Chatterbooks, Bookstart Week, and Norfolk’s Young People

A few bits before we launch into our usual reviews:

This a great piece in the Primary Times about the impact of the Chatterbooks in schools project. Norfolk was one of the local authorities piloting the scheme, with work led by our SLS team including visits to local libraries.

If you’re interested in the scheme, we offer a NEW Chatterbooks subscription for schools- get in touch for more info!

National Bookstart Week runs 6th– 12th June and if you’re looking to get ahead in your planning then the Booktrust website has a plethora of useful resources which can be downloaded for free (here). This year’s theme is ‘Under the Sea’, inspired by A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea by Jessica Law and Jill McDonald. Local libraries may be holding events, so be sure to check in branch or the NLIS website for details.

Young Norfolk Arts Festival is an annual celebration, this year taking place from 1st– 10th July, throughout the city. Now in its fourth year, the programme is curated by and for young people with support from a variety of partners. The festival’s brochure is now online and as you’ll see, there’s an amazing mix of events allowing for young people to celebrate their creative and performance skills. The schedule can be viewed here and if you’re interested in attending, make a point of checking to see if you need tickets as they’re sure to be popular.

See below for this week’s Friday Read recommendations:

Apryl: Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

sam and daveAnother Greenaway shortlistee from me this week, and another illustrator whose work I always love to see (Jon Klassen). Two boys (the titular Sam and Dave) decide to dig a hole, determined to find something spectacular and- fuelled by chocolate milk and animal biscuits- that’s just what they do. Wonderfully simple, the earthy tones


(Walker Books, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9781406360981, find it here on the NLIS catalogue)


Mandy: One by Sarah Crossan

oneThis story for Young Adults had me feeling very reluctant to read it, fearing mawkish sentimentality or insensitive intrusion, but I’ve read Sarah Crossan before and know I like her poetic writing style. There are SO many “issues” books out there, but this is truly unique. Grace and Tippi are twins conjoined at the hip. When family funds run low they move from being cocooned and protected as ‘home-schooled’ to the rough and tumble world of school. How they survive and each develop friendships and what happens when health issues appear, make for an involving and moving read. One illustrates just how independent and courageous these sisters are.

(Bloomsbury, £10.99 hardback, ISBN 9781408863114, find it here on our SLS eBook platform)

Zoë: Precious and the Monkeys by Alexander McCall Smith

previousAs a fan of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, I was keen to read this, the first case of Precious Ramotswe. Like many of the puzzles she unravels as an adult, this one sees Precious solve a mystery that upsets lots of people.

Items are being stolen from Precious and her classmates at school as well as from other people in Mochudi, the village where they live. No-one will own up to being the thief. Unproven accusations are bandied about with the finger of suspicion pointing to different children so a sense of mistrust pervades the school. Having an acute sense of justice as well as knowing the importance of right from wrong, learnt from her father, Precious decides it is up to her to find the culprit.

This is a thoroughly entertaining story for adults and children alike as either a personal or class read. As always, Alexander McCall Smith encapsulates the essence of Botswana and Africa throughout. The simple illustrations by Iain McIntosh both suit and support the storyline.

(Polygon, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9781846973208)

As usual, you can find our archive of previous Friday Reads here.



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