing a different kind of prejudice, Finlay and Maryam were able to connect with each other on some sort of level because of that.

Another thing that’s great about Kim’s books is you can never take things at face value. There is always an entirely different storyline under the surface that you just never see coming and that is the art of a fantastic writer.

The only thing I really found fault with is that the conversations between Alex and Finlay are bold text in the same font and at times it was hard to tell which characters were speaking.

Other than that, another brilliant book from Kim Slater.
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Book To Movie Talk: Me Before You

Hello Everyone!

As you may be aware, I do the odd blog post about some of my most anticipated adaptations and compared them to the book. As you may have seen, this week a review of Me Before You went up on my blog and I considered doing a written version of my “book to movie talk” to accompany it. However, after seeing the actual film I realised I’d be able to get my thoughts out in a somewhat coherant manner by doing it in video format. So here you are, these are my thoughts on the adaptation of Me Before You:

*warning – massive spoilers for both the film and the book*

– Charlotte

Me Before You – Jojo Moyes

“Sometimes I wondered if it was a defense mechanism, whether the only way to cope with his life was to pretend it wasn’t him it was happening to.”

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Blurb: “Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.”

I’m not one to actively put up romance / contemporary books unless it’s by another I’ve previously read (such as Cecelia Ahern and Giovanna Fletcher) but when I saw the trailer for the upcoming film adaptation, I found myself completed to read it.

The protagonist of this story is Louisa Clark. She’s twenty-six years old and stuck muddling through life. She doesn’t have any qualifications to get a decent job and her fitness-obsessed boyfriend doesn’t have much time for her. When she finds out via her local job centre that a family is looking for a carer for their son, she thinks she’s nowhere near the right person for the job, but she can’t deny the money is good. She takes it and Will enters her life.

Will Traynor was injured in a motorcycle accident which resulted in him being wheelchair-bound, unable to move most of his body.  He’s bitter, mad at the world and hates that everyone makes decisions for him; not caring what he actually wants. When Louisa Clark bumbles into his life with her ridiculous clothing choices, he doesn’t think his life can get much worse.

While my initial point isn’t entirely book related, I feel I need to express it: Emilia Clark and Sam Claflin are the perfect acting choices for these characters. Naturally, I pictured those actors as Louisa and Will in the images in my mind while reading, but they will a great fit, I am very sure of that.

This was a very easy read despite the serious and sad themes that spread through the pages. I found Louisa to be such a compelling character to follow through this story. However, there were random instances of chapters from other characters perspectives such as Nathan – another medical carer – and Will’s mother and while I understood what they were trying to convey (understanding and an outside perspective) they just felt jarring and out of place.

I loved seeing how Louisa became more sure of herself. Her growth throughout the chapters was so beautiful to witness while she dealt with a very temperamental person on a daily basis. Will is a horrible character and no matter how nice people are to him, he has quite a sharp tongue. And I actually liked that about him: it made him feel more real that a little trip out to a racecourse wouldn’t change his perspective. The wonderful thing about their relationship is that Louisa is the first person to see and speak to him as a person, not the person stuck in a chair who can’t eat without help.

But Will has a dark secret and when Louisa discovers it, she realises time is running out and she needs to make a plan.

If you haven’t read this book and either you’ve never heard of it or you’re unsure whether to read it, ignore the blurb premise because it honestly doesn’t sell this book enough. I highly recommend it whether you frequent the romance / contemporary genre or not.

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Truthwitch – Susan Dennard

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Blurb: “On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others. In the witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble – as two desperate young women know all too well. Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from a lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires. Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her – but she cannot see the binds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheadd impulsiveness.  Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives but war is coming to the witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.”

** I was sent this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

I first started hearing about this book about two months ago when it became surfacing in the booktube world. A witchy novel edorsed by the wonderous Sarah J Maas on the cover? I was already sold. However, I had resigned myself to having to wait until the release date (5th January 2016) to get my hands on it. Thankfully, the lovely people at Tor Teen & Pan Macmillan sent me a copy to review.

