Tag Archives: Education

Red Riding Hood and the Sweet Little Wolf by Rachael Mortimer and Liz Pichon

Red Riding Hood and the Sweet Little Wolf: Rachael Mortimer & Liz Pichon (Hodder Children's Books, 2012)

Red Riding Hood and the Sweet Little Wolf: Rachael Mortimer & Liz Pichon (Hodder Children’s Books, 2012)

The story follows the Red Riding Hood plot from the wolf view-point. Sweet Little Wolf is sent out by her parents to get dinner (one onion, two potatoes, one tender and juicy little girl…) but gets sidetracked by listening to Red Riding Hood’s fairy tales and dressing up in Grandma’s lovely pink nightgown! Red Riding Hood finds Sweet Little Wolf snoring and screams, so a woodcutter runs in to help. But all ends happily with Red Riding Hood writing a nice letter to Mr and Mrs Wolf.

Interview with DG about the story:

Me: What did you like best?
DG: The sweet little wolf. When she dressed up. The little girl had lots of apples.
Me: What didn’t you like?
DG: Mummy and Daddy wolf. They were naughty.
Me: Is this a good book?
DG: Yes!

This book is worth having for the illustrations and the focus on writing lists and letters – great encouragement for early school-age children – you could do some lovely writing projects based on this book as a starting point.

Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Red Riding Hood and the Sweet Little Wolf by Hachette Childrens Books for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

First Words, Letters and Numbers

Little Tiger Kids

Little Tiger Press has started a new imprint this month, Little Tiger Kids. These are a series of colourful, sturdy board books with pictures of real things, big flaps, things to trace. All of which appeal to babies and toddlers. We’ve been lucky enough to be sent three to test drive. All three instantly appealed to MG and DG with the bright colours and flaps and they’ve been having fun with them. I’m going to review from a grown up educational viewpoint but in terms of child-appeal, these are winners.

first100wordsMy First Book of Words: 100 First Words (Little Tiger Kids, 2013)
There are similar books to this already available and to be fair Priddy Books have probably got the corner on this market but it would be an oversight for Little Tiger Press to have left out a book of this type in their new range, and it makes a nice addition. What Little Tiger Press have got (but I’ve not seen) is a lift-the-flap version of the 100 first words which should prove to be extremely popular. Based on the flaps in the Numbers book that we have seen, these are likely to be extremely robust and great for fine motor skills. Using real pictures is important for very young children who are learning to organise and categorise the world. Cartoon word books are lovely but a child’s absorbent mind also needs reinforcement of the real world.

My First Touch and Trace: First ABC (Little Tiger Kids, 2013)My First Touch and Trace: First ABC (Little Tiger Kids, 2013)
This is a book with enormous child appeal. The format is perfect. Each single page focusses on one letter. The top half of the page has the letter in upper and lower case, the upper case letter is cut out for tracing. The bottom half of the page has a picture starting with that letter and is also a giant flap with another picture for the letter underneath. Each page has bright, clear colours; uncluttered, real photographs; an easy-to-read-and-write font and start and end points for how to draw the letters. It is almost perfect and the only alphabet book you need to start a child’s journey to letter recognition and learning to read. Almost. It is let down by a lack of phonetic awareness. On chatting with other interested parties (parents and educators) on Twitter about the subject of phonetic ABC books, it was pointed out that many books are printed for a worldwide market where phonetics may not be the prescribed teaching method. In the UK (well, in England at least), every child who goes to a state-run school will be taught to read using synthetic phonics.

Phonics has its detractors but as an initial method in getting children to learn to decode quickly, it is excellent. Maria Montessori used phonetics in her methods for teaching children to read. Montessori also used sandpaper letters to get the children used to the shape of letters when they still hadn’t got the fine motor skills for writing, which this book also emulates in its touchable letter tracing. It’s only the upper case letters which are traceable, which is a pity given that we use lower case letters far more frequently in reality but it’s a good start. I also like how the start and end points for letter tracing are highlighted with red and green dots in this book.

