Blog Tour: (4 in 1: Review, Extract, Teachers’ Notes & Giveaway!) The Storm Keeper’s Island – Catherine Doyle (Illustrated by Bill Bragg)

Today, it is my absolute pleasure to be a part of this blog tour for Waterstones’ Children Book of the Month for July, The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle.
Bloomsbury Children’s Books have provided me with an extract of The Storm Keeper’s Island, Teachers’ Notes and TEN copies to give away! See below!

unnamed-3

‘Magic and myth combine to make The Storm Keeper’s Island a novel like no other. With a different kind of magic, this is a contemporary classic that will move its readers to feel like they’ve discovered and rediscovered their love for reading all over again.’

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Title:
 The Storm Keeper’s Island
Author: Catherine Doyle (@doyle_cat)
Illustrator (Cover): Bill Bragg
Lettering (Cover): Patrick Knowles (@PatrickKnowle14)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books (@KidsBloomsbury)
Page count: 320
Date of publication: 1st July 2018
Series status: First in the series
ISBN: 978-1408896884

Perfect for Year 5, Year 6 & Year 7.

#3Words3Emojis:
1. Memories 💭
2. Candles 🕯️
3. Island/Ireland 🇮🇪


When Fionn Boyle sets foot on Arranmore Island, it begins to stir beneath his feet …

Once in a generation, Arranmore Island chooses a new Storm Keeper to wield its power and keep its magic safe from enemies. The time has come for Fionn’s grandfather, a secretive and eccentric old man, to step down. Soon, a new Keeper will rise.

But, deep underground, someone has been waiting for Fionn. As the battle to become the island’s next champion rages, a more sinister magic is waking up, intent on rekindling an ancient war.


The first line(s):

In a field full of wild flowers, a boy and a girl stood side by side beneath an oak tree. The sky was angry, the thunder growling like an angry beast.

Extract

Download extract of The Storm Keeper’s Island


Review:

Inspired by Cat’s very own childhood connections to the island of Arranmore – off the west coast of Ireland – and intertwined with the ripe richness and rurality of Irish mythology, The Storm Keeper’s Island is a novel like no other.

IMG_8564.JPGOriginally, I had started to write this review after receiving an advance proof copy of this story back in May, before it had been chosen as Waterstones’ Children’s Book of the Month for July. It is safe to say that it is no surprise to me that it has proudly earned this accolade because it blows everything out of the water and far away across the sea.

Starting off in the school holidays, Ffion and his sister Tara are sent away across the sea, by their mother (who later on we find is still riddled with shock after the death of their father), to a lonely island to stay with their grandfather. From the very first page, Fionn becomes the kind of almost hidden hero you can really start to root for, as the angsty brotherly-sisterly dynamic between him and his sibling starts to seep through.

But the island and his grandfather are not quite what Ffion first expected, in fact they too are like no other. The island of Arranmore is a larger-than-life land surrounded from within by magic, ancient folklore and legend. An island steeped in a strong sense of history and with a beating heart all of its own. Inhaling, gasping, waking up and with a voice that seemingly speaks to Ffion in his deepest dreams, this is an island that breathes and begins to come to life before your very own eyes through Cat’s choice of beautiful and almost lyrical language that lilts and sings itself off the page.

As candles, memories (including a grandfather living with Alzheimer’s) and ancient wars meander and merge, Ffion finds himself in the middle of a changing of the guard as the island seeks out to select its next Storm Keeper but more than magic, mystery and myth stand before him.

With a feel of a contemporary classic, like a blend of Funke with Millwood Hargrave and Rundell, this is an all together different kind of magic and fantasy that’s on offer. One that’s very much multi-layered; it felt like there were so many stories within stories just waiting to be awoken to be told. And it is this that I cannot wait to see progress in Catherine’s future stories.

This is a stunning, secretly-enchanting story imbued with a strong, original and inherent sense of ancestral self from Catherine that makes it shine so brightly, and will embrace its readers and move them to feel like they’ve rediscovered their love for reading all over again.

Just as once in a generation, the island of Arranmore chooses a new Storm Keeper; once in a while, a book as special as this comes around.

If I could mould this book in to its very own candle, calling it The Storm Keeper – 1st July 2018, it would continue to burn to be relived and reread. For this is a light book that I hope never goes out and one that I will be waxing lyrical about for years to come.


