James Patterson just gets more and more awesome!

I swear he does! First off he publishes a new book every few months it seems (don’t beleive me, check out the James Patterson shelf in any bookshop – they (and it will be they) will be groaning), but he’s also managed to write the Middle School series. I personally love Middle School because not only is it something I can hand over to my cartoon-loving I-will-never-read-anything-else-unless-it’s-like-Wimpy-Kid readers, I know it’s a more mature storybooks for pushing their reading and comprehension levels whilst still giving them a story they’ll enjoy and not be put off by with one look. With Patterson’s books he makes it possible for me to give them not just more of the same, but more full stop.

Publisher: Arrow (Young) ISBN: 9780099544029 Published: 29/3/2012

Anyone who gives me a reason to shove a book into a reluctant reader’s hand and for them to read it, devour it, and ask for more (as regularly happens) is instantly up there on a platform. But Patterson has gone even furthur! Now the chap’s standing up for and supporting indie bookshops with life-changing donations when things are, quite frankly, a bit pants for indies in the wake of eReaders and Amazon. Bookshops and libraries are in the same boat at the mo where they’re having to struggle to compete with the download-it-in-seconds-have-it-now-now-now online world of digital books. I’ve seen plenty of support for libraries (the last children’s laureate Julia Donaldson was particularly big on this) but I haven’t seen the same wealth of support so frequently for indie bookshops. It’s brilliant to see they’re getting some heavy hitting support and Patterson just keeps leaping those pedestals to literary godhood in my head. His support for indies and children’s reading is very well placed – digital reading is great (I know, I have been digitally reading since before the Kindle even launched over here in the UK), but I’ve still yet to find a single person who can browse an online bookshop as easily as they would a bricks and mortar one and, of course, this is secondary to the fact that not everyone can afford digital devices and/or books. Not every child owns a Kindle and bookshops and their atmospheres, their staff and (of course) their contents are valuable additions to our high streets and children’s reading. It would be a truly awful (if not cataclysmic) blow to see them go.

Rock on Mr Patterson and I’m pretty sure that the Literary God pedestal will have your name on it soon.

Oh bugger, where do I find Viking stories for KS2?!

So over here in the UK after much online debate and anger and general unrest, the new National Curriculum has kicked off this week. Whoopeedoodles, now let’s get on with it said all the teachers. However, a new curriculum means new teaching plans, new resources, new ideas and I’ve already had a couple of my locals finding me to ask for recommendations.

One particular section of the new NatCurr that’s causing a bit of a kerfuffle is the Viking and Anglo-Saxon periods that kids in KS2 can now expect to cover at some point. So, without furthur ado, here’s a little mini list of the recommendations I’ve been giving my locals :)

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A List of Children’s Characters with Glasses – because I keep getting asked about it and can’t find lists long enough

I’ve always wanted glasses. Everyone who’s cool has glasses and the cool and interesting new frames you can get now can tell you a lot about the person you’re talking to. As a bonus, you instantly also look a whole lot cleverer than you really are (which is a definite win in my case), not to mention that as an aspiring librarian I’ve got the very firm image in my mind of the lady with a bun, jumper and glasses checking out books and introducing new ones to young readers. At last I can now match myself to this image (despite the jumper being a no go), because not only am I on my way to becoming a librarian but I have also acquired my very own specs – huzzah!

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Revolting Records by Anne Rooney

Let me preface this review with a question: who the hell challenges an ostrich to a pasta-eating competition and only wins when the ostrich faints?!

Publisher: Barrington Stoke ISBN: 9781781120712 Published: 15/8/2012 RA 8, IA 10-14

The Guinness Book of Records has got nothing on the records in this slender little tome!  Stuff the fastest runner or the tallest man – these are the records you really want to know about, the ones that gross you out and make you go ‘huh?!’. From elephant dung to maggot racing, this is one delightfully disgusting book of facts!

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Under Attack by Jim Eldridge

I’ve seen this guy’s name batted around bookish circles a number of times but never had the chance to read something by him before – thank you Barrington Stoke!

Publisher: Barrington Stoke ISBN: 9781781122112 Published: 24/6/2013 RA 7 IA 13+

Dr Sari Patel and Captain Joe MacBride are tasked with building a hospital deep in Afghanistan. When the Taliban attack though, they switch to keeping the nearby village safe but when a young girl is hurt in the attack, Sari and Joe find they’ve got their hands full on both fronts.

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Rachel has Eczema by Jenny Leigh (Dr Spot’s Casebooks series)

This one is rather dear to my heart oddly enough.

Publisher: Red Kite Books ISBN: 9781905339877 Published: 26/9/2013

When the Rhino family move in next door Franklin Frog is bit puzzled by the youngest Rhino, Rachel. Her skin is very sore looking and she itches all the time. She’s not allowed to do a lot of things with him and her brother because her skin is so poorly. Luckily, Mrs Frog tells Mrs Rhino all about Doctor Spot, who diagnoses Rachel with a bad case of eczema.

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Little Girls Are Better at Designing Superhero Costumes… oh yeah!

Hee hee, just come across this amazing tumblr Little Girls are Better at Designing Superheroes Than You. The idea is that little girls pose in their own put-together superhero (or villain) costumes and then an artist draws them. Some of them are quite brilliant, my favourite being Dr Chlorine:

Eep. Yikes!

Amongst the online arguments, rabbles and occasional free-for-alls that are the debate about how women are portrayed in graphic novels, I’ve got to say this ranks up there with The Hawkeye Initiative as one of my favourite argument-deflaters for anyone arguing for less costume, more cleavage and argue that ‘it’s not really sexual, just cool’ :) These little girls have got their heads screwed on right – although I’m watching out for Dr Chlorine…