I opened a book and in I strode
Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.
I’m wearing the cloak, I’ve slipped on the ring,
I’ve swallowed the magic potion.
I’ve fought with a dragon, dined with a king
And dived in a bottomless ocean.
I opened a book and made some friends.
I shared their tears and laughter
And followed their road with its bumps and bends
To the happily ever after.
I finished my book and out I came.
The cloak can no longer hide me.
My chair and my house are just the same,
But I have a book inside me.
— Julia Donaldson
I love Donaldson’s final lines – “My chair and my house are just the same,/ But I have a book inside me.” If we know that experience for ourselves, we know how magical it is. Not wanting the book to end. So as half term approaches and the long summer break, let’s make sure we’ve got some books ready not only for ourselves but for our children. Perhaps a trip to the library or a browse in a charity shop is in order. If you are looking for ideas, here are some that my daughter (11) and son (10) have recently enjoyed. There are lots more on the blog, so do have a browse.
Children’s Book Recommendations 5-12
20 Children’s Books 9+
Over 20 Children’s Fiction 8+
Tudor Books 8+
WWII Historical Fiction 6+
Rainforest Literature for Kids
Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.
— Martin Luther
With Lent underway and only 4 weeks until Easter, I’ve updated my Easter booklist below. Continue reading
There is always room for a story which can transport people to another place.
— J.K. Rowling
As lockdown starts easing here in the UK, and getting back in the car becomes more normal, whether travelling to school, the supermarket, or to see friends and family, audiobooks are always a winner on journeys. Even for short trips around our city, we normally have an audiobook on the go. There are already a number of audiobooks listed here, but here are some more that we’ve enjoyed with my children (11,9 and 5). Continue reading
If I were the Principal, boy, things would change.
Our school would be fun, if a little bit strange.
We’d keep kangaroos in the classrooms as pets.
We’d travel to Tonga and learn to fly jets. Continue reading
Those who write for children are trying to arm them for the life ahead with everything we can find that is true. And perhaps, also, secretly, to arm adults against those necessary compromises and necessary heartbreaks that life involves: to remind them that there are and always will be great, sustaining truths to which we can return.
— Katherine Rundell, Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise
Rundell’s words are ringing in my ears. Continue reading
…the most startling thing about this wonderful tree was that hundreds of tapers glittered like stars in its dark branches, and the tree itself, shining with an inner light, invited the children to pick its blossoms and fruits.
– The Nutcracker, E.T.A. Hoffman
In the midst of the chaos of 2020 and all that it has brought us, Christmas is still coming. There is true light in the darkness. What joy! So let’s get preparing….
Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.
— Nelson Mandela
South Africa is a country dear to our hearts. My husband and I lived in Cape Town for the first three years of our marriage and so I have always been keen to introduce something of the place and people to our children. (A visit one day hopefully.) Continue reading
“…the voice that tells us a story aloud is always more than a carrier wave bringing us the meaning; it’s a companion through the events of the story, ensuring that the feelings it stirs in us are held within the circle of attachment connecting the adult reading, and the child listening. To hear a story is a social act.” — Francis Spufford, The Child that Books Built
I love Francis Spufford’s reminder that “to hear a story is a social act.” Continue reading
Excerpt from “Oxford” by Tom Lovatt-Williams
I see the coloured lilacs flame
In many an ancient Oxford lane
And bright laburnum holds its bloom
Suspended golden in the noon,
The placid lawns I often tread
Are stained and carpeted with red…
These lines from Lovatt-Williams’ poem ‘Oxford’ capture perfectly the beauty of this city over the last few weeks. Lockdown has definitely made me far more appreciative of the way nature is changing around us here in Oxford as we take our ‘daily exercise’. Continue reading
We’re in ‘Week 2 of Unexpected Homeschooling’ as I write this. Lunch is cleared away and I’m sitting in the quiet on the sofa. This is my sanity hour and I highly recommend it! Continue reading