YOUR MIND IS LIKE THE SKY – Bronwen Ballard, Laura Carlin

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RELEASED: 07/02/2019
PUBLISHER: Frances Lincoln
GENRE: Picture Book, Mental Health

Your mind is like the sky. Sometimes it’s clear and blue – but sometimes a raincloud thought comes along and makes everything seem dark. So what can we do about rainclouds? This beautiful picture book, written by child psychologist Bronwen Ballard and illustrated by award-winning artist Laura Carlin, shows children that worries and negative thoughts are normal and helps them develop healthy thinking habits. Tips on mindfulness and extra resources for parents are included at the back of the book.

As someone who struggles with controlling my thoughts, I was very intrigued when I heard about this book. Mindfulness is something that I haven’t found useful in the past, much as I’d love it to be! So, I was really hoping that a picture book aimed at children may help me a little bit more…

Luckily, I was not disappointed.

Your Mind Is Like The Sky is a beautiful book with a powerful message; whilst you can’t control your thoughts, you can accept them and learn to deal with the different types. I love how thoughts are personified into clouds; this makes them seem less scary, and shows that, despite how dark they can be sometimes, they are only thoughts and they will pass. Unlike many books that focus on mindfulness, there isn’t too much text which made this book stand out even more. It reads just like a normal story and is just the right length to make it useful but not overwhelming.

At the back, something that’ll make this book more useful for parents and teachers is the breakdown of how mindfulness works and what you can do to help children. That said, I think that this book is useful for people of all ages who struggle with raincloud thoughts making this an essential addition to your collection of books about mental health.


Thank you to Ellen at Quarto for sending me a copy of this book.
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snailycanflyy Book Award 2018

Last year, I hosted my first snailycanflyy Book Award, where I narrowed down my top books of the year, and after a fab reading year the award is back for 2018! Last year saw some tough competition from some amazing books featuring amazing authors and illustrators with the overall winner being the very worthy The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson which still stands out as one of the best books I’ve ever read!

The award is split into three categories – Best Picture Book, Best Middle Grade and Best Young Adult, with a winner in each category and an overall winner. The criteria is simply that it has to be a five-star rated book published in 2018 and one that I want to talk about, one that has stuck with me since reading and one that I would recommend wholeheartedly. So, without futher ado, here are the category nominees:

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BEST PICTURE BOOK:

Oscar the Hungry Unicorn – Lou Carter, Nikki Dyson
The Bear, The Piano, The Dog and the FiddleDavid Litchfield
Ruby’s Worry – Tom Percival
Space Tortoise – Ross Montgomery, David Litchfield
The Story Orchestra: The Sleeping Beauty Jessica Courtney-Tickle

BEST MIDDLE GRADE BOOK:

The Truth PixieMatt Haig
Death in the Spotlight – Robin Stevens
The Eye of the North – Sinead O’Hart
The Light Jar Lisa Thompson
The Secret Seven: Mystery of the Skull – Pamela Butchart

BEST YOUNG ADULT BOOK:

I Was Born For ThisAlice Oseman
To Kill a KingdomAlexandra Christo
LegendaryStephanie Garber
Sunflowers in FebruaryPhyllida Shrimpton
The Exact Opposite of OkayLaura Steven

AND THE WINNERS ARE…drumroll please!

oscar the hungry unicornBEST PICTURE BOOK
Oscar the Hungry Unicorn

death in the spotlightBEST MIDDLE GRADE BOOK
Death in the Spotlight

to kill a kingdomBEST YOUNG ADULT BOOK
To Kill a Kingdom

OVERALL WINNER
The Truth Pixie

A massive congratulations and thank you to all of the authors who’s books made it to the shortlist! All of these books are so incredible and I’ve loved reading them in 2018!

kayleigh

 

My Year of Audible: 2018

It’s scary to think that I’m already over halfway through Blogmas 2018! Today I am going to share with you some of the audiobooks that I have loved this year; although I’ve not listened as frequently lately, I have got some brilliant audiobooks this year!

The Goldfish Boy – Lisa Thompson narrated by Leon Williams

The Truth Pixie – Matt Haig narrated by Matt Haig

Notes on a Nervous Planet – Matt Haig narrated by Matt Haig

The Kissing Booth – Beth Reekles narrated by Cynthia Holloway

I Was Born For This – Alice Oseman narrated by Aysha Kala, Huw Parmenter

The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven narrated by Laura Aikman

Legendary – Stephanie Garner narrated by Rebecca Soler

To Kill a Kingdom – Alexandra Christo narrated by Jacob York, Stephanie Willis

Daughter of the Pirate King – Tricia Levenseller narrated by Marisa Calin

Although I haven’t got around to finishing listening to all of these, I have loved the freedom of having an Audible membership and having some wonderful titles added to my audiobook library!

Have you listened to any of these, or are there any you’d recommend?

THE TRUTH PIXIE – Matt Haig

the truth pixie

5/5

RELEASED: 18/10/2018
PUBLISHER: Canongate
GENRE: Young Reader, Mental Health

From number one bestselling author Matt Haig comes a hilarious and heartwarming story, brilliantly illustrated throughout by Chris Mould.

