Category: Friday Assembly

It’s the Year of the Tiger!

With Chinese New Year on Tuesday, we have entered the Year of the Tiger. The children have produced some fabulous writing and artwork based on these fearsome creatures, some of which is on display at Cannon Park Shops – do make sure you go and have a look!

My books this week feature tigers, and other animals.

First, I have The Tyger Voyage by Richard Adams (Watership Down) and Nicola Bayley.  A gentleman tyger and his son set sail from Victorian England into the timeless unknown. Together they roam across the seas, through jungles, past ice-covered mountains and erupting volcanoes and many more unexpected hazards along the way.

Told in verse using language to capture the era the story is set in, which is also evoked in Nicola Bayley’s stunning illustrations, this is as captivating today as it was when it was first read to me as a child.

Next, I have Interview With A Tiger by Andy Seed, illustrated by Nick East. Get familiar with 10 fierce and furry beasts as they step up to the mic and share their habits, behaviour, likes and dislikes, favourite foods, and more. Each animal has its own story to tell… and its own attitude…

Having made a tranimalator, Andy Seed has scoured the planet to conduct some amazing interviews with ten spectacular, clawed creatures, including a tiger, wolf, and my personal favourite, a snow leopard.

Each interview is packed with fascinating facts about the animals and their habitats, with each creature’s personality shining through. It has to be said, their views on humans don’t show us in a particularly good light.

Nick East’s fabulous illustrations pair perfectly with Andy Seed’s trademark wit and warmth to create a perfect pleasure browser that can be dipped in and out of, but once I started, I found I wanted to meet all of the animals at once.

Finally, I have chosen Carnival Of The Animals by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Michael Foreman. Morpurgo’s poems are inspired by The Carnival of the Animals – a humorous musical by the French composer Camille Saint-Saëns. Building on this classic framework, Michael has added many more animals – they speak in their own voices, full of humour and vivacity, to tell of their lives and the impact of humanity on their habitats.

With full colour illustrations throughout, this celebrated partnership has created a gift book with a strong ecological message that will also ignite a love of poetry in young readers and will appeal to fans of The Lost Words. Above all it is a celebration of the natural world in verse, a book to treasure and to inspire.

 

 

 

Library: A celebration of squirrels!

We are really lucky to have such beautiful school grounds that are home to lots of wildlife, including squirrels. As today is Squirrel Appreciation Day, I thought I’d share a couple of books starring these crepuscular creatures.

The Squirrels Who Squabbled by Rachel Bright and Jim Field is a brilliant reminder about the importance of teamwork, sharing and kindness that will have you giggling along as the greedy squirrels fight over the last nut of the season.

As the nut bounces crazily though the forest, the squirrels race after it, between the trees, over boulders, down the river and – ARGH! – right to the edge of a waterfall! Working together might be the only way to save themselves now…

Flora And Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K.G. Campbell blends traditional storytelling, full page illustrations and graphic novel format seamlessly to produce a gripping story that is endearing, heartfelt and laugh out loud funny with a whole host of eccentric characters!

It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw it coming – the vacuum cleaner, that is. As for self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, she has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You! so she is just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight and misspelled poetry. And Flora will be changed too as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart.

 

Library: Coventry Inspiration Book Awards 2022

Over the last two weeks, children have been introduced to the shortlisted books for their age group, and we have loved hearing their thoughts about each title. Once again, each category has a wide range of genres for children to explore, enjoy and be inspired to read by. In Key Stage 2, each class will be choosing their favourites as class read alouds for story-time this term, while Reception and Key Stage 1 will have read all of the shortlisted picture books.

Now, it’s time to get voting for your favourites to keep them in the competition!

The first eviction will be on Monday 7 February and subsequently, one book will be knocked out each week in each category until we reach the final three books on Monday 7th March. You then have 10 days to vote for your winning books which will be announced on the website and on social media on Wednesday 16 March.

 

Library: Welcome Back!

I hope you have all had a wonderful holiday and have come back refreshed and ready to read. There has been lots on the news again over the last few weeks about Covid-19, and lots of conflicting information that can be confusing, so this week’s books link to facts about viruses and how we can keep ourselves and our friends and families as safe as possible.

Now Wash Your Hands by Matt Carr is the perfect picture book for explaining what germs are to younger children and how handwashing can banish them before they can bug you.

There’s a very special guest at the school for little animals, and her name is Doris – Doris the Doctorpus. She’s here to help the animals learn to wash their hands because of something very very small called GERMS!