The story follows Safi who is a Truthwitch meaning she can tell whether someone is telling the truth or not. A Truthwitch is very rare and as you would expect, there’s a lot of people out there who would like to get their hands on her so their empires can triumph. Safi has formed an unlikely friendship with Iseult who is a Threadwitch, meaning she can see the threads that make up a person and can see their emotions in the way of coloured threads. The duo just want to be free to live their own lives away from the things and people that confine them. But a war is coming to the witchlands.

It’s no secret that I adore anything with witches and magic in. This book took things a step further, giving witches specific powers. There’s a whole host of different kinds of witches from the protagonists I’ve stated above, to airwitches who can dominate heat, storms, even control the air in someone’s lungs, to wordwitches who excel in the trade of rumours and secrets.

Safi and Iseult disguse themselves as peasents and try to rob a Guildmaster’s carriage, hoping it will give them the money to escape. Their plan becomes foiled and they almost get caught… by a Bloodwitch.

A Bloodwitch can smell the very witchery running through the veins of a witch and can track them for continents by the smell of their blood. So, while Safi and Iseult manage to escape, a cat and mouse chase begins. It probably doesn’t help matters that the Bloodwitch is also a Carawen Monk: traied to kill since childhood.

This is a very complex novel (as you would expect from fantasy). The world building is perfect, the characters are fleshed out and believable, the unique aspect to the witch powers worked really really well.

And the ending. Holy moly, the ending.
This book isn’t even out until January 5th 2016 and I already need the next book.

If you love fantasy, witches, medieval settings, you do NOT want to miss out on this one!

 
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“A Series Of Unfortunate Events” – The Importance Of Reading As A Child

Recently I watched the movie adaptation of A Series Of Unfortunate Events, based on the first three books in the collection of the same name, by Lemony Snicket.

Film Title: Lemony Snicket's: A Series of Unfortunate Events.

While the film was painfully mediocre, it took me back to an important aspect of my childhood: reading.

When I was a child, if I saw a toy I wanted, my mother would make me wait a week to see if I really wanted it. Seven days later, we would go back to the shop and I would have no recollection of what toy I’d got upset over not being able to have, let alone how badly I had supposedly wanted it, However, if it was a book I wanted, she’d say yes. And so began my adventures of reading. The book fair days at Primary school when those metal containers full of books were wheeled across the playground were a bigger event than Christmas to me. Mother would give me a money limit, and I would be let loose.

It was at one of these events that I discovered A Series of Unfortunate Events. The blurb is an example of genius, playing on the whole “saying don’t do it will make a kid want to do it more”:

“Dear Reader,

I’m sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.

In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.

It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.

With all due respect,

Lemony Snicket”
(Take from The Bad Beginning)

How could any child put the book back after reading that?!

Every single one of these books terrified me. I had horrible nightmares and used to hide the books in my wardrobe. Despite how scared I was, I continued reading book after book in this series out of a different kind of fear: if I wasn’t there for the characters, who else would be?
Now, would I have had this kind of mentality if I was a budding reader? Probably not.

To this day, A Series of Unfortunate Events was the first book series I ever read. And little me carried that as a badge of honor because I pushed through that fear to “protect” the characters until the very end.

Watching this film made me think about other books  I devoured in my childhood years.

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I’m pretty sure everyone from my generation read Roald Dahl at some point. But here is another example of my childish fears coming into play. I had the animated version of The BFG on video tape and used to watch it, truthfully, more than I sat re-reading the books. The giants terrified me. Specifically one sequence when Sophie and the BFG have to get past the nasty sleeping giants.

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Though these scenes were watched cowering behind my hands, I still had that mentality of “I can’t turn it off, I can’t abandon Sophie and the BFG!” As if me persevering with the film or books in general that made me uncomfortable had some affect on the story.

One fear I haven’t been able to shake is spiders.

