Half-term is here!

Today marks the end of the first half of this summer term and we’re certainly having the weather for it here in Norfolk; the sun hasn’t stopped shining all week! We’re already looking forward to the final part of this academic year as there are lots of brilliant things coming up; Bookstart week runs 5th- 11th June, the announcement of this year’s Carnegie and Greenaway winners on June 19th, UEA Fly from 10th-14th July and sandwiched in between those two important dates is the Young Norfolk Arts Festival, running from 28th June to 10th July. YNAF have been working closely with  performers and contributors to offer lots of FREE opportunities to get involved (see flyer below!) Spaces are incredibly limited so if you know any young people interested in attending, make sure you secure them a place by emailing admin@ynaf.org.uk

YNAF workshops

This week’s Friday Reads are below; don’t forget, if you’re in need of more recommendations, you can a whole archive by visiting this page.

Apryl: Big Hid by Roisin Swales

Big HidWhenever I see that a delivery to our office features something published by Flying Eye Books, I know that I’m in for real a treat. This, the debut from Roisin Swales, is exactly the kind of picture book I adore; brilliant illustrations paired with a wonderfully simple (but heartwarming!) story.

Big (a tortoise) and Little (a squirrel) are two friends who spend a lot of time having fun playing together. until one day, Big doesn’t want to do anything at all, hiding in his shell away from the outside world. Little is, well, a little confused by this. He has no idea what’s wrong and is baffled as to what he can to convince his friend to re-emerge; eventually, however, he discovers just what will bring their team back together…

A lovely story of friendship with the potential to generate class discussion on sadness and feelings.

(Flying Eye Books, £11.99 hardback, ISBN 9781911171300)

Harriet: Today I Feel…by Madalena Moniz

Today I feelThe subtitle ‘an Alphabet of Feelings’ describes this attractive picture book which although extremely simple will open up loads of discussion. Each left hand page has a capital letter made up of tiny images, which are more fully illustrated on the other page. A single word beginning with that letter expresses the mood or sense; for example O is for Original which is illustrated with a circle of hand-prints, duplicated many times over on the other page. (I would only quibble about J for jealous, which shows the boy looking out of a window at a kite flying free; that’s envy, not jealousy!).

Some terms may require more explanation than others, but overall it’s lovely.

(Abrams Appleseed, £8.99 hardback, ISBN 9781419723247)

Zoë: Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

wolf hollowSurprisingly I enjoyed this book, despite it being quite different to my usual choice of novel. I think it was the hook on the front page that intrigued me the most: ‘The year I turned twelve, I learned to lie.’ Who was the ‘I’? Why did he or she learn to lie? What did they lie about?

Wolf Hollow is a peaceful place, in the midst of a farming community. Toby is a familiar sight to all; a quiet loner living in a shack. Life for Annabelle and her family changes when Betty, an unpleasant girl, arrives to live with her grandparents. School ceases to be a place of calm as Betty makes her presence felt in many ways, with Annabelle frequently on the receiving end of Betty’s maliciousness.

The day Betty fails to attend school is a turning point. Andy, with whom she’s made friends, arrives at school, looking for her as they were supposed to meet up and play hooky but no-one has seen her. However words she has spoken (truth or lies?) lead some people to think Toby is behind her disappearance. What has happened to her?

Annabelle, the narrator, is the ‘I’ who learns to lie. Lying threads its way throughout the story, raising the question, ‘Is it ever alright to lie?’ Some of the lies told are to avoid or create trouble but others are to try and help. Are any of them right?

This would be a suitable book for an independent mature reader from Y6+. Alternatively, it would also make a great class story to generate discussion in PSHE around the theme of lies and lying.

(Corgi, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9780552574297, find it at a Norfolk Library)

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