Huge thanks to CatherineEmma, Emily, and all at Bloomsbury Children’s Books for inviting me to take part in this blog tour, providing me with the resources and sending me an advance proof copy, finished copy of this beautifully-written book!

Mr E
🕯️📚🕯️

IMG_8592.jpg


Catherine Doyle
Headshot1

Catherine Doyle grew up in the West of Ireland. She holds a first-class BA in Psychology and a first-class MA in Publishing. She is the author of the Young Adult Blood for Blood trilogy (Vendetta, Inferno and Mafiosa), which is often described as Romeo and Juliet meets the Godfather. It was inspired by her love of modern cinema.

Her debut Middle Grade novel, The Storm Keeper’s Island (Bloomsbury, 2018), is an adventure story about family, bravery and self-discovery. It is set on the magical island of Arranmore, where her grandparents grew up, and is inspired by her ancestors’ real life daring sea rescues. 

​Aside from more conventional interests in movies, running and travelling, Catherine also enjoys writing about herself in the third-person.


Teachers’ Notes

Download The Storm Keeper’s Island Teachers’ Notes


Giveaway!

I am absolutely elated that the very lovely people at Bllomsbury Children’s Books have kindly given me TEN copies of The Storm Keeper’s Island to give away!

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

Storm Keeper Cover

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: The Dodo Made Me Do It – Jo Simmons (Illustrated by Sheena Dempsey): Out 9th August 2018!

Today, I’m SO excited to reveal the cover of Jo Simmons’ fabulously funny, The Dodo Made Me Do It, illustrated by Sheena Dempsey, which will be published on 9th August 2018 by Bloomsbury Children’s.

I’m also super excited because the very lovely people at Bloomsbury Children’s have given me three copies of The Dodo Made Me Do It to give away! Find out more below!


The Dodo Made Me Do It – Jo Simmons

IMG_6577

Danny longs for adventure – or just a super-cool summer holiday, for once – but every year he is shipped off to the quiet village of Kinoussie in Scotland to stay with his gran. Nothing ever ever happens in Kinoussie – except his gran makes him eat a lot of porridge, and the only person to hang out with is science-mad Susie, who is more interested in watching programmes about tapeworms than finding fun!

But when Danny hears about a shipwreck just off the coast, his adventure really begins and when he discovers a dodo (of all things!), Danny certainly gets more than he bargains for! Trying to keep the dodo fed, safe and quiet is a mammoth task and Danny’s lies and excuses are soon spinning out of control. Why had he ever wished for something more exciting to happen?

A hilarious tale of wish fulfilment gone wrong that every child will relate to – perfect for fans of Pamela Butchart, My Brother Is a Superhero and David Baddiel’s The Parent Agency.

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781408877777
Number of pages: 304


Jo Simmons

ouFjIm5b_400x400
(Image credit: https://twitter.com/joanna_simmons)

Jo Simmons lives in Brighton with her husband Steve and their two children, George and Dylan. They share their home with a dog called Betty and a cat called Pickle (before you ask – no, they don’t get on. Pickle lives upstairs; Betty lives downstairs).

Jo studied English at Warwick University and journalism at Cardiff University. She has been a journalist for a really long time, but the Pip Street children’s books are her first go at fiction.

Jo likes sleeping, running and eating ice cream straight from the pot, though not all at the same time, of course. That would be silly. And impossible.


Sheena Dempsey

DEMPSEY-S-200x288

Sheena Dempsey is an exciting talent. She is most known for being the illustrator of the pigeontastic Dave Pigeon series (Faber & Faber) written by Swapna Haddow, as well as the illustrator of Fearne Cotton’s debut children’s book Yoga Babies (Andersen Press). Yoga Babieshas sold in nine territories and the second title in the series will be published in 2018. It has recently been shortlisted for the Sheffield Children’s Book Awards 2018.

Sheena is also illustrator of Billy Button the Telegram Boy (Barrington Stoke) written by Sally Nicholls, which was shortlisted for the Book of the Year Award by Children’s Books Ireland.


Huge thanks to Jo, Lizz, Emily and all at Bloomsbury Children’s UK for inviting me to host this totally awesome cover reveal, I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy!


Mr E

📚


The Dodo Made Me Do It is available to pre-order online from AmazonWaterstones or from any good bookshop.

IMG_6577


Giveaway!

The very lovely people at Bloomsbury Children’s have kindly given me three copies of The Dodo Made Me Do It to give away!

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!

IMG_6577

 

Review: Brilliant Bundle of Books from Bloomsbury Education!