I would still recommend this as possibly the best first ABC book I’ve seen. It ‘fails’ as an introduction to the phonetic alphabet in seven of the fifty-two words it includes. These are: ice-cream, ivy, owl, shoes, unicorn, xylophone and x-ray. Admittedly ‘x’ is impossible to do phonetically if you’re only chosing initial letters as there are no words that start with the /ks/ sound. I’m also not keen on ‘jelly beans’ as it’s two words! If you’re fussy on phonics like me, why not stick photos of igloo, insect, octopus, sock, fox and box in the book! I’ve searched but umbrella does seem to be the only object starting with the short-u sound. Up and Under are probably the best options, but hard to illustrate. In summary, this is an excellent alphabet book which is exactly what it sets out to be.

My First Touch and Trace: First ABC (Little Tiger Kids, 2013)

My First Lift and Learn: First Numbers (Little Tiger Kids, 2013)My First Lift and Learn: First Numbers (Little Tiger Kids, 2013)
Another appealing book for children, this comes with a ‘handle’ so it can be easily carried around. I really can’t stress enough how sturdy these books are. They are made from quality strong board, have pages that feel like they wipe clean easily (we haven’t needed to test this) with big, robust flaps. In first numbers, each page shows a picture of an object or objects (one cake, two kittens, three butterflies etc); the flap can then be opened to reveal simplified pictures of the outside of the flap – for example the outside picture may have things that overlap or are slightly different e.g. different kittens, but the inside picture will have the number of things clearly shown separately and be the same in one or two colours only – plus the number with start and end dots, and tracing guide. Another wonderful ‘first’ book.

All three books have enormous child appeal and would be excellent to share starting with babies who will be attracted to the bright, simple and familiar images; onto toddlers who will love the interactivity and ownership they can take for the books; onto pre-schoolers who can take pride in recognising numbers and letters… The Little Tiger Kids range are priced between £5.99 and £8.99 which is excellent value for money, especially the First ABC book above which is only £5.99. More in the series are being released in May. These include jigsaws, tabs and touchy-feely books. If these were around when my girls were younger we would have bought lots of them!

Disclaimer: We were sent a copies of My First Book of Words: 100 First Words; My First Touch and Trace: First ABC; and My First Lift and Learn: First Numbers by Little Tiger Press for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

Learn with Auntie Toks

I live in a very monocultural part of the world. Fortunately there is a wonderful Montessori nursery very close to us which is a perfect microcosm of multiculturalism with children, teachers and assistants from around the globe working and learning together; this is where my daughters spent 30 hours a week from when they were 5 months old until I stopped working (age 2 for DG; and 4 for MG.) Our local village school is wonderful and inclusive, but it’s hard not to notice the sea of mainly-white faces on stage at their end-of-year assemblies. This is not the idea of ‘normality’ I want my children to absorb. Fortunately their very early years nursery experience; their close friends; their parenting; and their school’s excellent teaching counteract the overly monocultural environment they could be experiencing.

Given my worries on the lack of multicultural experiences, I was more than happy to be offered the chance to review this set of story and activity books based on African folk tales and published to supplement the not-for-profit work of The Lighthouse Children’s Workshop. There are two story books and each has an accompanying workbook.

The Elephants Who Always Forgot (Tokunbo Ifaturoti: TOWAT Publishing, 2011)The Elephants Who Always Forgot (Tokunbo Ifaturoti: TOWAT Publishing, 2011)
This is based on a Kenyan folk tale. The storybook includes a CD with three tracks – one is the Lighthouse Children’s theme and the other two are slightly different versions of “We Love The Elephants” from the story, which is simple and catchy. There is also a recipe for Kenyan Kunde, a black-eyes peas and tomato dish. I haven’t attempted to make this with MG and DG but it looks like a straightforward recipe to follow with slightly older children due to the frying and chopping involved.