Doris explains that washing your hands can send germs packing and she’s got her very own hand-washing song too.

The Bacteria Book by Steve Mould is a fun and informative introduction to a STEAM subject that brings kids up-close to the big world of tiny science.

Meet the bacteria, viruses, and other germs and microbes that are all around, but too small for us to see, in this children’s science book by bestselling author and science comedian Steve Mould.

What do a squid that glows, fungus that grows, and tiny creatures in the soil under your toes all have in common? Find out in this dynamic and engaging book all about bacteria, viruses, and other germs and microbes. The Bacteria Book perfectly walks the line between “ew, gross!” and “oh, cool!”, exploring why we need bacteria and introducing readers to its microbial mates: viruses, fungi, algae, archaea, and protozoa.

With remarkable photography, kooky character illustrations, and lots of fun facts, this book uses real-life examples of microbiology in action to show how microbes keep our bodies and our world running.

The Virus by Ben Martynoga is great for older children who want to know more about Covid, where it came from, and how we can beat it. Explore the science behind viruses and the COVID-19 pandemic in a fascinating story of hijacked human cells and our own internal emergency services.

It’s 15,000 times smaller than a flea and we can kill it with a bar of soap – so how did a tiny, fragile virus change the world? Join science expert Dr Ben Martynoga and illustrator extraordinaire Moose Allain on a fascinating, sometimes funny, and occasionally scary journey through the world of viruses.

Along the way, you’ll learn what viruses are, how they work, and how we can overcome – or at least learn to live alongside – those that do us harm.

Michael Rosen’s Sticky McStickstick is a joyous book packed with hope, endurance and resilience, and a heartfelt message of thanks to our wonderful NHS, and is a powerful and personal story from one of Britain’s best-loved authors about his recovery from coronavirus.

After being admitted to hospital in 2020 with coronavirus, Michael Rosen had to learn to walk again. With the support of doctors and nurses and a walking stick he names “Sticky McStickstick”, he manages to embark on the slow steps to recovery.

This moving picture book from the former Children’s Laureate, with illustrations from Tony Ross, is a testament to the importance of overcoming fear and learning to accept help.

 

Library: From page to screen: books brought to life!

This week saw the opening of A Boy Called Christmas at the cinema, based on the utterly brilliant book of the same name by Matt Haig. Many children’s books have been adapted over the years, from Roald Dahl to Julia Donaldson, and of course, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, so get yourself some popcorn and plenty of hot chocolate ready for festive reads that all have TV or cinema adaptations you may know.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsberg is a fabulously festive tale of trust, faith and belief. The stunning illustrations bring the children’s adventure to life, and is one of my favourite Christmas films that started life as a picture book.

Late on Christmas Eve, after the town has gone to sleep, a boy boards a mysterious train that waits for him: the Polar Express bound for the North Pole. When he arrives there, Santa offers him any gift he desires. The boy modestly asks for one bell from the reindeer’s harness. It turns out to be a very special gift, for only believers in Santa can hear it ring.

Bah! Humbug by Michael Rosen, and illustrated by Tony Ross is a raucous retelling of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens which has had numerous outings on screen.  Keeping true to the language and spirit of the original, this modern take shows just how relevant this story still is today in busy modern families.

In a school theatrical production of “A Christmas Carol”, the boy who plays Scrooge is extra nervous because his very busy father is in the audience. However, it’s likely his father won’t stay for the duration, due to business. As always. Will the classic story’s message of Christmas cheer and family love reach his father’s distracted heart?

The Lost Magician by Piers Torday hasn’t been adapted itself, but is an ode to C.S. Lewis’s Narnia which has, and it’s an absolute delight! To take a classic and reimagine it for modern readers is a fearsome task that Piers Torday has excelled in, creating a magical fantasy all of his own. Celebrating the power of reading, this is a story that sang to my soul, whisking me back under a blanket and reading by the light of the calor gas heater in my childhood home.

I was captivated from beginning to end, and revelled in the world of Folio. From the characters, who show the different ways war affects people, to the glorious settings within Folio and the abundance of characters from well loved books, there is much to capture the reader’s imagination and, with subtle messages about the power of imagination as a way to heal, much to think about too.

