Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival 2019

IMG_1438.JPG

Today I am absolutely delighted to be blogging from Pontypridd Museum for the second Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival! A children’s book festival in partnership with Cardiff Book Festival and Pontypridd Town Council held today on Saturday 18th May 2019 at Pontypridd Museum from 10am-5pm.

It’s an all day festival for children and families to celebrate books of all kinds, inspire new authors and enjoy reading, writing and storytelling with joy, fun and friendship. It’s taking place at the beautiful surroundings of the Pontypridd Museum and Pontypridd Library, spilling out onto the banks of the River Taff, under the shadow of the famous old Pontypridd bridge. The event has free entry, displays, props, music and activities as well as ticketed events with authors, readings, masterclasses and Q&As.

Throughout the day, you can see updates of the festival, author talks, events and goings on of the day here and through my Twitter feed (@MrEPrimary) and also at Pontypridd Children’s Book Festival Facebook and Twitter pages.

#PontyKidsBooksFest2019


DyulRRrXQAY8Rev.jpg



IMG_1469.jpg
Meet David Brayley, author of Champion of Champions! £3

Reading – How It changed my life and made me a sports author.

Sharing how his love of reading for pleasure started thanks to him and his best friend Tony voraciously reading books such as Rothmans’ Football Yearbook 1974-75, David spoke about how reading as a child helped him to not only gain an encyclopaedic knowledge of the football league teams but also unbeknownst to him at the time, his reading skills developing in school.

Further on, David spoke about how hard work led his childhood friends to play professional football for the team that he wanted to play for, Swansea City, even though he had the natural talent to get there himself. Feeling proud of his friends but slightly envious at the same time, David kept in touch with his sporting friends through his love of reading and as a result of the books he read as a child, this led to his life changing in more ways than one. With Tony, his childhood friend, getting back in touch with him to ask him to write his book, There’s Only 2 Tony Cotteys.

51jqBzotXjL._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgAs a boyhood Swansea City fan himself, and realising the impact that football and sport books had on him, David also got in touch with friend Ashley Williams, captain of Swansea City at the time that they won promotion to Premier League and ended up writing his book, Ashley Williams: My Premier League Diary, too.  David soon became more well known – even worldwide in parts of South America – and for David, this came full circle as his beloved Swansea City invited him to write a book of the club’s history in the format of a quiz book, The Official Swansea City Quiz Book (linking back to what David loved reading as a child) and going on to write his own novel Champion of Champions, proving that the effects of reading can result in more than we could ever imagine!


Poetry Workshop with clare e potter £3

With a vast array of objects adorning the room, and introducing an antiquated and shabby-looking suitcase, Clare spoke about the importance of objects; their value to us and how they can be a source of inspiration to get us talking, writing and sharing.

IMG_1473.jpg

Reading ‘An Ode to My Socks’, written by Pablo Neruda and ‘Fork’ by Charles Simic for their words to act as inspiration, it soon became clear to the audience that there is extraordinary opportunity and possibility in the ordinary objects that are around us if we look at them from a slightly different and altogether imaginative angle. Could a fork be a sword or even… a dinglehopper?

What made the workshop was the level of detail, perspective, emotion and creativity in the poems created and read by the children and adults out loud at the end of the session… including a poem from one of the children in my class with the line ‘a rose standing proud and cold; desperate for someone to hold’.


All aboard The Train to Impossible Places with P.G. Bell £3

IMG_1475.JPG
Talking about The Train to Impossible Places to a packed audience, Peter began by telling us about a different kind of troll that he set out to create for his fantastical and magical adventure story which is about as far removed from a typical troll as you can think or as moviemakers can portray.

8db10dc6570e4b64d57e098a176aa804adafbdfd.jpgAs the sound of metal on metal clanged loudly, the Impossible Postal Service smashes itself through the underneath of Suzy’s house revealing its troll, Fletch and its driver to her. As this is not a usual encounter for Suzy, curiosity gets the better of her and she realises she has to be involved on this wildly inventive, thrill-ride of a journey on a train that’s powered by nuclear bananas to universes and realms beyond your wildest imagination! Trollville awaits…

Sharing favourite bedtime stories with the audience Peter revealing that in fact The Train to Impossible Places itself started out as a bedtime story for his son. Racking his brains, he felt he had to take inspiration from somewhere and so The Polar Express crossed his mind. However, what if the train hadn’t just pulled up outside the child’s house but roared its way through the house nearly killing the child in the first chapter and so, The Train to Impossible Places was born.

