News & Reviews & Hello February!

It’s FEBRUARY! How did that happen? Farewell January…you went much too fast.

A few very important things before we get to this week’s Friday Reads:

  • The Young Norfolk Arts Festival are looking for young people to join their 2017 Communications team. If you know anyone with an interest in learning more about what it takes to put together and promote a vibrant events programme, make sure you draw their attention to this blog post, especially as the deadline for applications is Sunday 5th Feb! Last year we worked alongside the YNAF Comms team to establish the Backstage blog and on it, you’ll find a glimpse into what young people got up to during the festival in 2016.
  • Legendary children’s writer, Jacqueline Wilson, will be visiting Norwich in March in celebration of this year’s World Book Day. Appearing at the city’s Open venue on Bank Plain, she’ll be talking about her life and lengthy career, as well as her new book ‘Clover Moon’ and her specially authored for WBD title, ‘Butterfly Beach’. The event, taking place from 12.30- 2.45pm on Friday 3rd March, is suitable for Years 4 to 7 and places are limited; tickets are £2 and to purchase these or place an advance order for signed books, be sure to contact Jarrold’s Books directly (details on the flyer here).
  • Over on Twitter this week, we’ve been celebrating National Storytelling Week by sharing some of our favourite books to read aloud. We’ve put together a storify of our twitter postings, which you can see here.

Friday Reads below and our archive, as always, is located here; we’ve lots of recommendations for you to peruse, so make sure you take a look..!

Apryl: NightLights by Lorena Alvarez

nightlightsPart picture book, part graphic novel, NightLights tells the story of Sandy, a small girl with a huge imagination who loves to spend her time drawing. At school she befriends a mysterious new student, Morfie, who encourages her art but whose presence has a more sinister motive.

Colombia-based writer and illustrator Lorena Alvarez constructs a vivid portrait of the struggles and insecurities behind creativity, and her illustrations and use of colour are absolutely enchanting. One of the best reads I’ve stumbled across in a long time!


(Nobrow, £14.99 hardback, ISBN 9781910620137, find it at a Norfolk Library)

Harriet: The Song from Somewhere Else by A.F. Harrold, illustrated by Levi Pinfold

songIt is lovely when a quiet, thoughtful novel turns up for older primary children, and this is just such a one, though it contains plenty of strange magic and spookiness. It is also about being different, fear from bullying and loneliness, and the drawings which form an important part of the book complement perfectly.

I love the ordinariness of the setting – the local park, riding about on a bike – yet within this small world there is so much mystery and strangeness.

(Bloomsbury, £12.99 hardback, ISBN 9781408853368)


Zoë: Paradise Barn by Victor Watson

paradiseThis is the first story in the Paradise Barn series, set during World War II in the village of Great Deeping, Norfolk.

Paradise Barn is near the homes of Molly and Abigail, best friends who love to play there. Adam, an evacuee from London, arrives not long after a body was found near to the barn; the girls have already been discussing the murder and hunting for clues, so Adam begins to help them.

This is an exciting story with plenty of interesting characters set against the backdrop of World War II, in a Norfolk village. With many twists, turns and suspects, neighbours and strangers alike, the children try to solve the mystery.

(Catnip Publishing, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9781846470912)


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