The story follows a village where people and animals live in harmony, and hunters come to try to steal the tusks from their elephants. Being forgetful, the mummy elephant who runs to warn the villagers forgets why she was running but all ends well – not so much for the hunters! The storybook is set up to be educational so on each page there are questions. These range from observations on the pictures to thinking about other knowledge children may have e.g. “Why did the farmer pick up the knife carefully?” It’s possible to read the story and leave out the questions, or to only use the questions that are most appropriate for the audience.

The activity book to go with the story contains large black and white outline pictures of every picture from the story, with activities on the opposite page. The activities include wordsearches, instructions on how to colour the picture in, counting, talking exercises etc. There is such a variety that you can pick and choose what to use with a particular child, or just use the book for colouring in. There are lovely big pictures of elephants to colour which should appeal to any age.

The Monkey and the Peanuts (Tokunbo Ifaturoti: TOWAT Publishing, 2011)The Monkey and the Peanuts (Tokunbo Ifaturoti: TOWAT Publishing, 2011)
This is based on a Nigerian folk tale. The storybook includes a recipe for Kunu Zaki, a ground millet drink. The ingredients for this would probably require a trip to a more specialist store than a supermarket but I know of many in Oxford (Cowley Road seems to have food shops for almost every culture from Halal supermarkets to Polish and Russian; there’s a Chinese supermarket somewhere more central; and just because I can’t think of an African one offhand just means I haven’t been past it on a bus) so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one in cities at least, and would be a good educational experience for children unfamiliar with these cultures.

The story follows a king who loves every part of his kingdom and a naughty monkey who steals peanuts and learns his manners. Again there are questions on every page of the story, which cover observations and knowledge. I feel this is a calmer story than the Elephant one and is the one I prefer for my children’s age group. A lesson on manners is always a plus!

The activity book is similar to the Elephant one with a colouring page on one side and various activities on the facing pages. In both cases the story books are approximately A5 sized landscape and the activity books approximately A4 sized landscape.

There are many positives for these storybooks and activity books. The font used is one with easily distinguishable b/d; p/q; I/l; a as a circle. I keep pointing out easy reader fonts in books, but they do help early/struggling readers and people with dyslexia so it’s a plus point in my mind. The copyright page says the font is Baskerville, which it isn’t, but that’s a plus! There are so many different questions and activities that it covers a wide range of education and age ranges, from early years to late primary / early secondary.

However, the packed nature of the questions on every page of the story and the different styles of questions on each page of the colouring book may be overwhelming to a struggling reader attempting to read everything. It might be worth taking the activity book apart and using as worksheets if that is an issue. The story and activity books are more of a workbook / reading scheme format, these are really for educational use than just stories even though you can read the stories as stand-alone folk tales too.

I have some reservations about some of the artwork, especially the pictures depicting the hunters and their knives in the Elephant story which may be a bit too frightening for small children and the scary cyclops monkey on the front cover of the Monkey story! But on the whole children should find the stories and pictures amusing, the Monkey one especially with MG and DG. These are designed as educational books, and as such they are good value for money. It’s worth getting the story and activity book for either (or both) tales together.

All four books can be bought from Lighthouse Children for £5.99 each with free shipping. They would be perfect for home educators, youth groups, schools and other educational establishments as well as home use.

Disclaimer: We were sent copies of these books by Tokunbo Ifaturoti for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

Teaching Rainbows

It was Takeover Day on Friday, a day when children are encouraged to join in decision making and responsibilities. MG’s school offered the opportunity for every child in years 1 to 6 to ‘apply’ for a school job. These included headteacher, secretary, class teacher, kitchen assistant, pre-school supervisor and maintenance. MG loves playing school with her little sister so her first choice was teacher, she chose to teach her own class (year 1 and 2 mixed).