Having survived the Blitz, Simon, Patricia, Evelyn and Larry are sent to Barfield Hall while their parents find them a new home in London. The mysterious Professor Kelly is working on a top secret project to end human conflict once and for all, which leaves the children plenty of time and freedom to explore. They soon discover another world on the brink of war. It’s up to the children to draw on their experiences and choose which side they are on before the battle begins. But is there a way to prevent the two sides from destroying each other?

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig is the first in a magical series about the real life of Father Christmas, and is for those of you who truly believe that the impossible can happen. With enchanting illustrations by Chris Mould throughout the book, bringing the inhabitants of Elfhelm to life as Nikolas’ adventure unfolds, this will have tears of sadness, joy and laughter flowing freely.

Matt Haig sprinkles wisdom about kindness and goodness throughout Nikolas’s journey to the Far North as he faces adversity after adversity, from the cruelty of his own Aunt, the suspiciousness of the elves and the greed of the person he trusts the most. Imagination and a heavy sprinkling of Christmas magic make this the perfect family read that will thaw the hardest of humbug hearts.

You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas. It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible. If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. It is most certainly not for you. Because this book is FULL of impossible things.

Are you still reading? Good. Then let us begin . . .

A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and an eleven-year-old boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.

Happy reading!

Library: National Non-Fiction November

November celebrates the huge variety of non-fiction books available for children. These books are full of awe and wonder from the world we live in, and inspire curiosity and a thirst for knowledge whilst encouraging reading for pleasure. This week, I’ve picked a few of my favourite interactive non-fiction reads…

Marvellous Machines by Jane Wilsher and Andres Lozano  is the perfect book for you if you have ever wondered what’s going on inside some of the world’s most incredible machines and inventions. Using the see-through magic lens, you can learn about mathematics, physics, chemistry and engineering by exploring the inner workings of machines.

In your kitchen or bedroom, beneath city streets or far up in space, machines are at work day and night making, moving, building and even thinking for us. In this eye-catching book, you can explore the hidden inner workings of machines and inventions: from everyday objects like toasters and bicycles, to cutting-edge technologies such as pill-sized medical robots and super-fast maglev trains. The see-through magic lens will reveal how all these machines work, showing all the elements hidden within them from wires and pipes, to magnetic and gravitational forces.

Optical Illusions by Gianni A. Sarcone and Marie-Jo Waeber, shortlisted for the Royal Society Young People’s Science Book Prize, is an eye opening look at how we don’t always see things they way they are.

The brain is an amazing thing, but it doesn’t always get things right when it comes to sight. This book is here to explain why, with astounding images, baffling puzzles, and simple reveals which show the reader how each trick works. Templates included at the back of the book reveal answers and aid the creation of astounding illusions. The science behind each element is simply explained in an engaging way, to encourage the reader to find out more each time. Throughout the book there are chances for the reader to get hands-on with the illusions, with step-by-step experiments, or tips on how to draw your own “moving” optic art on paper or on the computer.

This Book Is A Planetarium by Kelli Anderson is a book, a planetarium and much more besides! It can turn your phone into a speaker, become a musical instrument, help you decode secret messages, and create geometric designs. Defying every expectation of what a book can be, this pop-up extravaganza transforms into six fully functional tools. Kelli Anderson contributes enlightening text alongside each pop-up, explaining the scientific principles at play in her constructions and creating an interactive experience that’s as educational as it is extraordinary. Inspiring awe that lasts long after the initial pop, This Book Is a Planetarium leaves readers of all ages with a renewed appreciation for the way things work―and for the enduring magic of books.

 

 

Library: Books to help us explore bullying

This week has been anti-bullying week, with the theme of One Kind Word, so all of my recommendations link to kindness and bullying. This are books that will help us empathise with others and understand how we can help.

Kindness Grows by Britta Teckentrup is a wonderful peep through poem that reminds us of the power of kindness.

It all starts with a crack that we can hardly see,

It happens when we shout or if we disagree.

But with every kindness that we care to show,

Something good and magical then begins to grow…

Angry words cause a crack to open up, but find out what happens when kindness begins to blossom in this thought-provoking book celebrating friendship, forgiveness, hope and respect.

 

Paper Boat For Panda by Celestine and the Hare is a heartwarming tale of friendship and kindness, and the joy that they bring to the Tribe. The gently told story shows that the reward for kindness is seeing the pleasure it brings to others.

Panda loves his toy boat, and sailing it across the kitchen rug. What he really wants though, is to sail across the wide, beautiful sea, but he knows it’s just a dream. But, Baby Weasus has an idea, and enlists Small to help. Can friends really make dreams come true?