Having a go at making our own new impossible trains that deliver ice-cream, destroy everything in their wake and snatch children complete with dragons, ghosts and grandmas; nothing is impossible in the imagination of Peter and Pontypridd.


Witch Wars with Sibéal Pounder £3

IMG_1481.jpg

Newsflash! Multiple witches spotted in Pontypridd! Appearing within the audience, there were many witches’ hats, wigs and goings-on during Sibéal’s session where she shared her massively successful Witch Wars series, the first of which was shortlisted for Waterstones’ Children’s Book Prize in 2016.

Swapping between Witch Wars and newest series Bad Mermaids, Sibéal spoke hilariously as the audience created real-life versions of her characters and about her magical lands called Swirly Shell, Anchor Rock, Lobstertown and Oysterdale to mash up both series in one creating a new merwitch adventure; even dousing a witch in water and calling one of the characters the best name in the witching world, Witchy Witchbum!


Storm Hound with Claire Fayers £3

IMG_1484.jpg

Giving us historical accounts of The Wild Hunt, Claire started with the whole room sat in 81tjuavr4pl-2.jpgsuspense. Horses’ hooves thudding; hounds barking; thunder crashing; lightning flashing, the sound and the spectacle of the hunt is not one to be reckoned with. However lagging behind was a hound called Storm and he couldn’t quite keep up…

This is where the creation of Claire’s (as I called it when I recently reviewed it) electrifying, exciting, entertaining and endearing novel, Storm Hound came fromBut you’re probably thinking that Storm is a strong, stubborn wolf hound full of ferocity however Storm is just a little bit different. Full of cuteness but bestowed with magical powers.

Talking more about norse gods like Odin, Loki and Thor; mythical beasts such as dragons, unicorns and even the Loch Ness Monster and with the appearance of sheep, including a sheep quiz. Spoiler alert! Sheep have rectangular pupils, there are over 1000 breeds of sheep and they can recognise 50 other sheep!). This session was every bit as fun and fantastic as this story is!

Set in the wonderful world of Wales, and brimming with legend, this is a modern-day myth of its very own.


Writing for Children Workshop with Eloise Williams £5

Introducing her three stories for children: Elen’s Island, Gaslight and Seaglass, Eloise began by sharing some of the real-life and literary influences behind her books.

Starting the session atmospherically in the dark (reason for lack of author picture above!), Eloise – a trained actress herself, and now an expert in creative writing and teaching creative writing – invited the audience to visualise and imagine themselves within their own thoughts, feelings, emotions, senses and surroundings to see the world through the eyes of a child.

Developing settings by honing in on images of places and landscapes and focusing on asking questions to create a character including their name, age and their best and worst memories helped the audience to bring distinct facets of their characters’ personalities, strengths and insecurities to life. Cue a crowd naturally captured by concentration! The session ended with an spontaneous author Q&A panel with Eloise, Claire Fayers and Sarah Todd Taylor, author of the wonderful Max the Detective Cat series, who were also in attendance.


 

Blog Tour: FCBG Children’s Book Award: What Do You Do if Your House is a Zoo? – John Kelly (Illustrated by Sarah Laberis)

81D1HPXMKLL.jpg

‘Guaranteed to bring the most beaming of smiles and the loudest of laughs… this story showcases the bond between person and pet so perfectly and is sure to become its reader’s best friend.’

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Title: What Do You Do If Your House Is a Zoo?
Author: John Kelly
Illustrator: Steph Laberis (@StephLaberis)
Publisher: Little Tiger Press (@LittleTigerUK)
Page count: 32
Date of publication: 9th August 2018
Series status: N/A
ISBN: 978-1848699496

Perfect for Reception, Year 1 and Year 2.

#3Words3Emojis:
1. House 🏠
2. Pets 🐕
3. Friendship 🤝


Oscar is getting a pet!
But which pet should he pick?

And what on earth will he do when they all move in?
His house is like a zoo.

A book for animal lovers, BIG and small.