Wherever she is, whatever the day, She only has one kind of thing to say. Just as cats go miaow and cows go moo, The Truth Pixie can only say things that are true.

I’ve wanted to write this review ever since I read The Truth Pixie, but I just haven’t quite known where to start!

The Truth Pixie is such a magical little book that I strongly believe everyone should read (I’ve bought eight copies as gifts this Christmas!) and it’s one that can be enjoyed again and again.

To begin with, it’s not a daunting read at all. It’s tiny. But, for such a small book, it carries so many important messages and provides so much comfort for people going through all sorts of difficulties from anxiety to grief. The description of it being “Reasons To Stay Alive for seven year olds” is not wrong! Then you have the fact that it’s beautifully illustrated by Chris Mould. Whilst his illustrations are not my usual type that I would go for, they fit the story and book perfectly.

I can’t recommend The Truth Pixie enough; whether it’s for yourself or as a gift, it’s the perfect little book to have.

kayleigh

 

 

FIERCE FRAGILE HEARTS – Sara Barnard

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So…as I write this review it’s 2018. I’ve already decided what one of the top books of 2019 is, and it’s this one – the sequel to the equally wonderful Beautiful Broken Things.

I was so desperate for a copy of this book, and I’m so glad that I was approved on NetGalley to read it early! The only reservation I had was that it was so long ago that I read Beautiful Broken Things that I thought I wouldn’t remember anything about it and would struggle to get into the new title, but how wrong I was! It’s a testament to how brilliant Sara’s writing and characterisation is that I was thrown straight back into the world with some of the most wonderful characters!

img_3606A key factor that makes Sara’s books so popular and loved is that her characters are real. They’re perfectly flawed, relatable and diverse. For example, as we’ve previously seen in her books, mental health is a key theme that she gets right – in Fierce Fragile Hearts, whether or not you have experience of anxiety, depression or bipolar, there’re parts of Suze (our main character) that are highly relatable to all readers on some level. However, the thing that I love is that those heavy topics that in so many books you have to put them down, such as abuse and mental health, don’t define the book and overshadow the story. I guess what I’m very badly trying to say is that a subject that could be incredibly triggering is presented in a way that doesn’t detract from your enjoyment of the book.

I could witter on about how much I love this book for ages, and as the day has gone on the intensity of that feeling has grown, along with my feelings for Matt *swoon*. Yet again, a five-star read that I urge everyone to get their hands on!


Thank you to MyKindaBook via NetGalley for the eBook of this title!

GIRL IN PIECES – Kathleen Glasgow

girl in pieces5/5

SundayYA today has involved a lot of recommendations, both books that are out already and books that are most anticipated for next year. One author that came to mind immediately for both of these topics was Kathleen Glasgow; I adored Girl in Pieces and am incredibly excited for How To Make Friends With The Dark! As I’m making my way through all my old reviews on retail sites and transferring them on to here, I figured that today is the perfect day to finally upload my review of Girl in Pieces from when I first read it way back in 2016 as a longlist reader for a children’s book award. I went on to nominate it for the shortlist, insist on copies being stocked in the bookshops where I worked, and sell sell sell!

img_3485I could not shut up about this book since I started and finished reading it; it’s an absolutely incredible debut! It’s filled with such raw emotion, but not to the extent that it is an uncomfortable or triggering read, and, although this is an extreme case of depression/self-harm, it’s one that sheds a very realistic light on the issue. For people who have experienced this, the book is inspiring and easy to relate to, but equally it’s enlightening for people who do not know much about the mentality behind self harm and suicide. One of my personal highlights is the BEAUTIFUL author’s note at the back. READ IT!

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My heavily tabbed copy!

It’s surprisingly easy to read and get totally lost in because of the way it’s written. The book is separated into parts and the chapters are all of varying length, which added to the overall feel of the book as I felt that the “chapter” lengths sort of represented the state of mind of Charlie at various stages of her mental health. It’s also brilliant how Kathleen has touched upon the problem of young adult homelessness, and how often the reasons behind it aren’t the fault of the young people themselves but more a result of their situation at home.

All in all though, this book shows how you can hit rock bottom but it IS possible to carry on and survive despite all the stuff that life can throw at you.

 

Six for Sunday: 28th October 2018

Hello! Today’s topic has been a really interesting one; so many amazing books have come out in the past couple of years since I wasn’t a teenager anymore and I really wish that I’d had when I was younger. It’s also interesting to think about what you would’ve liked back then. Anyway, you can find the prompts for Six for Sunday here, and this week’s topic is:

Books you wish you’d had as a teen

the exact opposite of okay1. I Was Born For This – Alice Oseman

the truth pixie2. The Exact Opposite of Okay – Laura Steven

the goldfish boy3. The Truth Pixie – Matt Haig

4. The Goldfish Boy – Lisa Thompson

5. Worries Go Away – Kes Gray

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

It was actually really hard to narrow down! Would you have liked any of these books when you were a teen?

