Month: January 2023

Friday Library Recommendations: The Healing Power Of Nature

We’re nearly at the end of January, and statistics say that 23% of people who made resolutions linked to healthier lifestyles will have given up in the first week, and only 9% make it past January 31st. But, it is really important that we look after our mental health all year round, so this week, I’m sharing books that give us ideas on how we can use the natural world around us to improve our well-being.

Shine Like The Stars by Anna Wilson, illustrated by Harry Woodgate

My Big Book Of Outdoors by Tim Hopgood

Discover the great outdoors with this beautifully illustrated treasury that celebrates the wonder of nature in four glorious seasons. From vibrant springtime flowers to sweet fruits on summer trees, the falling of autumn leaves and snowdrops in winter, this book of four seasons is the perfect introduction to the big outdoors.

Discover why birds fly south in winter, find animal footprints in the snow and learn to make the perfect snowflake; grow a sunflower, find a feather and make a daisy chain. Full of activities, poetry and fun facts to explore, this bumper book is jam-packed with amazing things to see and do outdoors – perfect for every season.

The Lost Spells by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris

Kindred in spirit to The Lost Words but fresh in its form, The Lost Spells introduces a beautiful new set of natural spell-poems and artwork by beloved creative duo Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris. Each “spell” conjures an animal, bird, tree or flower — from Barn Owl to Red Fox, Grey Seal to Silver Birch, Jay to Jackdaw — with which we share our lives and landscapes. Moving, joyful and funny, The Lost Spells above all celebrates a sense of wonder, bearing witness to nature’s power to amaze, console and bring joy.

Written to be read aloud, painted in brushstrokes that call to the forest, field, riverbank and also to the heart, The Lost Spells summons back what is often lost from sight and care, teaching the names of everyday species, and inspiring its readers to attention, love and care. This pocket-sized treasure is the perfect gift for fans of nature, language and rich artwork, adult and child alike!

The Night Animals by Sarah Ann Juckes

Nora’s mum has good days and bad days, but the bad days are getting worse.  It’s been just the two of them for always, and they don’t need anyone else.  When the rainbow-shimmering ghost animals Nora used to see when she was small start to reappear, she’s convinced that they hold all the answers.  Along with new friend Kwame, Nora follows a glittering ghostly fox, hare, raven and otter on the adventure of a lifetime, helping her to find the strength she needs to help her family.

In a heartbreaking and hopeful narrative, Sarah Ann Juckes’ stunning novel, illustrated by the award-winning Sharon King-Chai sees a brave young girl face down her ghosts. Each ghost animal mirrors the emotions Nora is hiding from behind the phrase, “I’m fine!” A stunning read for empathy, that allows us to look at life through the eyes of a young carer.

Happy reading!

Friday Library Recommendations: Rabbits

This Sunday is Lunar New Year, which is celebrated by 20% of the world’s population, and sees the Year Of The Rabbit begin (or the Cat if you are in Vietnam), so I have chosen some of my favourite literary rabbits for this week’s Friday Library Recommendations.

But before we get to the rabbits, let’s find out All About Lunar New Year. Kevin Tsang and Linh Nguyen have teamed up to tell us all about one of the most significant holidays celebrated across Asia. This beautiful book is filled with crafts and recipes, fun activities and facts about the Lunar New Year celebrations observed by over ONE BILLION people.

Read about the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac and learn why they’re so important to the Lunar New Year as well as the other stories behind this festival. Children can also create magical decorations, plan for the wonderful year ahead and make delicious treats!

Now to the Rabbits! First up is John Bond’s Mini Rabbit. Whether Mini Rabbit Not Lost or Mini Rabbit Come Home, these adorable stories are bound to raise a chuckle as our little friend is determined to succeed without help…

Mini Rabbit is making a cake. Cake, cake, cake! But he’s run out of berries. No berries, no cake. No cake? No way!
So off he goes to look for some… He’s not cold, not too small. And, no, no, definitely NOT LOST… or is he?

Mini Rabbit is making a camp in the garden. He can’t wait. It’s going to be the BEST DAY ever! But there are still a few last things he needs to get, and it looks like it might rain. Will Mini Rabbit ever manage to get everything home in time?

Next we have The Royal Rabbits Of London, where adventure begins for brave little Shylo and his Royal Rabbit friends in this charming series from bestselling authors Santa Montefiore and Simon Sebag Montefiore and illustrator Kate Hindley, that proves even the smallest rabbit can be the biggest hero. 

Life is an adventure. Anything in the world is possible – by will and by luck, with a moist carrot, a wet noise and a slice of mad courage! Shylo has always been the runt of the litter, the weakest and quietest of all of his family. His siblings spend their days making fun of him for not being like the rest of them. But when Shylo stumbles across a band of ratzis and overhears their evil plan to take a photo of the Queen in her nightie, it’s up to this unlikely hero to travel to London and inform the Royal Rabbits of London about the diabolical plot! The Royal Rabbits have a proud history of protecting the royal family and now the secret society need to leap into action to stop the ratzis… But can a rabbit as feeble and shy as Shylo convince them that Queen is in danger?

The Legend Of Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood has some of the bravest rabbits in literary history in a story that starts an epic adventure across the Five Realms.

