Michelle Magorian

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British Books Challenge 2015 – The Round Up

Published January 3, 2016 by bibliobeth

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2015 was my third year of participating in the British Books Challenge and I’m absolutely loving finding new British authors and discovering old ones too. Here’s what I read in 2015, please click on the title to see my review:

The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Devil In The Marshalsea – Antonia Hodgson

Under A Mackerel Sky – Rick Stein

A Terribly Strange Bed – Wilkie Collins

Silver Bay – Jojo Moyes

The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton

Five Children and It – E. Nesbit

Elizabeth Is Missing – Emma Healey

Magpies – Lucy Wood

Honeymoon In Paris – Jojo Moyes

The Good Children – Roopa Farooki

Ironheart – Allan Boroughs

The Five Orange Pips – Arthur Conan Doyle

The Murder Bag – Tony Parsons

She Murdered Mortal He – Sarah Hall

Dangerous Boys – Abigail Haas

The Raven’s Head – Karen Maitland

The Long Shadow – Mark Mills

Miss Carter’s War – Sheila Hancock

Keeping Watch Over The Sheep – Jon McGregor

The Archduchess – Daphne du Maurier

The Oversoul – Graham Joyce

Plague Land – S.D. Sykes

A Colder War – Charles Cumming

Flour Babies – Anne Fine

The Summer We All Ran Away – Cassandra Parkin

Cellists – Kazuo Ishiguro

Mrs Hemingway – Naomi Wood

Us – David Nicholls

Gretel And The Dark – Eliza Granville

The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis

Frozen Charlotte – Alex Bell

Bloodsport – Tom Cain

The Lemon Grove – Helen Walsh

Kew Gardens – Virginia Woolf

Funny Girl – Nick Hornby

The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams

No Other Darkness (Marnie Rome #2) – Sarah Hilary

The Giant’s Boneyard – Lucy Wood

Golden Boy – Abigail Tarttelin

A Want Of Kindness – Joanne Limburg

Gangsta Granny – David Walliams

Half Bad – Sally Green

The Man With The Twisted Lip – Arthur Conan Doyle

I Let You Go – Clare Mackintosh

The NightLong River – Sarah Hall

Knife Edge – Malorie Blackman

This Book Is Gay – James Dawson

She Is Not Invisible – Marcus Sedgwick

The Beloved – Alison Rattle

The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman

Airshow – Jon McGregor

The Menace – Daphne du Maurier

A Song For Issy Bradley – Carys Bray

Candia – Graham Joyce

Night Music – JoJo Moyes

Extremes: Life, Death And The Limits Of The Human Body – Kevin Fong

Gingerbread – Robert Dinsdale

The Mistletoe Bride – Kate Mosse

The Taxidermist’s Daughter – Kate Mosse

More Than This – Patrick Ness

Watership Down – Richard Adams

The Rat In The Attic – Brian McGilloway

All The Birds, Singing – Evie Wyld

The Last Wild – Piers Torday

The Dark Wild – Piers Torday

The Wild Beyond – Piers Torday

How To Fly With Broken Wings – Jane Elson

Goodnight Mister Tom – Michelle Magorian

The Bees – Laline Paull

The Ice Twins – S.K. Tremayne

Beachcombing – Lucy Wood

House Of Windows – Alexia Casale

A Man And Two Women – Doris Lessing

The Ask And The Answer – Patrick Ness

The Class That Went Wild – Ruth Thomas

Life After You – Lucie Brownlee

A Wicked Old Woman – Ravinder Randhawa

The Adventure Of The Blue Carbuncle – Arthur Conan Doyle

Vuotjärvi – Sarah Hall

The Well – Catherine Chanter

So by my calculations that makes it 81 books read! Highlights for this year include my continuing love for Patrick Ness, the amazing House of Windows by Alexia Casale which absolutely floored me, the beauty that is Goodnight Mister Tom (why did I wait so long to read that?!) and All The Birds Singing by Evie Wyld which was just gorgeous. Looking forward to reading some more great British books in 2016.

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Beth And Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2015 – The Round Up

Published December 31, 2015 by bibliobeth

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Hi everyone and welcome to my round up post where Chrissi and I talk about our highlights (and lowlights!) of Kid-Lit 2015. We had some fantastic books on the list this year, please see my reviews below and for Chrissi’s reviews, visit her blog HERE.

JANUARY- Five Children And It- E.Nesbit

FEBRUARY- Pollyanna- Eleanor H.Porter

MARCH- Diary of A Wimpy Kid- Jeff Kinney

APRIL- Flour Babies- Anne Fine 

MAY- The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe- C.S Lewis

JUNE- Velveteen Rabbit- Margery Bianco 

JULY- Gangsta Granny- David Walliams 

AUGUST- The Graveyard Book- Neil Gaiman

SEPTEMBER- Watership Down- Richard Adams

OCTOBER- Goodnight Mister Tom- Michelle Magorian

NOVEMBER- The Class That Went Wild- Ruth Thomas

DECEMBER – The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) – Rick Riordan

So, in the style of the “Talking About…” reviews we normally do, we thought we’d answer a quick few questions about our third year of Kid-Lit blogging.