After chatting together, taking MG’s ideas and interests and trying to simplify them to fit in a 25 minute teaching slot, she chose teaching about rainbows as it was a mix of art and also a bit sciencey which are her favourite things. I suggested showing how to make a rainbow out of three colours because it really needed to be simple – we left out lots of things like using prisms to split white light and talking about primary colours of paint and light! I wrote something for MG to read and made the templates for making the rainbow. Paint wasn’t an option giving the time constraints but cutting and sticking coloured cellophane was probably a lot more fun anyhow!

As MG was at school and is tired after, I did the preparation but it was all based on her ideas. Okay, I maybe took over a little… But she felt that it was hers, she gave the lesson and she input into everything so she was happy. Phew! I made up 30 packs which had a cutting template, sticking template, coloured cellophane (approx 16x24cm pieces) and a paper plate.

The paper plate was for making freestyle rainbows or patterns with the left over cellophane after making the rainbow from the template. I’m not a school teacher so I overestimated the time. For one or two children, this could be done in 25 minutes but in a big class with people not listening etc, even with doing it in pairs they didn’t all finish. I also underestimated the cellophane. It looked like plenty but 5-7 year olds make more mistakes and want more cellophane (so working in pairs was good for that too!)

I didn’t have time to shop online for cellophane, and traipsed round Oxford before eventually managing to get some in the art shop I should have gone to in the first place! But I could only get one roll of each colour, each of which was approx 500mm x 2.5m so 24x16cm (approx) was the only way I could get 30 pieces from the roll. It really did look as if it should be plenty big enough! I would therefore suggest, if doing this for a class of 30, to get two rolls of at least the red cellophane (assuming rolls the same size) and cut bigger pieces. For smaller groups, perhaps individual A4 sheets of coloured cellophane or acetate. I did look at tissue paper, but it wasn’t transparent enough. Also, the red we got was too deep so the orange and purple didn’t look as nice as they might have!

In case MG got too shy when she was faced with her entire class, I wrote teaching notes of the order she was to go through her sheets. I wrote a bit of blurb for her to read as background to the activity, and I created the cutting and sticking templates. As we’re using three colours, you need to cut each one to cover three lines of the rainbow so the cutting template isn’t as simple as six arches. And because it worked so well, you can download these three files for your own use 🙂

Rainbow Lesson – Teacher Notes

Rainbow Lesson – Templates

Rainbow Lesson – About Rainbows

The picture above shows MG’s teaching pack! I laminated everything mainly because I could, but also to separate it as being MG’s. I laminated the cellophane template pieces into three sheets so that MG could easily hold and show the three colours and put them together to show the rainbow. We had colour paddles so I put them in too in case she wanted to show the colour mixes with them.

At the end of the day, when I picked her up from school, MG was buzzing with excitement from the whole day. She’d given her lesson (a little shy at first but her teacher stood with her to start with) and the children really enjoyed it, as did she! I am utterly proud of her achievement. Okay, and a teeny bit proud of me for creating the templates and managing to get the blurb pitched at the right reading level for MG!

I’m linking this up with Montessori Monday because I think it would work well as a hands-on unit lesson. It can be simplified for very young children, there’s opportunities for hands on experimentation with colour mixing, and it can be a springboard to further study. Enjoy, and please visit Living Montessori Now for tons of brilliant Montessori inspired ideas.

Montessori Monday from Living Montessori Now

Learn With Hello Kitty: Alphabet Letters & Starting to Write

Learn With Hello Kitty

The lovely people at Harper Collins have sent us two Hello Kitty workbooks. I have mixed feelings on workbooks but MG and DG like to play school and they like to have workbooks to use.

DG is at a stage where she’s only just starting to control her pencil strokes and producing circles and lines on purpose rather than just squiggles (I try not to compare her to MG who could write her name at the same age!) MG loves to write but some practice with forming letters on top of her story writing and schooling would be useful to her.