After requesting a review copy of Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World by Kate Pankhurst from @KidsBloomsbury, Lizz Skelly kindly asked if I wanted to be put on the Bloomsbury Education mailing list, so I said a resounding YES please and look what arrived through my letterbox! I am so fortunate to receive ten (yes, TEN!) of their upcoming 2018 titles. You have done me so well and for that, a huge thank you to @LauraEmBev and @BloomsburyEd!

Here’s what I think…

IMG_2009.JPG


Apes to Zebras: An A-Z of Shape Poems by Liz Brownlee, Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens (Out 22nd March 2018)                             ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Shape poetry is always a popular choice in primary schools among teachers and children alike, particularly when introducing features of poetry to children in younger year groups, so this much-needed collection will no doubt provide the perfect range and repertoire of examples to read, share and use in the classroom. Featuring a full alphabetical array from the extraordinary and the exotic to the extinct and the non-existent from well-liked and recognised poets Liz Brownlee, Sue Hardy-Dawson & Roger Stevens, this will amaze, amuse and appeal to classes throughout the primary school and have them eagerly wanting to write their own shape poems. My personal favourites include Emperor Penguin (LB), Turtle (SH-D) and Snail (RS). I know that this will become a staple resource among many teachers on their bookshelves as I’ll certainly be using it every year!

Apes to Zebras: An A-Z of Shape Poems is available to order online or from any good bookshop.


What’s Worrying You? by Molly Potter and illustrated by Sarah Jennings (Out 8th February 2018)                        ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
With schools now focussing upon mental health, wellbeing and mindfulness more in the curriculum, there is a pressing need for books like this which explain school and social situations (e.g. when you find something difficult or when you fall out with a friend etc.), and appropriate ways of dealing with them. Bright, visually appealing and emotionally accurate, this book will help promote resilience in children; improve self-awareness and communication skills through the development of vocabulary associated with a range of moods and feelings (in the ‘how you might feel’ boxes – e.g. angry, misunderstood, sad, disappointed, distrustful, lonely, confused, ignored) and would be perfect for use throughout the primary school in PSHE lessons and nurture-based intervention groups.

What’s Worrying You? is available to order online or from any good bookshop.


Stone Age Tales: The Great Cave; The Great Flood; The Great Monster & The Great Storm by Terry Deary (Out 8th March 2018)        ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
From the master of historical non-fiction and fiction Terry Deary himself, well-known for writing the Horrible Histories series, comes the latest offering in his Tales series – Stone Age Tales. Mixing historical fact with fiction, these books provide both an insightful and informative read about these time periods whilst being strongly based on real historical and archaeological evidence. Travelling across the length and breadth of this time period and even branching in to the Bronze and Iron Ages, we visit Lascaux, France (17,300 years ago); Mespotamia (2,500 years ago) & Skara Brae (5,000 years ago). My personal favourite of these tales is The Great Cave as the story of the cave paintings of the setting of Lascaux that this story is based on still captivates me to this day, years after hearing it. Thoroughly enjoyable whilst providing a glimpse in to our past, they are the first choice of books I think about to complement any history topic in school.

Stone Age Tales: The Great Cave; The Great Flood; The Great Monster & The Great Storm are available to order online or from any good bookshop.


Skate Monkey: Demon Attack (High/Low) / Kidnap (High/Low) by Paul Mason (Out 11th January 2018)      ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

The Football Trials: Kick Off (High/Low) / Dangerous Play (High/Low) by John Hickman (Out 5th April 2018)   ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 

Printed on tinted paper, these two series of short stories are part of Bloomsbury’s High/Low range and intended to help readers who are developing their confidence, fluency and accuracy. This is achieved through a mix of whole-page illustrations; linear plots, simple sentences and paragraphs on each page and increased font sizes.

Loosely inspired by a 16th Century Chinese folk tale, Skate Monkey and his friends, Zu and Sandy, used to live in the Emperor’s Cloud Palace. But after playing all sorts of tricks on people up there with their magical powers, the Jade Emperor had had enough and so sent them down to Earth. In Demon Attack and Kidnap, the gang are called to investigate the strange goings-on happening at school and in their neighbourhood. Can the group of friends use their magical powers for good and overcome what’s causing everyone chaos…? A light and enjoyable read that’s packed full of adventure, action and the appearance of some downright creepy demons, I can see this series being very much enjoyed in schools whilst also adding a spot of variety to traditional guided reading and intervention sessions for developing readers.

