Listen

I’m deeply attracted to audio recordings breathing new life into old favourites.  Check out this review of the tenth-anniversary edition of Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods” by Talia Lavin of The New Yorker Recommends

I downloaded the audiobook to my iPhone, ready to use the familiar tale to soothe me to sleep. Instead, it was more compelling than it had any right to be.

Click HERE for the full review.

Kate the Great

Raymie cover

In the last month or so, Kate DiCamillo’s RAYMIE NIGHTINGALE has circulated through four readers spanning three generations in our family. My thirteen-year-old first pressed it into my hand with wide eyes. “Momma, you’ll love this.” She was right. I devoured it – reading deep into the night; ignoring my inner nag tut-tutting about sleep. My Mother has furtively chipped away each visit – stealing it up from my bedside. And Miss Ten was entranced by Jenna Lamia’s reading of the story during our frequent and long drives West.

No dystopia, wizardry or superheroes here. Ramie Clarke is a suburban girl with a problem and a plan.  There are baton lessons, white boots and shitty cars. Strangers, crazies, lost pets.  Beneath lies a darker architecture – abandonment, poverty and violence. But with restraint and careful cadence DiCamillo ultimately tells a simple and joyful story about friendship.  She perfectly inhabits Raymie and a child’s view of a complex world. This story is clearly personal. Brilliant.

 

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Rad Girls Can

rad girls can

In celebration of International Women’s Day, I bring you a fabulous new book from New York Times best-selling author and illustrator of Rad Women Worldwide and Rad American Women A-Z, Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl.

RAD GIRLS CAN celebrates a diverse range of courageous, determined, advocative, change-making girls.

This collection of stories and art is a bold and brilliant hit of inspiration.

Go girls.

 

HOOOOWWLL!

A 2018 Caldecott Medal winner, WOLF IN THE SNOW is written and illustrated by Matthew Cordell (Feiwel and Friends, 2017).

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This picture book is deceptively simple and absolutely delightful. Cordell uses pen and ink sketches and watercolour to tell a story of survival in a vast and treacherous winter landscape.

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Pretty much wordless and almost filmic, Cordell’s sparing use of text creates an audio dimension and shape and colour cleverly weave in elements of fairy tale.

 

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Both visually and narratively, human and animal are aligned in this cold universe and a little girl’s heroic act of kindness in the face of adversity is quietly imbued with themes of family and love.

 

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And who doesn’t love a cosy ending?  Ah.

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Though clearly created for the very young, our ten-year old was captured by this story, declaring it “the best book I’ve ever read.” She ran off to copy her favourite illustration… here it is.  HOOOOOWWLLL!

 

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The Secret Horses of Briar Hill

 

 

The Blitz, England. Black-outs and bombings. Death, loss, illness, fear. It’s a broad and powerful canvas.

Sick and grieving young Emmaline finds purpose and magic when she discovers that winged horses live in the mirrors of a grand English manor-turned-children’s hospital.

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Megan Shepherd’s award-winning middle fiction book “The Secret Horses of Briar Hill” (Walker Books 2016) isn’t really about horses but your young reader won’t care.

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Levi Pinfold’s illustrations bring this world to life with incredible, almost photo-realistic sketches created from his imagination.  Intense and evocative.

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If your reader loved The Secret Garden and The Chronicles of Narnia – they’ll enjoy this.

 

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