The stunning needle felted characters, lovingly crafted and photographed by Karin add an extra layer of warmth to this beautiful little book, perfectly sized for little hands.

I love that the story is followed by easy to follow instructions on how to make your own paper boat to sail across your wide, beautiful sea, encouraging imaginative play to extend your enjoyment of this charming book.

For slightly older children, Fly On The Wall by Remy Lai is a thought-provoking look through the eyes of an online bully that helps us to understand his motives and see how his actions affect those around him.

Henry Khoo’s family treats him like a baby. He’s not allowed to go anywhere without his sister/chaperone/bodyguard. And he definitely can’t take a journey halfway around the world all by himself!

But that’s exactly his plan. After his family’s annual trip to visit his father in Singapore is cancelled, Henry decides he doesn’t want to be cooped up at home with his overprotective family and BFF turned NRFF (Not Really Friend Forever). Plus, he’s hiding a your-life-is-over-if-you’re-caught secret: he’s the creator of an anonymous gossip cartoon, and he’s on the verge of getting caught. Determined to prove his independence and avoid punishment for his crimes, Henry embarks on the greatest adventure ever, hoping it won’t turn into the greatest disaster ever.

Laugh out loud funny, this is a wonderful book with a quirky main character that is bound to appeal to fans of Diary Of A Wimpy Kid and Tom Gates.

 

All The Things That Could Go Wrong by Stewart Foster reminds us that there are always two sides to every story in this emotive, tense tale of two boys struggling to get along.

What I love most about this story is that we get to explore the thoughts and feelings of both the bully and the victim. While we begin to understand Dan’s motives, his behaviour is explained yet never excused, but it does becomes easy to see how life events can change a person’s behaviour.  A fantastic read for empathy that will make readers stop and think.

Dan is angry. Nothing has been the same since his big brother left, and he’s taking it out on the
nearest and weakest target: Alex. Alex is struggling. His severe OCD makes it hard for him to leave the house, especially when Dan and his gang are waiting for him at school . . .

Then the boys’ mums arrange for them to meet up and finish building the raft that Dan started with his brother. Two enemies stuck together for the whole of the school holidays – what could possibly go wrong?

Cloud Busting by Malorie Blackman is both a heart breaking and heart warming story told completely in verse as the relationship between two boys alters and changes into something that will affect both of their lives forever.

From haikus to free verse and limericks to calligrams, Malorie Blackman chooses the perfect poetry style to convey the emotion of her characters as we move through the story while Helen van Vliet’s illustrations echo the rawness of the words.

Davey is the new boy in class and Sam can’t stand him. He thinks Davey is plain weird. But when the two are thrown together Sam discovers that Davey’s eccentric way of looking at the world makes life a lot more fun. Until the day something terrible happens…

Happy reading, and remember, one kind word could change somebody’s day!

Library: We Will Remember Them

Remembrance Sunday, which falls on 14 November in 2021, is a national opportunity to remember the service and sacrifice of all those that have defended our freedoms and protected our way of life. We remember the Armed Forces, and their families, from Britain and the Commonwealth, the vital role played by the emergency services and those that have lost their lives as a result of conflict or terrorism.

This week’s books all focus on stories about the people who gave their lives during World War I.

Where The Poppies Now Grow by Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey is a thought-provoking, sensitive poem to introduce younger readers to World War 1, and a touching tribute to honour all those who sacrificed so much for the cause of peace. Set in a bygone age, the carefree childhood of Ben and his best friend Ray becomes a distant memory when they join the army to serve their country. But, in the midst of battle can their friendship survive?

Owen And The Soldier by Lisa Thompson is a tender and touching story about loss, the importance of remembrance and standing up for your beliefs. A crumbling stone soldier sits on a bench in the park. Only Owen understands how important he is. At home, Owen and his mum are struggling and there’s nobody he can talk to. Hidden away in the park, Owen feels free to be himself. When the war-weary soldier is listening, his worries slip away. But nobody else cares about the soldier, and the town council want to tear him down. Owen’s the only one who can save him but can he find the courage to speak up before it’s too late?

Armistice Runner by Tom Palmer is a heart-wrenching story of family history, resilience and bravery, beautifully told against the stunning back drop of the fells in the Lake District, and the shocking realities of life in the trenches.