Podkin is the son of a warrior chieftain. He knows that one day it will be up to him to lead his warren and guard it in times of danger. But for now, he’s quite happy to laze around annoying his older sister Paz, and playing with his baby brother Pook. Then Podkin’s home is brutally attacked, and the young rabbits are forced to flee. The terrifying Gorm are on the rampage, and no one and nowhere is safe. With danger all around them, Podkin must protect his family, uncover his destiny, and attempt to defeat the most horrifying enemy rabbitkind has ever known.

And finally, but I couldn’t possibly celebrate rabbits without talking about Watership Down by Richard Adams. This was one of my absolute favourite books when I was in primary school. It made me laugh and cry, and taught me a lot about faith and social justice.

In this epic story, a young rabbit called Fiver senses that something terrible is about to happen to the warren – he is sure of it. Fiver’s sixth sense is never wrong according to his brother, Hazel. They had to leave immediately, and they had to persuade the other rabbits to join them. And so begins a long and perilous journey of a small band of rabbits in search of a safe home. Fiver’s vision finally leads them to Watership Down, but here they face their most difficult challenge of all…

Wishing all of our families celebrating Lunar New Year a wonderful weekend!

Happy reading, and don’t forget to keep voting for your favourite book in the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards 2023 – Coventry City Council  if you don’t want it to be voted out!


Family Concert

Are you free on Saturday afternoon? The Coventry City of Culture Orchestra are holding a family concert at Coventry Central Hall starting at 3pm on Saturday 21st January. Tickets are free to children under 12 and £7 for adults. Please click here for more details.

Make sure to arrive to Central Hall early, as we are also going to be supported by the fantastic Coventry Music service, who will not only showcase one of their ensembles during our concert, but will also be bringing some musical instruments (and tutors!) for the next generation of musicians to try before our concert starts. They will be in the main hall from 1:45-2:45pm before our concert starts.

Virtual Family Hub

It is important that families know where to go and get help. We know that where to start or what to ask for can sometimes be a challenge. Coventry City Council have developed the Virtual Family Hub to give you a range of different types of resources that are available to you online, on the phone or face to face that you can access directly yourself. Click on the image below for more information.


Friday Library Recommendations: Luck

Happy New Year and welcome to the first Friday Library recommendations of 2023. Today is Friday 13th, which is viewed by some as a superstitious day where bad luck can follow you around, so today’s books all link to luck in some way.

A Duck Called Brian by Al Murphy features a duck in desperate need of a miracle.

When Brian wakes up and realizes he’s out of his favorite breakfast–Duck Nuts and milk–all he wants is to tell his best friend Gregory. But Gregory is nowhere to be found! Brian goes searching for his best friend, and finds many fellow ducks engaged in silly and entertaining activities along the way. Will Brian find Gregory, or will his day be totally fowl? Is he a lucky or unlucky duck?

A Duck Called Brian is a hilarious picture book that’s sure to have readers of all ages laughing out loud! With clever artwork, witty humor, and a fun search-and-find element, this story is a rib-tickling read-together tale.

Tilda Tries Again by Tom Percival shows us that sometimes in life we have to make our own luck through persevering when things don’t go our way.

Tilda’s world is just as she likes it . . . until one day, it turns completely UPSIDE DOWN. All of a sudden, everything is topsy-turvy, and nothing feels right. Things that were once easy now seem incredibly challenging. Can Tilda discover a new way to approach her problems and believe in herself?

Bold, bright and empowering, this is an inspiring story about coping with difficult situations. It’s the ideal book for helping children to build resilience and embrace a ‘can do’ approach to life.

The Unlucky Eleven by Phil Earle, illustrated by Steve May is the tale of a cursed football team where luck is definitely not on their side.

Ridiculous injuries … strange illnesses … cancelled games … Everything’s going wrong for the Saints this season, and Stanley’s team-mates believe they finally know why. Their football kit is cursed! But the team’s attempts to break the curse take things from bad to worse. Soon, they’re ready to call it quits. Stanley’s still got some tricks up his sleeve … but will his curse-cracking ideas save the team in time for the last game of the season?

Teamwork and determination are key to success for the Saints as their striker feels all the pain of the penalty spot.

The Boy Whose Wishes Came True by Helen Rutter is a brilliantly funny exploration of what happens when you are lucky enough to have all of your wishes come true.

Archie Crumb is having a tough time. Picked-on at school, picked last for any team; his home has been sad and quiet since Dad left and his luck feels like its run out. But things start looking up when Archie bumps his head and literally sees stars: his favourite famous football player standing in front of him, granting him nine wishes.

This is INCREDIBLE! Unlimited ice cream, a whole day of eating pizza and playing on the X-Box, revenge on the bullies, becoming the star player in a televised football tournament: finally, all his dreams can come true! Will Archie wish his way to happiness? Or will he realise that magic wishes may be wonderful, but only he has the true power to change his life?

Funny, moving, inventive, uplifting children’s fiction at its finest, perfect for fans of Jenny Pearson and Ben Davis.

And finally, voting is now open for this year’s Coventry Inspiration Book Awards. Follow this link to keep your favourite book in the competition: Coventry Inspiration Book Awards 2023 – Coventry City Council

Happy reading!