1) What was your favourite Kid-Lit book of 2015 and why?
BETH: SUCH a tough choice. We had some super amazing titles this year. If I absolutely had to choose one it would be Goodnight Mister Tom which narrowly beats The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, one of my all-time favourites. So beautiful. So moving. I may have shed a tear or two…
CHRISSI: It has to be Goodnight Mister Tom which is one of my favourite books of all time, even as an adult it moved me. Possibly more so. Arghhhh the love I have for this book.
2) What was your least favourite Kid-Lit book of 2015 and why?
BETH: Hmm. There weren’t any real howlers this year (compared to the horror that was The Swiss Family Robinson last year!). Again if I had to choose, I would go for Diary Of A Wimpy Kid. This is not because it’s terrible because it’s not at all. Perhaps I was just expecting something a bit more and maybe I’m the wrong demographic but it wasn’t an amazing read for me.
CHRISSI: Watership Down. I’m a massive rabbit lover and wanted to connect with it more.
3) What was the Kid-Lit book of 2015 that surprised you the most?
BETH: Either Watership Down which was slightly darker than I expected or Velveteen Rabbit which was even more adorable than I expected!
CHRISSI: The Lightning Thief. I didn’t expect to enjoy Percy Jackson as much as I did!
4) Have you been inspired to read any other books from a Kid-Lit author of 2015?
BETH: Yes! Something else from Ruth Thomas after once again thoroughly enjoying The Class That Went Wild as an adult and David Walliams as I thought Gangsta Granny was a brilliant read. Wonder if one of these authors will turn up on our list for 2016? &#X1f60a
CHRISSI: More from David Walliams and Rick Riordan!

For anyone who reads these posts, thank you so much for your continued support, we love doing this challenge and hope to continue it indefinitely. Coming tomorrow – the big reveal for Kid-Lit 2016! Which titles made it this year? And which titles are we going to have to do er…. another year?!

Beth and Chrissi do Kid-Lit – OCTOBER READ – Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

Published October 31, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

The story is set during the Second World War, when Tom Oakley, an elderly and unsociable widower, finds himself with a young evacuee on his hands. Willie is a sickly, under-nourished and ill-treated London child, but we see him blossom in Tom’s care into a healthy, happy and talented boy. He makes friends for the first time, and is surprised to find that he soon forgets to be homesick, as there is always so much to do in the village. This tale traces the beautiful and profound relationship that develops between the man and the boy.

What did I think?:

Goodnight Mister Tom is one of Chrissi’s all-time favourite books and I know she also used to love the 1998 film adaptation starring John Thaw as Tom Oakley, a disgruntled and solitary old man who is forced to house a young boy, evacuated from London during the war. Actually, I really don’t know why I haven’t ever read this book up until now, I can completely understand why she loves it and it has also made its way onto my all-time favourite books list. Thanks, Chrissi!

When Willie first arrives at Tom’s door, he is petrified of the old, grumpy man who he is certain will beat him with a stick or brand him with a hot poker. The sad thing is that Willie has been abused all his life from someone who was supposed to love him, so he doesn’t know any different. He is quiet, scared of everything, has no friends or interests and, to his embarrassment and horror, wets the bed on a nightly basis when he first arrives at Tom’s house. However, Tom has his own tragedies that he deals with from day to day – losing his young wife and baby son has greatly changed him into the man we meet. It is as if he is scared to let anyone else into his life just in case he loses them too and his snappy exterior is a defence mechanism and protects him from potential pain and loss.

Nevertheless, there is something about Willie that melts something in the old man’s heart and he begins to care a great deal about him, soothing his fears, calming his nerves, encouraging his talents, helping him to learn and letting him know (in a gruff but very kindly manner) that he is loved. Under Tom’s gentle ways, Willie makes his first friends, learns how to play and be happy like a normal child of his age and discovers hidden talents that he never knew he had. In this way, Tom also learns to deal with his own traumatic past and a beautiful relationship starts to develop. There are still hard times to come for poor Willie, but with Mister Tom by his side, he has no need to be afraid.

I have so much love for this book I don’t know where to start gushing about it! The characters are so beautiful, particularly Mister Tom and Willie and it would take a hard-hearted soul to resist falling in love with them. I was certain I had seen the film adaptation but perhaps I haven’t as I was certainly shocked by some of the events in the story that I did not recall. I am quite glad however that I didn’t know particular details as I felt the story made more of an impact on me than if I had been aware of spoilers. So, be careful to avoid these if you haven’t read this before! The author certainly doesn’t hold back from difficult situations and had me both tearful and captivated at the same time. I’m sure this novel first published in 1981 is destined to be a classic for many years to come and I know I’m going to enjoy re-reading it in the future.

For Chrissi’s fab review please check out her post HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of five):

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Beth and Chrissi do Kid Lit – the titles for 2015

Published January 3, 2015 by bibliobeth

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This is the third year that my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads and myself have set ourselves a Kid-Lit Challenge and this year we decided to shake things up a bit. We have each picked six so-called “classic” works of children’s fiction and we based this around books published before 1980 (yes, it wasn’t so long ago, I know), and six more “modern” children’s stories. We hope you will enjoy our selection.

JANUARY- Five Children And It- E.Nesbit

FEBRUARY- Pollyanna- Eleanor H.Porter

MARCH- Diary of A Wimpy Kid- Jeff Kinney

APRIL- Flour Babies- Anne Fine 

MAY- The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe- C.S Lewis

JUNE- Velveteen Rabbit- Margery Bianco 

JULY- Gangsta Granny- David Walliams 

AUGUST- The Graveyard Book- Neil Gaiman

SEPTEMBER- Watership Down- Richard Adams

OCTOBER- Goodnight Mister Tom- Michelle Magorian

NOVEMBER- The Class That Went Wild- Ruth Thomas

DECEMBER – The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) – Rick Riordan