I also have mixed opinions about these two workbooks. Both books are luscious, with lots of colour throughout so they stand out from many other workbooks. Hello Kitty is a familiar character and instantly recognisable so these books are attractive to young children. There is also a Numbers book which we haven’t seen plus three dictionaries in the series. Matching stationery can be easily found for those who want to co-ordinate!

Starting to Write is aimed at 3-5 year olds and is pitched perfectly at the age range, starting with tracing straight lines, moving through curves and shapes before showing the correct formation of the lower case alphabet. The pages are colourful and inviting, there are lots of stickers (including several oversize characters) and the letter size is big enough to be clear on how to form them and uses a primary font that differentiates between b/d/p/q easily.

Alphabet Letters is also aimed at 3-5 year olds, but I think it’s more useful as an activity book than an alphabet learning tool. There is a page for each letter of the alphabet but no consistency between the activities, for example only a handful of pages offer the opportunity to write the letter. Each page is cluttered and it’s not clear from the picture what letter is being highlighted. The font used does not clearly differentiate between b/d etc and uses a straight line for l without a tail. The ‘l’ page also uses a very curvy font for handwriting that, to me, completely defeats the object of the entire book. Using the same font as the letters to trace in Starting to Write would have been preferable.

There are no guidance notes for parents on using the phonic sounds for the letters, which is the best starting point for children to understand the correspondence between the marks on paper and the words we speak. Some of the examples are not simple phonetic words (e.g. ice cream starts with the letter name sound rather than the letter sound; xylophone doesn’t have the /ks/ sound, although words starting with x are awkward…)

I really don’t think Alphabet Letters succeeds as a book to “learn your letters” but is an enjoyable activity book with lots to talk about in the pictures and plenty of stickers to use too.

I used both books with DG because MG is on the outer end of the age range for the books and would get less out of them whereas DG is very much at the start of the alphabet & writing experience. MG would still get something out of the writing book as some of her letter formations are out (e.g. backwards) but I’d prefer to use the whole book with one child!

DG really enjoyed the pictures and talking about everything in them. She proved to me my thoughts about Alphabet Letters. It was enjoyable for her as an activity book with lots to talk about and stickers to stick but trying to concentrate on one letter was impossible given the cluttered pages, she also found it hard to find the illustration of the example word for some letters because they weren’t obvious. As an activity book to colour, stick, draw and talk about the pictures this book is lovely, but I wouldn’t recommend it as an alphabet teaching book.

Conversely Starting to Write does the job perfectly. DG and I have gone through the whole book talking through the pictures with her pointing things out, and she’s traced some of the lines with her fingers. At the stage she’s at, she needs more fine motor practise to control her pen strokes, although she can do circles and lines but I stuck to following lines with fingers to start. This book will last us for a very long time going through all the different activities, and the colourful pictures are very appealing to DG.

These are visually appealing, fun books that don’t feel like workbooks and have lovely stickers too. I would recommend looking for them in a real bookshop rather than online to see whether they suit what you’re looking for but DG and I have had fun using them together.

Disclaimer: We were sent copies of  Learn with Hello Kitty: Alphabet Letters and Learn with Hello Kitty: Starting to Write by Harper Collins Children’s Books for review. No other financial reward was given and the opinions are my own. I was not asked to write this post.

Preparing for Starting School

I’ve seen several posts recently about things to do to ready your children before they start reception – including writing, reading and counting. It all seems a bit too much like hard work to me! MG has finished her reception year and starts Y1 this September so with this huge amount of school experience, here is my advice:

Why rush their childhood? If they want to count, recognise letters and write their name then by all means don’t hold them back but don’t push an unwilling child. Reception year is still in the Early Years Foundation Stage, it’s not all about sitting at desks and passive learning; it’s still play based and interactive.

Having said that, later years aren’t all sitting at desks and passive learning either but I’ve yet to discover exactly how much that will be a part of KS1.