Review: I am absolutely delighted to be hosting What Do You Do If Your House is a Zoo?, one of the four picture book titles in the 2019 FCBG (The Federation of Children’s Book Groups_ Children’s Book Award blog tour. This is my very first year on this tour and it is such a privilege to support this award, the only national award voted for solely by children from start to finish and is highly regarded by parents, teachers, librarians, publishers and children’s authors and illustrators as it truly represents children’s choice.

What Do You Do if Your House is a Zoo? is a beautifully-told picture book of the time when Oscar, our main character, is given permission to get the pet he’s always wanted from his mum and dad. The only thing is that he can’t decide and there’s way too many to choose from.

Dogs, cats, parrots, elephants, snakes, fish, hamsters – all these animals and so little time to pick. So he lets nature take its course and puts an advert in the classifieds section of his local newspaper only to become inundated with replies from the very animals themselves!

As the replies flood through Oscar’s letterbox thick and fast through hand-written letters with handwriting that wittily matches the characteristics of their animal sender (a perfect learning opportunity to look at this wild letter writing), Oscar’s choice becomes even more confusing with ostriches, meerkats, horses, gorillas, wolves, bulls, beavers and whales joining the picking party.

As Oscar deliberates and ponders over his choice, things go bad from worse as the animals arrive at his home to set up camp and Oscar gains his own massive menagerie right outside his front door.

81BIyDJLQDL.jpg

Creating absolute carnage and chaos, this zany zoo of animals soon take over not just his garden, not just his next door’s neighbour’s garden and not just his front road but even the inside of his house! Taking cover in a tent outside, the only option is for all the animals to go. All except for the appearance of a letter from a pet that Oscar had missed reading…

With an ending that will melt even the coldest of hearts, this is a special story told with complete and utter sincerity. There is nothing like the irreplaceable, mutual bond between person and pet and this book showcases this so perfectly. This story is sure to become its reader’s best friend. Brought to life by the bright, bold and brilliant illustrations of Steph Laberis, this tale is one to treasure that’s guaranteed to bring the biggest of beaming smiles, the loudest of laughs and is one with a message to hold close to your heart.


‘Guaranteed to bring the most beaming of smiles and the loudest of laughs… this story showcases the bond between person and pet so perfectly and is sure to become its reader’s best friend.’


Big thanks to Kate for inviting me to be a part of this year’s FCBG (Federation of Children’s Book Groups) blog tour showcasing the ten choices for this year’s Children’s Book Award. I would love to be involved again next year!

Mr E

logo_888x240.png


If you’d like to follow other blogs on this year’s blog tour, you can find them below:

D0y0bgTWoAA050D.jpg-large.jpeg


1st March 2019 (@Fi_BGB): The Wondrous Dinosaurium by John Condon & Steve Brown (Maverick)
4th March 2019 (@toppsta): Mixed by Arree Chung (Macmillan)
8th March 2019 (@Readitdaddy): The Last Chip by Duncan Beedie (Templar)
11th March 2019 (@MrEPrimary): What Do You Do If Your House is a Zoo? by John Kelly & Steph Laberis (Little Tiger)
13th March 2019: Picture Book Round Up (FCBG)


18th March 2019: Mr Penguin and the Fortress of Secrets by Alex T. Smith (Hodder/Hachette)
22nd March 2019: The Dog Who Lost His Bark by Eoin Colfer, illustrated by P. J. Lynch (Walker)
25th March 2019: Funny Kid – Stand Up by Matt Stanton (HarperCollins)
29th March 2019: Younger Readers Round Up (FCBG)


1st April 2019: The Light Jar by Lisa Thompson, cover illus. by Mike Lowery (Scholastic)
5th April 2019: The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle, cover ills. by Bill Bragg (Bloomsbury)
8th April 2019: Armistice Runner by Tom Palmer, cover illus. by Tom Clohosy Cole (Barrington Stoke)
12th April 2019: Older Readers Round Up (FCBG)

The voting will open shortly here: http://childrensbookaward.org…. and if you’d like to keep up with all the news and updates, you can follow FCBG on Twitter.

Cover Reveal & Book Giveaway: The Star-spun Web – Sinéad O’Hart (Illustrated by Sara Mulvanny) – Out 7th February 2019

Today, I’m incredibly excited to exclusively reveal the cover of Sinéad O’Hart’s eagerly-anticipated second novel after The Eye of the North, The Star-spun Web which will be published on 7th February 2019 by Stripes Books.

