Octavia’s Bookshop and the Importance of Children’s Books

Last week, I had the pleasure of discovering Octavia’s Bookshop in Cirencester. This beautiful little independent is primarily a children’s bookshop which meant that gasps were heard all around upon stumbling across this hidden gem! Octavia’s is a stunning little shop that’s all cosy and welcoming, and full to the brim with wonderful children’s books. We also were able to have a chat with Octavia and get excited over books with her, as well as having a discussion about the importance of children’s books.

the goldfish boyThis is something that I’m sure many people encounter – book snobbery. When I first started at Waterstones, a colleague turned around and commented on how I read “rubbish”, also known as books from the children’s section, and I’ve come across this frequently. Particularly with YA, there seems to be this total disregard for its value and importance from individuals right up to the big companies. There is no investment, and yet children’s books and YA are arguably the most important books out there. You’ll notice that the first section to be downsized in most bookshops is the children’s and YA, despite the fact that those sections can often be taking a high proportion of the business. Children need books to be physical – an electronic picture book just isn’t the same as a print version, and there are a lot of children from less affluent backgrounds who don’t have access to an eBook in the same way that they would a physical copy.

that's not my unicornYou see, without these sections, where do the readers of “grown up” literature and non-fiction start? We have to develop that love of reading from children, which means we need books catering towards children. And no, that doesn’t mean that children should only read classics. In my opinion, although there is still something to be loved about them, the classics are often dated and usually irrelevant to the lives of children and young people today. I used to see parents come in and turn their noses up at all the wonderful books that today’s authors are bringing to the table, books that nurture a love of reading and books that I’ve seen make children into bookworms. Without these books, who is going to grow up and read all the books aimed at adults? If a child doesn’t develop a love of reading from a young age, what’s the likelihood of them developing it in adulthood?

words in deep blueAll of that said, children’s books are incredible for adults too; they provide escapism, reminiscence and life lessons. I’m finding that as I grow up, my brain still thinks I’m a teenager at times and so of course I’m going to relate to the angst of a young adult in teen fiction! There is so much that we can learn from children’s books, and especially empathy and respect for children.


What’s your opinion? I’d love to know!



WWW Wednesday: 17th October 2018

Good evening! It’s day 17 of Blogtober which I am still doing and am so proud of myself for! I’ve had a bit of a refresh on the blog this week and have new header images, and am working on improving my reviews and posts so that they just look better in general – any feedback would be amazing please and thank you!

What are you currently reading? 

I’ve just started the Amelia Fang series which I bought purely for it being Laura Ellen Anderson – it’s the cutest series! I keep buying the next book without having even started the first, so I figured it’s about time I did.

wish for a witch
What did you recently finish reading?

I read my first proper book in ages this week, which okay it’s a young reader book, but still! I really enjoyed Wish for a Witch by Kaye Umansky and Ashley King and you can check out my full review here.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Death in the Spotlight, Which Witch…I have so many books to read!

Spooky Reads for Older Readers

Welcome back, and I’m here with the third and final part of my spooky recommendations! Today I shall be picking out my favourite books for older readers – this covers YA and adult (there are so few adult books I read that there were not enough books for a single post). Disclaimer – I read most of these in my early teens, and so, with the exception of Our Endless Numbered Days, that gives you an idea of the content suitability. I was given a lot of freedom with what I read growing up and didn’t find any of these to freak me out too much and there wasn’t any adult content, again with the exception of the previous title. So, without further ado, here are my recommendations for this Halloween!

The Poisoned House – Michael Ford

The Poisoned House

Breathe – Cliff McNish

Breathe: A Ghost Story

Newes From The Dead – Mary Hooper

Newes from the Dead





The Woman in Black – Susan Hill

The Woman In Black

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children)

A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls: Illustrated Paperback





The Hazel Wood – Melissa Albert

The Hazel Wood

Caraval – Stephanie Garber

Caraval: The mesmerising Sunday Times bestseller

The Dead House – Dawn Kurtagich

The Dead House





The Summoning – Kelley Armstrong

The Summoning: Number 1 in series (Darkest Powers)

And I Darken – Kiersten White

And I Darken (The Conqueror’s Trilogy)

Nightmare Stairs – Robert Swindells

Nightmare Stairs





The Scarecrows – Robert Westall


Missing Judy – Anne Cassidy

By Anne Cassidy - Missing Judy

Our Endless Numbered Days – Claire Fuller

Our Endless Numbered Days

Have you read any of these titles, or have any of them jumped out at you?


WISH FOR A WITCH – Kaye Umansky, Ashley King


Elsie is back with her whole host of friends as she returns to the world of Magenta Sharp who needs her help once again! But, with a troublesome genie on the loose, can Elsie save the day?

wish for a witch keith

Keith the Elf

I loved Witch for a Week which, rightly so, was one of Simon and Schuster’s biggest releases of 2017. So, imagine how excited I have been for the sequel to arrive! I was not disappointed and really enjoyed book two, albeit not quite as much as the first. Although this title did feel a little bit rushed and not quite as magical as Witch for a Week, Wish for a Witch kept me hooked right the way through and I couldn’t help but read it in one sitting and am looking forward to the next book which is out next year!

wish for a witch frog


Elsie is a very lovable and switched on main character and coupled with Ashley King’s brilliant, as always, illustrations (this time my favourite was the frogs), Kaye Umansky has crafted a series that young readers will really enjoy; there’s a perfect balance of magic and humour throughout.