The Football Trials tells of the transformation of a boy used to playing football on Sunday league pitches and growing up in a high-rise tower block as he adjusts to joining the elite of a Premier League football academy. In Kick Off, when a scout from United notices Jackson’s talent in the park, it looks like he’s off to make it by earning mega bucks playing in the Premier League. But all may be not as it appears as he seems to encounter some kind of trouble in the form of losing his friends, a new crush (in Dangerous Games), worrying about not fitting in and his temper all getting in the way of his ultimate dream. Can he manage all of these to become the superstar that his talent deserves…? This series will interest older readers towards the end of primary school or beginning of secondary school and any football fan.

A little more about what Bloomsbury say about their High Low books:
‘Bloomsbury High Low books encourage and support reading practice by providing gripping, age-appropriate stories for struggling and reluctant readers, those with dyslexia, or those with English as an additional language. Printed on tinted paper and with a dyslexia friendly font, Skate Monkey is aimed at readers aged 8+ and has a manageable length (72 pages) and reading age (7+). This collection of stories can be read in any order.

Produced in association with reading experts at CatchUp, a charity which aims to address underachievement caused by literacy and numeracy difficulties.’

Skate Monkey: Demon Attack  / Kidnap (High/Low) and The Football Trials: Kick Off  / Dangerous Play are available to order online or from any good bookshop.


Mr E
📚

A big thank you again to all at @BloomsburyEd and @KidsBloomsbury!
I look forward to using more of your books in the classroom!

 

Review: Fantastically Great Women Who Made History – Kate Pankhurst (Illustrated by Kate Pankhurst)

‘More than that of a bedtime book, more than that of a story-time book, even more than that of just a non-fiction or information book; this is an anytime-of-the-day book… that succeeds yet again in capturing not only the imagination but also the inspiration of a generation!’

9781408878903_exterior_VISUAL

Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Title: Fantastically Great Women Who Made History
Author: Kate Pankhurst (@KateisDrawing)
Illustrator (Cover): Kate Pankhurst (@KateisDrawing)
Publisher: Bloomsbury Kids (@KidsBloomsbury)
Page count: 32
Date of publication: 8th February 2018
Series status: N/A
ISBN: 978-1408878903

Perfect for Year 1 & Year 2, Year 3 & Year 4 and Year 5 & Year 6.

#3Words3Emojis:
1. Life-affirming 👍
2. Aspirational 💭
3. Fantastical 😊


Fantastically Great Women Who Made History is a celebration of extraordinary women from around the world and how their remarkable lives marched them into our history books. 

Blast into space with astronaut Valentina Tereshkova, become a mighty Egyptian pharaoh with the powerful Hatshepsut and make your voice heard with mother and daughter duo, women’s rights champion Mary Wollstonecraft and Frankenstein’s creator Mary Shelley.

Illustrated and written by the wonderfully talented Kate Pankhurst, this is the perfect introduction to just a few of the extraordinary women who have made their mark on history.

How will YOU make history?


Review: Today marks International Women’s Day 2018, so I couldn’t think of a more timely day and occasion to post this review of Fantastically Great Women Who Made History, which returns triumphantly as part of the Fantastically Great Women seriesI’m absolutely delighted that this hugely-successful series – written by the supremely talented Kate Pankhurst – is back especially after the success of its first, Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World which became the number one best-selling children’s non-fiction title in the UK market in 2017Like its predecessor, this one again stands itself in high acclaim and continues to come highly recommended.

Journey through history as we are introduced to many more truly wonderful women in the form of:

 

 