Click here to request it from Netgalley!

I’m also super delighted because the very lovely people at Stripes have given me five copies of The Star-spun Web to give away! Find out more below!


The Star-spun Web – Sinead O’Hart

unnamed
With her passion for scientific experimentation and her pet tarantula Violet, Tess de Sousa is no ordinary orphan.

When a stranger shows up at Ackerbee’s Home for Lost and Foundlings, claiming to be a distant relative come to adopt her, Tess hopes to find some answers to her mysterious origins. But as she adjusts to her new life at Roedeer Lodge, it becomes clear that Norton F. Cleat knows more about Tess – and the strange star-shaped device left with her when she was abandoned as a baby – than he’s letting on. And when Tess discovers that the Starspinner is the gateway between her world and a parallel world in which war rages, she realizes she may be the key to a terrible plan.

A plan she must stop at all costs…


Publisher: Stripes/Little Tiger Press Group
ISBN: 9781788950220
Number of pages: 384


Sinead O’Hart

sinead-ohart
(Image credit: https://sjohart.wordpress.com/about-me/)

Sinéad O’Hart was raised in a small house full of books in the south-east of Ireland. She has a degree in Medieval English and has had many careers (including butcher, bookseller and university lecturer). She now lives in County Meath, near Dublin, with her husband, their daughter and an ever-expanding book collection.

Visit sjohart.wordpress.com@SJOHart


Sara Mulvanny

c2000159c9be36719a90b2f8a759550d_400x400
(Image credit: https://twitter.com/saramulvanny)

Sara Mulvanny grew up with a paint brush in one hand and a cup of tea in the other. After studying Illustration at Kingston, Sara moved back to her North Hampshire studio which she shares with her cat, Simba. Whilst this cheeky feline tries to walk across Sara’s keyboard or balances precariously on stacked sketchbooks, Sara can be found creating her stylised pen and ink drawings, which she digitally transforms with texture and colour. Inspired by the age of Art Deco illustration and muted colour palettes, her charming illustrative style has captured the attention of many clients including Harrods, Sainsbury’s Magazine and Harper Collins.


Huge thanks to Sinéad, Leilah and all at Stripes for inviting me to host this mightily impressive cover reveal, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!


Mr E

📚


Preorder: The Star-spun Web is available to pre-order online from Amazon, Hive, Waterstones, WHSmith or from any good bookshop.

unnamed


Giveaway!

The very lovely people at Stripes have kindly given me five physical copies of The Star-spun Web to give away!

unnamed

If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning one of these copies of this superb book, simply retweet (RT) this tweet!

Copies to be sent to winners when available from Stripes, just before, near or on publication on 7th February 2019.

Review: Ottoline series – Chris Riddell & Giveaway (Ottoline signed paperback series & signed print!)

Ottoline-packshots-x4

‘Quintessentially quirky… no-one both writes and illustrates books quite like Chris Riddell. Described as a ‘small girl who has big adventures’, Ottoline is a series which has big appeal.’

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Titles: Ottoline and the Yellow Cat; Ottoline Goes to School;
Ottoline at Sea & Ottoline and the Purple Fox
Author: Chris Riddell (@chrisriddell50)
Illustrator: Chris Riddell (@chrisriddell50)
Publisher: Macmillan (@MacmillanKidsUK)
Page count: 176; 176; 176; 192
Date of publication (Paperback): 26th February 2015 (Yellow Cat; Goes to School; at Sea); 17th May 2018 (Purple Fox)
Series status: Four in series
ISBN: 978-0330450287; 978-0330472005; 978-0330472012; 978-1509881550

Perfect for Year 3, Year 4 & Year 5.

#3Words3Emojis:
1. Original 😀
2. Fun 😄
3. Ingenious 😍


The first line: 
(Ottoline and the Purple Fox)

Ottoline Brown lived in an apartment in the P. W. HUFFLEDINK Tower, which looked like a pepper pot so everyone called it the Pepperpot Building.


Review: If you’ve read any series both written and illustrated by Children’s Laureate 2015-2017, Chris Riddell then you’ll understand completely when I say that no-one both writes and illustrates books quite like Chris. His series are quintessentially quirky, all kinds of loveable and ludicrous and no doubt stand out on the shelf. Therefore I’m very pleased to say that is no different with his offering of Ottoline and her adventures.