Six for Sunday: 14th October 2018

Hello and welcome back to Six for Sunday (you can find the prompts here!). I hope you’ve all had a good week. Today I’ve been down to see my friend for dinner so she can meet the other half and we can talk wedding plans for her (I’m Chief Bridesmaid. I’m very excited) and am now looking forward to an evening of sorting out my blog! I’ve found this week’s topic to be fairly easy, but also tricky; there are so many to choose from! The topic is:

Favourite series

1.  Murder Most Unladylike – Robin Stevens

Guaranteed to break any reading slump, this series is addictive and makes for such an enjoyable read! Each book has an intricate mystery that keeps readers hooked and guessing.

2. Throne of Glass – Sarah J Maas

Another reading slump buster, this series is just incredible. It sparked my love of Sarah J Maas and YA fantasy, and is just a gripping series.

3. A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J Maas

Rhysand. Need I say more. I hated this one at first because I didn’t like Feyre  much as a narrator, but once I was gripped, I was gripped!

4. Children of the Red King – Jenny Nimmo

One of the most underrated series of all time, the series had me hooked from book one, Midnight for Charlie Bone, and it deserves as much love as Harry Potter. Speaking of which…

5. Harry Potter – JK Rowling

Are you surprised to see this one on here? Me too.

6. The Doomspell Trilogy – Cliff McNish

Another incredibly underrated series, The Doomspell is like a dark Narnia series that is just exquisite! 

There were so many more that I could’ve chosen from – I loved so many series growing up and still do so narrowing it down was actually really tricky! Have you read any of these series?

GUEST POST: Emmi-Llewela

I’m here today with a very special blog post that was unexpectedly written when I sat down to write today’s post…but I never got to the typing because my laptop was stolen by the small child that is my little sister Emmi. Emmi is seven and has had a fun evening blogging. I hope you enjoy her little post below about some of her likes. She formatted and typed it all herself!

emmi grandad's secret giant

Hello It’s Emmi and I love horses.I like colouering book’s.My favourite  book is Roald Dahl.I like Roald Dahl because there funny.My favourite book is Charlie and the Choclate factory. My favourite picture book is OI DOG!AND OI FROG! And my favourite movie Is Harry Potter .The saddest movie I’v ever watched Is War horse because a horse dies.I have riding lessons and my favourite horse is called Eclipse.



Spooky Reads for Children

Welcome back to my Spooky Reads recommendations, and this time I am looking at books for older children. That said, this list includes some timeless classics that everyone can love! So without further ado, here are some of the best books for reading this Autumn and October!

The Black Book of Secrets – F.E.Higgins

The Witches – Roald Dahl

The Witches (Dahl Fiction)

Which Witch – Eva Ibbotson

Which Witch?

Monster Mission -Eva Ibbotson

Monster Mission





The Beasts of Clawstone Castle – Eva Ibbotson

The Beasts of Clawstone Castle

The Secret of Platform 13 – Eva Ibbotson

The Secret of Platform 13

A Place Called Perfect – Helena Duggan

A Place Called Perfect (Place Called Perfect 1)





Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K.Rowling

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: 1/7 (Harry Potter 1)

Midnight for Charlie Bone – Jenny Nimmo

Midnight for Charlie Bone

The Bad Beginning – Lemony Snicket

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events)





Most Unladylike – Robin Stevens

Murder Most Unladylike: A Murder Most Unladylike Mystery

The Clockwork Sparrow – Katherine Woodfine

The Clockwork Sparrow (Sinclair's Mysteries)

Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror – Chris Priestley

Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror





The Apprentice Witch – James Nicol

The Apprentice Witch

The Weather Witch – Paul Stewart

The Weather Witch





Have you read any of these? What would you recommend for children as perfect reads this Halloween?




WORRIES GO AWAY – Kes Gray, Lee Wildish


Without a shadow of a doubt, the best picture book for children (and grown ups!) that deals with worries and anxiety.

Worries Go Away is a beautifully illustrated story that’s accessible with rhymes and imagery (in typical Kes Gray style, it’s fun to read!), that shows the progression of worrying from that little nagging thought at the back of your mind to the full blown worry and feeling of being unable to escape those thoughts, but then how just by sharing your worries or feelings with others you can deal with those worries. The story is simple enough that for younger children it helps them to open up about things that are worrying them, but it’s also so good and meaningful that older children and adults who suffer from worries or anxiety can relate to the little girl and the feelings she’s experiencing and learn how to cope from this book too.

I can’t recommend this book highly enough, and have read my copy so many times! It’s a very special book to me; often I feel like I am the little girl and so having Kes Gray sign it with a beautiful message for me really means so much!

Unfortunately, not enough people have heard of this book, and as a bookseller I would throw it into so many people’s hands. Now, as a blogger, I want to figuratively do that so more people go out there and pick it up!

WWW Wednesday: 10th October 2018

Welcome back to WWW Wednesday and this week I’ve still not read much. But I have acquired a few books that I am super excited to get to!

What are you currently reading? 

I AM SO EXCITED TO START THIS BOOK! I’m classing it as my currently reading as it is 100% the next book I’m starting!

What did you recently finish reading?

Recently I picked up one of my most anticipated picture books of this year; how cute is Oscar?! It’s such a fun story and has brilliant illustrations.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I’m thinking it’ll be Wish for a Witch or Amelia Fang.

Spooky Reads for Little Readers

October provides many amazing spooky books, so many that I’ve decided to break it up into three posts! In this first post, I shall be recommending some of my favourite picture books and younger reader books that I’m sure that you’ll love too!

Meg and Mog – Helen Nicoll & Jan Pienkowski Meg and Mog

The Grotlyn – Benji Davies 





Five Little Pumpkins – Ben Mantle Five Little Pumpkins

Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball – Laura Ellen AndersonAmelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball (The Amelia Fang Series)

The Dark – Lemony Snicket The Dark





Funny Bones – Janet and Allan Ahlberg Funnybones

Witch for a Week – Kaye Umansky Witch for a Week (Elsie Pickles 1)