Here are the things that your (non additional/special needs) child really needs before starting school:

  • All physical and verbal milestones as usually expected by age four.
  • To be able to feed themselves with cutlery and drink from open cups.
  • To be out of nappies in the daytime and be able to use a toilet alone, even if still needing help with handwashing.
  • To be able to dress and undress themselves, even if still needing help with buttons and more difficult pieces of clothing. Try to choose clothing that makes this easier for them e.g. zip-fronted instead of button-fronted dresses; velcro shoes; slightly baggy polo shirts / sweatshirts with wide necks.
  • To be able to part from their primary carer and interact with other children and adults.

If you’re not confident about your child’s ability to cope with going to school, remember you are not obliged to send them from the September after their fourth birthday. Legally, your child does not have to start full-time education until the long term after their fifth birthday. I’m using the phrase ‘long term’ because Oxfordshire schools follow a six term system.

  • You have the right to delay your child’s start to the school you have been offered a place until this date.
  • You have the right to not apply for a school place as long as you can fulfil an education suitable to your child’s age, aptitude and any special needs from the long term after their fifth birthday.
    • An education does not require following the National Curriculum.
    • An education does not require your child to read by age six.
    • An education does not require your child to interact almost exclusively with children born within the September to August of when they were born.
    • An education does not require worksheets.
    • An education does not require exams.
    • An education does not require one size fits all.

There are advantages and disadvantages to delaying your child’s school start.

Disadvantages include: they are not starting at the same time as their peers and may take longer to fit in; if you delay applying until later you may not get a place at your preferred school; if you delay start then they have less time in the Early Years Foundation Stage before starting Key Stage 1.

Advantages include: waiting until your child is emotionally ready for school; having more time to overcome minor developmental delays; having longer to enjoy holidays in term-time 😉

I chose to send both MG and DG to the local primary and for them both to start from the September after they turn four. I am happy with my decision and confident of my children’s ability. I also think it’s important to be aware of the options and your legal rights in respect to raising your own child.

In summary: enjoy the summer; take your child out in good weather and bad; play with friends; watch TV! Leave the worksheets for school 😉

Please note: the comments on legal rights apply to England and Wales. Other countries may have different rules. You should always check the current legal position. Home Education is currently legal under section 7 of the 1996 Education Act.

Basher Books: Astronomy

Basher Books are fantastic little books that cover (mainly) scientific concepts in handy bite-sized chunks along with Manga-style anthropomorphic characterisations. They come in two sizes, and we’ve somehow built up a fairly big selection via offers at The Book People and Red House Books. They are far too ‘old’ for my girls but I think they’re brilliant so they’re on the shelves, to be discussed if either child ever shows an interest.

Astronomy: Out of this World! created by Simon Basher & written by Dan Green

Basher’s Astronomy covers a whole host of information: from planets and other objects in the solar system to types of stars; from galaxies to man-made machines; from the big bang to the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence…

Objects and concepts are grouped into chapters of “gangs” of similar characters.

Most characters then get a double-page spread of information, although some get only a single page.

The website has some online games, worksheets to download plus samples of each of the books and some great downloads including a huge PDF periodic table – but I’m digressing from astronomy now! The direct link to the Astronomy sampler is here.

The posters are included in the books, but can also be downloaded from the Basher Books site. This is what the poster for the Astronomy book looks like:

Age-wise this series is suggested for 9+ but it depends on the individual child. The anthropomorphic characterisations may confuse younger children or may be useful in explaining, all depending on the child. The book samplers should give a good idea of whether they’re suitable for your household. I think they’re wonderful books and thoroughly recommend them.

All images above (apart from my photo) are taken from the Basher Books website and copyright belongs to Macmillan publishers.

Number Bonds to 10

It’s been six months since my High Frequency Words post, and I had planned to do more printables but that just hasn’t happened. MG has got through many more key words without the printables, but I do plan to update the word lists for download at some point…

I spent a little time going through various PDF files I’ve either purchased or found free online from various places and I couldn’t find what I wanted to give MG a hands-on method for learning number bonds, so I’ve made a printable to share.