Ottoline and the Yellow Cat introduces us to the slightly madcap and outlandishly wonderful world of Ottoline where we meet Ottoline herself, a young girl left on her own by her parents in her apartment and her equally eccentric house guest, Mr. Munroe. Through the story and Chris’ characteristically exquisite and detailed illustrations that will fascinate readers from the first page, we grow to love Ottoline’s quirks and idiosyncrasies as she becomes a super sleuth to solve her neighbourhood’s dog disappearances, burglaries and problems.

Rich in the most wonderful use of vocabulary and description – who’d have thought that you’d find the words ‘Beidermeyer armchair’ in a children’s book? – it’s Chris’ observational charm, dry wit and self-deprecating sense of humour that endears Ottoline’s adventures to the masses.

Ottoline’s antics and adventures are continued through three more beautifully written and illustrated stories in the series, Ottoline Goes to School; Ottoline at Sea and as published in paperback as recently as today (and the reason for this blog post), Ottoline and the Purple Fox. They are all utterly delightful and so I find it so hard to choose but Ottoline and the Purple Fox is my personal favourite where lamppost poetry, urban safaris and doppelgängers all feature in this fantastic fourth instalment. 

Described as ‘a small girl who has big adventures’, Ottoline is a series which has big appeal.

Ottoline and the Purple Fox is available in paperback from the 17th May 2018, £6.99.

‘Quintessentially quirky… no-one both writes and illustrates books quite like Chris Riddell. Described as a ‘small girl who has big adventures’, Ottoline is a series which has big appeal.’


Big thanks to @FrithaL and @MacmillanKidsUK for sending me a copy of Ottoline and the Purple Fox and for providing such an amazing prize of which even I am very jealous of!

Mr E
📚

IMG_6321.jpg


Giveaway!

To celebrate the paperback publication of Ottoline and the Purple Fox, the latest book in Chris Riddell’s Ottoline series, I’ve got a signed set of all the Ottoline books to giveaway, plus a signed Ottoline and Mr Munroe print.

If you’d like to be in with a chance of winning this wonderful prize, simply retweet (RT) this tweet!

The Ottoline series has won numerous awards including the Nestle Smarties Prize and the Red House Children’s Book Award, and has won critical acclaim thanks to its beautiful and heart-warming illustrations, paired with a humorous text.


Welcome to The Reader Teacher!

Here I will be reviewing and recommending a range of books written for primary-aged children and young adults.

This is my website/blog to help you as teachers, school staff and parents to get to know the books that will help children discover a love of reading for themselves and hopefully spread wider the same effects on children that I have had in my classroom.

You will find:

  • Mr E’s Recommended Reads – a list of recommended reads for a particular month showcasing the books that I would recommend to my classes.
  • Reviews – a broad range of reviews categorised by author (A-Z0, genre and age range.
  • Q&A  – where authors, illustrators and poets will join The Reader Teacher to answer questions (some of them asked by you!).
  • Coming Soon…  – take a look here to get ahead of the game and see what’s upcoming in the world of children’s publishing for you to order to read in the classroom.
  • #ourauthorofthemonth/Resources – here you will find a continually developing drive of resources made by myself and other teachers for Author of the Month displays – take a look at the hashtag #ourauthorofthemonth on Twitter for inspiration and ideas.
  • #BookoftheMonth vote – vote for the book that you are/would most like to read to your class for each month and find out the winner in the following month!
  • Giveaways  – keep an eye on and click this link to be in with a chance to win a (sometimes SIGNED!) copy of a book reviewed or recommended on here!
  • Parents – there will be blog posts specifically recommended for parents to view to help with choosing books for your children to read at home to complement the reading they do at school.
  • Libraries – a directory of libraries for your to search your local library’s catalogue to check books that have been reviewed and recommended here for you are in stock for you to use in the classroom (England/Scotland/NI libraries coming soon).
  • Publishers – a directory of publishers for you to find linked activities and teacher resources for books or to contact publishers direct using their Twitter handles.
  • Review Policy – please check here for my guidelines on reviews.
  • Contact – feel free to contact me here on the ‘Contact’ page or on Twitter at @MrEPrimary.