  • Ada Lovelace, mathematical mastermind and early computer programming prodigy who created patterns known as algorithms which have recently been added as a key skill to be taught to children on the curriculum.
  • Boudicca, warrior queen of the Iceni tribe who ruled alone and battled hard against the might of the Romans who initially underestimated her power.
  • Dr Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman ever to be awarded a degree in medicine.
  • Flora Drummond, one of a group of prominent suffragettes whose efforts lead women towards the equality they deserved by gaining the right to vote for some women in 1918.
  • Harriet Tubman, a runaway slave who decided that enough was enough and searched for her freedom.
  • Hatshepsut, who became one of the most successful pharaohs of Ancient Egypt reigning for 20 years by being a strong leader especially in times of threat and danger.
  • Josephine Baker, a teenager-turned-superstar that wowed audiences in theatre performances across the world, was given a leading role in one of the first shows with an all-black cast to be shown on Broadway who settled in Paris, a city that allowed her to be herself.
  • Mary Wollstonecraft & Mary Shelley, the mother-and-daughter duo whose famous writing and books such as Vindications of the Rights of Women and Frankenstein initially shocked and scared people at the time but which is still read today and now regarded as classic literature, over two centuries later.
  • Qiu Jin, a knowledgeable and fearless lady who travelled across to Japan at a young age to gain more respect than she was receiving in China at the time, but who came back to rebel against the government and the dynasty and who revolutionised equality and rights for women within the country.
  • Noor Inayat Khan, the first female wireless operator to be sent into Nazi-occupied France during World War Two and awarded with the highest honour for bravery – the George Medal for her efforts.
  • Pocahontas, the daughter of the chief of a Native American tribe, often more known through the Disney films, who tried to embrace and bring together the two sides of colonisation by growing the understanding that all people, no matter their culture, deserve respect and kindness.
  • Sayyida-al-Hurra, a pirate queen who ruled the seas around Morocco, after emigrating there from the kingdom of Granada, and fought back against her enemies, the very same people that forced her from her own country.
  • Valentina Tereshkova, whose ambitions carried her all the way to a different dimension as she became the first woman astronaut in space.

PNG image-C0FEF16CD02D-1Kate really does all of these incredible women justice in this book and frankly they all deserve a place here but my own personal favourites include Ada Lovelace, Noor Inayat Khan and Dr Elizabeth Blackwell, most recently voted as the winning woman in a National Book Tokens poll to find out the public’s favourite female who changed history.

This book should not just solely be treated as an excellent introduction to the lives, the adventures and the accomplishments of these women but also, a celebration to tell of these trailblazers who were ahead of their time; to highlight the heroics of these heroines; and to champion them as catalysts of change who pushed boundaries, shifted perceptions and transformed life as we now know it in all their rightful and resplendently-drawn glory.

This range of creative geniuses, great thinkers and pivotal pioneers have certainly left their legacy on society, history and life in more ways than one. At the time, however, whilst being a leading lady eventually resulted in success; it also meant that they too had their own personal hardships that they had to overcome. Much adversity stood in their way such as daring to fight stereotypes and tradition against gender inequality, racism and sexism to suffering segregation, poverty,  persecution and rejection.  These women truly demonstrated characteristics of steely grit, drive and determination, inner strength, resilience and self-confidence in their abilities in order to have their presence even merely acknowledged, their opinions heard and to break down the barriers put before and the glass ceilings put above them. This is why it is important that not only the successes, but the backgrounds of these remarkable role models need to be shared with all.

This would be a perfect read to share and discuss in the classroom and at home to complement a whole range of subjects and topics within the curriculum. It could also be used for help with homework, for research leading to further learning opportunities but above all, for enjoyment and reading for pleasure because it is more than that of a bedtime book, more than that of a story-time book, even more than that of a non-fiction or information book; this is an anytime-of-the-day book that should be pored over by child, pupil, parent, grandparent, teacher and any reader alike. I think reading and sharing this book together would be an equally valuable learning experience for all.

To have a book with such an-all encompassing, wide scope of age and appeal is only tantamount to its superb quality in delivering its informational content in a wholly accessible, encouraging, and child and adult-friendly format. With its factually-fantastic double-page spreads featuring just the right combination of information with Kate’s original and characteristically distinctive illustrations that visually complement one another, it really is a historical, social, cultural, literary, scientific, geographical, mathematical and early technological lesson all rolled in to one.

Coupled with Kate’s initial offering, Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World, these books together would make incredibly worthy additions to every class, school, home and library bookshelf as they could indeed change the world and make history themselves through their potentially long-lasting impact on this generation and the next.

So as a teacher or parent, ask yourself this: how will the children in your class or home go on to make history?

Well after reading this, you can be guaranteed to have a class-full or home-full of budding history-makers and visionaries aspiring to want to follow in the footsteps and discover more about these fantastically great women. What more could you want…?

‘More than that of a bedtime book, more than that of a story-time book, even more than that of just a non-fiction or information book; this is an anytime-of-the-day book… that succeeds yet again in capturing not only the imagination but also the inspiration of a generation!’

Thank you to Lizz Skelly at Bloomsbury Kids for sending me a review copy of this marvellous book!

Fantastically Great Women Who Made History is available to order online or from any good bookshop.

Mr E
📚

IMG_2628.jpg