Read any Good Books lately?

Here at ELS, we’re keen readers and we don’t just love books for children- we still read age-appropriate books too!

Our Librarian Harriet has some thoughts on the importance of reading to our well-being…

Grown-ups, read any good books lately – adult books we mean?

Tired, stressed, anxious? Perhaps a few minutes quiet reading could help.

Norwich independent bookshop The Book Hive, decided to create quiet reading sessions in the shop ‘after reading research from The Reading Agency, which revealed that 59% of people say they turn to a book in times of stress, anxiety, or illness, and that 48% say books help them navigate the ups and downs of life and relationships. The report also revealed that 67% of people want to read more, but 48% say they are too busy, or have too much of a hectic lifestyle.

“That was our insight: sadly, the reason people want to read… is the reason they can’t read”, Hedinger said. “We call it ‘detox reading’ as we genuinely believe it has well-being benefits. It is a time away from devices and distractions, so will encourage peace, calm and mindfulness. And more generally, it’s proven that reading for pleasure is a more powerful factor in life achievement than socio-economic background, and that it can result in higher levels of self-esteem and improve social interaction.”’ (The Bookseller, October 2017)

And that’s not just your pupils, but all of us! I find being in an adult book group keeps me up to the mark, in the nicest possible way. I’ve just started Bulgakov’s ‘The Master and Margarita’, which I’ve read alongside Frances Hardinge’s teen novel  ‘A Skinful of Shadows’.

Harriet’s review of the new Frances Hardinge is just below along with some more Friday Reads from our team.

Apryl: Star Wars Coding Projects by Jon Woodcock, illustrated by Jon Hall.

It’s officially ONE MONTH until the new Star Wars film comes out….! I’ve recently learnt about coding, so for me this book’s arrival into our office seems perfectly timed.

This is a brilliant introduction to those learning Scratch (a type of programming for any novices out there…) and gives you step by step guides for how to use code to create your own Star Wars-themed projects. If you’re looking ahead, this would make a brilliant festive gift for any keen coders you know (and any wannabe Jedis too!)


(Dorling Kindersley, £12.99 paperback, ISBN 9780241305782, find it at a Norfolk Library)

Harriet: A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

This teen novel is an exciting mix of gritty historical drama and weird ghostly goings-on in the lives of a 17th century dynasty hoping to survive the very real upheaval of the Civil War.

The reader gradually learns along with heroine Makepeace about her ability – is it a gift or a curse? – to have the ghosts of dead people and animals taken in to her body and mind. She discovers that others in her ruthless and cruel family share the same ability, and that they maintain power and influence in England because the knowledge and interests of past generations is passed down from body to body. But the extreme upheavals about to convulse the country make them vulnerable, and put her in extreme danger. The break-up of families, and the terror that everyone must have felt is vividly portrayed so that the reader is not consciously aware of the obvious research which has gone into bringing this period of history alive. I was slightly less convinced by the ghosts, and wondered at Makepeace’s astonishing skill at carrying on conversations with humans and her several ghostly voices all at once, and I am amazed she remained sane and avoided being killed as a witch. An exciting story, however.

(Macmillan, £12.99 hardback, ISBN 9781509837540, find it at a Norfolk Library)

Zoë: The Storm Dog by Holly Webb

This is a pleasing little story for newly independent readers.

It is easy to read with a comfortable font and there are some lovely illustrations to compliment the narrative.

Tilly is travelling to stay with some relatives by train – on her own – when she falls asleep. Something strange happens when she wakes up. The train is different. Tilly is on a train full of evacuees with her two brothers. Only Tilly doesn’t have any brothers!

(Stripes, £8.99 hardback, ISBN 9781847157935)

You can find our archive of Friday Reads on this page.


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