Showing posts from April, 2020


Being in lockdown is hard on all of us. With the world staying home, we are missing our families and friends, venturing out to new places, even the mundane things like going to work and school. It's easy for restlessness and boredom to set in as we wonder how long will this go on, only to hear things like "for quite some time to come." It's easy to lose hope. But help is at hand with something marvelous! On 27th April, The Book of Hopes: Words and Pictures to Comfort, Inspire and Entertain Children in Lockdown was launched by award-winning (and completely brilliant) childrens' author, Katherine Rundell. Here, Katherine has curated the work of more than 110 authors and illustrators in a volume that is utterly wonderful. This is a collection of poems, short stories, essays and pictures from many favourites like Lauren Child, Anthony Horowitz, Jacqueline Wilson, Emily Sutton, Jonny Duddle, Sharna Jackson, Michelle Paver, Ross Montgomery and so many more, incl

WHY PICTURE BOOKS MATTER: There Are No Words In This Book!

Wordless picturebooks an incredibly significant contribution to our literary canon. But how, you may ask? There are no words, and isn't literature about words? Well, yes and no. Of course words are important in getting ideas across, but if you look at what words are in their most basic sense, then you begin to get an understanding of the absolute urgency of pictures; of visual literacy. The written word itself is made up of letters. Letters are simply a visual representation of a sound; they are symbols. A somewhat random symbol conceived by someone (or someones) a long time ago that have gained enough significance to stand the test of time and that we all (or most all) accept as a given thing. We know what letters are; we know what they mean. Then, to make a word you gather together these random symbols to create another random symbol; like dog or run or beautiful; that we have over time accepted as meaning what it means. These word symbols are put together to make collecti


Happy Earth Day, everyone! It's a very special Earth Day in a very strange time. I find it quite poignant that Earth Days' 50th anniversary should fall as the world is called to stay at home during the Covid_19 pandemic. We are looking past our immediate surroundings out into a world that is quiet...not filled with the constant hum of human busy-ness and we actually have time to look; to consider. And when we look at the planet, the environment, the climate crisis, we see that slowly but noticeably, Earth is healing. Pollution levels are that little bit lower. The sky is quieter and clearer. The water, cleaner. It is amazing that, without human interference, she is getting better. What would she be able to accomplish if we remained conscious of this and limited our activities in an effort to help? But I did promise you some favourite picture books to celebrate. While there are loads of wonderful nonfiction books to inspire you and your children, I am going to focus on a few


Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick is a very familiar name in the world of childrens' books. She has gifted us with so many extraordinary picture books; each one filled with wonder, exceptional storytelling and delightful illustrations expressing complex issues and feeling. Books such as I'm A Tiger, Too; Izzy and Skunk; There; The New Kid and (my personal favourite) I Am I simultaneously touch the heart and paint longstanding pictures in the imagination and thought. Even the wordless Owl, Bat, Bat Owl exhibits this unique storytelling ability. And these only scratch the surface of an incredible catalog of her books. Then when we turn our attention to her novels for young people, we find something more. In addition to her outstanding capability as a storyteller, we discover a voice that is resonant, strong, evocative and yet uncluttered, pure. From her first novel in 2010, Timecatcher, she really had something...different, wonderful...that 'oh wow' that I so hope for every