This printable includes tiles to make half of the number bonds to 10 so you can either print two copies, or swap the numbers round to show that, for example, 9 + 1 is the same as 1 + 9.

0000

The files come in three colour schemes: to match the colours of Cuisenaire Rods; to match the colours of Montessori Bead Materials; and plain for practice without colour-coding. I don’t think number bonds are particularly Montessori, but I’m following what’s used in school as that’s the education route that we’ve currently chosen for our daughters. Some people combine approaches, so the download might be useful.

I’ve chosen to give MG Cuisenaire Rods for number bond learning initially, therefore this is the colour scheme I’ve printed out.

I’ve changed the green in the Cuisenaire file since printing the set in the picture because I didn’t think the original green was light enough.

There are several stages to be taken to cover number bonds, but I can miss many of them because of what MG has learnt in school. For our home use with these unfamiliar materials I wanted to cover two things first:
1. Experimenting with the different ways any two rods exactly match the length of one orange rod
2. Matching the number tiles to the relevant rods

MG can already read up to two-digit numbers and knows the plus and equals operator symbols. Since making these, MG hasn’t shown an interest so I haven’t tested them but instead of keeping this post in draft for any more weeks, I’ll update on how we used them in a later post – or please let me know if they’re useful in the comments!

#3Books

Emily from A Mummy Too has set somewhat of an impossible challenge – choose three books you love most: one from childhood, one from adulthood, one as a parent.

Childhood
I stumble at the first hurdle: which part of childhood? How do you define “childhood”? I was reading adult novels as a pre-teen, but was a child until my twenties in other ways (not that I’ve ever truly grown up). In a quick burst of conciousness I could include: picture books listed here (and more besides); A Child’s Garden of Verses; The Hobbit; A Wizard of Earthsea; The Hounds of the Morrigan; The Wind on the Moon; The Ordinary Princess; Narnia; Enid Blyton; The Starlight Barking; Wolves of Willoughby Chase; The Snow Kitten; Asimov; Douglas Adams; Harry Harrison… and I’ve missed out so many.

I’m going to chose Dragons’s Blood (trilogy) by Jane Yolen. I borrowed it from the library when I was around 10 and it always stuck with me, to the extent I managed to track the trilogy down again to re-read in my early 20’s even though I couldn’t remember the author at the time. It’s set in a world where dragons exist and are bred for fighting, where there are two classes of people: free and bonded and it tells the story of how a bonded boy manages to raise his own dragon in secrecy. It’s a fully realised world containing politics, emotions and characters that stay with you forever. Now I’ve written this, I want to re-read them again (and get the fourth book which I’ve never read…)

Adulthood
Here I have the opposite problem to childhood: I read a lot of so-called children’s novels and then there’s my soft spot for vampire ‘young adult’ fiction 😆 I used to read at least one or two books a week but sadly those days seem long gone, maybe one day I’ll get back into reading as much as I used to…

My favourite authors for the bulk of my adulthood have been Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Other authors who have wowed me include Iain (M) Banks; Philip Pullman; Garth Nix… Far too many others, including non- SF/fantasy/horror books if you were wondering…

I’m going to chose Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. A book by both my favourite authors, well it’s a no-brainer. It’s funny, intelligent, and… Oh, it’s just brilliant.

Parenthood
I’m avoiding choosing a children’s / picture book as I really can’t choose just one and I get to talk about those lots on this blog anyhow.

I’m going to choose How Children Learn by John Holt. It’s a very readable book based around a series of memos Holt wrote whilst he was working as a teacher. It not only gives a view on how education should (or shouldn’t) be but also lots to think about in how to parent too. John Holt obviously loved and respected children and is essential reading if you have anything to do with children in my opinion.

That was hard! Thank-you, A Mummy Too, I really enjoyed thinking about what to choose.

#3Books