SEE YOU IN THE COSMOS – Jack Cheng

5/5

All eleven-year old Alex wants is to launch his iPod into space. With a series of audio recordings, he will show other lifeforms out in the cosmos what life on Earth, his Earth, is really like.

But for a boy with a long-dead dad, a troubled mum, and a mostly-not-around brother, Alex struggles with the big questions.

Where do I come from? Who’s out there? And, above all, How can I be brave?

Determined to find the answers, Alex sets out on a remarkable road trip that will turn his whole world upside down . . .

For fans of Wonder and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Jack Cheng’s debut is full of joy, optimism, determination, and unbelievable heart. To read the first page is to fall in love with Alex and his view of our big, beautiful, complicated world. To read the last is to know he and his story will stay with you a long, long time.


see you in the cosmosThis book was completely out of this world; the voice of Alex was so innocent and entertaining and made it such a compelling read. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, and it made me think. See You In The Cosmos is such an important read for many reasons, many of which become apparent as you make your way through the book and towards the end. As an adult reading it, it was so endearing to see the world through a child’s eyes and some of the things he was questioning were brilliant and so many things made me laugh out loud!

Alex is 11 years old (13 in responsibility years) and we are reading the transcripts of his recordings on his Golden iPod that this space-mad youngster is planning to launch into space so Aliens can learn about Earth. We join Alex on his adventure across the country, and ultimately his adventure to discover who he is.

See You In The Cosmos is hands down one of the best and most original 9-12 books released in recent years, and I can not recommend it highly enough for youngsters and grown ups!


Thank you very much to Penguin for sending me a proof copy of this book!

An Audiobook Is Still A Book

I’ve always loved audiobooks, and used to have to listen to them every night to get to sleep. From collecting cassette tapes when I was little, to having a Walkman and taking them on the go, audiobooks have been an important part of my love of books. More recently, I have discovered Audible where I have downloaded some of my favourite titles to listen to when reading just isn’t an option.

I’ve seen a lot on Twitter about how there are people out there who don’t think that listening to audiobooks counts as reading (an important discussion that was raised by Jenn) and I could’t agree more with her about how audiobooks are just as valid! Whether it’s because you’re on the go, absolutely exhausted or have a condition such as dyslexia, listening to an audiobook can be the best option and it’s still reading!

My favourite audiobooks growing up were the abridged Enid Blyton ones – I adored (and still adore) all the boarding school and adventure stories, A Series of Unfortunate Events and Captain Beaky. I rediscovered my love of audiobooks last year with the Harry Potter series (how could you not?!) and have kept downloading since!

So, what are my top audiobook recommendations if you’re new to audiobooks, or just want to find something that you may not have listened to yet?

  • Obviously Harry Potter by JK Rowling. Jim Dale and Stephen Fry are both amazing narrators too (although I believe it’s only Stephen Fry on UK Audible). Plus, IT’S HARRY POTTER.
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber, narrated by Rebecca Soler. This is one of the first books I downloaded on Audible, and I couldn’t have chosen anything better; Soler is a brilliant narrator.
  • Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig, narrated by Matt Haig. Aside from being an incredible book that everyone should read or listen to, Matt Haig makes for easy listening and breathes life into his book.
  • The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson, narrated by Leon Williams. This is my latest download which I was so unbelievably excited to discover, and so far I am loving it! Williams is doing justice to an amazing book.

What do you think – do audiobooks count as reading a book? What recommendations would you make?

Six for Sunday: 22nd July 2018

Hello and welcome back to another Six for Sunday (you can find the prompts here!). This weekend I’ve made more Minnie Mouse ears (if you follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram you’ll have seen my first pair!) and then haven’t got as far as planning today! Anyway, this week’s Six for Sunday is:

Books that made you want to shout

I’ve gone for positive shouting, in the sense of these are books that I just want to shout out about as much as possible, throw into people’s hands…quite literally.

1. The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

I ADORE THIS BOOK SO MUCH. PLEASE READ IT.

I want everyone to read this book to truly get an idea of what OCD is like. Plus, it’s a fab mystery. It’s a win-win.

2. A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard

The anxiety representation in here is fantastic! My YA Book of the Year 2017.

3. Worries Go Away by Kes Gray, Lee Wildish

GAH! THIS BOOK! I am literally the little girl, and I think so many people will relate. This book is essential for little people, for big people…for everyone! Plus, Kes Gray signed my copy and wrote the cutest message and I love him for it.

4. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I understand that this one is a little bit more controversial, but I LOVE it. For me, the main message is about how your actions can impact upon others and it’s about making the right choices and so many people would benefit from learning that.

5. Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo

I. Love. This. Series.

The Children of the Red King series is one of the most underrated; jenny Nimmo’s writing is exquisite and she’s crafted an amazing story set within our world. Fans of Harry Potter will LOVE this, and I want more people to read it!

6. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

So, last but not least, and no list would be complete without this one, is Harry Potter. BECAUSE HARRY POTTER IS THE BEST. If you’ve been living under a rock, or just have never fancied reading it because of the hype…IT IS THE BEST SERIES OF ALL TIME FOR A REASON.

I really enjoyed today’s topic! Would you agree or disagree with any of these? What books would you shout about?