Watching Lily come to understand who her great-great-grandfather was and what he did during the war is as heart-breaking as it is uplifting, especially seeing her take inspiration from him to keep on trying at her sport. With a strong message about kindness and supporting each other, this is a brilliant read for empathy that if read with older generations may prompt families to share their own stories, preserving them for future generations.

Lily has lots of worries. She’s struggling to compete in her fell-running races and, worse, she’s losing her gran to Alzheimer’s. But then she discovers her great-great-grandfather’s diaries from the First World War. Could his incredible story of bravery help her reconnect with her gran and even give her the inspiration she needs to push through and win?

And now for something completely different…

The last two weeks has seen the 26th United Nations Conference of the Parties take place in Glasgow where leaders from over 200 countries have come together to try to tackle climate change and any decisions taken could lead to big changes to our everyday lives in order to hit to hit climate targets, like people driving electric cars, moving away from gas heating, eating less red meat and not taking as many flights in the future.

So this seems to be the perfect time to share It’s Up To Us: A Children’s Terra Carta for Nature, People & The Planet by Christopher Lloyd, with a foreword by His Royal Highness The Prince Of Wales. We are shown how, over time, people have harmed the delicate balance of nature on Earth; polluting the air, land and sea, damaging habitats, and putting ours needs above every other creature living here.

I loved exploring the differing illustration styles adorning each spread from the 33 illustrators picked from across the globe, and spotting the cultural references and details within them. Vibrant and engaging, they underpin the messages that sit alongside them. The addition of the foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales, and the original preface to the Terra Carta show just how important the messages with It’s Up To Us really are.

From the clear explanation of the harm we have done to the easy to understand pledges that everyone needs to sign up to in order to stop and try to reverse some of the damage we have done, this is a must for every school to continue the work on climate change and environmental damage they are already undertaking to grow an ecologically educated generation that are understand why implementing the Terra Carta is essential to saving all life on Earth, including our own.

The Terra Carta is a roadmap to sustainability issued by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and his Sustainable Markets Initiative. More than 400 corporations have already signed on, agreeing to put the health of Nature, People & Planet at the heart of their activities. Now it’s up to all of us to make sure our leaders keep their promises.

 

 

 

Library: Books for Diwali and Bonfire Night

Yesterday was Diwali, and tonight is Bonfire Night, so this week’s books all link to light, fireworks and the gunpowder plot!

Binny’s Diwali by Thrity Umrigar and Nidhi Chanani is a delightful celebration of Diwali in a picture book that everyone can enjoy. The narrative is interspersed with fascinating insights into preparations for the Hindu Festival Of Light, and I love that the whole class celebrate with her. The book finishes with a short retelling of the Diwali Story and an explanation of the Five Days of Diwali.

When it is Binny’s turn to give a talk to her class about her favourite holiday she’s both excited and nervous. She wants to make sure her friends understand why Diwali is so special to her and her family.  Thrity Umrigar captures her emotions perfectly as her excitement about her favourite holiday is tempered with her need to get her talk just right. Nidhi Chanani’s illustrations are bright, fresh, and modern and capture the light within them, bringing the story to life.

The King Who Banned The Dark by Emily Haworth-Booth is a truly delightful picture book spotlighting light and dark, fear and hope, and protest against arbitrary rules.

There was once a little boy who was afraid of the dark. There’s nothing unusual about that. Most children are afraid of the dark at one time of another. But this little boy was a Prince, and he decided that when he became King, he would do something about the dark. He would ban it. When a King bans the dark completely, installing an artificial sun, and enforcing “anti-dark” laws, it seems like a good idea. The citizens don’t need to worry about monsters, crime, or any of the other scary things that might live in the dark. But what happens when nobody can sleep, and the citizens revolt? Will the King face his fears and turn the lights off? The King Who Banned the Dark is a beautiful story about how we need the dark in order to enjoy the light.

Asha And The Spirit Bird by Jasbinder Bilan is a beautifully told, gripping adventure with family, friendship and self-belief at it’s heart. Jasbinder’s evocative writing transports the reader from the calm, quiet village of Moormanali, through the freezing forests and up mountains to the most northerly temple of the Himalayas at Kasare and back down into the hustle, bustle and darkest spots of Zandapur.

Asha and Jeevan spark wonderfully off each other, supporting and encouraging, learning about their different beliefs and growing together as their journey becomes ever more treacherous. I can’t tell you my favourite moment (because, spoiler) but it had me doing a full on first pump at their bravery and teamwork.