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I remember being given this book. Thankfully I was too young to understand parts of the story (like Fern’s dad planning to kill Wilbur) but the spider just terrified me and I remember getting upset thinking that my mother had named me after a creepy crawlie with eight legs. While this didn’t teach me to face my fears, it did teach me the importance of friendship and embracing the differences between you and your friends.

Bedtime stories, if read by my mother were always the same:

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A wonderful collection of stories following the animals in the hundred acre woods. Again teaching me about the importance of friendship and courage. I still have my original hardbacked edition kept safe.

One day, my mother came home from work, called me over and placed a copy of The Magician’s Nephew by C.S.Lewis.

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This book/series opened me up to worlds I didn’t know existed. The possibility of going on adventures to uncharted, unknown places. Narnia: with talking animals, magic, kings and queens. It revolutionized my reading and made me want to read more about places that existed beyond the boring regular world.

This is where the children’s book industry fell down. They focused on producing the books, but not maintaining the readership. There was no “if you liked this, you might like this” to provide a pathway to other books that are similar.

So I floundered for a while until another day those metal containers were wheeled into the hall of my primary school. Eagerly scanning those shelves, I came across a book that would not just shape my childhood, but become a significant part of my life.

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I read the Harry Potter series in a strange order to begin with: 2 – 3 – 1- 4 to 7
This was just based on how I found them. While not the same as Narnia, the idea of a magic school and an array of creatures, and adventures to be had, had me hooked instantly. This was the first time I came across myself in a book: Hermione Granger – a girl who loved learning, constantly correcting people’s mistakes and always had her face stuck in a book. She was me! I am part of the Harry Potter generation. As Harry grew up, so did I. I feared when he faced Voldemort, smiled when he spent time at the burrow and laughed out loud when Lavender was pursuing Ron.

My most prominent childhood memory in terms of reading, that I can still remember vividly to this day, is sitting in class for the reading period. My teacher announces that our hour begins and every single person in the room, including the teacher, pulls out a copy of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and begins reading.

Now if that’s not an example of a generation of children loving reading, then I don’t know what is.

While other books showed me that it was okay to be afraid and that you can get past the thing you’re afraid of, these books showed me that it’s okay to be afraid. What’s important, is acting in spite of that fear: the way Harry stands up to Voldemort in the graveyard after just witnessing Cedric’s death, the way he gives himself up to Voldemort at the battle of Hogwarts to prevent another life being lost. It taught me about the beauty of friendship and courage and love, not to be prejudice to others about the things they can’t change. These books will stay with me forever.

Another book that has stayed with me is this:

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This is the book that made me want to become a writer. My imagination was constantly filled with adventures I had in Neverland battling pirates, swimming with mermaids, dancing with the Indians.I adored this story. I adored the way it made me feel and I wanted to re-create that feeling for someone else. If I manage to do that in my lifetime as a writer, then I’ve achieved what I set out to do.

More recently I looked after my cousin’s soon to be three year old and she wanted me to read her a story. The picture book she picked out was this:

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I read it to her…. more than enough times and she always got scared by the bear. When I spoke to my cousin about it, she said that Faye started having nightmares about a bear coming to get her. My cousin spoke to the people at the nursery and it turned out they’d read her this book. My cousin’s solution? She bought Faye the book and read it to her, and told her that the bear only wanted to be friends with them. When I read it to Faye and she asked me why the bear looks sad at the end, I said the bear just wanted to be friends but had to go back to the cave otherwise you wouldn’t be able to tell the story again. After I explained this, she started to pretend to be scared and would giggle afterwards.
My cousin explained that when she came up with this “bear wanting to be friends” idea, Faye’s nightmares stopped.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is: reading is important. 

A child who reads will grow up with some much imagination and creativity. A child who reads will know that being scared is okay sometimes because *insert character’s name* was scared when they did that brave thing. A child who reads will have courage and value friendship.

Reading is beautiful and if I ever have children, I will make sure that they read.

Let me know what books you read as a child that stand out to you!