I love that the Diwali story and spirituality is central to the plot, adding yet another layer of authenticity to this heartfelt story. And, the glossary at the beginning, so you can immerse yourself in the Indian terms before you begin reading,

 

Black Powder by Ally Sherrick is a rip-roaring life and death romp of an adventure, featuring Guy Fawkes. The fast pace and short chapters mean you find yourself reading just one more continuously. Rich, descriptive language pull the reader into the story as the drama and tension build to a nerve jangling climax.

England, 1605: 12-year-old Tom must save his father from hanging. He falls in with a mysterious stranger – the Falcon – who promises to help him in exchange for his service. But on the long journey to London, Tom discovers the Falcon’s true mission – and a plot to blow up Parliament with barrels of black powder. Tom faces a terrible decision: secure his father’s release, or stop the assassination of the king…

However you are celebrating this weekend, please stay safe and remember to follow the firework code…

Spooky Reads for Halloween

The leaves are falling and an autumnal chill is definitely in the air. This week’s recommendations are great for curling up indoors after a trip to the park (don’t forget to scan the GoParks QR code) and all have a spooky theme ready for Halloween.

For younger children, A World Full Of Spooky Stories by Angela McAllister, illustrated by Madalina Andronic, is a collection of 50 tales to make your spine tingle from all over the world. Whether you fancy a trip into the woods, down by the water, up a mountain or even to a grave yard, these short stories are perfect for snuggling up together for a safe scare! It’s a wonderfully diverse collection of spooky tales linked by their spooky theme, but I loved discovering links between stories from other countries, reminding me how myths and legends develop through time.

For our older children, The Red Gloves And Other Stories by Catherine Fisher, is a deliciously dark collection of tales that mix fear with myth, heart and magic. 

Enthralling, evocative storytelling, makes this spooky collection of nine haunting short stories a must for readers who like their books to send a shiver up their spines.

Each chilling tale is steeped in suspense and had me clinging to my cushion of comfort. Whether supernatural, mythical or unexplainable, Catherine has woven a web of stories to lose yourself in (just not at bedtime for me!). Her descriptions bring each setting to life, I could feel the silky red gloves, the hare’s fur, the silver road beneath my feet, just as much as the characters’ growing unease.

The tales conjured images from Harris Burdick in my mind as I read The Silver Road, and the Ghost In The Rain is reminiscent of the world The Clockwork Crow is set in. The Introduction gives really helpful information as to the origins and ideas behind each story and I will definitely be seeking out the traditional tale that Nettle is based on.  

For non-fiction fans, The World Of The Unknown: All About Ghosts by Christopher Maynard, is an absolute must! Originally published in 1977, this has been reissued for a new generation of ghost-hunters. I read my childhood copy until it fell apart so am delighted to see it back in print.  This book is for anyone who has shivered at shadowy figures in the dark, heard strange sounds in the night, or felt the presence of a mysterious ‘something’ from the unknown. Ghost stories are as old as recorded history and exist all over the world. Many of the different kinds of ghosts that are thought to haunt the Earth and their behaviour are described here. You will meet haunting spirits, screaming skulls, phantom ships, demon dogs, white ladies, gallows ghosts and many more. This book also explains the techniques and equipment of ghost hunting and tells how lots of ‘ghosts’ have been exposed as fakes or explained away as natural events. Also included are some theories that attempt to explain the possible existence of ghosts. With a brand new foreword by BAFTA-winning writer, comedian and actor Reece Shearsmith, otherwise the book remains unchanged from the original.

And finally, the monsters are back this half-term in Coventry so I thought a monstrously good book recommendation was in order to welcome them. The Maker Of Monsters by Lorraine Gregory is a multi-layered, mesmerising dystopian fantasy, and an epic adventure, all packed into a short read, brimming with heart, humour and horrifying monsters. Themes of power and corruption, love and loss, and self-worth and the monster we carry with us run subtly beneath the action packed plot, which make this a fabulous read for empathy. 

Brat has always lived in the isolated castle on the island, taking care of the vicious creatures that his master creates, waiting in terror for the moment when they are ready to be put to use. But then the unthinkable happens. The monsters get out. Now Brat must overcome his fears, and venture into the world he has hidden from his whole life. For the fate of everyone rests on his shoulders alone. . .

You can find out more about the monster trail here: Beware! The Monsters are back | Coventry City Council

Have a spooktacular half-term!